Editor’s Note: 2015 is a dual anniversary for the Portland Timbers as the club is celebrating its 40th year as an organization as well as its 5th year in Major League Soccer.
Back in 2010, the team launched a series of billboards on the sides of buildings, at the ends of bridges, and across the city featuring some of the Rose City’s soccer supporters and citizens. That was followed by a photo shoot open to all fans where individuals of all ages posed with axes, chainsaws, scarves and more.
Now heading into the club’s 5th MLS season, the Timbers are bringing the campaign back.
On February 6 and 7 from 10 am to 6 pm as well as February 14 from 10 am to 6 pm and February 15 from 11 am to 5 pm, fans can come to Providence Park to get a new portrait taken.
What’s changed for you in the last five years? We reached out to a number of Timbers supporters from both the billboards and fan shoot in 2010 to hear more about how their Timbers fandom has deepened. - BC
Loretta Doran's connections to Portland soccer run deep.
Her son-in-law, John Bain, played for the NASL Timbers and was inducted into the Timbers Ring of Honor before the opening match of the team's inaugural MLS season.
When Bain was coach of the Portland Pride, an indoor team that played at Memorial Coliseum between 1993 and 1997, he would often send the team's uniforms home to his mother-in-law for washing. For as long as Bain was the coach, Doran washed all of the Pride's laundry.
John Bain with the NASL Timbers
More recently, Doran has traveled with and gotten to know several of Bain's youth players, including a few who have gone on to bigger and better things: Ryan Cochrane, Chad Barrett, Danny Mwanga, and Rubio Rubin, to name just a few.
Yet despite her soccer connections and her deep Portland roots (the eighty-five year-old was born in Emanuel Hospital and graduated from Jefferson High School in 1948), Doran never expected to end up in the Timbers photo shoot back in 2011.
Her daughter Shannon, Bain's wife, explained what happened.
"I was picking [Loretta] up from visiting her sister on the east side and I had my boys in the car and I was like, 'We're going to go downtown and we're going to get the boys' picture taken,'" Shannon recalled to Timbers.com.
"And then I was like, 'Heck, I'm going to get your picture taken too, come on in!' And [Loretta] said, 'No, no, no.' I threw the Timbers scarf around her, she went in, and it turned out to be a great picture."
Doran remembers the massive line snaking through the building and the hundreds of people who were having their photos taken.
Once she'd taken her photo, though, Doran was surprised and excited by the reaction it elicited on Facebook.
"She was living with us and we were keeping track of the votes," Shannon said. "She was neck-and-neck with the third-place person. They were ahead of her and there at the end it got very close."
The family would obsessively check Facebook to see if Grandma Loretta had gotten more votes.
In the end, though, Doran was one of the final winners to make it onto a billboard. She fondly remembers both the photo shoot and the diversity of responses her photo got on Facebook.
"Everybody [was commenting]!" she exclaimed when the vote was brought up. "Everybody from all over!"
These days, Doran doesn't make it to Timbers games too often. She did, however, make it to the stadium for Bain's induction into the Timbers Ring of Honor in 2011.
Undeterred, Doran continues to follow the team obsessively ("I read about them every day in the paper," she said) and is looking forward to the 2015 season.
"Oh, we've come so close to winning!" she said, recalling the team's 2013 playoff run. "Even [last] year it wasn't bad and they're getting ready to go again in March. [Watching the games] has really been a good experience for me."
"It's been really fulfilling," she added. "It's kept me busy."