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  • 20 Aug 2019 10:46 AM | Jennifer Ingraham (Administrator)

    The following is a statement on behalf of the 107IST board of directors.

    As many of you have seen, the Timbers Front Office issued a statement about their ban of the Iron Front symbol at Timbers, Thorns, and T2 matches. We would like to address some of the points in the statement.

    • Yesterday’s statement from the Front Office comes directly on the heels of one of the most upsetting weekends in recent memory for many of our members — a weekend where avowed white nationalist demonstrators descended on Portland, many of whom had publicly called for violence. The timing is puzzling to say the least and damning at the worst.
    • When discussions about the Iron Front image started, we repeatedly asked the Front Office for a public statement, but we could not get anything in writing. Finally, with the first home match looming, we effectively had to force the FO to put together something we could share with our members
    • If the Iron Front flag ban is an MLS policy, we have never seen any kind of official document from MLS stating this, and, once again, the most recent statement about it appears courtesy of the Timbers Front Office — in fact, the only “official” statements have been from the Timbers and Sounders front offices. The Seattle statement, in particular, included additional information that was not shared with us by our own Front Office or by the league.
    • The 107IST board has been working with the Independent Supporters Council (ISC), who have been attempting to engage in a dialogue with MLS headquarters on these issues since January.
    • The Timbers Front Office continues to use the word “dialogue” around the Iron Front situation, but this is an incorrect word. This policy and any associated actions have been unilaterally dictated to the 107IST board by the Front Office. Any “dialogue” at our meetings with them has been met with vague replies such as “We will continue this discussion later” or “Thank you for the input, but the league’s policy on this stands.”
    • The Timbers Front Office continues to maintain that they have received much support for the ban, but they have shared no metrics and few details. At the time of this writing, the 107IST board has received more than 50 copies of emails to the Front Office opposing the ban, and 0 emails supporting the ban. We recognize that we are likely to hear from only a subset of supporters, but these are the only metrics we have on letters to the Front Office, and they are wholly at odds with what they say they are hearing. Most importantly, however, some decisions are beyond metrics: Deciding when and whether to stand up for human rights and inclusion should not be subject to email and phone call ratios.
    • The 107IST board has expressed in no uncertain terms that not only do we disagree with the implementation of this policy, we also disagree with what it represents at a more basic level: the ability to arbitrarily, unilaterally, and subjectively interpret symbols and ideas as “political,” something we've already seen happening across the league in recent weeks. This is especially worrisome with clubs and ownership in MLS who refuse to even acknowledge Pride Nights by claiming they are “too political.” Our Front Office has acknowledged that the policy is fluid, open to interpretation, and has the potential to change.
    • We are frankly appalled that the Timbers Front Office has repeatedly attempted to conflate their support for marriage equality five years ago with the issues discussed of late, apparently to somehow buy back goodwill for their position. The support of basic human rights should not be used to attempt to gain points in the court of public opinion — it’s the bare minimum to which we should hold our institutions accountable.

    The MLS Fan Code of Conduct was envisioned to bring about clarity, specifically with respect to equal treatment of supporters across the many clubs in MLS. The implementation of that has been anything but, showing that clubs (for example, Columbus, Atlanta, Chicago, and LA) can — and will — interpret the rules however they see fit, with supporters paying the price.

    As our city, county, and state governments join with community organizations and the business community to make it clear that hate is not welcome here, we are disappointed that our Front Office is not a part of these efforts. While they continually reiterate that they share our ethos of acceptance and against hate, we have continually left the door open for them to do the right thing in this situation. That door is still open.

    The 107IST board remains committed to asking MLS and the Timbers Front Office to rescind the subjective ban on “political displays” and come together with supporters and human rights experts to enact a Fan Code of Conduct that protects the game we love, as well as the supporters who make it unique.

  • 03 Aug 2019 8:14 AM | Jennifer Ingraham (Administrator)

    The following is a post from Nash Drake.

    My grandfather was a paratrooper in WWII. He dropped on D-Day, fought through the difficult-to-traverse French countryside, and made it back to his unit and eventually back to England. From there he was sent to fight in the Battle of the Bulge. As the war ended, he was sent to help provide support to an entirely new assignment. He had no idea what to expect when he walked into a concentration camp just a week after it had been liberated. What he witnessed there changed him forever. He refused to speak of it unless he had one scotch too many, and even then, the most he could do was cry and mumble to himself about how he couldn’t tell us about what he saw because he didn’t want us to feel the deep, overriding despair it had brought to him to witness the aftermath of the atrocities that had occurred to millions at the hands of the Nazis. He was adamant that no fascist should be allowed to live their life without being ridiculed, hassled, and forced back into the cracks and crevices that they hid in after being defeated. He passed away nearly a decade ago, but his blood runs through my veins, and what I am calling for is going to be in his voice as much as in mine.

    The Iron Front symbol was created to make it clear that fascism was not welcome and that the bearers of it were committed to defending the rights of all humans. Human rights are not political and not up for debate. It’s that simple. MLS has decided to attempt to keep the Iron Front symbol from being flown in stadiums (including making that decision for NWSL) as it has always been, deeming it a political symbol. If they aren’t anti-fascist, they are fascist. Here it is, everyone, the time to decide how you would deal with fascism if you were staring it right in the face.

    The things we are asking MLS for are not complicated and support the rest of the MLS code of conduct in regard to human rights and will mark our stadiums as safe spaces for all who wish to gather peacefully:

    • Rescind the ban on flying the Iron Front symbol
    • Remove the word “political” from the Fan Code of Conduct
    • Work with international experts on human rights to craft language in the Fan Code of Conduct that reflects and supports radical inclusion and anti-discrimination

    I will be writing letters, making calls, and taking part in any protests. I will not be spending money in the stadium in any way. I am asking you to join me in these actions.

    We are the Riveters and the Timbers Army. We are radically inclusive. We stand against discrimination of any kind. We are on the side of human rights. We are the Iron Front. 

  • 01 Aug 2019 5:33 PM | Jennifer Ingraham (Administrator)

    The following is a joint statement released to the ISC today.
    The 107 Independent Supporters Trust, the engine that fuels the Timbers Army and Rose City Riveters, joins with our Seattle rivals, the Emerald City Supporters and Gorilla FC, in calling for the following outcomes:

    • MLS rescinds its ban on flying the iron front flag.
    • MLS removes the word "political" from its fan code of conduct as it is inherently arbitrary.
    • MLS works with international experts on human rights to craft language in the fan code of conduct that reflects and supports radical inclusion and anti-discrimination.

    To that end, we're asking for other supporter groups to demonstrate their support with the following call to action:

    • Pump up the volume on this issue by demonstrating your support visually with iron front images on clothing (T-shirts, large patches, and the like) at matches in your stadium.
    • Call your team's front office and/or MLS headquarters to voice your opposition to the current MLS policy regarding political displays in general and the iron front flag in particular.
    • As supporter groups, voice your support either in calls, letters, or social media for the three objectives listed above.

    Sherrilynn "Sheba" Rawson, on behalf of 107 Independent Supporters Trust, the engine behind the Timbers Army and the Rose City Riveters

    Tom Biro and Shawn Wheeler, on behalf of Emerald City Supporters

    Tom Conquergood, on behalf of Gorilla FC

  • 31 Jul 2019 7:30 PM | Jennifer Ingraham (Administrator)

    Community outreach can mean work here in our town, or reaching out to like-minded fans halfway across an ocean to simply grow support. Last year, our own 2017 MLS Community MVP, Keith Palau, connected with the Maui Strikers Soccer Club. When they visited Portland last year, he arranged for them to feel welcome and to tour Providence Park.

    This year, they paid a visit to Portland again, attending the July 18th match: 

    Aloha Keith,

    Maui Strikers Soccer Club is heading back up to Portland this summer.

    As you showed us so much Aloha last summer we would like you to know that your efforts of creating a Timbers fan base beyond PDX has taken fruit in our small island.

    We are joining you guys on July 18th against Orlando with a huge contingency of Maui supporting our Timbers and (this part is a surprise) our 08 and 09 players will be escorting the team on to the field. We will also be back at the stadium to see the Thorns on the 24th against Houston.

    I have no request for you or your group, but gratitude to you and the TA and RCR for making last summer so special and so welcoming that we had to take our group back.

    Hope we can at least connect to say hello.

    Ignacio Arcas
    Maui Strikers Soccer Club


    We were happy to give the club the full TA experience: The players got a tour of the Fanladen, were scarfed appropriately, and then escorted the Timbers onto the pitch.

    It just goes to show that if you want to be Timbers Army, you already are — even if you're on an island in the middle of the Pacific.

  • 20 Jul 2019 4:32 PM | Stephan Lewis (Administrator)

    Cheers to those traveling up to the fishing village this weekend as we do our part to get the lights turned back on in the trophy case at the Fanladen that houses our beloved Cascadia Cup. While our rivalry with our neighbors to the north goes beyond the 90 minutes it does with other supporters/clubs, there is one thing we come together on more than anything. When it comes to providing a safe place for members of our communities at risk of experiencing discrimination and hate, our efforts go well beyond the terraces and deep into our region.

    For those of you sticking around town, we have a unique opportunity for you that celebrates this.

    A little background: over the last few months through our close relationship built through the Portland United Against Hate (PUAH) coalition of organizations doing the hard work locally, we were reached out to by the City’s Office of Community and Civic Life’s Immigrant and Refugee Integration, Equity in Practice, and New Portlanders Policy Commission to provide assistance in the form of equipment and shoes for participants in the Portland Parks & Rec’s annual World Cup Soccer Tournament. While PP&R has a lot of capacity to do events like this, they have limits on expenditures that we can help with. Our original goal was to tap relationships with companies like Adidas for the shoes, however the ball was moving slowly so we ended up just buying all the shoes they were hoping for (we have the equipment since we run things like the Donut Derby). As we got closer to the event and hand-off, Adidas ended up sponsoring the event, which is awesome, but we were then sitting on cases of shoes. This year’s tournament was a screaming success, once again, which is the most important part of this chapter. However, what to do with all these kicks? Don’t worry though, there’s always need.

    Tomorrow, while our busses of traveling support are stuck in some random slowdown on I-5, PP&R’s Parks for New Portlanders program with Portland Bureau of Transportation’s (PBOT) Sunday Parkways are hosting a Walk with Refugees & Immigrants event in East Portland and have invited us to participate. One of the big parts of the event is the distribution of school supplies but we’re going to be dropping a bunch of soccer equipment (including those shoes). Given the power of the beautiful game, the event will be bracketed by soccer activities prior to the walk and at the final location. We’ll have a 107ist table at the event as well as our donation and have been invited to be one of the speakers to help tell our story and help make people aware of aspects of the org like the Gisselle Courier Scholarship Fund. All funded by your 107ist membership dollars and merch purchases from the No Pity Van and Rivet Gear.

    If you would like to attend this event:

    Soccer events start at 10am at the East Portland Community Office (1017 NE 117th Ave) with people amassing for the walk at 11am. The walk will then go from there to Knott Park where there will be food, music, and tons of family fun in celebration of all who call the Rose City home. Of course, there will be more soccer in the park running through the event till around 2 or 3. If you have questions, feel free to comment below or, hit us up here

    We realize this event conflicts with a scheduled tifo painting in the warehouse. But don’t worry, we’ll be in touch with the people running things down there and will let you know if we need more help painting as things wrap up at the park. So, bring a change of clothes if you plan to do both.

    Before we let you go, we thought you’d like a side story to this. One of the soccer coaches that works with 10-15 year-old refugees and immigrants had his car broken into this last week and had all his equipment stolen. We’ve been working with our partners at Tursi Soccer to use our bulk discount and have replaced EVERYTHING on his list and more. He’s helping to run some of the soccer stuff tomorrow and we’ll be dropping it all on him. Again, all funded by your membership in the 107ist and purchases made at the No Pity Van and Rivet Gear.

    All of this reiterates the spirit of our involvement in the community as an organization and our members. This is our ethos in action and where the rubber meets the road. So please, come join us if you’re in town and have some fun Spreading the Love.

    Let’s do this, Portland.

  • 13 Jul 2019 1:49 PM | Jennifer Ingraham (Administrator)

    As many are aware, the Sunshine Flag was relaunched at the Timbers match on Sunday, June 30. Many may remember that the board discussed this display at great length last season, and that we asked the individuals who own the flag not to display it until the design could be altered. Although it made appearances a few times thereafter, the owners agreed to make some alterations to it during the off-season. Working with designers and the master tailor/creator, the flag was modified to include three trees (representing Team, Town, TA), a horizon line, and Mt Hood, and it was unveiled last match. Unfortunately, a lapse in communication meant this relaunch was a surprise to all of us.

    The board has worked over the past two weeks to gain a full perspective of the situation. We reviewed the flag’s suggested redesign against the final modifications, talked to the flag’s caretaker, and considered input from our members.

    In the end, the flag’s caretaker has decided to retire the display. His letter to the board is included below. We would like to thank him for his dedication to caring for the flag for many years, to being open to making modifications, and for his thoughtful consideration of what has been a very difficult issue for many.

    We will also look into helping fund the design and creation of a new flag.

    In the Timbers Army we have long held the tradition of raising a flag when goals are scored. Through the years there have been various iterations of this flag known as the sunshine flag, all held with the intention of celebrating our team together. It has always been meant as an expression of joy.

    Last year a number of people began to express concerns that the current image of the sunshine flag was similar to a different flag which represented a destructive use in history. To address those concerns, alterations were made to the sunshine flag adding a horizon line that included Mount Hood, the Columbia River, and three Douglas Fir trees symbolizing team, town, TA. However, a number of people still voice concern that the sunshine flag continues to represent historically destructive forces.

    The spirit of the sunshine flag is that of uniting in celebration and nothing else. To honor this spirit and to further address those with concerns, as the caretaker of the sunshine flag I've decided it will be taken out of service effective immediately.I hope to raise funds to create something new for the future so we can all continue to express joy in our team and celebrate together.

    Sincerely, Paul Regan

  • 29 May 2019 12:00 PM | 107ist Admin (Administrator)

    —by Sherrilynn "Sheba" Rawson

    The game-day ticket exchange is our contribution to keeping match tickets available and reasonably priced for as many people as possible. It’s something I’m proud to be able to take part in as a 107IST member, and is near and dear to my heart. Donated tickets at the exchange not only give reasonably priced access to games, they also support 107IST efforts in mission-critical areas like tifo and community outreach. If you’re new to the ticket exchange, or if you have questions, hopefully this FAQ will help.

    What is the Game-Day Ticket Exchange?
    It’s a place you can go to buy, sell, or donate tickets at face value or less on the day of the match.

    Where is it?
    At the Timbers Army Fanladen, two blocks away from the stadium, 1633 SW Alder Street (at the corner of SW 17th and Alder).

    When is it?
    We almost always open the Fanladen for the game-day ticket exchange 3.5 hours before the scheduled start of a match, unless it’s a weekday match. Then it opens as soon as a volunteer can get off work and hustle to the Fanladen.

    How much are tickets?
    Face value or less. If you’re buying a donated ticket, the price will be the same as it would cost a season ticket holder for that ticket. The most common ticket people donate and buy is of course a TA/GA (general admission) ticket in the north end of the stadium. For 2019, that ticket will sell for $31 or less during the regular season in the game day ticket exchange.

    Note that the face value of tickets purchased as single game tickets is higher, and the price of so-called “premium” match single game tickets is higher still. But if you’re buying a donated TA/GA ticket or a TA/GA ticket from a season ticket holder, that ticket should cost you no more than $31 at the game day ticket exchange.

    Can I buy tickets from the game-day ticket exchange in advance of game day?
    No. There are other ways to get tickets before match day. If you know ahead of time that you want to attend a match, it’s always better to try other avenues first to secure your tickets, rather than trusting to the luck of the draw on game day. Hit up your circle of friends, check the Timbers Army Ticket Exchange on Facebook, post something on the #RCTID hashtag on Twitter (and check for responses regularly). And if you want more than one ticket, don’t be afraid to buy them one at a time as they become available. I know somebody who managed to acquire enough tickets for their entire wedding party that way.

    Can I email or phone in my request for tickets?
    No. Aside from the fact that the Fanladen doesn’t have a land line, the purpose of the ticket exchange is to provide last-minute, in-person opportunities to exchange tickets. You must actually show up and be present if you want to purchase a ticket from the exchange on game day.

    How do I donate a ticket?
    You can either drop off an extra ticket at the Fanladen or you can email extra tickets to ticketdonation@107ist.org. And yes, you can send them there straight from the SeatGeek app, or if you already have a PDF of the ticket you're donating you can send it to the same email address.

    I’ve used the game-day ticket exchange before, but it's been awhile. Anything else I need to know?
    Yes. We are keeping two important changes this year:
    (1) We’re limiting requests to four tickets per person.
    (2) we’re keeping track of whether the person requesting the ticket is a 107IST member.

    In the first case, we’re responding to a small number of people who have taken to using the ticket exchange not as an occasional last-minute ticket source but as their regular go-to for several tickets for themselves and a large group of friends. If you have a bunch of people who all know they want to attend the game, they can either use other methods to line up as many tickets as possible ahead of time from other sources; or at the very least they can show up on match day and wait at the game-day exchange like everybody else.

    In the second case, while we certainly want to facilitate reasonable ticket prices for all, we also recognize that the actual Fanladen space for the ticket exchange, as well as the computer, printer, Internet, and of course the game-day volunteers, are all there thanks to the 107 Independent Supporters Trust. Without member dollars and member volunteers, the game-day ticket exchange simply wouldn’t exist. We don’t know what demand for tickets will be this year, but if we need to give priority to the people who are making the ticket exchange possible, we will.

    I have a question/comment that you didn’t address. Who should I talk to?
    Feel free to leave additional questions in the comments below, or email sherrilynn.rawson@107ist.org

    See you on game day!

  • 22 May 2019 12:09 PM | Jennifer Ingraham (Administrator)

    A statement on behalf of the 107IST Board of Directors

    From the beginning, a core value of the Timbers Army, the Rose City Riveters, and the 107IST has been that we are unquestionably and vocally an anti-fascist and anti-racist organization. We have never — and will never — tolerate discrimination or bias for any reason. We believe in acceptance, understanding, inclusion, and love. You can read about our central beliefs in this blog post, which we posted after the MLS Code of Conduct was released. We firmly repeat: The fight for human rights is not a political one.

    The Independent Supporters Council and supporters groups around the world share these values, and we are aligned in working together to combat prejudice and oppression.

    As a vocal stance against fascism, we began displaying banners with the Iron Front logo in 2017 (although some also made appearances as far back as 2011 and the USL days before that). The Iron Front logo has stood as a symbol of the fight against persecution and fascism since World War II. Originally designed to symbolize the resistance against Nazi rise, it now stands primarily for the fight against all oppression. With the recent rise in targeted attacks against so many groups — LBTGQ+, immigrants, women, religious groups, and more — and the presence of fascists in our stadiums, this symbol represents our firm stance of combating hatred in soccer, our communities, and our world.

    We have been working with the Timbers/Thorns Front Office for several months on the Iron Front symbol — what it stands for and how important its meaning is in these times. The FO stands by our beliefs, and they have agreed that we may use the words anti-racism and anti-fascist in our displays.

    However, in conjunction with MLS, the FO has decided that this particular image is not to be used in any signage at Providence Park going forward, including Thorns and T2. What follows is a letter the 107IST board received last week, clarifying this policy.
    (Ed.: Small, clarifying additions are noted in brackets.)

    The 107IST is relaying the following message to our own supporters as well as fellow supporters groups in other cities.

    Take heed.

    Providence Park Iron Front Signage Policy


    Following last night’s meeting [May 14] we want to close the loop on the Iron Front dialogue with a clear written message you can share with the TA.


    No Iron Front symbology will be allowed in Providence Park during Timbers, Thorns or T2 games. This rule includes any creative “work-arounds” like we saw in Vancouver this past Friday [May 10] and any Iron Front-based clearly organized displays that make a public statement. Due to the extensive dialogue on this issue and subsequent breaches of trust in Vancouver and in other media, We will be enforcing strict punishments for any violations of this rule out of the gate, starting with multi-game bans for violators.

    The question was asked last night “if its Iron Front now, what next?” The answer there is simple: any signage that’s political or fails to comply with the MLS Supporter Code of Conduct, which is now clearly spelled out. And while the Iron Front is not specifically cited in the Code of Conduct it is unequivocally prohibited by the league.

    Background Reasoning

    With the bottom-line regarding the Iron Front out of the way, here is some very important context behind the issue that everyone should understand:

    Even in the context of the new Supporter Code of Conduct guidelines, there is still a fair amount of local discretion teams can apply, something we personally fought very hard to ensure. The Timbers have always been the most lenient of any club in the league in allowing freedom of expression from its supporters. To that end we advocated very hard to the league to allow signs stating “Anti-Fascist” (the very spirit of the Iron Front prior to its antifia appropriation) would be acceptable and, furthermore, allowed the 107ist/TA to publicly communicate that to the ISC. The same applies to public denouncement of racism etc.

    The reasoning behind why the Iron Front symbol is unacceptable is as follows:

    • The Iron Front symbol has been clearly appropriated and linked to the antifa movement, and sometimes in a context of violence. There is no question that antifa and its current rise is why some in the TA suddenly have decided to use the Iron Front…if not why wouldn’t anti-fascist be ok?
    • Symbols of politics are exclusionary and antithetical to the inclusive TA and Timbers ethos
    • There are some added security concerns waving antifa symbols pose to all fans
    • We have received many complaints about the Iron Front from fans who are clearly anti-fascist but feel uncomfortable with antifa imagery in their sporting experience for all the reasons stated above

    We know better than anyone that the beautiful game can be a conduit for positive change in society. But we also fully agree that the Stadium should be a politics-free zone. Team, Town & TA. We believe that the end approach to the Iron Front and the dialogue that lead us there have been reasonable.

    We hope this clarifies the issue. As we often say, we won’t always agree but we will always be open, honest and respectful. We have rarely drawn lines in the sand. We have a track record of being cooperative and working with the TA on a variety of potentially divisive issues that together we have resolved in a positive and peaceful way. It is our sincere hope that this is another case of just that.

    For almost 10 years the Timbers and the 107ist have had a tremendous mutually beneficial relationship. We recognize the 107ist are volunteers and are deeply grateful for your service and all that TA does in support of the club we all love.

    The 107IST board disagrees with this decision, but we felt it our duty to inform our members of this change. We will continue our work with the league and the Front Office on addressing the presence of hate in our stadiums and our communities.

  • 08 May 2019 4:55 PM | Sherrilynn Rawson (Administrator)

    The Timbers have an important away match in Vancouver this weekend — and with plenty on the line: the first chance to take Cascadia Cup points, a shot at maintaining some winning momentum, and an opportunity to rise above the red line. The Timbers Army will be in the stands in BC Place in full voice to cheer on the Boys in Green as they take on the Whitecaps, Cascadian rivals on the pitch.

    But some things are bigger than rivalry.

    In February, former Whitecaps women’s player, Ciara McCormack, posted a blog that detailed the horrific bullying and abuse of power that female athletes had to endure at the hands of a former Whitecaps coach. Since then, additional allegations of bullying, sexual misconduct, and racism (against another coach) have surfaced.

    The Whitecaps supporters groups, Southsiders and Curva Collective, have been working to hold the Whitecaps’ front office to the standard “Our all/Our honour” they claim as their slogan. They have called for a meeting between the former players and the Whitecaps ownership and a third-party investigation with results to be made public. They’ve also asked the Whitecaps to lift the restrictions on certain members of the press who have taken the lead on reporting on the story. These reporters have sometimes been excluded from Whitecaps' media availabilities.

    Bottom line: We support human rights, and we support our Cascadian rivals in their fight for safe environments for athletes. To that end, we are sharing this message from Southsiders and Curva Collective — and we encourage our supporters to participate in the walkout of the stadium at the 35th minute (34:00 on the clock) in solidarity.

    The Southsiders and Curva Collective are calling for #walkout35 on Friday. At the 35th minute, people who wish to show solidarity with the women who came forward with their stories of harassment and abuse, and protest the Whitecaps handling of the situation, are asked to leave their seats and make their way to the concourse. There, we encourage everyone to continue supporting their team and watch the game on the monitors for the remainder of the first half.

    Why are we protesting?

    • The desired meeting between the former players and Whitecaps ownership, without involvement of the Whitecaps executives, will not be happening as requested.

    • We disagree with the media strategy that the Whitecaps are using, and encourage them to openly answer questions from media

    • We hope to spotlight attention to #safeSport and supporting #safeSportAthletes

    For more information, see this timeline posted by the Southsiders.

  • 01 May 2019 8:53 PM | Jennifer Ingraham (Administrator)

    Timbers Army & Harper’s Playground: Radical Inclusion in Action

    — by Cody Goldberg

    I love this town. I love the beautiful game of soccer. I love our team. And I love being a part of the Timbers Army, where all of that comes together. It’s now my honor to put into words how all those things listed — and especially the Timbers Army — have embraced my life’s work: Harper’s Playground. This is a little long, but please bear with me. Here goes …

    Soccer was, in many ways, my first love. My father was my first coach of my first team, the Bobcats. Our jerseys were simple red with a white triangle at the neck. Some of my best friends today, nearly 41 years later, were on that team. I went on to play in high school and college, and I was pretty good. I never had a solid left foot, but I played with all my heart. The arthritis in my right knee suggests my playing days are done, but that’s okay. I love rooting for my team.

    In the summer of 1983, I moved to Portland. I started as a freshman at Lincoln High School and made the frosh/soph soccer team. My best friend on that team is still one of my closest pals. I recall watching his brother compete for the high school state championship in (then) Civic Stadium. Lincoln lost that night, but we knew it was cool to be there.

    I returned to that stadium for my first Timbers match somewhere around 2002. I loved that I could grab a drink and sit at field level in that cool beer garden area. The play was pretty good. I certainly remember the madman with the chainsaw who hung from the rafters. He seemed like a really cool dude. I also marveled at the fans in the North End. They looked dangerous.

    Why am I sharing all this? I’m racing to put this blog post together on a tight timeline, and this is the best way I know how to do it. It’s good, because this post is way past due, and the deadline is what I needed. Everything up until now is just an attempt to set the stage for what I really want to share about:

    Harper’s Playground is a force for good.
    The Timbers Army is a force for good.
    I’m so proud to be part of both.

    And this is some history of our partnership and mutual quest for radical inclusion…

    Harper was born in June of 2005. The birth was super complicated, and we ended up in the hospital for a long time. Genetic doctors told us Harper would never walk or talk in her lifetime. We told them to go suck an egg.

    Harper took her first steps at four. Walking for the very first time in our neighborhood park, she got stuck in those wood chips that surround typical playgrounds. My wife said, “We should do something about that!” So we started the Harper’s Playground project, and we set out to design and build a different kind of playground. It was a three-year journey that involved a lot of insane hard work and even more insane luck.

    One of the luckiest strokes of luck was when that madman I’d seen hanging from the rafters with his chainsaw took note of our little playground plan. He suggested we receive some money recently raised through the sales of a very special scarf. $3,500! The Army were immediately all on board. I visited the 107IST board at a meeting — and then another special scarf design with “Harper’s Playground” was approved. Jim and I would often sell several box loads outside the stadium before a match. Then Jim would wrap 30 or 40 around his neck just before kickoff and sell them inside the stadium, right there in the North End. I made a lot of new friends while standing for those 90 minutes, and we wound up raising another $25,000 for Harper’s Playground.

    When the 107IST board found out we still had a lot to raise with a little time to do it, they organized the very first Art Takeover to benefit our little playground project. Another $40,000! When we needed volunteers to help us tear down the old playground, who do you think supplied the muscle? Yup.

    What is now our first of many playgrounds opened on November 3, 2012. Many of the Timbers faithful were there to celebrate with us that day. We thought the playground would be popular with everyone — inclusive spaces usually are. The love for the space we helped create was way beyond our wildest dreams. There is most certainly a special kind of magic in a place where everyone feels invited to be there. I think most of you reading this get that. This is why this bond is so meaningful to me: Harper’s Playground and the Timbers Army are completely aligned. It feels perfect to me.

    In January of 2014, Harper’s Playground became my full-time gig. Our vision was to build more playgrounds — and it’s going well. We also give lots and lots of advice and support to others attempting to build something similar to what we did. We’re thinking BIG. We want to someday celebrate that all play areas around the world are built just like ours. When the world is filled with inclusive playgrounds, it will be a much better world. That’s the world I want to leave behind for both of my daughters.

    The first project we took on as a partnership is “Owen’s Playground.” We worked with Owen’s parents, and they built a playground in honor of their dear Owen, who had recently passed. His spirit is alive in that beautiful playground. It’s won design awards and is, more importantly, the most popular playground for miles. We also settled in a plan to partner on four more playgrounds for Portland: one per quadrant. Our playground at Gateway Discovery Park opened in August of 2018. It’s amazing. Again the Army helped us. So honored and thankful!

    Now, we’re gearing up to celebrate number three here in this wonderful city. This one is cool: It’s located less than one mile from that stadium I mentioned earlier. Many of you likely will be walking past it on your way to matches. You should build a little time in your regular game day schedule to walk by. It’s located at Couch Park, on NW 19 and Hoyt.

    You should also definitely plan to come celebrate with us for the big ribbon-cutting ceremony! It’s this Saturday, May 4 at 1 p.m.

    I could thank everyone in the Army who has been so supportive all these years. If I don't thank Scott, Nando, Patch, and Sheba, however, I’ll feel terrible. (I still kind of do cause there are many other people to thank, but you know who you are!)

    We love the team, town, and Timbers Army. I know I do. The Timbers and their Army are a big part of what I love about this place. It’s very humbling to know that Harper’s Playground is starting to be seen the same way. They support one another. That’s what it’s all about.


    G Cody QJ Goldberg
    Harper’s Playground Executive Director / Harper & Lennon’s Dad
    107IST Member / Chair of the Community Outreach Committee

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