PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Timbers today unveiled their official new crest and colors as the team’s countdown to its inaugural Major League Soccer season in 2011 continues. The historic unveiling was conducted before a spirited crowd gathered for the 2010 World Cup group-play opener between the United States and England at Director Park in downtown Portland on Saturday afternoon.

The team will keep its historic name – the Timbers – as it makes its ascent to MLS in 2011; the new primary mark embodies this monumental move to top-flight professional soccer, while prominently carrying forward elements of the team’s considerable history and paying tribute to the heritage and traditions that led to Portland becoming “Soccer City USA.”

“A lot of thought went into creating a dynamic logo that both signifies the enormity of our move to Major League Soccer while also paying homage to our rich and unique past,” said Merritt Paulson, president of the Timbers. “We believe we have found that balance and are thrilled to commemorate a new era of Timbers soccer with our official MLS logo.”

Front and center in the Timbers’ new primary logo is a T-shaped axe, breaking through the confines of the team’s original crest. More than a graphic representation of trees, the three chevrons included in the new logo represent the Timbers’ professional beginnings in the North American Soccer League (NASL), their many successful seasons in second-tier professional soccer – most notably the past 10 seasons in United Soccer Leagues/USSF D-2 Pro League – and, importantly, the team and city’s proud place as MLS’ 18th franchise.

The new Timbers identity is based on the shape of the team’s original crest, a circle representing unity, wholeness and the pursuit of perfection. The primary crest emphasizes “Portland” and the unique connection between the club and the city. A further connection to that history can be found in the subtle, visual cues to the typeface of the original crest. The Timbers name stays true to the team’s history and pays homage to the industrial heritage of the Pacific Northwest. The traditional Timbers color of Ponderosa gets its inspiration from the pines of the deep, lush Oregon forests, while the energetic accent of Moss boldly punctuates the team’s MLS identity.

The logo-creation process began more than a year ago as the team consulted with focus groups consisting of former players, fans, staff members and prominent soccer constituents. The Timbers chose RARE Design, a noted branding and design firm that has produced a number of top professional and collegiate sports identity systems, secondary logos and uniform designs.

In conjunction with Saturday’s launch, the Timbers made available an introductory line of merchandise and apparel featuring the team’s new MLS identity. Adidas t-shirts, hats, scarves, hooded sweatshirts and novelties are now available online at www.portlandtimbers.com and will be available at PGE Park for the remainder of the Timbers’ current USSF D-2 Pro League season.

The Timbers will unveil their MLS kits and full merchandise product line in the fall.

“Today is not only a franchise landmark with the new logo unveiling, but also it is the official start of our MLS ticket campaign,” Paulson said.

On Monday, the Timbers will announce MLS ticket prices and details on how fans can become season ticket holders for the inaugural MLS season in 2011. In addition, the team will introduce a state-of-the-art “virtual venue” that will allow fans to explore the future PGE Park and choose their season seats at www.portlandtimbers.com.

About MLS Portland Timbers On March 20, 2009, Major League Soccer (MLS) awarded Portland the league’s 18th franchise to begin play in the top-flight professional soccer league starting in 2011. The Portland Timbers will mark their debut MLS season in 2011 in a significantly renovated PGE Park that will create one of the most exciting and authentic soccer environments in the country. New stadium amenities will include better sightlines closer to the action, new premium seating on the east side of the field, a new club lounge and a new entry plaza and team store. The Timbers have been a beloved part of the Portland sports landscape since their early beginnings in the North American Soccer League in 1975, launching the era of “Soccer City USA” in the Rose City.