New Columbia

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.

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:

  • 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.

New Project: Bless Field at New Columbia

The last couple years have been amazing for OPI. We've marshaled over 900 hours of volunteer labor to improve our City's pitches. Those volunteers helped level, seed and restor eight different fields, repaint 70 goals, remove yards of concrete and repair countless pieces of irrigation equipment. We've improved or added pitches to 4 different City parks and 2 of Portland's schools. We are immensely proud of our volunteers who make all this work possible. But this year we're on to something we hope will be our biggest project yet.

And we'll need your help to make it happen.

This year we're working to build Bless Field: a youth-sized all-season pitch for the kids of Portland's New Columbia neighborhood.


The New Columbia community is home to nearly 1,200 kids from 22 countries speaking more than 11 different languages and we see Bless Field as a place where all of these kids can share the common language that is the beautiful game. Bless Field is designed to support AC Portland sponsored events through nearby Rosa Parks Elementary School and after-school programs through the Regence Boys & Girls Club. It's not so impossible to imagine Bless Field becoming a place where a future Timbers or Thorns star will learn the game and go on to score a winning goal at JELD-WEN Field in front of the best supporters in the world.

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Its a major project for sure - but one worthy of the effort. In the weeks to come, we'll be sharing more details about how you can help make this project happen.

To stay up on the latest, keep an eye on our blog, give us a follow on Twitter (@OPIPDX) and join our mailing list. You can also bookmark and share this page on the OPI website that contains all the latest on the Bless Field project.