Things I Meant To Address Yesterday But Didn't Pt.2: JELD-WEN Unveiled

So after months of renovation work --which followed months of civic debate-- The Stadium Formerly Known as PGE Park™ is ready to open for business tomorrow. I visited the newly macked-out stadium last month and even in an unfinished state the place was pretty dope. Also dope is the fact that a baseball stadium has become a full-time soccer stadium; take that Jim Rome, SportsCenter and assorted talk radio shows hosted by the soccerphobic.

If you want a deeper dive than the video above --or this video-- can offer, take a trip to Dropping Timber where Paul Sepp has more Timbers Media Day articles, videos and photos than I am prepared to post at this time for fear of being called a "Timber Lover" again (not that there is anything wrong with that).

Out of curiosity, where would you place JELD-WEN Field on the MLS Stadia scale? I'd like to put it in the top five for reasons of location, unique layout and noise-capturing roof but the turf thing is a big bummer. What do ya'll think?


Anonymous said...

soccer god is good

Kevin said...

It looks like a great stadium. Very happy for the Timbers and their fans.

I agree, though, that the turf thing SUCKS. Why did they do that? The game is supposed to be played on grass!

Eric Flatness said...

Its turf for a bunch of reasons.
1. The stadium will also host some American Football matches. I believe its the entirety of the University of Portland's games.
2. The way its built wouldn't allow much sun to get to the field, with the building on the south end and bleacher roofs that extend over most of the stands.
3. There might also be some issue with the fact that the field is built under the water table, where grass doesn't grow well, at least thats what I heard from somebody in the TA.

Eric Flatness said...

*watches video* Wait a minute, what to they need to be putting tarps over seats for? I thought they had a sellout? Don't tell me it'll be like Seattle claiming sellout with all those tarps up in the upper deck. Srsly, that practice needs to end. This is *Soccer City USA*. And they can't sell out a 19,000 seater for opening night? I'm really confused. Someone talk me off the ledge here.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the location is cool but with the plastic grass, huge field walls that separate the fans fromt he action and the horrible video board end that looks like a PHP stage, I'd only rate it above CCS PHP and TP (cause the stage end and location are equally awful).

Cause you asked, my top five are LSP, RBA, HDC, RTS and BMO.

And I dont count QF, GS cause they aint soccer stadiums and have fake grass, and I will abstain on Vancouver until they open their new BCP.

Eric Flatness said...

By that rubric you won't like BC Place either because it isn't a soccer stadium (BC Lions play there) and it has fake grass.

Honestly, what really makes a stadium a "soccer stadium"? PGE will still host football, as will a number of other SSS.

Anonymous said...

@Eric Not sure this is going to bring you off the ledge but the existing stands date back almost 100 years. As you can imagine the architectural codes have changed in that time and there are issues with the size of the concourses and the ratio of amenities available to seats (read toilets). I believe that the FO office also wants to manage the quality of the fan experience. Soccer poses a unique problem in American stadia as people are really only going for concessions and to the rest room prior to the game, and at the half putting greater pressure on the facility than you would find at a Grid Iron or Baseball game. That said, I am disappointed that the renovations didn't address these shortcomings of the existing stands. And no, it is not a Qwest situation of engineering "sell-outs." The Timbers had the tarps over the seats when they were in D-2 and sold out many matches. The organization would have loved to sold more tickets but for these issues. I am certain that they could have sold 19k or 22k seats to the home opener as $25 tickets for this game are exchanging hands for well over $100.

Anonymous said...

The other major user of J-W Field is Portland State Univ. - for pointy ball; the school is part of the state's university system. (U of Portland is the local private university that has its own excellent footie-only, natural grass stadium.)

There is nothing impossible about using real grass here, just a matter of cost versus benefit. Covered stadia in England, which are further north than Portland, grow immaculate pitches in spite of looming stands right to the edge of the pitch. Maybe the Timbers would have to use supplemental arrays of grow lights (as is done in Europe), maybe they'd have to really improve the underground drainage. These are design issues that can be solved with significant application of money. Frankly, the Timbers want to see some initial return on the primary investment before adding to their operational costs. The moderate (in cost) upgrades you're seeing in the video required a lengthy, contentious public process that was seriously in doubt, in the beginning.

Anonymous said...

Actually Eric, which sports are or aren’t played in a stadium has nothing to do with whether it is a soccer stadium...it's about how the stadium is designed to feel, meaning the atmosphere, both what it feels like to watch a game in person (and to some extent on TV) and what it feels like to play a game there...it's about the building's soul...yes, it’s a subtle concept, but one that is easily understood when one is in a great soccer stadium vs. when one is just in a stadium where soccer is played. Just because a team plays soccer in the stadium, doesn’t make it a soccer stadium...PHP being a great example of the point. JWF is an historic baseball stadium in a fantastic location but lacks the soul of a true soccer stadium, and this upgrade, which was clearly designed by people who sadly don’t understand these concepts, did little to address those shortcomings. And fwiw, English teams play 3x as many games/season during similar wet conditions as in Portland and yet seem to find a way to keep their natural grass playable. Does it cost more – of course it does. But there’s a cost to playing the game on fake grass too, it kills the beauty of the game which helps sell the game in the long run. Don’t get me wrong, I'm happy for Portland and their fans and have no disrespect for them, I’m just answering the question SF posed about the stadium...it's simply not in the top echelon of MLS stadiums.

coachie ballgames said...

the turf certainly catches the bozack, but the roof structure and facade give it a totes beautiful and distinctive feel. It's a wonder that more stadia in America don't use roofs to accentuate crowd noise. Por ejemplo, the new Giants Stadium, any noise mustered by 80,000 dissipates into the Jersey air.

Brian said...

For Top 5 overall, I'd go:

Red Bull Arena
Rio Tinto
Home Depot Center
BMO Field
Livestrong Sporting Park

Rory said...

Why no grass? It hasn't had grass for 50 years! The Timbers are primary tenants and will share with PSU football and public high school [because their fields are crap AND to reduce gang activity at those games]. To maintain a field would be nigh impossible in the fall. It comes down to field saturation. It rains so often the field will dry out only in the summer.

Also, grow lamps, the problem there is no place to put them. This is a place that has little to no storage space for additional equipment.

Oregon may be grass seed capital of the world but nothing will get the grass to grow for an entire season.

Let me educated some more. There CANNOT be anything that blocks the views of the MAC club [large building on the south]. They built the place in 1926, and when they handed it over to the city they retained rights in dictating that they will not be blocked from viewing events. Thus, no stands AND big screen. One of the other, not both.

The site has history. First ever soccer game was 1893! No joke. Pele's last professional game. Elvis. Rose Festivals. A ski jump! KKK rally. Baptist revival.

Quit being snobs! This field has more character in just the 200 level benches than nearly all other MLS stadiums. Hyperbole is legit.

Oh, my ranking: JWF, RBA, RioT, PHP, SKC

MikeV said...

Someone should inform the reporter that infamous and famous don't mean the same thing

Anonymous said...

The lack of light in the stadium doesn't help anything, but that's not the real reason that real grass can't be grown in the JW.

The field is literally built on a stream. Tanner Creek was subverted underground long ago, but runs right underneath the pitch. the area is a paved over marshland and the field would be useless for growing anything but mud.

It would take an extremely expensive state-of the art drainage system to grow grass or else you'd see something like new-wembly x 1000. I'd much rather see the game played on a modern high-quality artificial surface than one that will cut up and collect puddles.

I think natural grass might be feasible after a decade of turning profits at the gates though.