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Portland Diamond Project and Port of Portland agree to six more months of study and talks over the preferred site along the Willamette River

COURTESY PDP - Artists rendering of the Major League Baseball stadium being proposed along the Willamette River in Northwest Portland.

The group working to bring a Major League Baseball team to Portland announced Tuesday that it has extended its contract with the Port of Portland to study its Terminal 2 site for six more months.

The Portland Diamond Project released a statement on May 28 that said it will pay the port $37,500 for each month of the additional due diligence period, beginning on June 1. The statement said the underused terminal is still its preferred site to build a stadium for the team it hopes to acquire.

"We love the opportunity that Terminal 2 presents for a ballpark on the waterfront and a new neighborhood that extends the central city," the PDP statement said.

At the same time, the statement said, "We're focused on Terminal 2, but we'll be pursuing all options that make sense until shovels are in the ground."

There are many challenges to the site along the Willamette River in Northwest Portland, including its industrial zoning and limited transportation access.

The group first announced it was pursuing the site last November when it signed an agreement in principle to develop the 45-acre property.

"This has the potential to be a transformative landmark project for this city," PDP president Craig Cheek said at the time. "Building an iconic, state-of-the-art ballpark along the Willamette River will catalyze economic development and capture great views" of both the city and the river.

Terminal 2 features more than 2,000 linear feet of waterfront on Northwest Front Avenue, just north of the Pearl District and Slabtown. PDP officials were also negotiating to tender a land option on the adjacent 42-acre Terminal 1 property, which has three businesses in various degrees of operations — Lithia Motors (which stores cars there), Dolan Designs Lighting and Sulzer Pumps US Inc. of Switzerland.

PDP officials, who have met with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, envision landing a franchise one of two ways — relocation or expansion. Chances for the former seemed to decline Wednesday with the Oakland A's announcement that they have found a location to build a new ballpark.

Manfred has told the media that once ballpark issues with existing franchises have been stabilized (Tampa Bay is the other one in that category), he will turn his attention to adding two expansion teams to bring MLB to 32 teams.

Sports reporter Kerry Eggers contributed to this story.

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