Located in the heart of Downtown Portland, Oregon, the Peter W. Stott Center is buried in the Portland State University campus. The small arena is the home for the men’s and woman’s basketball and volleyball programs. Volleyball and basketball were recently the only sports that Portland State played on campus, while the other programs played off campus. This changed March 13th, 2013 as the University hosted their first ever conference tennis match at the Peter W. Stott Center rooftop tennis courts, where both men’s and woman’s teams now compete.
The Center seats 1,775 people in its main bleachers. When the Stott Center originally opened, it was packed with 2,345 fans. When The Vikings are considered a “bubble team” for the NCAA Tournament is when most fans come out of the woodwork to fill the gym and cheer on their Vikings.
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The Stott Center offers your usual licorice, cotton candy and hot dog all for about $4.00 and PepsiCo. products to wash down any popcorn. Being located in downtown Portland, there are numerous options to go grab a bite if your average concession stand food does not sound appetizing. The center does offer a variety of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, a great dessert to grab at halftime.
The PSU men's basketball team has had a couple of recent stints in the NCAA Tournament. It was around those times when the Peter W. Stott was alive and breathing. As of right now, that pulse is starting to fade away. The atmosphere overall felt like a well-organized pickup game. The entrance to the arena and court are all on the same level, so it doesn't feel like you're stepping into an NCAA Division 1 facility. The fact that most high schools in the Portland area provide the same amount of seats, if not more, makes the Stott Center arena feel fairly small.
The highest point up in the reserved seating and general admission gives the fan the best view of the game. Don't worry about pulling out your eye glasses as the furthest seat in general admission is about 25 feet away from the court and the top row of the reserved seating is about 50 feet from the floor. With the bleachers situated the way they are, there isn't a bad seat in the arena. When choosing whether to spring for the lower reserved or the general admission, the only difference is price. The hard plastic chairs in the reserved seating are actually less comfortable than the standard wooden general admission bleachers. Neither sections provide beverage holders.
Downtown Portland is littered with all kinds of restaurants, bars and shopping centers. Stop by the world-renown Voo Doo Doughnuts and grab a maple bacon bar. Grab a slice from Pizzacato, the best pizza in Portland, hands down. Cheerful Tortoise is the before and after spot for Vikings home games. Dollar drink specials and burgers and fries are the reason to dine here.
If you have time before the game I also suggest checking out the Nike Factory located across the corner from the historic Multnomah County Courthouse. Nike was established in Oregon so you won't be disappointed by the store. This particular store was opened recently, complete with many interactive stations and displays for customers. You can even make your own Nike iD shoes with The Vikings primary colors of green and silver before you head over to the game.
The student section is referred to as "The Green Man Group." Unfortunately, The Green Men were not present, even at the last home game of the season. It seemed that there were more local fans and parents of the players in the student section, than actual students.
Finding a parking space and the best way to access the arena can be a frustrating experience for fans. Downtown Portland is known for being filled with one way streets. If you are not familiar with Portland, I suggest leaving early to make up for possible lost time due to the nightmare of finding the arena and parking after that. Beware, when heading to the Stott Center I would avoid Burnside Street as the street is filled with no left turns.
For all games regardless of it being held on weekday or weekend, I recommend finding a parking spot on the street as opposed to nearby parking complex's that can charge up to $8 an hour. Parking after 7pm in Portland is free, regardless of the day. Be sure to not get confused with the city of Portland's street parking as the bicycle lane sits in between the curb and the designated spots for street parking.
If you wish to travel to the Stott Center via public transportation, that is certainly doable. The train referred to as the "MAX" in Portland, is $2.50 for 2 hours of riding or $5.00 for an all-day pass.
Driving through downtown Portland, finding a parking spot and the right path to take to the Stott Center plus the little crowd and atmosphere the Center provides, makes for an overall experience that doesn't cut it compared to other Division I college facilities. Whether a fan is looking to gawk at a great arena or find a quick adrenaline rush on a loud college atmosphere, this is not the place to spend your money.
A Wall of Fame is located in a hallway outside of the gym providing great stories, stats and pictures of the great athletes that donned a Vikings uniform. There are big vinyl stickers of athletes on the inside walls of the gym that once helped make the Stott Center roar.
The Stott Center is in need of a major renovation. Plans have been in the works for an expansion and remodel to the tune of about $44 million. Fortunately, the future is near for Viking fans as the University looks to break ground at the start of 2014. The Center not only looks to provide a much nicer and larger arena, planning to have around 4,800 seats, but to also add to the number of classrooms from 11 to 15. The future plans also hope to have a new study center for athletes and students.
With this in mind, there is something to look forward to when attending a game: It can only get better, right?
Located in the heart of Portland State University, the Peter Stott Center is home to several Vikings athletic teams including Men's and Women's Basketball as well as volleyball. Surrounded by trees, a multipurpose field, a library and multiple lecture halls, it definitely has the feel of a campus environment.
It opened in 1966, and has seen crowds reach near 3,000, which is surprisingly large for its 2,000 seat capacity. There are plans for a new athletic facility, and a new building is under construction, but it is uncertain when the teams will official move locations.
The Stott Center is small. I played in many much larger facilities in high school. But if you want to get up close to the action and have your voice be heard this is a great venue.
The fans that show up are into it, but PSU has an enrollment near 30,000 yet the 2,000 seat Stott Center is more than big enough for most of their games. That's too bad-PSU basketball is a good product and the tickets are cheap.
Any venue in Portland rates a 5 on the neighborhood scale because Portland is awesome. Great restaurants and bars are all over the place. Some of my favorites are the Rock Bottom Brewery, Bamboo Sushi, Ken's Artisan Bakery, and of course VooDoo Donuts (do not miss this place). If I were a recriut, I'd go to Portland State just because it's in the middle of Portland! What an incredible city.
If you're not with someone who knows where it is, you better have a GPS. The Stott Center is an unassuming building in the middle of campus. And chances are, asking directions won't help, as I don't think most PSU students even know they have a basketball team!
PSU is working on a new venue and I hope they get it, but the Stott Center is fun-if you can find it.
1939 SW 6th Ave
Portland, OR 97201
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