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Providence Park

Portland, OR

Home of the Portland Thorns FC

4.4

N/A

Providence Park (map it)
1844 SW Morrison
Portland, OR 97205


Portland Thorns FC website

Providence Park website

Year Opened: 1926

Capacity: 20,438

There are no tickets available at this time.

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The Rose City and Its Thorns

Portland Thorns FC are charter members of the National Women’s Soccer League. Portland is a soccer-rich city that is home to the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer and many successful college programs. The team calls JELD-WEN Field home, a historic facility that was recently retrofitted to serve as a soccer only stadium. The 20,438-seat stadium was originally built in 1926 and was previously known as PGE Park, Civic Stadium, and Multnomah Stadium; it is located on the outskirts of the Pearl District and downtown Portland. It is a hybrid facility with its original structure, along with newer areas that were installed in 2011. However, how well does this transcend to the pitch of professional women’s soccer?

4.4

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    4

There are some great options at JELD-WEN Field. There is a nice nod to the city's food truck scene with an area that features Thai curry, barbecue and Qdoba Mexican food near the entrance of the main gate that range in price from $6.50-$9.50. There are additional concession stands that feature neon lights that serve items named after the Timbers: Timber Brat, Timber Dog, Timber Pie and local craft beer from Widmer called Green & Gold Kolsch. The brat is wrapped in bacon, topped with grilled onions and served in a pretzel style roll; the pies are either filled with spinach and feta cheese or chicken, broccoli and cheddar and folded into a flaky, buttery crust (similar to a pasty to the folks in Northeast Pennsylvania or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan).

There is the unfamiliar charcuterie box that features cured meats, crackers and vegetables and the familiar cheesesteak Panini. All items sell from $7.50-$9.50.

Do not worry, you will find hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, pretzels, and pizza at various sections. If you are thirsty, it will cost you between $5-$7.50 for domestic brews and $6-$9 for premium draughts. I would suggest the Timber dog, since it is one of those items that you can afford to have every now and then. I am sure that there might be more options at a Timbers' game, but for the Thorns FC, this should make a foodie very happy.

Atmosphere    5

It would be nice to harness the atmosphere at a Thorns game throughout the league. The team draws crowds in excess of 13,000, but like trying to capture lightning in a bottle, these type of crowds are uncommon throughout the rest of the league cities. Upon entrance to the gates of the stadium, fans are lined up, and vendors sell official team gear.

The Timbers' Army is a collection of supporters who make their presence felt at Thorns FC games for the entire 90 minutes. The raucous crowd takes residence in section 107 of the north end of the stadium to create an atmosphere that would rival any professional club across the planet. The group continuously waves flags and are orchestrated by a conductor as they go through numerous songs and chants. If you want to join in from your seats in another section, that is not a problem, you can sing along with a cheat sheet that is handed out at the entrance of the field.

It is not uncommon to see fans donning red Thorns jerseys, shirts and scarves. The official gift shop featured predominantly Timbers' gear, but what they have for the Thorns is rather impressive: home and away kits, foam fingers, men's and women's shirts, flags, scarves and numerous caps. If you still have any doubts about the fascination with soccer in the Rose City, well, I am not sure what to tell you. Soccer is alive and well with the ladies.

Neighborhood    5

I love Portland and enjoy each visit to the city for its parks, mountain views, and vibrant neighborhoods. The area surrounding JELD-WEN Field is a close stop off the light rail system (MAX) from the Pearl District and downtown. Outside of the stadium there are a few bars and eateries that were not incredible busy during my most recent visit. Hotlips Pizza gets my approval on their take on the pizza slice, and you can enjoy a bottle of wine for $6.50. They also have an array of homemade flavored sodas.

I would recommend a short MAX ride to visit a few great other places to eat: Kenny & Zukes (1038 SW Stark St, downtown) for a breakfast of grilled pastrami, eggs and latkes, City Grill (111 SW 5th St, downtown) for happy prices and great views of the city from the 36th floor, or enjoy a cheap lunch at many of the city's food trucks.

I also recommend visiting the Hawthorne, Alphabet, and Mississippi Street Districts where you will find shops, breweries, small restaurants, and a few oddities. My favorite spot is the Bread & Ink Cafe (3610 SE Hawthorne) for incredible waffles with sweet homemade cream and wonderful soups.

Since I am in Oregon, I need to mention a few places to have a beer. Since there are so many wonderful options, it is difficult to decide where to begin. I would suggest visiting Base Camp Brewery Company (930 SE Oak St.) on Mondays for all day specials, Apex Bar (1216 S. Division St.) for atmosphere and a vast selection of craft beers (Pliny the Elder can be found on tap) or Alameda Brewing Company (4765 NE Fremont St) for great beer and even tastier dishes. I know there are more breweries in town. Forgive me, the city is crawling with them and there is no way I can frequent them all, but the places I picked are great spots. You will just have to pick your poison when venturing the city. Check your watches, since most places offer happy hour prices between the hours of 3-6 PM and 10-close. Great food, drinks and good conversations are at hand throughout the numerous neighborhood eateries and breweries in Portland.

Fans    5

It is difficult to speak on the atmosphere and not discuss the fans, since they are pivotal to the ambiance at JELD-WEN Field. The fans in town are a dedicated bunch who first supported the Timbers in the North American Soccer League and other various leagues before the club was elevated to MLS. Now, they are bringing that dedication to Thorns' games at a beautiful soccer facility. The ladies of the Thorns may not want to pinch themselves, since they are indeed in soccer heaven and the fans are angelic creatures carrying a bouquet of roses.

Access    4

You can drive to a game and park at one of the parking lots throughout the area. Or if you are lucky, you might find free meter parking on a side street. The crowd for Thorns games is large, but not enough to hinder someone to make the trek by car. However, if visiting from out of town, the best option is to use the city's massive light rail system (MAX) which drops you off mere footsteps from the entrance. A round trip ticket will cost you $4.50, but purchase the all-day pass for 50 cents more and travel around the city by bus and trolley. It will be cheaper and a great way to make your rounds around the area.

Return on Investment    4

The price of a ticket is $12-$30, and you will see the best professional women's soccer in the world. In a stadium that is among the best spots to see any form of soccer, the investment is highly suggested. You will not be disappointed with your experience since there should be a few recognizable names on the pitch at any given time.

Extras    4

I am not sure that there are too many places that can pull off a show like they do here in Portland. Thorns FC have a great logo, fabulous facility, and loyal fan base that has embraced them on a similar level as the Timbers. A stadium that is easy to get to by mass transit in a neighborhood that is exciting to be in, and you may get envious attending another game in the league.

Final Thoughts

I was one of the few who were disappointed when the Triple-A Portland Beavers were forced to leave the stadium after the 2010 season due to the reconfiguration of the facility for the Portland Timbers, but perhaps I may have been quick to judge. I did enjoy the facility as a baseball venue, but it seems that is was just more of a fling, since soccer is JELD-WEN Field's true love. If in Portland, Oregon during soccer season, make sure you check out a game.

Nice Review

I didn't even know there was a women's soccer league in the US. I'll add those to my list. Love the rose photo and caption!

by megminard | Jul 11, 2013 10:00 PM

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Local Food & Drink

Hotlips Pizza  (map it!)

2211 SE Hawthorne Blvd

Portland, OR 97214

(503) 234-9999

http://hotlipspizza.com/

Kenny and Zuke's Delicatessen  (map it!)

1038 SW Stark St

Portland, OR 97205

(503) 222-3354

http://www.kennyandzukes.com/

Portland City Grill Restaurant  (map it!)

111 SW 5th Ave

Portland, OR 97204

(503) 450-0030

http://www.portlandcitygrill.com/

Bread & Ink Cafe  (map it!)

3610 SE Hawthorne Blvd

Portland, OR 97214

(503) 239-4756

http://www.breadandinkcafe.com/

Base Camp Brewing Company  (map it!)

930 SE Oak St

Portland, OR 97214

(503) 477-7479

http://basecampbrewingco.com/

APEX Bar  (map it!)

1216 SE Division St

Portland, OR 97202

(503) 273-9227

http://apexbar.com/

Alameda Brewing Company  (map it!)

4765 NE Fremont St

Portland, OR 97213

(503) 460-9025

http://alamedabrewing.com/

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