Final inning for Yakima Bears; move to Oregon likely

Final inning for Yakima Bears; move to Oregon likely
YAKIMA, Wash. -- It's some bad news for Bears fans. All things point to the team leaving next year, likely accepting the offer to play in Hillsboro, Oregon.

Some people in Yakima say they saw it coming.

"I'm sure it brings in money for the community overall, but if they're not making any money at all, then there's no point for them staying here," one man said.

"There's tons of empty seats at the current stadium, it doesn't seem like there's a need for a better stadium," said another woman who frequented Bears games.

"When you start taking those events out of Yakima, it's a downer for the community," said a Bears fan.

People have mixed opinions about the team's departure, however county and fairground officials seem unhappy.

County commissioners have yet to confirm if the Yakima Bears are going to leave town, but they say the groundwork has already been laid for the team to be out of here next season.

Despite plans to leave, the Bears have a lease at Yakima County Stadium through 2015, including $10,000 a year in rent.

State Fair Association President, Greg Stewart, says the team needs to buyout the lease to leave early. He says without the team, the fair stands to lose about $50,000 a year including parking and concessions.

"We will find a use for that stadium. Our company has to do that. It's too expensive to let it sit there," Stewart said.

Stewart says other professional baseball teams have already expressed interest. County Commissioner Mike Leita tells KIMA the county did what it could to keep the team here.

"It appears the Bears have made a conscious business decision to leave Yakima. We are disappointed by that business decision and we wish them well," Leita said.

Disappointment will be what's left behind when the Bears pack up for good.