Where We Live: Providence Park

Multnomah County

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Professional soccer is now the only activity that takes place at Providence Park but that wasn’t always the case. 

Over the course of its 93-year history, Providence Park has been called by many names by many tenants and played host to a variety of sports and events. 

Multnomah Field, known today as Providence Park. (Courtesy to KOIN)

The stadium was built in 1926 and was originally known as Multnomah Field and, later, Multnomah Stadium. 

Karl Lisle with the city of Portland said the stadium’s owner at the time — the Multnomah Athletic Club — sold it to the city in 1967 for $2.1 million. 

Portland has owned the stadium ever since. Lisle said the city has been “working with different operators over the years.” 

The stadium’s most prominent tenant was the Portland Beavers Minor League Baseball team, which played at the site long enough to see the stadium change its name twice: from Civic Stadium to PGE Park. 

A baseball game at Civic Stadium, known today as Providence Park, (Courtesy to KOIN)

Merritt Paulson, the owner of the Portland Beavers, sold the team in 2010. It’s now the El Paso Chihuahuas. 

A year before he sold the Beavers, Paulson was awarded the Timbers MLS franchise. 

But many other teams played within the walls of the stadium long before the Timbers and Thorns arrived including the Portland State Vikings football team, which now plays at Hillsboro Stadium. 

The Portland Breakers USFL team played at the stadium, too.  The New York Cosmos’ star, a Brazilian named Edson Arantes do Nascimento—or Pelé—had his last professional game at Civic Stadium. Elvis Presley played a concert at Multnomah Stadium on Sept. 2, 1957. And other big events like the Portland Rose Festival have also utilized the space. 

A rendering of the future look of Providence Park. (Courtesy to KOIN)

Today, Providence Park is focused solely on soccer. The Timbers recently added 4,000 seats to meet local demand, putting the stadium’s total capacity at more than 25,000 as part of an $85 million upgrade. 

And with the agreements between Providence Park and its soccer tenants set to last through 2035, Lisle said the stadium’s ongoing relationship with soccer is a stable one. 

“Where else in the country has a city and a group of people taken something that’s almost 100 years old and keep making it new and keep refreshing it?” said Ken Puckett, the senior vice president of operations at Providence Park.

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