The following is a joint response from the members of the 107IST Board, Rose City Riveters Steering Committee, and Timbers Army Steering Committee.
Over the last year, supporters have demanded accountability from the PTFC Front Office. The 107IST Board, the Rose City Riveters Steering Committee, and the Timbers Army Steering Committee have made these demands in the stands as well as in meetings between our leadership teams, in meetings with players, and as season ticket holders. To date, the club has made some changes and has instituted new policies, but we are concerned that without insight into the club’s operations, progress could be stalled. The Club’s commitment to an “action plan to bolster accountability, equity, and engagement” has been a major area of focus for the 107IST Board.
In March 2022, meetings resumed between the PTFC Front Office and the 107IST Board. The Board approached the initial meeting with two goals in mind - learning about the work and the plans the FO had in place and relaying the messages we received from our membership over the previous six months. This is where the Board first heard about the Club’s accountability initiatives and started asking questions, please see an update to the comparisons between the Club's initiatives and our demands. The Board provided suggestions to the Club regarding when and how to communicate these initiatives to the community. Since March, the Board has received updates on the initiatives and has driven conversations in relation to what else is going on with the club.
As a reminder, the 107IST board has been meeting with the PTFC Front Office, off and on, for over a decade and those meetings have varied in tone and outcomes. During these meetings, we are respectful of the confidentiality of some of the subject matter, but often encourage the FO to provide these updates to the broader community. The 107IST Board also uses this time to share out our own efforts.
The leadership of the 107IST, Riveters, and TA comprises over 30 individuals. These individuals come to the table with a variety of responses, hopes, and feelings about every new article or allegation. Past member surveys have shown us that our membership is also split on what actions or next steps are called for, and how best to move forward (Nov 2021 results, March 2022 results). Every statement or expression you see publicly is the result of days of back and forth internally, and we know that many of you are having these same discussions in your homes, workplaces, and internally. We are united in our disgust at what has taken place, and our frustration with the ongoing lack of concrete progress. We come from varied backgrounds, working in many different industries, and in none of those spaces would this kind of continued behavior or kick-it-under-the-sofa response be tolerated. Beyond accountability, someone must take responsibility. We are ready to see real action and progress being made, not just talk.
With that said, we are also doing our best to be patient while awaiting results of the different investigations, notably the NWSL/NWSLPA investigation as well as the USSF investigation. It is understood that those investigations are focused on the league, cover all teams, and we are hopeful that PTFC have been fully engaged and participating in those efforts. We also expect all club and league leaders, including those at PTFC, will support the findings of these independent investigations and will follow any and all recommendations that the investigators provide.
In the meantime, we will strive to support the players on the field, those who have spoken up and those who remain silent, and we will continue to build community the best way we know how.
We also want to better understand where you are at, either as a 107IST member, a season ticket holder, or a former supporter of PTFC. Please take 5 minutes to fill out this survey to help us gauge where our community is at.
To the brave staff and players, both current and former, who are working to make this a club worth believing in, we thank you. And to those who have come forward and shared your experiences and truth, we are grateful. The world needs more of your honesty and bravery and we regret the position a handful of leaders have put you in.
The 107IST board, the Rose City Riveters Steering Committee, and the Timbers Army Steering Committee want to express our gratitude to Ryan Clarke and The Oregonian for their reporting on the DLA Piper investigation of PTFC. We also want to thank the teams at The Athletic and ESPN for continued coverage of the issues surrounding this club.
Below are links to the articles and opinion pieces for anyone who is not familiar with the latest news coming out regarding our Club and the investigations:
- Contextualizing the Timbers' Andy Polo saga, as questions remain among fans, published on 8/1/2022, may require a subscription
- Former employees of Portland Timbers, Thorns, allege ’toxic’ work environment for women, working mothers, published on 8/14/2022, requires a subscription to the Oregonian
- 5 points to focus on from investigation into Portland Timbers, Thorns workplace culture, published 8/15/2022
- Details emerge from law firm’s investigation in Portland Thorns’ handling of former coach Paul Riley, published 8/30/2022
- Sources: Thorns owner Merritt Paulson urged Paul Riley to opt out of USWNT job, published 9/1/2022
- Opinion Piece from Bill Oram: Portland Timbers, Thorns owner Merritt Paulson needs to get his organization in order, published 8/15/2022
- Soccer Made in Portland podcast: The Athletic’s Meg Linehan discusses the PTFC investigation, published 8/17/2022
- Full Time with Meg Linehan podcast: An Investigation Update and What Comes Next in Portland, published 9/1/2022