Statement from Portland Timbers and Thorns FC CEO Merritt Paulson on COVID-19 and message to Portland community

Merritt Paulson, TImbers vs. SJ, 6.1.16

The COVID-19 pandemic is uncharted waters for all of us. Every day we have learned something new and been presented with a different set of challenges. To say this is, and will continue to be, a rapidly evolving situation would be an understatement. 

I would like to take a moment to provide you all with both a sense of how the Timbers & Thorns are handling the situation, as well as offer a message to the broader Portland community.

For the Timbers & Thorns, through all the change, we continue to be guided by the following constants:

  • Get the facts from the experts. We have been in lock-step with local and national health authorities from day one.
  • Work as team with our league leadership. Both MLS and the NWSL have been proactive and superb in their response to COVID-19
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. Timbers & Thorns employees, along with our respective leagues and the expert health authorities, are in constant contact and all new information is being shared swiftly and transparently
  • Keep a steady hand. It is natural to be nervous during times like these. But a calming presence coupled with good information is the best antidote to panic. 

Starting today, our organization will be working remotely when possible. When we need to leave the home, we will be practicing safe spacing and following all best-practice guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19 and #flattenthecurve. We are well aware many of you are stuck at home and our content team is brainstorming many creative ways to keep you connected to the clubs. Our teams/players are following all league protocol while they remain in market anticipating a safe return to their seasons.  

In terms of the broader Portland community, we are a city of small independent businesses. While health and well-being is the number one priority, the economic devastation many face in the coming weeks will be significant. At our clubs we are very concerned about our most at-risk employees and will soon be announcing a fund to ensure our hourly workers continue to get paid regardless of event cancellations. If you are in a position to do so, here are some ideas you too might consider in your own lives that will make a difference:

  • Donate to orgs who provide food and essential services to those most in need
  • Help the elderly or immune-compromised stay at home by offering to shop for them
  • Buy a gift certificate from any local, small business impacted…especially restaurants/coffee shops/body workers etc
  • Keep your monthly payment to yoga/gym even if it is closed
  • Don’t ask for refunds for shows canceled…consider it a donation to help fund the arts
  • If you are fortunate enough to employ any housecleaners, landscapers, extra-curricular teachers for your kids etc…keep paying them even if they are forced to miss

Hang in there, stay positive and follow public health guidelines and we all will get through this together! We care deeply about all of you and thank you so very much for your continued support. It is more meaningful now to us than ever before.