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HILLSBORO, Or - The Portland/Vancouver Metropolitan area is a big step closer to having professional baseball back in town.

The Hillsboro City Council Tuesday night approved a business agreement laying out terms to bring the Yakima Bears A league team to a new $15 million stadium to be built alongside Highway 26 in Hillsboro.

Approving the business agreement and giving a go ahead to stadium plans gives Hillsboro a big lead off against other cities that would like to bring a professional baseball team to the area. Milwaukie and Vancouver have both been working on methods to attract a team.

The new 4,500 seat baseball park, which would be built near Hillsboro Stadium, would be paid for with bonds to be paid off by ticket surcharges, concession revenue and parking fees. It would also be available for other community uses more than 300 days a year, says Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey.

The ballpark agreement now signed by Hillsboro and the Yakima Bears needs to be approved by Northwest, Major and Minor Baseball league organizations by June 29 for Play Ball to ring out at the professional level in Hillsboro for the 2013 summer season.

The metro area has been without professional baseball since the Portland Beavers exited two years ago, so the Portland Timbers soccer franchise could take over what's now known as Jeld Wen Field.

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