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Portland baseball, Paul Allen and more: Most-read sports stories of 2018

These stories resonated with non-sports fans as much as they did with those who cheer for their favorite teams during each and every game.
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In 2018, two sports stories dominated interest in Portland: the quest to bring a major league baseball team to Portland, and the death of longtime Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen.

Here's a look at the most-read sports stories for 2018, as determined by KGW readers. These stories resonated with non-sports fans as much as they did with those who cheer for their favorite teams during each and every game.

10. Portland Diamond Project pulls offer for PPS site near Moda Center

Portland Diamond Project submitted offers in April for two sites as a potential location for a baseball stadium in Portland. In June, one of the sites, the ESCO property in industrial Northwest Portland, was sold to a different group of developers. Almost five months later, the group trying to bring a Major League Baseball team to Portland rescinded the offer for the site of the Portland Public Schools headquarters near the Moda Center. Hopeful Portland baseball fans didn't have to wait too much longer to learn the site of the stadium (see the No. 2 story on this list). Read more

Publication date: November 7

9. Doctored video tweeted by Mike Leach may have cost WSU $1.6 million

Some donors said they planned to alter their plans for future contributions to the Washington State football program after head coach Mike Leach retweeted a doctored video of former President Barack Obama. Donors didn't ask for their money back, but said they would rescind estate gifts that would have paid out when the donor died. "These future estate gifts would have totaled $1.6 million," said a spokesperson for Washington State University. The video Leach tweeted — and later deleted — has circulated for about four years among extreme right-wing conspiracy theorists. This article was produced by KREM, a KGW sister station.

Publication date: November 16

8. Three players kicked off McMinnville High soccer team after alleged hazing incident

Three players were kicked off the McMinnville High School boys soccer team in September because of an alleged hazing incident on a bus ride back from a match in late August, according to the McMinnville School District. Five more players were suspended from competition for three weeks. In late October, three soccer players from the school were arrested in connection with two alleged hazing events during the past two years. The three boys were issued criminal citations for harassment, but their names were not released since they were all younger than 18 at the time of the alleged crimes. Read more

Publication date: September 13

7. 'A whole different life': Former Portland football star details long road to sobriety

Walter Bailey was a football star at Benson High School and the University of Washington. He had dreams of a successful NFL career. But addiction to drugs and alcohol left him with nothing. Years later, he got help that changed his life forever. "I am glad I was able to get into the places that I didn’t know could help me, and they did help me. And my only requirement is to give that back, and to help other people. To let them know there is a life worth living," Bailey said. Read more

Publication date: November 24

6. Hood to Coast announces female chair after 2018 race controversy

Hood to Coast, an annual relay where runners traverse the state from the top of Mt. Hood to the beach at Seaside, came under fire this year after founder and chairman Robert Foote gave trophies to top men’s teams but not women. Hood to Coast apologized for the incident and then announced that Foote’s daughter, Felicia Hubber, would take over as chairwoman of the race series. Hubber also kept her role as the Hood to Coast race director, which she has held since 2006. Read more

Publication date: August 27

5. OSAA error costs Yamhill-Carlton HS football team a playoff spot

The Yamhill-Carlton High School football team won their final three games of the season to finish 5-4, their first winning record since 2007. But when the playoff brackets were released, the Tigers didn't make it. The team turned in their gear and moved on. But a few days later, the school received a call from officials for the Oregon School Activities Association, who had noticed a mistake in their rankings. Someone mistakenly assigned another team's forfeit to Yamhill-Carlton, negatively impacting their final ranking and excluding them from the playoff bracket. OSAA officials told the school it was too late to adjust the playoff bracket and said giving the players just two days to prepare for a game would be unfair. Six Yamhill-Carlton seniors ended up missing their final chance to play in the playoffs. Read more

Publication date: November 8

4. What Paul Allen's death means for the future of the Blazers

The death of Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen raised legitimate questions about the future of the only NBA team in the Pacific Northwest. In the direct aftermath of the news of Allen's death, many sports business experts agreed on one thing: the Trail Blazers are likely to be sold. Brian Berger, the host of Sports Business Radio, said a sale doesn't mean the Blazers will move, tweeting that he'd put the chance of the Blazers moving at less than 1 percent, noting that the NBA isn't interested in moving the team away from its passionate fan base. In the past week, The Athletic's Jason Quick reported that Allen's sister, Jody, has "been decisive in ruling on a variety of major decisions for the team, which as of now, she has no intention of selling." Read more

Publication date: October 15

3. 'WSU Popcorn Guy' wanted by College GameDay, Pullman PD

During a Washington State University football game against Stanford in 2013, ESPN cameras honed in on a Cougars fan kicking back and chowing down on some popcorn. He was blissfully unaware of the camera's presence, much to the announcers' amusement. A video of the man now called the "WSU Popcorn Guy" soon went viral but nobody knows Popcorn Guy's identity. When College GameDay came to Pullman for the Cougars' game against the Oregon Ducks, the ESPN pregame college football program solicited the help of the Pullman Police Department to locate "WSU Popcorn Guy." Unfortunately, he remains unidentified after a "thorough search." This story was produced by KREM, KGW's sister station. Read more

Publication date: October 16

2. Portland Diamond Project announces plan to build MLB stadium at Terminal 2 site

Portland Diamond Project announced on November 29 that they've signed an agreement in principle with the Port of Portland to develop the 45-acre Terminal 2 property for a "state-of-the art ballpark," a major step in their effort to bring a Major League Baseball team to Portland. The group also released artist renderings for the stadium, which features a retractable roof, gondola suite, and centerfield and home-plate plazas, among other features. The capacity of the ballpark would be between 32,000 and 34,000, according to John McIsaac, a spokesman for Portland Diamond Project. Read more

Publication date: November 29

1. Damian Lillard's half brother shot outside Clackamas Town Center

Jahrell Lillard, the 20-year-old half brother of Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard, was shot in the parking lot of the Clackamas Town Center on March 29. Jahrell had surgery overnight and survived. In May, two suspects, 19-year-old Jeffrey Charles Jessie and 17-year-old Taivon Campbell, were arrested for the shooting. Both were wanted for separate attempted murder investigations. The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office said it appeared Lillard did not provoke his attackers and the shooting appeared to be targeted, based on witness statements and surveillance video. Read more

Publication date: March 29

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Year in Review

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