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BASEBALL

Beavers talks continue

As the city explores the possibility of purchasing the triple-A baseball Beavers, officials also want to make it easier for a new private owner to take the Portland team's reins.

The Portland City Council said if a suitable offer comes in from an ownership group, it would restructure the operating agreement by which the new owner must run the team. Portland Family Entertainment, the outgoing baseball team owner and stadium administrator, has said the agreement makes it impossible to generate profits.

The city placed PFE in default last month for missed payments. Negotiations for team ownership must likely take place with TIAA-CREF, the New York-based lender to which Portland Family Entertainment owes millions in loan payments. The city must approve any new owner.

The operating agreement calls for team operators to pay the city $908,000 a year on top of $1.4 million in annual stadium lease payments.

City commissioners last week said they'd support public ownership of the team if the venture doesn't lose money. Commissioners Randy Leonard and Erik Sten, along with Mayor Vera Katz, indicated support for such a move.

Commissioner Dan Saltzman said he'd support the purchase if the city could sell the team quickly. On the other hand, City Commissioner Jim Francesconi said he thinks the team should be privately owned.

COURTS

Patterson case not over

Portland Trail Blazer Ruben Patterson could serve 60 days in jail for allegedly assaulting his wife in their Tualatin home Nov. 25.

Washington state Community Corrections Officer Michelle Dykes recommended the sentence after being notified about the incident by Washington County probation officials.

Dykes said Washington state Superior Court officials could schedule a hearing on her recommendation within the next two months.

Washington County prosecutors declined to file formal charges against Patterson after his wife, Shannon, refused to cooperate with investigators.

But Dykes said the Blazer could go to jail anyway for violating the terms of a 2001 probation agreement with the state of Washington.

In that case, Patterson was placed on two years' probation after pleading no contest to charges of attempting to rape a family baby sitter.

According to Dykes, Patterson does not have to be convicted of breaking the law to have violated his probation agreement.

'The standard is preponderance of the evidence, which means that the evidence shows it is more likely than not that he violated the law,' said Dykes, who submitted her report on Patterson to her supervisor Saturday morning.

Patterson's Seattle attorney said he has not yet been notified of an upcoming hearing. 'I haven't heard anything about it, but that doesn't mean it's not working its way through the system,' John Wolfe said.

In other Trail Blazer news, preliminary hearings for Damon Stoudamire and Rasheed Wallace have been set for Jan. 27 in the Lewis County Law and Justice Center in Chehalis, Wash.

Blazers Stoudamire and Wallace and Edward Smith face misdemeanor marijuana possession charges.

Smith was driving Stoudamire and Wallace back from Seattle when their vehicle was pulled over for speeding and a police search found traces of the drug. The three have pleaded not guilty.

Mosque leader's trial set

The trial of Sheik Mohamed Abdirahman Kariye, who made national news when he was arrested on Social Security fraud charges on Sept. 8, has been set for Feb. 25 in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Owen Panner, with preliminary motions to be heard on Jan. 14.

Kariye was arrested by the Portland FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force as he and his family were trying to fly out of Portland International Airport. Since his arrest, Kariye has become a lightning rod for controversy over the war on terrorism.

Federal officials have said Kariye's Southwest Portland mosque Ñ the Islamic Center of Portland, Masjed As-Saber Ñ is among the most radical Muslim mosques in the country.

Several local Muslims who worshipped there have been charged with operating an underground terror cell that planned to wage war against U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Ñ Tribune staff