City Pledges Full Faith to Finance Ballpark

Hillsboro, Oregon, the fifth-most populous city in the state, plans to finance a new minor league baseball stadium with debt backed by its full faith and credit.

The team that’s currently known as the Yakima Bears, the single-A affiliate of MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks, will play at the new stadium, which is expected to cost $15.2 million, Hillsboro City Manager Michael Brown said. The city will sell the bonds before the end of the year so the ballpark can be built prior to the start of the 2013 season in June.

The decision to back the stadium bonds with the city’s full faith and credit pledge comes after municipalities from Wenatchee, Washington, to Vadnais Heights, Minnesota, have lost their top-tier credit grades because of arena projects. Moody’s rates Hillsboro’s debt Aa3.

“We have made some assumptions that will be wrong — it’s how wrong they’ll be,’’ said Suzanne Linneen, the city’s finance director. “Our assumption is that we will earn some revenues on baseball. We believe in any scenario we’re going to be paying for something.’’

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