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PORTLAND-The Oregon House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a stadium financing bill that, if approved by the Senate later this week, would allow the state to submit a provisional formal bid to Major League Baseball for the Montreal Expos.

Senate Bill 5 passed the House with a 33-25 vote. If the bill gets 16 votes in the Senate, Gov. Ted Kulongoski has said he will sign it.

SB 5 used to be HB 3606, but when HB 3606 was well on its way to dying in the Senate Rules Committee, supporters stuffed into a gutted SB 5 in order to get around the committee. The move sent it back to the House, where yesterday’s vote will get it to the Senate floor for a vote, possibly this Friday.

The bill is the $150-million heart of a $350 financing plan for a Major League Baseball stadium. The remaining $200 million is not yet accounted for, but that won’t stop the Oregon Stadium Campaign from making a bid for the Expos, which is currently owned by the other 29 MLB teams. Baseball officials are expected to decide by Labor Day where the Expos will play in 2004.

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