It's the ninth inning, but city officials are hopeful that the home team will pull through.

'We believe the (Portland) Beavers will be playing here this summer,' says Scott Ferris, spokesman for Mayor Vera Katz.

Katz said this week that the city 'could lock everybody out' if no one comes up with PGE Park operating terms to the liking of TIAA-CREF, the New York-based teachers credit union that was the primary lender to former operator Portland Family Entertainment.

TIAA-CREF and the Pacific Coast League will meet soon to discuss a one-year plan in which the PCL would operate the team for a year, with the city managing the ballpark, as everyone looks for someone to buy the Beavers.

'Next week will be the week of decision,' Ferris says. 'Somebody just needed to give them a nudge. É We would be extraordinarily disappointed not to have the Beavers play, and we realize the ripple effect that would have on local businesses.'

Meanwhile, PFE President Mark Schuster has filed a lawsuit against PFE, seeking nearly $300,000 in severance pay and salary.

'PFE continues to work hard to find a solution for the Beavers,' Schuster says. 'We're looking for a buyer to come in and clean this up.'

ÑÊSteve Brandon

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