Mayor: Most Portlanders don't care about getting team

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Mayor Tom Potter said Monday he has a "very strong sense" that most Portlanders don't care about landing a major league baseball team and reiterated his position that the city will not help finance a ballpark for the Florida Marlins.

Potter spoke after meeting with Marlins president David Samson and other team officials, who are touring potential new homes for the franchise.

"My concern is that Portland is facing a crisis is education," Potter said. "That's my top priority, to find funding for that. And I expressed that today."

Samson said a "public-private" partnership is a must because there's no way the Marlins would pay for an entire stadium project.

"Governments do make decisions when they attract businesses to the community," Samson said. "Baseball is not the only industry, by any stretch, to ask for government help when deciding where to have its corporate headquarters."

In 2003, Oregon legislators approved a stadium plan that would allow the income taxes from players and other team personnel to be diverted to a fund to pay off bonds used to build the stadium.

"What the state does is its own business," Potter said.

Samson compared Monday's meeting to a first date and said it was too soon to consider Potter's position a potential obstacle.

"Today it was just about meeting the mayor and getting to know him, and that's what I focused on," he said. "I don't really focus too much on public comments -- positive or negative -- because it's too premature."

Portland is the second stop on Samson's tour of potential sites, following San Antonio.