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Beavers ownership up in the air

One of the favorite games at City Hall these days is to guess what, exactly, will become of the Portland Beavers.

Two weeks ago, the City Council gave contingent support to purchasing the team and running it under public ownership. The contingency relates to whether a private owner could offer a deal in which the city, which owns PGE Park, wouldn't lose money.

But TIAA-CREF, the New York-based lender to which Portland Family Entertainment owes more than $20 million in loans, is trying to sell the PFE loan to private owners at a reduced cost.

Two groups are bidding for the team. One is led by Mark Schuster, president of Portland Family Entertainment. The other is a group of 'reconstituted' PFE investors that includes Peter Stott, chief executive officer of Crown Pacific.

The Pacific Coast League, in which the Beavers play, also could take over the team if no agreement emerges.

David Kahn, the former Indiana Pacers executive who's advising the city on how to deal with the Beavers situation, thinks that if the city takes over the Beavers, it probably will try to sell the team as soon as possible.

'I don't think anybody's looking for the city to be a long-term owner,' said Kahn, who's also working to bring a major league baseball team to Portland.

City leaders confirmed at a Dec. 13 work session that they'd be willing to renegotiate the operating agreement that Schuster says has precluded PFE from making a profit. The city has set no date as to when it'll decide the Beavers' fate.

Ñ Andy Giegerich