The plan: The front retail space that engages so well with the street is going to be a mix of a museum of our history and who we are, as well as a space for both merch teams that is more like a normal retail storefront than what we’ve typically done. You’ll be able to buy RivetGear merch on Timbers match days and No Pity Originals merch on Thorns match days! *mind blown gif* The Booked! Library, the world’s largest soccer-specific library, will have a much more visible and cozy home, and there is a back room that will be perfect for the conference table that we currently use for all of our org meetings at the Fanladen. We’ll also have a dedicated space where we can collect donations for community partners throughout the year — so you’ll always know where to donate a used cell phone or the warm socks you found on sale. The second floor actually works better as a tifo space than the current warehouse space (although the ramp up is like the one to park above Powell’s Books). The No Pity Van will be parked in the recessed portico area where it used to live on match days (we may be slinging scarves there for those in a rush), and there is enough space to also host a rotation of our food cart partners.
While these are all amazing improvements, there is one major thing that we don’t currently have in our facilities: event space. The garage bay where they did the rack installations is perfect for us to host our own member events, from trainings and lectures to viewing parties both away and home matches (for those still not going into the stadium but who still want to be connected to the community), or big matches we’d want to watch as a big group. It will also serve as a low barrier event space for our partner organizations, which is a scarce resource around here. Not only is there a ton of space in there, but we can also roll up the garage door and expand into the portico. This, combined with the extraordinary location, is going to be a game changer for all of us. One of the major hurdles for all the events we do is finding a location, and this will eliminate that stress on our volunteers.
We have long had the goal of increasing our physical presence in the Stadium District, and this has presented an ideal opportunity for the 107IST to show our commitment to this city through the creation of this cultural hub and community center in the heart of Portland.
How we got here: As you may know, we had a pop-up merch spot last year across from the stadium at 1919 Morrison. This was a notable improvement in visibility to increase memberships and merch sales, especially RivetGear. Even though we had a great relationship with the owners, managers, and tenants, the lease proposal they offered to formally occupy the space was hard for us to justify financially for what it offered. We would still be on the hook for our current lease at the Fanladen and, with the lease for the warehouse still needed, we felt it wasn’t in the best interest of our membership to pursue, especially when this other opportunity presented itself.
First off, this new building is with our existing facilities owners so we can get out of our current agreements for the Fanladen and warehouse early. Second, we’ll be able to combine the administrative costs (such as power and internet). While it will still be costing us significantly more than we’re currently paying, we believe in and are betting on this community to grow to the occasion and this space’s potential.
One of the best things we learned with the 1919 Morrison space is the value of having known, handicap accessible facilities, especially restrooms. We are committed to continuing this basic amenity and have budgeted to have professional contractors come in to make it a reality. Most of the work, however, will be on all of us to pitch in with our time, skills, and resources.
We know it will take a few different weekends for us to move out of the warehouse and Fanladen, and we plan to get started right away. Our first moving party will be next weekend, Feb 17 and Feb 18. If you are available to help with the move, please fill out this form. We’re also on the lookout for anyone who has a box truck, dollies, or other moving tools.
As we get things dialed in, we’ll be doing a couple of soft openings with the seasons starting so soon, so pop in and check out the space if you haven’t by then.
If you want to check out the new space, swing through this Friday (2/16) evening (between 4 and 7) when we’ll have the door open for members to experience a "before" version of the space. The current plan is to get started working on the space this weekend, so changes will start very soon!
Be sure to track your weekly 107IST newsletter as we’ll be posting needs as we go. If you would like to join the 107IST, you can do so here.
With your help, Onward, Rose City!