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PORTLAND-An amended stadium financing bill made it out of the Oregon Legislature this week, clearing the way for supporters of professional baseball in the city to submit a provisional formal bid to Major League Baseball for the permanent placement of the Montreal Expos starting in 2005.

Using an income tax on players and owners, Senate Bill 5 would contribute a projected $150 million of an estimated $300 million to $350 million stadium cost. Another $85 million would come from ticket tax revenue (estimated at $60 million) and a charter seat program (estimated to generate $25 million), and the remainder would come from tourist taxes (hotel/motel, vehicle rental and restaurant taxes), tax increment financing and contributions from whomever steps up to be the owner, which is not yet known.

One of the key amendments that resulted in the bill’s passage states that the guarantor for the stadium financing cannot be a public body, such as the City of Portland. Talk now is of the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde to take on that role. The tribes earlier this year offered to pay for the entire cost of the stadium in exchange for approval to build a major casino in the city, but Gov. Ted Kulongoski, who has promised to sign the stadium financing bill, shot down the idea.

The bill’s passage makes the city the first of three contenders for Major League Baseball’s Montreal Expos to secure public financing for an MLB-caliber stadium. All three cities in contention for the permanent placement also are vying to host the Expos for its interim 2004 season, as are Monterey, Mexico and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

If city were to get the Expos for the 2004 season, the team would play in PGE Park, the city’s Triple A stadium for the San Diego Padre’s farm club the Portland Beavers. For a permanent home, several in-city locations are up for consideration for construction of a new stadium.

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