PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – As the pickleball craze continues to sweep Portland and the rest of the nation, a new local business plans to welcome players to its new venue in summer 2023.
The People’s Courts is moving into the former Lumberyard Bike Park space on Northeast 82nd Avenue near Northeast Russell Street and will open in July. The 48,000-square-foot social venue will be home to pickleball courts, ping pong tables, bocce ball and cornhole space, a disc golf putting course, an arcade and two restaurants
Dave Sacks and his cousin Dave Schrott have owned the building since 2010 and thought it would make an excellent pickleball facility. However, due to the building’s structure, they knew they couldn’t devote the entire space to one sport.
“It forced us to be creative with the space and come up with other activities that we know people love, but don’t have a lot of places to play,” Sacks said.
When Sacks and Schrott’s tenants announced they were closing The Lumberyard Bike Park in fall 2022, the cousins quickly started finalizing their plans and the vision began taking shape.
Now, construction is almost complete on the pickleball courts, although other parts of the facility are still works in progress while the owners approach their opening date.
Sacks said he’s played pickleball on and off his entire life and has noticed how popular the sport has grown in the last five years, especially in Portland where it really caught on during the pandemic.
Despite the growing demand for courts, Sacks noticed the supply was limited, particularly for indoor pickleball courts.
“We’ve seen this opening for an indoor pickleball facility for a long time and frankly, we wanted to build something different than just an athletic facility. We wanted it to be more of a full-scale, sort of family-friendly entertainment facility,” Sacks said.
Since the owners went public with their plans, he said the feedback has been incredibly positive from pickleball players across the city. They’re excited to have a new place to play.
Sacks stresses that the venue isn’t just for pickleball players, it’s for the entire community. In fact, the name is a nod to that. The People’s Courts means the courts and the entire space are for all types of people with different interests.
When patrons visit The People’s Courts, they will need to pay for the activities they participate in. Sacks said people will be able to pay to reserve courts. During primetime hours, it will be first-come first-served for the pickleball courts. People can put their name on a list and when a court is available, they can play.
During daytime hours, courts will be set aside for “open play,” where people can pay a drop-in fee and join other people who are playing pickleball at a similar level.
Other activities, like ping pong, bocce ball, cornhole and disc golf will have hourly rates.
In between activities, Sacks hopes people will stop to enjoy food from one of two restaurants that will be inside The People’s Courts. There will be a bar and grill with a menu that’s being designed by Chef Nate Tilden from Olympia Provisions and a pizza parlor with a menu and recipes designed by Brian Spangler of Apizza Scholls.
Already, groups and businesses have contacted The People’s Courts asking to reserve spaces for birthday parties and employee team-building events. Sacks said the business isn’t ready to start placing holds on spaces, but will be soon. He’s glad to see people enthusiastic and thinking of ways they can use this new attraction.