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Jeld-Wen Field (formerly known as PGE Park) located in Portland, Ore. is the current home of the MLS Portland Timbers soccer franchise and the Portland State Vikings football team.
Previously a baseball park, a $31 million renovation in 2010 turned Jeld-Wen into one of coolest stadiums in MLS soccer. At around 22,000 max capacity, fan attendance is lively and nearly always a sell out. With the configuration of the stadium, fans are right on top of the action. One columnist even went as far as to say it was like watching soccer in a phone booth.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Stadium food is stadium food. You're not going to find anything too exciting or cheap that you can't find at a local restaurant. Fortunately, Portland has plenty of great spots nearby.
There is no better atmosphere in American soccer than a Timbers home game. The list of things that make Jeld-Wen so amazing could go on for days, but let's take a look at a few.
One of the most popular traditions at Timbers games is the cutting of a log by the Timbers' lumberjack mascot. A section of log is chopped off after each goal, and Timber Joey marches around the stadium hoisting it over his head.
Another popular moment, that went viral was the singing of the national anthem before the game...by the entire crowd. You don't see that every day.
But nothing tops the Timbers Army. Like the black hole at Raiders home games, the Timbers Army section is always loud and rocking. They chant throughout the game and never let a bad call go without a little booing.
The surrounding area offers plenty of places to get some grub before the game.
I'd be remiss if I did not include Voodoo Doughnuts, one of the most popular and unique pastry shops in the Pacific Northwest. At Voodoo you can choose from doughnuts covered in fruit loops, ones with assorted fruit, and my personal favorite: the bacon maple (a maple doughnut with a slice of bacon on top) that is one of the top sellers. Make sure to cover the little one's eyes from some of the other doughnuts, though. Like the ones of the male anatomy.
There are a lot of food carts scattered throughout Portland, and many just outside the stadium. You can get a hot dog, burger, maybe some Chinese.
Also, Hotlips Pizza is right across the street and a great place to grab a slice to go or sit down and take everything in. Point is, drive down Burnside street and you'll have plenty of options.
Parking is iffy, though, and I've heard horror stories of people losing pennants and decals on their cars. It's advised to put all magnets inside the car when you leave.
As mentioned earlier, Timbers fans are the loudest, rowdiest, and most passionate in the MLS. That is of course, just an opinion.
The Timbers' Army in the GA section are always chanting and keeping their content fresh and original.
Seat marshals also often have printouts of the lyrics to all the chants so new fans can join in. And when printouts aren't available, fans can use their smartphone or bring them from home.
Jeld-Wen is just off of I-405, and is right next to a Max Light Rail transit station.
For those of you unfamiliar with Portland, the Rose City is one of the best public transportation cities in the world, and features a constantly running rail transit system known as the Max.
Parking is a bit of an issue, and nearby stores usually charge ridiculous prices to park there. If you're fine with parking a little ways away and taking public transit, you can save a lot of money.
There is no better place to watch a soccer game, that I've found, than at Jeld-Wen to see the Timbers. It gets better every time, and the fans are amazing. Unless you're a Sounders fan, of course. Be careful what colors you're wearing that day. Green and white means something completely different than neon green and blue.
If you're a soccer fan, I highly recommend catching a Timbers game. Even if you just want a fun afternoon with the kids, stop by Jeld-Wen and check out all the excitement.
Make sure to get your tickets well in advance, because prices increase a lot the closer the game gets.
The concession stands have great memorabilia, and are relatively inexpensive. You can get a nice shirt or hat for less than $20.
Seat location is easy, and ushers can guide you to where you need to go. They also often have printouts of the chants so those new to the stadium can sing along. Also, bathrooms and food stands were really clean.
There is also a lot of history at Jeld-Wen. For instance, former soccer great Pele played his final official soccer game on the old grounds.
I thought I was being smart. I planned to arrive at JELD-WEN Field for the Portland Timbers-Seattle Sounders game about two hours early. I could get my place early in line, and be able to take a nice walk around the stadium before it was too crowded.
I was wrong.
I hopped off the MAX light rail, only to discover that there were approximately 5,000 Timber fans already waiting "" and singing...and yelling"¦and waving flags "" in a line that wrapped all the way around two sides of the large stadium.
That turned out to be a precursor for the amazing atmosphere that I would experience at JELD-WEN.
Food-Beverage: Expensive and just your average stadium fare.
Atmosphere: Best atmosphere in the US for soccer. Standing, singing chants, and camaraderie with your fellow fan. Love every minute of it.
Neighborhood: Lots of pubs/food in the neighborhood around the stadium. If you're a big time soccer fan, make sure you visit The Bitter End (corner of Burnside & 20th).
Fans: Loyal supporters pack Jeld-Wen every game. 18,627 of them. Most are on their feet all game. They are the reason for the 5 start atmosphere rating.
Access: Jeld-Wen is in downtown Portland. Parking is limited around the stadium and most locals travel by tram and/or bus. It's slow going on game day so get their early but be prepared for a late night. It will take you some time to get home.
Return on investment: Ticket prices are reasonable and very worth it.
The food is quite average, beer choices galore.
This is the best atmosphere for soccer. 16 sections designated just for the Timber's Army! Nothing better in the USA.
Portland has more breweries per capita than any other city in America. With this said many of those breweries have restaurants within walking distance from the stadium, plus at least 5 bars within sight from Jeld Wen FIeld.
With 16 sections designated for the supporter grounp I think there is enough said about the fans in this stadium.
Access is wonderful, the light rail, MAX, stops right next to the stadium. The stadium is in the center of downtown.
Overall to see the largest support group in the US in a sold out stadium is well worth the price.
First off, the Timbers Army alone is enough to blow away any other stadium. But even without the Army JW is a great stadium. Great location, I love how it is below ground level and good concourses. The food is great and fairly affordable. They even have gluten free hot dog buns. And I have to mention that not only do they have local beer, they have multiple choices, as well as a good variety of food (typical stadium food as well as BBQ ans asian fare.). I can't imagine a better stadium for MLS.
1730 SW Taylor St
Portland, OR 97205
1967 West Burnside St
Portland, OR 97209
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