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PGE Park / Portland Beavers

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PGE Park / Portland Beavers
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Goodbye, PGE Park. With the former football stadium and racetrack slated for a conversion to an MLS soccer stadium in coming months, Portland will once again be without baseball. Here's a look at PGE Park when it served as the home of the PCL's Portland Beavers.

FAST FACTS

Year Built: 1926; rebuilt 2001
Capacity: 20,000 (including 19,566 seats)
Dimensions: 319L, 405C, 321R
Parking: There are several public parking lots within a block of the ballpark, including a larger one at the corner of 18th and Salmon. There are a slew of parking restrictions in the area surrounding the ballpark, so be prepared to either pay for a lot or take the bus.
Address/Directions: 1844 SW. Morrison, Portland. The ballpark is located directly west of downtown Portland; on a nice night you can walk the half mile from downtown proper to the ballpark. The ballpark is easy to find: I-405 runs four blocks east of the ballpark, and PGE Park exits are clearly marked.

Multnomah Stadium was originally built as a football stadium in 1926, and it shows at PGE Park, which retains the feel of a football facility that happens to host baseball, particularly with the long grandstand down the first-base line and the Green Monster-like wall in left field.

It's gone by several names in its history. Most recently, the former Civic Stadium underwent a $38.5 million renovation before the 2001 season began to make the park usable for a Class AAA Pacific Coast League team. Whether the renovation was misplaced nostalgia or a wise investment can be debated, but the end result was a facility that is among the most unique in professional baseball.

The renovation added the following:
  • 38 new luxury suites, including six ground-level suites behind home plate. Each suite features a television/DVD player and a bar; the suites can also be closed for additional privacy.

  • Theater-style seating.

  • >Hand-operated scoreboard.

  • Spacious locker rooms and dugouts that have been praised by players and coaches.

  • Wider concourses.

  • New concession stands.

  • New NexTurf playing surface. NexTurf is the grass-like playing surface marketed by (the now bankrupt) AstroTurf.

All in all, this is a pretty comfortable place to watch a game. A roof covers the grandstand seating, which can be handy during a wet Portland summer. Ellerbe Becket, which oversaw the renovation of the ballpark, added many features to give it a old-time feel. The wall in left field reminds one of the Green Monster in Fenway Park; it has similar dimensions and is painted a similar green. There are three scoreboards at the ballpark, including a manual scoreboard in left field featuring a large clock; the other electronic scoreboards feature scores and images. An organist performs between innings.

The concessions are limited; while the concourses have been expanded, you're not talking about a state-of-the-art ballpark with wide concourses providing views of the action. There are six concession stands, including a beer-only stand.

If you're the kind of person who likes to be on their feet during a game, there are a few places to watch the action. The very popular Widmer beer garden down the right-field line features food as well, while the Fred Meyer Family Terrace is located in the left-field corner. In addition, an area over the wall in left field features picnic seating.