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Portland stadium talk has Expos in mind


Oct 24, 2002
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ESPN Story

Thursday, February 27
Portland officials discuss stadium financing
Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Portland Mayor Vera Katz and Grand Ronde tribal chairwoman Cheryle Kennedy met Thursday to discuss financing for a ballpark to attract the Montreal Expos.

The Indian tribe surprised Katz last week by offering financial support for a stadium in exchange for allowing the first casino outside of reservation land to be built in the metro area.

"It's a very preliminary warmup pitch,'' Katz said.

Both the mayor and Kennedy declined to give any details about the talks, but they said they planned to meet again soon.

Baseball's committee on the future of the Expos is to hear presentations on March 20 and 21 from Portland, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia. Baseball owners have said they would like financing in place before deciding whether the Expos will move, possibly for the 2004 season.

To help raise revenue, baseball moved 22 of the Expos' home games this season from Montreal to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Kennedy said the tribe made the offer to help revive the Oregon economy with the possibility of devoting some money to education and schools.

"We're very interested in the economy of Oregon,'' Kennedy said. "I think as far as the tribes go, you'll find our philosophy is to give back.''

The Grand Ronde operate the Spirit Mountain Casino, the largest in Oregon, just southwest of Salem.

Kennedy said the Grand Ronde plan talks with other Oregon tribes to discuss additional support for stadium financing.

"We have an opportunity here that could possibly benefit all the tribes of Oregon,'' she said.

Both Kennedy and Katz noted that any proposal to build a casino off reservation land would require approval from the governor and the federal government.

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