For years, the feel from inside of Providence Park matched the outside’s, each of which reflected a history that likened the Portland Timbers’ Goose Hollow venue to a soccer version of Fenway Park. But with a new expansion redefining the stadium’s east side, a new era of the city’s historic site is about to start, providing a natural opportunity to bring new life to other parts of the stadium, too.
The efforts that have been most shadowed from public eyes have been happening opposite the eastside construction, in work that is providing a new face to the westside, as well as the north end, too. While that face may not have the same prestige as adding 4,000 new seats to the venue, they will significantly change how the rest of Providence Park fans take in their gameday experiences.
The biggest change will be the most obvious. To date, the exposed concrete amid the west and east side’s corridors offered a connection to the bowels of the venue. In many places, the traditional grey will still be evident, but many of the walls and beams throughout the passageways will be updated with a white look which, combined with the tunnels’ other new visual elements, will help usher in the stadium’s new era.
Those elements include new finishes to all concession stands, with the wooden appearance that’s become associated with the club’s brand becoming the new, dominate accent at each point of service. Signage and menus – with new food options – will also be updated, as will new video display technology at each stand, something that will help keep fans informed on happenings throughout the park. Whereas before displays at concession stop were limited to what was available through a discrete number of broadcast options, messaging across all stadium displays will be able to pushed out from the organization’s new, centralized system.
That means the same updates you would see on the video board could be available as you’re buying food. The connection you have to announcements, updates, news from the field won’t end should you be drawn back in the corridors. The venue’s new display technology will ensure your connection to the game goes beyond your place in the stands.
They’re the types of changes that touch every part of the west and north sides, as evident by the new signage that’s overhead as well as marking pathways to seating as well as the sides’ restrooms. Most noteworthy, the signs hanging from the top of the sides’ corridors will feature wood preserved and recycled from benches that were featured in the venue before the site’s pre-MLS renovations.
Advertising boards along the stadiums inner walls will also have a new look, although perhaps more subtly than the walls with new paint or signs with restored wood. The new boards, however, will now have a more consistent appearance, with regular sizes and placings helping to reinforce the hallways’ updated feels.
And yes, the bathrooms have been remodeled, too, with new eyebrow-level signage pointing to new furnishing which will be consistent with the sides’ more obvious renovations.
The other parts of the west and north ends will remain the same. Concession stands are located where they were before, as are the locations you’d purchase merchandise, or seek out customer service. The wall honoring the Axe Society will be there, even if renovations to the exterior of the west side will make it easier to access of its features. Outside on the northwest plaza, a brand new Timber and Thorns FC team store will expand the club's merchandise options as well.
It’s part of the Providence Park project that does well beyond the more publicized east side – part that signifies the renovation is about old parts and new. As the Portland Timbers’ and Thorns FC’s home is pushed into its next era, the benefits will touch more than those sitting in the venue’s newest seats. The new Providence Park is designed to benefit old and new.