(Portland, OR) –
- Public/private partnership makes Walker Stadium in Lents Park better than new
- Huge community benefit
- Portland Pickles Opening Day is today, Friday, June 10
- Approx 30 home games a year, stadium available for community use the rest of the time
Portland Parks & Recreation announces that renovations to Walker Stadium, located in Lents Park (SE 92nd and Holgate), are complete, and the field is ready for the Portland Pickles Opening Day (Friday, June 10, 2016). The Walker Stadium renovations were made possible by a public-private partnership between the Pickles (Portland’s new college wood-bat team, and part of the Great West League), Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R), and the Portland Development Commission (PDC).
“We welcome the improvements to Walker Stadium, which will be open for community recreational use during most of the year,” says Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz. “And we wish the Pickles good luck in their inaugural season. It’s wonderful to have baseball back in the Rose City after five years away.”
The Pickles will play 33 home games this year, and are owned and operated by Rose City Baseball, LLC, under the direction of team owners Bill Stewart and Ken Wilson – the latter also acting as Team President and CEO. The Pickles pay rent to the City, clean the stadium, and provide security during games. Outside of the 30 Great West League baseball games annually, the freshly renovated stadium will be available for play by recreational players or anyone else to use.
“We were proud to work with both the City and local businesses to help make this happen,” says Stewart. “And it’s great that the Pickles and the City of Portland can both be on the same team. Families will be able to enjoy the stadium for delightful summer evenings of baseball, but importantly, it will be open for community use – recreational leagues for kids and adults – for much of the year. It makes me proud to have a part in making that possible.”
The new Walker Stadium has more than 1000 seats, plus group event areas. The stadium in PP&R’s Lents Park was constructed in 1956, and is located within easy reach of mass transit and major freeways. The updated Walker Stadium caters to fans’ enjoyment of professional-style baseball with amenities including multiple concession stands, a playground and group event areas.
The City, PDC and Rose City Baseball continue to team up on phased improvements to the stadium which include new chair-back seating, the addition of group event areas, a new scoreboard, team offices, a new press box, new concession services, new dugouts, a major league backstop, a new irrigated grass playing surface and a children’s play area.
“Our Bureau and our City are delighted to partner with the Pickles in bringing baseball back to the Rose City. I know the team will be a source of pride for all of Portland as a whole,” says Portland parks & Recreation Director Mike Abbaté. “This partnership has resulted in improved livability for Lents neighbors and for other parts of east Portland.”
Without the partnership, Parks Commissioner Fritz added, the much-needed renovations to Walker Stadium would not be occurring.
“Lents is in a part of town – east Portland – that deserves an improved parks and recreation experience,” added Fritz, “and this endeavor is a solid complement to the new parks which PP&R is building in east Portland –Luuwit View Park and Gateway Discovery Park.”
“Portland Development Commission’s investment is consistent with our commitments to the community and neighborhood,” says outgoing PDC Executive Director Patrick Quinton. “We are delighted that Rose City Baseball will hire local youth and develop partnerships with local community-based organizations. Since 1998, PDC has made more than $5 million in investments in parks and open space in the Lents Town Center Urban Renewal Area”.
About the Great West League
The Great West League is one of the premier summer collegiate wood bat leagues in North America, providing a professional, minor league-like atmosphere for top college players seeking professional baseball careers, while providing affordable family entertainment and enriching the quality of life in its member communities.
The league will begin play with six teams, each playing a 60-game schedule. Portland, OR, Chico and Lodi, California, have each secured teams.
Mark Ross – Public Information Officer
Portland Parks & Recreation