SBD/September 26, 2013/Facilities

MLS Timbers Owner Talks About Possibly Adding Terracing Sections At Jeld-Wen Field

MLS Timbers Owner Merritt Paulson said he is planning to expand the 22,000-seat Jeld-Wen Field by several thousand seats by "putting terracing in at the supporters' section." Paulson, appearing on ESPN Radio 103.3 Dallas' "Soccer Today," said, "Terracing ends up adding capacity for the supporters, and that’s a benefit there.” There has been talk about the Timbers switching their current artificial turf surface to natural grass, and Paulson said, “We’ve got an unusual setup with this stadium where it’s both a sunken bowl and with limited light. If we add artificial lights and we had a lot less events here -- and maybe in a world where we didn’t have to host college football -- could we put in natural grass? ... It’s probably 50-50 at best and I don’t want to get people too excited yet." He acknowledged there is a "huge stigma still with artificial (turf) and the technology is getting so much better." Paulson: "We’ve embraced that and done some unique things that has in fact made our surface better. I would like grass, I won’t lie about that and we’ve got the best grass training field in the whole state that our players practice and train on every day” (“Soccer Today,” ESPN Radio 103.3 Dallas, 9/22). NBCSPORTS.com's Steve Davis noted considering the Timbers' "brand of faux field is the best in MLS, and even understanding that chances of real grass bliss beneath the feet are no better than 50-50, that's still something to sit up and take notice of" (NBCSPORTS.com, 9/25).

PARTY IN THE PARK: In Portland, Andrew Theen reported the City Council approved an ordinance yesterday to split the project of upgrading four soccer fields at Delta Park into "both a sole source and competitively bid deal." The city previously awarded a "sole-source contract for the entire project to Peregrine Sports LLC," which is affiliated with Paulson. However, the new deal will allow a "new locker room building" to be built under a sole-source contract, while a competitive bid process will be held "for laying down turf." The Timbers and the NWSL Portland Thorns are contributing "at least" $1.1M to the project (OREGONLIVE.com, 9/25).
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