All-Star Games, regardless of sport, are an opportunity for leagues to showcase their best performers and do so in a fun and entertaining format. They are also an opportunity for leagues to showcase their best cities and venues. When the Portland Timbers host the 2014 MLS All-Star Game next year, the city of Portland and JELD-WEN Field will be on full display for fans of Major League Soccer.
However, given the long history of the grounds, it will not be the first time a major event like this has been held at the stadium. Football, baseball, ski jumping, dog racing, track and field and, yes, soccer have all had a part to play in JELD-WEN Field history. However, the 2014 MLS All-Star Game is the first all-star game for a major sport to ever be held in the City of Portland.
Originally known as Multnomah Field, the venue opened in 1893 and consisted of several sports fields and a few grandstands adjacent to Multnomah Athletic Club. In 1926, the MAC built Multnomah Stadium on the grounds with the now familiar archway colannade facade running the west and north end.
The site was host to many of the biggest college football games in Oregon throughout the 20th century, including many Civil Wars between the University Oregon and Oregon State. In 1956, Vaughn Street Park was closed, and the Portland Beavers baseball team moved into Multnomah Stadium. In 1966, Multnomah Athletic Club sold the stadium to the city of Portland and it was renamed Civic Stadium.
It remained Civic Stadium until 2001, when the naming rights were sold to Portland General Electric, and the facility became PGE Park. Ten years later with the arrival of the MLS Timbers, it became JELD-WEN Field.
A long an unique history, to be sure, so it should come as little surprise that JELD-WEN Field has hosted many notable events:
October 2, 1909 – President William H. Taft addressed 20,000 children on the grounds.
August 28, 1955 – Former Oregon Duck and NFL Hall-of-Famer Norm Van Brocklin led the Los Angeles Rams to a 23-17 victory over the New York Giants in the first ever NFL game decided by an overtime.
September 2, 1957 – Elvis Presley played Multnomah Stadium.
- August 28, 1977 – NASL Soccer Bowl 1977 was played between the New York Cosmos and Seattle Sounders. This would be Pele’s last professional game.
- May 27, 1991 – Minor league AAA baseball Vancouver Canadians outfielder Rodney McCray crashed through a wooden advertisement in the outfield. In 2006, the Portland Beavers renamed this portion of the outfield wall “McCray Alley.”
- September 7, 1997 – The United States men’s national soccer team defeated Costa Rica in a World Cup qualifier in front of 27,396 fans.
1999 – The FIFA Women’s World Cup played six matches at Civic Stadium, including both semifinals.
Sept. 21, 2002 – Abby Wambach scored twice to win the MVP of the 2002 WUSA All-Star Game held at PGE Park.
July 1, 2009 – The Portland Beavers hosted the AAA All-Star Game. 16,657 fans were in attendance, the largest for the AAA All-Star Game since 1991.
- July 9, 2013 - JELD-WEN Field hosted the CONCACAF Gold Cup Group C opening game with Costa Rica defeating Cuba 3-0 and the U.S. beating Belize 6-1