Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Local Weather

Mostly Cloudy

75°F

Portland

Mostly Cloudy

Humidity: 51%

Wind: 6 mph

  • 29 Aug 2014

    Partly Cloudy 77°F 61°F

  • 30 Aug 2014

    Partly Cloudy 75°F 58°F


Ballpark rechristened 'Ron Tonkin Field'

The game remains the same, but there will be a new name for the Hillsboro Ballpark, the facility where the Hillsboro Hops Class A baseball team plays.

In a well-choreographed media event Tuesday afternoon at the Hillsboro Ballpark, Mayor Jerry Willey announced that from May 13 forward, the ballpark will be known as “Ron Tonkin Field.” by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - A large, illuminated neon sign displaying the name Ron Tonkin Field will soon be placed on the roof of the 4,500-seat stadium where the Hops play, as shown in this artists rendition.

The name is in memory of Ron Tonkin, the owner of the Ron Tonkin Family of Dealerships, a major Portland metro area auto dealer. Tonkin passed away in January, and his family pursued renaming the field as a way to honor him.by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Hillsboro Hops general manager K.L. Wombacher (left) and Ed Tonkin, son of the late Ron Tonkin, celebrate after announcing that the stadium where the Hillsboro Hops play will now be called Ron Tonkin Field.

“This is a perfect marriage of our father’s love for baseball and our love for him,” said Ed Tonkin, Ron’s son, while standing at a podium set up in the infield of the baseball field. “We had hoped he’d be here to see this, but unfortunately we lost him in January. He would have truly enjoyed this.”

The naming rights deal is for 10 years. Over the next decade, the Tonkin family will pay $150,000 per year for the naming rights to Ron Tonkin Field. Each year, the city will receive 70 percent of that sum — $105,000 — while the Hops organization will receive the remaining 30 percent, or $45,000.

“It’s a special day for us,” said K.L. Wombacher, general manager of the Hillsboro Hops. “We worked very hard over the last two years (to achieve this). There were a ton of meetings, but with naming rights we really wanted the right fit, because this is much more than a business deal.”

Hillsboro City Manager Michael Brown said negotiations had been ongoing for several months.

“Ultimately, I made the decision to agree to the terms, and it will be presented to the city council on May 20,” Brown said.

Wayne Gross, director of the city’s Parks & Recreation Department, said naming rights were on the table even before the Hops’ stadium opened in June 2013, but finding the right deal took a long time.

“Everyone wanted to see how the first year with the Hops went, and what the interest level was, so it took a while to get to this point,” Gross said. “This is a really good deal for the city.” by: HILLSBORO HOPS - The new logo for Ron Tonkin Field

Gross added that the Hops — an affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks — inked the best deal of all the Northwest League teams.

“The city hired the Hops to be our agent and negotiate an agreement,” explained Gross. “It’s pretty exciting for a minor league team and for a stadium of this size to have the best naming rights deal by far.”

According to Wombacher, multiple suitors were hoping to land the naming rights for the ballpark.

“We had at least a dozen face-to-face meetings with companies, and a good 20 to 30 we considered prospects,” Wombacher explained. “But we really wanted to find the right fit. Early on, we pitched them (the Tonkin dealership) on a partnership, and later Ed came to a game and really enjoyed the experience. That restarted the conversation.”

An illuminated neon sign will be going up on the roof of the 4,500-seat stadium where the Hops play, and the scoreboard will also reflect the new name of Ron Tonkin Field. The new signs are expected to be in place for the Hillsboro Hops’ first home game this season, scheduled for June 18.