(Portland, OR) --
Due to the continued effects of recent heavy rains, many Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) grass athletic fields and ballfields will remain closed through at least Friday, April 1, 2016. The closure impacts the fields at SE Portland's Westmoreland Park, and all PP&R fields west of the Willamette River. All other PP&R athletic fields and ball fields are now reopen for permitted use and drop-in play (pending availability).
Portland Parks & Recreation originally closed ALL city-owned grass athletic and ballfields two weeks ago, and re-evaluated conditions today. The decision to keep some of PP&R's fields closed is due to safety concerns and saturated conditions related to recent heavy rain.
This closure impacts grass fields at the Portland Parks & Recreation sites mentioned above, and events which PP&R had permitted at Portland Public Schools facilities. On Thursday, March 31, 2016, PP&R will re-evaluate conditions at the grass fields and make a determination on if the closures need to be extended, with user safety in mind. The current closures do NOT impact synthetic turf fields, which are designed for all-weather play.
Sustained rains and wet conditions across the city have left many PP&R athletic fields with standing water, mud, slippery turf, and other poor conditions that may impact athletes' safety. Conditions have also hampered the ability for PP&R maintenance crews to care for the fields. Although precipitation levels are not as heavy as they were earlier in the month, the relatively low temperatures and lack of sun are keeping fields from being able to dry out. The forecast is starting to look more typical in the coming weeks, and PP&R is hopeful that this will be the last week of field closures.
Portland Parks & Recreation turf experts stressed the importance of preserving the grass at this time of the year, noting that damage inflicted now will be much harder to repair later in the year when more users are expected to use the fields.
People who secured field permits will receive rainout credits for the closures, determined during PP&R's end of the season assessment. Please note that fields that are closed for permitted use are also be closed for drop-in use. Portland Parks & Recreation makes safety its top priority, though we understand some athletes will be disappointed by the bureau's need to close the fields.