Bless Field Officially Under Construction

We’re fully funded, permitted, and already breaking ground: Bless Field is officially transitioning from a fundraising project into a construction project. Work is underway with final touches expected early summer.

Bless Field construction 3

This vision couldn’t have gotten underway without our many donors and supporters who have given time, money, and attention. We’d especially like to thank:

107ist
Portland Timbers Football Club
Providence Health & Services
Widmer Bros.
Portland Development Commission
FieldTurf
Adidas
LifeWise
Daimler
Factory North
Oregon Premier League
TripWire
Knowledge Universe
105 Howitzers
The Duane Graf Family
Underdog Sports
Eleventy Ones
Pitch Invasion
And all the other many generous donors like you!

Stay tuned for more announcements and our plans to officially open Bless Field.

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OPI Awarded PDC Grant Benefitting Bless Field

BLESS FIELD AWARDED COMMUNITY LIVABILITY GRANT FROM PORTLAND DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION

Operation Pitch Invasion is delighted to share the news that its Bless Field project has received a significant boost from the Portland Development Commission in the form of a Community Livability Grant for $40,000.

Bless Field, an all-weather turf soccer field being built in the New Columbia community of North Portland, qualified for the grant as part of the PDC’s program to award funding “to projects that involve physical improvements to community facilities, open spaces or historic/cultural preservation…(and)…improve livability for residents and enhance the unique nature of Portland neighborhoods.”

PDC joins the Portland Timbers, the 107 Independent Supporters Trust, and Adidas as major supporters of Bless Field, bringing the project to more than 80% of full funding. Efforts to bring the project to completion continue, with several potential sponsors in talks to contribute significantly to realization of the final goal by year’s end. OPI is confident that the involvement of PDC will be a factor in bringing other partners aboard.

OPI, a project of the 107ist, is a local, grass-roots charity formed to build, revitalize and maintain soccer fields throughout the Portland Metro area so that players of all ages and skill levels have high quality and safe playing surfaces to enjoy the beautiful game. OPI is an Oregon public benefit nonmember, nonprofit corporation exempt from tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Ticket Raffle Benefitting OPI & Bless Field

Bid the regular season goodbye with a couple more friends (well, a couple more than usual, that is) and help build Bless Field.

As we near the end of a spectacular run through the MLS schedule, there’s only one more sure chance to see the Timbers at JELD-WEN Field: Saturday, October 19 v Real Salt Lake.

(Yes, of course there will be playoffs, but bear with us here.)

The match is, of course, long sold out. But through the generous offices of several members of the Timbers Army, Operation Pitch Invasion has two pairs of TA General Admission tickets up for raffle. These don’t include wristbands, free donuts or the chance to watch Sigi Schmid waddle up and down the sideline. But they DO include the chance to be part of the annual final-match tifo (always special), to see the Timbers lock up a playoff berth, to watch the boys in green put space between themselves and another western conference rival, and to jump and clap and sing for victory among the greatest football supporters the world has ever seen.

A donation of $5.00 gets you one entry in the raffle and a donation of $20 gets you 5 entries. Two winners will be selected and each winner receives a pair of TAGA tickets to the match. You can only purchase chances by making a donation to Operation Pitch Invasion via PayPal. The deadline to enter is Saturday October 19 at 12:00 noon. Winners will be notified by email shortly after the drawing. Include your Twitter handle in your PayPal order and we’ll give you a congratulatory shout-out there too. 100% of proceeds go toward the support of Operation Pitch Invasion and the building of Bless Field.

Don’t miss out on the chance to bring some old or new friends to what promises to be yet another magical night in Soccer City USA.

Thanks for your support!

Bless Field Update

We are overdue for an update about our Bless Field project. So let’s get to it.

  • Beating Seattle. Our kickoff event, Beating Seattle Never Gets Old: A Benefit for Bless Field was a huge success. Close to 250 supporters came out to the Hollywood Theater to relive some classic Timbers moments from the past and hear from the players that lived that history including Willie Anderson, Bernie Fagan, Roger Goldingay, Mick Hoban, Bill Irwin and Jimmy Kelly. Beating Seattle raised over $3,500 and much more in awareness for the Bless Field project.
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  • Art Takeover. You all remember the amazing Factory North event Art Takeover poster project last year benefitting Harper’s Playground? Well Art Takeover is back for 2013 and its looking to be bigger and better than ever. This year’s event is scheduled for August 10 and will feature limited-run felt pennants featuring designs inspired by Timbers Army songs, past and present. In addition, a number of large-scale, Portland inspired flags will be sold by auction. Sponsorship and support from the 107 Independent Supporter’s Trust, Coava Coffee, Salt & Straw, Widmer, Actual Industries, Seizure Palace and many more promise to make for an awesome way to support Bless Field.
  • Construction Update. Even though fundraising is far from complete, we’ve already begun investing your donation into Bless Field. Before construction can begin, we had to complete a survey of the site as well as a geotechnical soil analysis. The results of these two efforts will be used by our architecture firm, Group Mackenzie, to develop detailed construction designs that the contractor will use to build the field. Both these steps are complete and details construction drawings are underway. If you’ve been by the field in the last few weeks you may have noticed some work happening on the East side of the lot. This work relates to the bike hub and training paths operated by the Community Cycling Center and should not affect Bless Field.
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  • Bless Book. To assist help get the word out about Bless Field, OPI developed a interactive iBook packed with photos, videos and information about the project. If you have an iPad, you can download it for free from the Apple iBookstore. If you don’t have an iPad, you can get all the same information (without the fun videos, pictures and interactive features) in this PDF. Feel free to share this link with your friends and co-workers who are interested in learning more about Bless Field: http://bit.ly/BlessBook.
  • Park Project Update. Unrelated to Bless Field, we’ve completed two park repair events so far this summer in Willamette Park and Lents Park. We’ve also supported field and grounds restoration work by the Timbers Army Football Club at Marshall High School and Franklin High School. We’ve even acquired some line-painting equipment to get those newly refinished pitches looking sharp prior to match day. While we had to drop our planned June park event due to City budget constraints, we are still hoping for another event late in the summer.

Expect to hear more in coming weeks about Art Takeover. Thanks for all your support. As usual, you can keep up with us on Twitter @opipdx or by keeping an eye on our blog.

OPI Work Day – Operation Franklin High

OPI Work Day – Franklin High School

Friends

In cooperation with the Timbers Army and Portland Public Schools, OPI supporting repair efforts at two local high schools. These events are a little different than our usual park fix-ups, so be sure and check out the details below.

  • Who is this for? This event is initially reserved for members of the Timbers Army Football Club to help them satisfy their volunteer service requirements. Franklin High School is being repaired by members of OGFC.
  • When is it? Saturday, June 8 from 12:00 to 3:00 (immediately after the OGFC Gold match).
  • How long will it take? Plan on about 3 hours.
  • Where is it? Franklin High School is at 5405 SE Woodward St (map)
  • How do I participate? Please sign up on this Eventbrite page (free). By volunteering, you also agree to OPI’s liability waiver.
  • What should I bring? In addition to dressing properly for the weather and bringing your own water bottle, we’ll need some people to bring some equipment. We’ll be trimming back some overgrown vines and bushes so if you have some hand branch trimmers/clippers, please bring them. Ideally, we’d also like to have one or two gas powered or cordless edge trimmers as well.

Thanks so much for your help. If you can’t help out with this event, keep an eye on our blog for information about other volunteer opportunities.

OPI Work Day – Operation Marshall High

Friends

In cooperation with the Timbers Army and Portland Public Schools, OPI supporting repair efforts at two local high schools. These events are a little different than our usual park fix-ups, so be sure and check out the details below.

  • Who is this for? This event is initially reserved for members of the Timbers Army Football Club to help them satisfy their volunteer service requirements.
  • When is it? Sunday, June 2 from 9:00 to noon.
  • How long will it take? Plan on about 3 hours.
  • Where is it? Marshall High School is at 3905 SE 91st Ave (map)
  • How do I participate? Please sign up on this Eventbrite page (free). By volunteering, you also agree to OPI’s liability waiver.
  • What should I bring? In addition to dressing properly for the weather and bringing your own water bottle, we’ll need some people to bring some equipment. We’ll be trimming back some overgrown vines and bushes so if you have some hand branch trimmers/clippers, please bring them. Ideally, we’d also like to have one or two gas powered or cordless edge trimmers as well. We’ll also be prepping and painting the steel goals on site. We’ll be supplying paint and related supplies, but having one or two cordless orbital sanders to take some of the rust off before painting would make a big difference. If you can bring any of these heavier pieces of equipment, please email Scott Swearingen or your team manager and let them know what you can bring. We don’t want to end up with dozens of gas powered weed eaters.

Thanks so much for your help. If you can’t help out with this event, you might be able to help out with a similar event on June 8 at Franklin High School. Check here for details.

OPI Work Day – Operation Willamette Park – May 11

Friends!

OPI is back for our second event of the season with repairs at Willamette Park. As in the past, PPR staff will be directing operations and lending a hand as we improve 2 pitches. We kick off promptly at 8:30 a.m. We'd love to have you out!

  • When is it? Saturday, May 11. Work begins at 8:30 a.m. Arriving on time is especially important so we can make sure everyone gets the orientation provided by PPR.
  • Where is it? We’ll be at Willamette Park which is located at about 7100 SW Macadam. You can access Willamette Park off Macadam from Nebraska, Nevada, Miles Place, and Beaver Ave.
  • How do I participate? You must register on this Eventbrite page (free). We need 50 volunteers for this event. As usual, you'll be asked to sign the City's liability waiver when you arrive. By volunteering, you also agree to OPI's liability waiver.
  • What kind of work will we be doing? If you have been to one of our park events before, expect more of the same. We'll do stuff like spread fresh soil to level out the ruts in the pitch, lay seed, paint goal equipment, restore goal mouths and repair sprinklers. 
  • What should I bring? Work clothes, proper footwear (you may spend some time on the business end of a shovel) and some work gloves will be all you need. Wear layers if it looks to be cool – sunscreen if the sun is baking. All other supplies and equipment will be provided by PPR.
  • How long will it take? Our experience with these events tells us that we should be done in 3 – 4 hours. This is a big park, but many hands make light work.

If you can't make this event, keep an eye out for our other events this season which we hope to have June 22 and August 31. Thanks for volunteering!

Register now on Eventbrite

OPI Work Day: Operation Lents Park – April 20

Friends of OPI!

We are back for our first event of the season with field work at Lents Park. As in the past, PPR staff will be directing operations and lending a hand as we improve 3 pitches. We kick off promptly at 8:30 a.m. We’d love to have you out for our first event of 2013.

  • When is it? Saturday, April 20. Work begins at 8:30 a.m.
  • Where is it? We’ll be at Lents Park which is located at SE 92nd Ave and Holgate Blvd.
  • How do I participate? You must register on this Eventbrite page (free). We need 50 volunteers for this event. As usual, you’ll be asked to sign the City’s liability waiver when you arrive. By volunteering, you also agree to OPI’s liability waiver.
  • What kind of work will we be doing? If you have been to one of our park events before, expect more of the same. We’ll do stuff like spread fresh soil to level out the ruts in the pitch, lay seed, paint goal equipment, restore goal mouths and repair sprinklers. 
  • What should I bring? Work clothes, proper footwear and some work gloves will be all you need. Wear layers if it looks to be cool – sunscreen if the sun is baking. All other supplies and equipment will be provided by PPR.
  • How long will it take? Our experience with these events tells us that we should be done in approximately 4 hours. This is a big park, but many hands make light work.

If you can’t make this event, keep an eye out for our other events this season on May 11, June 22 and August 31.

Beating Seattle Gets Better: More Ways to Benefit Bless Field

Beating Seattle Never Gets Old, our April 4 fundraiser at the Hollywood Theatre for Bless Field, just got better. In addition to a great night celebrating the matches and men of Timbers history, we’ll be raffling four center-pitch Key Club seats to the April 6 Timbers-Dynamo matchup. Tickets are still available for Beating Seattle and more information about the raffle is below. But first a recap of an amazing couple weeks.

While we knew Portland would be excited about our Bless Field project, we’ve been humbled and thrilled by the receiption the project has recently enjoyed. It all started a couple weeks ago when our partner organization, the 107 Independent Supporters Trust, was invited to City Council to present to Portland’s City Council about the 107ist and its community projects, including Bless Field. You can watch that presentation and hear more about 107ist and Bless Field on YouTube.

Not long after, Ryan Gates over at Stumptown Footy interviewed OPI director Shawn Levy where he talked about the Bless Field project, OPI’s prior work and golden triangle that is Team-Town-Timbers Army. Casey Parks at the Oregonian reported on Bless Field as did Kip Kesgard, the Timbers Army embedded blogging reporter for OregonLive. Just a couple days ago, Brian Costello of the Portland Timbers talked about Beating Seattle at portlandtimbers.com and recently, KOIN talked to Shawn about Bless Field and the Beating Seattle fundraiser:

We’ve made our Beating Seattle event even better by adding a raffle for four center-pitch Key Club seats to the Timbers – Dyanmo match on April 6. Chances are $5.00 each and can either be purchased at the Beating Seattle event or by making a donation on our Eventbrite page. You need not be present at Beating Seattle to win, but it sure would be fun if you were! If you’ve already made a donation through our Eventbrite page, we’ll set aside a raffle ticket for every $5.00 you’ve donated. No limit on the number of raffle tickets you can buy! Our thanks to Dr. Dennis Crawford, Director of Sports Medicine at OHSU for providing the raffle prize.

Beating Seattle Never Gets Old: A Benefit for Bless Field is Thursday, April 4 at 7:00 p.m. at the Hollywood Theatre. Tickets are still available – $12.00 in advance, $15.00 at the door. We hope to see you there.

Bless Field Featured in Front of Portland City Council

Last week the 107 Independent Supporters Trust was invited to present before the Portland City Council. Its amazing to see all the good work the 107ist brings to Portland. As part of that discussion, OPI’s Board Member Shawn Levy profiled OPI and the Bless Field project for our City’s Commissioners.

What a great honor to have the Bless Field featured in front of our City’s Council. Thanks to 107ist for making OPI a part of this presentation!