PGE Park

Jeld-Wen Field (formerly PGE Park; Civic Stadium; originally Multnomah Stadium) is an outdoor sports stadium located in Portland, Oregon, United States that is used primarily for soccer and American football. It opened in 1926 and underwent major renovations in 2001, with naming rights being bought by Portland General Electric (PGE), and again in 2011 when the naming rights were sold to Jeld-Wen in preparation for the 2011 Major League Soccer season. The stadium sits on a rectangular block bounded by Southwest Morrison Street, Southwest 18th Avenue, the Athletic Club building and Southwest Salmon Street, and Southwest 20th Avenue.


Description

Jeld-Wen Field is an outdoor stadium which houses the MLS Portland Timbers and Portland State University Vikings football. The stadium underwent a $31 million renovation in late 2010 and early 2011. The stadium is owned by the City of Portland, and is managed by Peregrine Sports, LLC, the entity that owns Portland Timbers. Prior to the 2011 MLS season, the stadium was re-named Jeld-Wen Field from PGE Park, in a partnership with Klamath Falls, Oregon based company Jeld-Wen.


The Multnomah Athletic Club, an exclusive athletic club in downtown Portland, stands next door; the windows of the north side of the club's building overlook the field.


The Interstate 405 freeway in Portland is also known locally as the Stadium Freeway and travels near the stadium. In addition, the Jeld-Wen Field MAX Light Rail station is across the street. The property slopes significantly downhill from the north end to the south end, with the result that the playing surface sits well below street level.


Tenants

The stadium is currently home to the Portland Timbers MLS team and the Portland State University Vikings football team.


Former tenants

The Portland Beavers minor-league baseball team of the Pacific Coast League played at the stadium from 1956 to through 1993, and again from 2001 to 2010. Plans for a new stadium for the Beavers in 2010 did not come to fruition and team owner Merritt Paulson put the Beavers up for sale. The club's major-league parent, the San Diego Padres, purchased the team, which will play in Tucson, Arizona as the Tucson Padres until a new stadium in the San Diego suburb of Escondido is completed in 2013. The team played its final game at the stadium on September 6, 2010.


From 1973 to 1977, the stadium hosted the minor league baseball Portland Mavericks, and 1995 to 2000, the Portland Rockies. The stadium hosted the old Portland Timbers of the North American Soccer League from 1975 through 1982, and the USFL's Portland Breakers, as well as the Portland Storm and Portland Thunder of the WFL.


History

The stadium was built by the Multnomah Athletic Club in 1926, though playing fields and earlier stadiums had stood on the site since 1893. Originally known as Multnomah Stadium, the site was used for college football (including seven Civil War games between the University of Oregon and Oregon State University), cricket matches and greyhound racing. The stadium also hosted the Portland Rose Festival coronation and a Fourth of July appearance by President Warren G. Harding.


Early renaming and renovations

In the 1950s, the Portland Beavers moved to the stadium after their original field, Vaughn Street Park, was condemned. In 1966, the Multnomah Athletic Club sold the stadium for $2.1 million to the city of Portland, which renamed it Civic Stadium.


A $38.5 million renovation took place in 2001, adding new luxury suites and club seats that replaced the seats behind home plate and upgrading the seating and concourse area. The renovation also improved the structural soundness of the facility, and included a state-of-the-art sound system. The renovation also includes some retro-features, such as a manually-operated baseball scoreboard. At that point, PGE bought the naming rights and renamed the stadium PGE Park.


2011 renovation

In July 2009, the Portland city council approved a $31 million renovation to make it ready for the 2011 Major League Soccer season. By reconfiguring the stadium primarily for soccer and football, the renovation meant that the Portland Beavers needed to move to a new stadium, which was never built, forcing the team to leave Portland.


Early reports indicated that about 6,500 seats would be added, but a later presentation to the Portland Design Commission indicated that only 5,000 seats would be added bringing top capacity to about 22,000, but with only 17,000 available for use on a regular basis. The renovation met Major League Soccer standards, introduced new amenities and a new playing surface, and shifted the playing surface west and north, and added space on the east and south sides, with new seating areas. As the project was nearing completion, it was revealed to be $5 million over budget making the total cost of the renovation $36 million. The agreement between the city and Timbers owner Merritt Paulson meant that Paulson was responsible for any cost overruns larger than $1 million.


The newly renovated stadium made its debut on April 14, 2011 when Major League Soccer's Portland Timbers defeated the Chicago Fire 4–2.


Noteworthy events

On September 2, 1957, Elvis Presley performed one of the first outdoor stadium rock concerts in music history (Elvis held the first ever in Vancouver, BC, Canada just a few days earlier at Empire Stadium) here on his four day tour of the Pacific Northwest. The concert created mass hysteria and an estimated 14,000 people attended the concert.


On August 28, 1977, it was site of the North American Soccer League Soccer Bowl between the New York Cosmos and the Seattle Sounders, which was to be the last official game of the legendary Pelé as the Cosmos won the championship.


During the 1970s, the Jantzen swim wear company had a 3D model of the Jantzen girl hovering overby cable over the left field wall in its baseball configuration. The Jantzen girl was in play because it was below the top of the wall and it was hit a couple of times over the years.


On May 27, 1991, the stadium received national attention when Vancouver Canadians outfielder Rodney McCray, while attempting to catch a fly ball, literally crashed through a wooden advertising behind the warning track in right-center field, just to the right of the 369-foot sign; a real-life version of an incident in the fictional book and film, The Natural. While McCray failed to make the out, he only suffered scrapes and bruises in the incident (unlike the fictional "Bump Bailey", whose injuries were fatal), and remained in the game. Highlight reels of that play ran for weeks on cable channels such as CNN and ESPN. On August 12, 2006, the Beavers commemorated the event with a Rodney McCray Bobblehead Night, passing out bobbleheads of McCray to fans and renaming right-center field "McCray Alley".


The stadium was the site of four group matches in the 1999 Women's World Cup and hosted two group matches, two quarterfinals, and both semifinals in the 2003 Women's World Cup.


On October 27, 2007, the stadium hosted the highest-scoring game in modern NCAA football history, when the Weber State University Wildcats defeated the PSU Vikings 73-68, a combined point total of 141 points. This point total eclipsed the previous NCAA record of 136 points, set in a 1968 Division III game, and the previous Division I record of 133 points, set in 2004. While this record lasted only two weeks, and has been surpassed three times in all, it remains the highest-scoring game involving NCAA Division I teams. (The actual all-time college record was the 222-0 win by Georgia Tech over Cumberland in 1916.)


On July 1, 2009, the venue hosted the third-round match of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup between the Portland Timbers and their rivals the Seattle Sounders FC. On July 15, 2009, it hosted the Triple-A All-Star Game, with the International League stars defeating the Pacific Coast league 6–5. 16,657 fans attended the game, the largest crowd for a Triple-A All-Star game since 1991, and the third largest ever.


Feral cat colony

The field has been home to a feral cat colony since approximately 1985, and may have been at the park before the current stadium opened in 1926. There are an estimated 12-19 cats in the colony, referred to as "living rat traps". After a construction worker killed a feral cat in 2000, the park enlisted the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon to assist the animals during construction efforts and to run a Trap-Neuter-Return program. The cats are discussed in Chuck Palahniuk's travelogue of Portland, Fugitives and Refugees.

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