Big crowds expected for MLS Cup match; cops, bartenders ready

Multnomah County

Timbers, NYCFC begin at noon Saturday at Providence Park

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Thousands of soccer fans will fill the area inside and outside of Providence Park for the MLS Cup match between the Timbers and NYCFC on Saturday. Authorities with both PPB and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said they have plans in place the handle the crowds, including thousands expected from the East Coast.

In a Thursday meeting with the Pearl District Neighborhood Association, PPB Lt. Jake Jensen said he’s been in many planning meetings.

“We are expecting about 3000 folks to descend from New York to root for the New York soccer club,” Jensen said. “There are going to be quite a few more people in downtown, in the Pearl District, potenitally in Old Town and some other parts of the city probably, starting really tonight (Thursday) into Sunday.”

The area outside Providence Park the night before the MLS Cup match between the Timbers and NYCFC, December 10, 2021 (KOIN)

Friday afternoon, PPB Sgt. Kevin Allen said police are “aware of this larger scale event and will have contingency plans in place for public safety issues” through the weekend.

A spokesperson for the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office said although Portland police is handling most of the event response, their office will provide additional deputies that will mainly be positioned on the transit lines and stops.

But it’s not just the police making plans for the weekend. So are local watering holes.

“We’re very excited because this is, really, I feel like revamping the neighborhood a little bit after such a tough couple years.”

Michael Deveney, head bartender, marathon taverna

Bartenders who spoke with KOIN 6 News said they don’t know what’s going to happen but coming off COVID restrictions everyone might be eager to get out and celebrate, maybe even take to the streets.

The Marathon Taverna is an official Timbers bar on West Burnside, December 10, 2021 (KOIN)

“Being an official Timbers bar, we are already expecting a lot of traffic,” said Michael Deveney, the head bartender at Marathon Taverna on West Burnside. “It’s def an all-hands-on-deck situation.”

“We haven’t hosted an MLS Cup final before,” bartender Mariah Letzring said. “So I think we’re expecting record numbers.”

The staff at the Marathon said win or lose they’re happy the Timbers made it this far. And they said it’s bringing new life to the city.

“Either way we are going to be stoked with the outcome because we made it a lot further than we anticipated,” Deveney said. “We’re very excited because this is, really, I feel like revamping the neighborhood a little bit after such a tough couple years.”

Letzring agreed. “That warms my heart. This is exactly what we need. We need some positivity.”

RCTID at The Marathon Taverna, an official Timbers bar on West Burnside, December 10, 2021 (KOIN)

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