Hillsboro Stadium – Portland State Vikings
Photos by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.86
4450 NE Century Boulevard
Hillsboro, OR 97124
Year Opened: 1999 Capacity: 7,600
The Portland State University 50-acre campus is located in the southwestern portion of downtown Portland, Oregon. It was founded in 1947 to serve the educational needs of veterans returning from World War II. Over the years it has developed into a major educational institution, as it now offers more than 200 degree programs. It is especially known for its programs in the fields of business, social sciences, and computer sciences. It attained university status in 1969. Portland State has a student body of more than 26,000 students.
The athletic teams at Portland State are known as the Vikings. The football program also got its start in 1947. At first, the Vikings played industrial league teams, eventually transitioning to teams from the greater Portland area. Over the years Portland State football has been known for high-scoring games thanks to the run and gun offenses installed by former coaches “Mouse” Davis and June Jones. Today the Vikings play in the Big Sky Conference at the FCS level of NCAA play.
The Vikings have played their home games at Hillsboro Stadium since 2019. The stadium is located about 16 miles west of PSU’s campus in downtown Portland. The school’s urban location prevents it from having an on-campus venue. Its former home at Providence Park in Portland was much closer to the campus but was no longer available due to game commitments to the Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns soccer teams.
Hillsboro Stadium is located within the Gordon Faber Recreation Complex, which is managed by the City of Hillsboro’s Parks and Recreation Department. The stadium opened in 1999 and has seating for 7,600 fans. Like many Pacific Northwest sports venues, Hillsboro Stadium has a roof protecting most of the fans from the cold and wet elements the area experiences in late fall. The roof protects about 4,000 of the fans, with the remaining 3,000 left out in the elements. The FieldTurf playing surface is updated regularly, as it gets very heavy use throughout the year.
Food & Beverage 1
The concession stands at Hillsboro Stadium serve the stadium basics of hot dogs, snacks, and sodas.
Hillsboro Stadium received several architectural awards for its design when it opened in 1999. Much of its acclaim was due to the roof canopy over the largest portion of stadium seating. While no longer unique in that respect, it is important for the comfort of the fans, as rain is always a possibility in the Pacific Northwest.
The seating in the main grandstand is primarily bench seating, except for the upper middle section of the structure, which consists of seatbacks. Additional bench seating behind one of the end zones accounts for the other 3,000 seats in the venue. The opposite end zone has tents behind it, which function as “luxury suites.” These are typically used by the alumni association, major donors, or corporate sponsors with ties to Portland State.
The immediate area in and around Hillsboro Stadium is the 90-acre Gordon Faber Recreational Complex. It includes six natural turf baseball/softball fields, two artificial turf softball/baseball fields, a dog park, and a jogging trail.
The area outside of the recreational complex mainly consists of fast-food restaurants, except for McMenamins Cornelius Roadhouse. There are numerous hotels/motels located along Highway 26, a short distance from Hillsboro Stadium. As far as attractions are concerned, the Hillsboro Classic Aviation Museum is located nearby at Hillsboro Airport.
At present Tonkin Stadium, home of the Hillsboro Hops minor league team is located adjacent to Hillsboro Stadium. However, the Hops are currently building a new stadium elsewhere and will move into it in time for the 2024 season.
Portland State fans get fired up for the Vikings home games through pep rallies held the Friday before the games. Oktoberfest is another addition to the October event schedule. It includes a carnival, inflatables, caricatures, and photos with Victor E. Viking, the team mascot. The school also has VikFest for early-arriving fans, which includes food, drink, and entertainment.
Despite these additional attempts to build school spirit and enthusiasm for the football program, the distance from the campus is a major drawback in attracting more fans to Hillsboro. Other sports at PSU can be played either on campus or at venues much closer to downtown Portland than Hillsboro Stadium.
There are several ways to get from Portland State’s downtown campus to Hillsboro Stadium. You can take the MAX public transportation light rail system to Orenco Station. You would then transfer to the #47 bus, which will take you to the stadium.
Students also can take a free shuttle bus to the stadium and back by showing their student ID. The shuttle will bring students back to the campus at halftime or immediately after the game.
The third option is to drive your car to the stadium. The driving directions are very straightforward. Take Highway 26 west towards Hillsboro. Go 12 miles on Highway 26 West. Take exit # 62A onto NE Cornelius Pass. Go ½ mile on Cornelius Pass Road to Evergreen Parkway. Turn right on Evergreen and go ½ mile to Century Boulevard. Turn right on Century Boulevard and enter the park.
The stadium concourses are the area underneath the grandstand on the backside of the structure. The restrooms and concession areas are in this area.
Return on Investment 3
Tickets for Vikings home games come at several different price points. Most of the ticket’s price relates to where you are sitting in the roofed structure, which is on the southwestern side of the playing field. Students can attend games for free if they show their student ID at the gate. The student section is located at the base of the roofed grandstand facing the goal line.
Seating at the upper section of the grandstand along the 50-yard line goes for $35. These seats feature seatback seats, while all other seats are bench seats. Seats between the 20-yard lines go for $25. All other seats in the stadium are general admission, and they cost $15. Groups of 10 or more get a flat rate of $10, no matter where their seats are in the stadium.
All seats in the stands behind the goal line are considered general admission. There are tents set up behind the other end zone to service the major donors to the program. These tents are considered luxury suites, and they provide full food and beverage service throughout the game.
Parking is available adjacent to Hillsboro Stadium at $10 cash only on gamedays. Season ticket holders have the option to prepay their parking fee for $60 for the entire season. RV parking is also available at the Gordon Faber Recreational Complex at $25 per day.
In 2023 Portland State University opened the brand-new Viking Pavilion on campus. This facility will serve as the home court for the basketball and volleyball teams at the school. In addition to the playing court, the Pavilion will service the locker room, training room, and classroom needs of all the school teams.
“Barneyball” luncheons are held on Fridays before each home game. Head Coach Bruce Barnum shows tape from the last game and discusses the keys to winning the game the next day.
Portland-based Nike designs the Vikings uniforms for free each year.
In addition to Vikings football games, Hillsboro Stadium stays busy throughout the year. It hosts several high school games weekly. It also hosts the state playoffs in football late in the season. The stadium has also hosted marching band competitions, and Major League Soccer matches.
The rivalry game for Portland State each year is the Eastern Washington game. The winner takes home the Dam Cup.
Portland State University’s urban campus location rules out a downtown stadium location as impractical. While shuttles and light rail make getting to Hillsboro Stadium easier than you think, it simply does not have the feel or the character of an on-campus venue. This hurts the Vikings in both attendance and enthusiasm for the football program at the school.