Portlanders answer the questions: Would a major league baseball team benefit Portland? Why or why not?

Jill Eiland, a government relations executive from Northwest Portland: 'Yes, a baseball team would benefit Portland, but only if public funds are not expended in this difficult economic environment to attract the team. A baseball stadium downtown would be a positive economic development for the entire region and would take advantage of the existing transit infrastructure. The Blazers would no longer be the only game in town.'

Richard Ellmyer, a computer consultant and neighborhood activist from North Portland: 'If the owners of an entertainment business want to buy property and build a stadium with their own money, then come on down. If they want taxpayer assistance Ñ and are willing to commit profits after operating expenses to support the Portland Public Schools, then let's start talking.'

Michelle Detwiler, an energy industry specialist from Northeast Portland: 'Major league baseball should only be brought to Portland if it's completely privately funded. It would be a slap in the face to our public schools to do it any other way.'

Chuck Jones, a financial planner from Southwest Portland: 'Yes, to increase community pride while providing local economic stimulus at (if you can trust the word of politicians) no cost to the taxpayers.'

Rachel Gerber, a legal secretary from Beaverton: 'No. Instead of 'play ball!' Portland should concentrate on its real players Ñ businesses Ñ and encourage them to stay and expand. Like pro baseball? Take Amtrak and watch the Mariners É much cheaper than bailing out a baseball fiasco here.'

Melissa Ritter, a political and educational consultant from Northeast Portland: 'I love sports and would be happy with a privately funded venture. However, we shouldn't have a team if financing will come from bonds or taxes. Portland just can't afford it right now.'

Harvey Fink, a downtown business consultant from Vancouver, Wash.: 'No, it would not. There isn't a large enough corporate base to buy the expensive boxes, and the local population would not support it on a regular basis due to the high cost of attending the games.'

Leah Lively, an attorney who lives in Southeast Portland: 'As much as I enjoy the boys of summer, I am not sure that we could fill a major league stadium to make a team profitable.'

Paddy Tillett, an architect who lives in Northwest Portland: 'Commenting on a similar question in the second century, Juvenal observed that bread and circuses are what the people want. But then as now, entertainment should not come before economic and social investment. Let's get our priorities straight: Sustainable funding for education and human services come before baseball.'

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