On the north end of the Eastbank, sitting above, is the Rose Garden, owned by billionaire Paul Allen, of Microsoft fortune. In the late 1980’s, Allen, a basketball fan, traded his season tickets for full ownership of an NBA team. His first inclination was towards was to buy the local Seattle Supersonics, but they weren’t for sale. Looking south, he found his team in the red and black of the Portland Trail Blazers. At the time, the Blazers played in the NBA’s smallest venue – the Memorial Coliseum. A new venue - $61.3 million in cost - was built with more seating capacity and the all-important luxury boxes. The Rose Garden is easily reached with the light-rail trains of the MAX system.
A hundred yards to the west still sits the empty Memorial Coliseum, a future yet undecided. Here, one spring in 1977, the Trail Blazers achieved immortality and captured the hearts of the City and region by winning their only NBA Championship in their first playoff appearance. Walton, Lucas, Neal, Adelman, Gross, Twardzik, Hollins, Davis, Steele, Ramsey – some of the names that became ingrained in the imaginations of millions.
The Trail Blazers are Portland's one sports team that registers on the national stage. Now in their fortieth year of existence as a franchise in the National Basketball Association, the Blazers command a lot of local attention. Only once have the Red and Black won the NBA championship - a glorious year, 1977 - but they did make it to two other Finals - 1990 and 1992. The team has shown a lot of intermediate success in other years, as well, qualifying for the playoffs 26 out of 39 - soon to be 27 out of 40 - years in the league. Many very good basketball players have played for the team over the years with those that the team considers to be among the best, having the honor of having their numbers retired to the rafters of the Rose Garden. Ten players have had that honor conferred upon them - seven from the Championship team, two from the other Finals teams and one from the initial era of the team. There are four former team members enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame and two former coaches, as well. The Blazers play in the 19,980 seat Rose Garden - 20,580 with standing room counted - and they regularly sell out. Both the team and the Rose Garden are both owned by Paul Allen who earned his fortune side-by-side with Bill Gates at Microsoft. Allen, who lives north in Seattle, can be found cheering on his team many nights at his courtside seats. He initially wanted to buy the local Seattle Supersonics, but they weren't for sale at the time, so he has spent some of those Windows dollars down here. The present team is a young and promising squad that could be poised for the near future. Tickets can be a difficult thing to come by depending upon whom the Blazers' opponent is - ie the Los Angeles Lakers games being the most popular - but you can find some tickets normally on craigslist.
Equipment: You probably need a ticket or access to a television/radio.
For the 2011 Major League Soccer season - the top-league in USA/Canada - the Portland Timbers have returned. The Timbers played in the old NASL of the 1970-80's until that league died from a disease called Cosmo-itis. They played before huge crowds and really popularized the sport here in the Portland metropolitan area. Several of the old Timbers players went on to careers as local college coachs - Clive Charles was the best known. There were several attempts at maintaining the Timbers in the minor league world of soccer in the US in succeeding years and the fanbase never disappeared. In fact, the fan base was waiting to be reignited and that has truly happened again with the new MLS franchise. The team owner, Merritt Paulsen, bought the team because it happened to share the local stadium with the local minor league baseball team, the Portland Beavers. Maybe, Paulsen was hoping to eventually acquire an MLB - Major League Baseball - franchise for the city originally - his original holding company was called Shortstop Inc, but he quickly realized that a rabid local fan base existed not for minor league baseball, but for soccer. Along with local fan support, he pushed ahead and gained a franchise MLS, which along with the Seattle Sounders and the other new MLS franchise, Vanocuver Whitecaps, goes a long way in showing that soccer's US/Canada roots are truly in the Northwest - or Cascadia (the mythical country that would include Oregon, Washington and British Columbia). Be prepared for a rowdy soccer experience. Portland has developed a huge supporters group - the Timbers Army - in the last ten years that has grown from a couple hundred to several thousand. People that sing the entire game in the best soccer/football supporter tradition. They and the others who make up the sold-out stadium at Jen-Weld Field (18,600+) a very tough place for opponents of the Timbers to come into. The soccer on the field is good caliber and the atmosphere is on another level - even compared to the NBA Blazers.
Equipment: Tickets for this first year are fairly hard to come by. There is only some 18,600+ tickets and 12,500 are season tickets - all sold out. Tickets for big matches, the first game - a magnificent event on April 14 against the Chicago Fire in a driving rainstorm - or the LA Galaxy, NY Red Bulls, or one of the Cascadia Cup matches - Seattle Flounders (OK, the Sounders) or the Vancouver Whitecaps .... forget it. Try eBay or Craigslist. The stadium - Jen-Weld Field - is old and new. Originally built as a baseball stadium, it has been converted into a soccer/football only stadium now. Similar in design to Fenway Park in Boston - there was even a version of the Green Monster before the conversion - the field is below ground level and the noise stays inside. Catch a soccer match here, Seattle's Qwest Field or the Empire Stadium in Vancouver (not quite sure how that will play out in the BC Place stadium where the Whitecaps will move into later in the season) and you will witness the best in soccer atmosphere in the US.
RCTID - Rose City til I Die
The Trail Blazers can be seen at the Rose Garden.
Equipment: You can park there, but I would take MAX (train) to the Rose Garden because it stops right across the street. Oh, and if you park downtown and take MAX across, it's free (it's part of the "fareless square".)
Portland has a Pro Basketball team, the Portland Trailblazers. They play in the western conference of the NBA. Chances are they will get to the playoffs and lose to LA, just like the past 2-3 years.
They play in the rose garden, easily traveled to from downtown. Just get on the eastern Max line, and get off at the "Rose Center".
The Portland Trailblazers have now had a major resurgence in the NBA, they have completely revamped their roster through smart draft picks and the subtraction of certain questionable players. The next ten years will be one of the best in this franchise's history, so tickets have and will be hard to come by, so ordering ahead of time for certain games is a must.
Only one professional sports team graces our fair city, the jail worthy Portland Trailblazers.
We do have a mighty following for the minor league Portland Beavers (AA baseball) and Portland Winterhawks (WHL).
Most the city seems more concerned with the college sports to the South (Oregon State and Oregon U).
I'd suggest seeing any of the local sports ehre, pretty fun stiff and the minor league teams always appreciate a crowd.
Family fun at PGE Park!! And grown up fun on $1 beer nights or down in the beer garden. Take your seats in the stadium, some as inexpensive as $5, and watch the game. I've been to pro games before and this is so much more fun. $2 for a bag of fresh roasted peanuts!! One side of the stadium is a tall iron fence where any Joe can stop to watch the game for a while.
Equipment: Wear comfy clothes for the 7th inning stretch and brush up on your singing because you will sing, "take me out to the ball game..."