Timbers rename home stadium JELD-WEN Field
PORTLAND, Ore. – When the Portland Timbers open up their home for the first time in their inaugural MLS season on April 14 against the Chicago Fire, they will do on the pitch of a freshly renamed stadium.
At a ceremony on Monday in the concourse of Portland’s historic downtown stadium, team owner Merritt Paulson announced a new naming rights deal that effectively changes the name of PGE Park to JELD-WEN Field.
“It’s no secret that Portland Timbers have been looking for a new naming rights partner,” Paulson said Monday. “What’s the ideal partner for us? Well, that partner’s got to have strong roots in the state of Oregon. Potentially, that business has an unbelievable commitment to the community. If that business also happened to be a family business with great values, well that’s icing on the cake.”
The Timbers’ home venue has undergone major refurbishing since last fall in order to prepare for the Timbers’ entry into MLS. Although the stadium will no longer host baseball, it will remain the home of the Portland State University football team.
The site has been a central gathering place for sporting events in Portland as far back as 1893. Much of the current stadium was built by the Multnomah Athletic Club in 1926 and was called Multnomah Stadium.
In 1966, the Multnomah Athletic Club sold the stadium to the city of Portland for $2.1 million and it became known as Civic Stadium. Three years later, it became the first outdoor baseball facility to install artificial turf.
Civic Stadium also played home to the NASL Portland Timbers (1975-82) and was the site of the 1977 championship game between the Seattle Sounders and New York Cosmos. Pelé played his final professional on Civic Stadium soil.
The stadium got a facelift in 2011, when it took on the name of its new title sponsor, Portland General Electric (PGE), under whose banner the Timbers have played since 2001.
Now in 2011, a new era begins for the stadium as well as for the club.
“We’re very pleased to be part of the re-making of Civic Stadium and the resurrection and the re-making of the Portland Timbers,” JELD-WEN chief marketing officer Steve Wynne said. “Soccer is the No. 1 sport in the world and JELD-WEN is an international company that is building a brand across borders and cultures where soccer is the leading sport or a fast-growing sport.”
JELD-WEN is a windows and doors manufacturer based in Klamath Falls, Ore., employees about 2,500 people in the state and 20,000 worldwide in 20 countries.
Rod Wendt, president and CEO of JELD-WEN, said he has attended sporting events in the stadium for more than 30 years.
“My brother played in the Shrine Game here in 1970,” Wendt said, referring to the Oregon high school all-star football game that was a fixture at Civic Stadium for decades. “That was my first time here. I’ve been to other events and games through the years.”
Wendt said he was struck by the fan base of the Timbers when he came to watch the USF side play last summer and noticed the similarity in the passion between Portland’s fans and what he had seen in the soccer stadium’s of Europe.
“We want to be part of that,” Wendt said.