"No one's going to stop us from bringing Major League Baseball to Portland," asserts Lynn Lashbrook. In his late 40s, Lashbrook garnered a love for the sport in his boyhood town of Kansas City. Now, he heads up a local nonprofit group--Portland Baseball Group--which, for the past few years, has been single-minded about bringing America's oldest sport to Portland. But despite grandiose plans, their dreams have run aground at the hands of a single, grassroots neighborhood organization.

During the last legislative session, Lashbrook and State Representative Ryan Deckert, (Beaverton-D) convinced the legislature to tap the State Lottery for upwards of $100 million for a stadium. With this initial mechanism in place, the next substantial step is to negotiate a site. But here, the plans have stalled. The neighborhood association that blesses development projects for the selected site has rebuffed the Baseball Group, and it's uncertain whether they'll be able push past this remedial obstacle.

In June, a national architectural firm placed one site for the new stadium at the top of their short list--a 10-acre property across the street from the Rose Quarter.

But the neighborhood doesn't want the stadium. In fact, the Baseball Group has already been rejected from the selected site. In March, Lashbrook eagerly presented plans to the Eliot Neighborhood Association. Before finishing his presentation, the 17-member association broke off discussions and voted not to have the ballpark anywhere in their neighborhood. Hammered over the past few decades by several major development projects, including the Memorial Coliseum, the neighborhood has lost almost 2,000 homes.

Even without official voices in city planning projects, neighborhood associations do wield influence over urban planning. Last summer, for example, concerned about lack of parking spaces, residents near the Civic Stadium nearly scuttled plans for a new AAA baseball team (coming next April) with petitions to city council members and loud protests.

Despite the daunting obstacle that the neighborhood association has put forth, Lashbrook remains undeterred. When asked what will happen if bringing major league baseball to Portland comes down to a fight with the association, Lashbrook responds, "I think they would lose." He adds, "they don't have enough ammo."