What would you like to see at Merlo Field?

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What would you like to see at Merlo Field?

Post by Stonehouse on Mon May 02, 2011 7:51 pm

Just throwing this topic out there as a dreaming session... that's right, dream with me!

If you could change anything at Merlo Field (about the physical appearance, not so much the game-day operations), what would it be? Most of you all know by now that the trees surrounding the field have been cut, which was a sad but necessary step for the health of the playing surface. I don't think anyone is rejoicing over that unfortunate occurrence, but it has provided some opportunities for different signage and other things to be added to the stadium.

So... purple and white flags lining the end zone and Chiles side bleachers? A canopy over some seats? Big signs ringing the outside of the stadium? Logos/words painted on the bleachers themselves? What would people want to see? What would be cool?

Has anything stuck out at you about any other stadium (college, MLS, or otherwise) that you think could work here?

Now's the time to hear some opinions! And let's hear them by Wednesday morning. Wink

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Re: What would you like to see at Merlo Field?

Post by PilotNut on Mon May 02, 2011 9:16 pm

Well, a couple thoughts come to mind offhand for me (besides the obvious drop down flat screens and faux fur seat liners):

--Something to "enclose" the stadium a bit, particularly behind the end-zone seats and the Chiles side seats; without the trees, some of the intimacy is gone. There used to be a long banner, about 3 feet tall that ran along the parking lot side exterior wall before the trees grew up... something like that, but taller?

--That cheap rope/chain barrier thing that runs along the edge of the field on the Chiles Center side on the grass. That thing looks awful and cheap. How about something nicer (or get rid of it all together?)

--Just a thought, not sure how it would look... but one thing I love about the remodeled Jeld-Wen Field is the "Portland Timbers" logo surrounding the field on the wall... what about doing something similar at Merlo, if only just along the wall below the main grandstand?

--The temporary tents set up on game days in the entry plaza are a little shabby, not a great first impression... what about something a little nicer?

Other ideas?

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Re: What would you like to see at Merlo Field?

Post by Geezaldinho on Mon May 02, 2011 9:40 pm

Hmm, well, we know my views about the canopy and drop down replay screens Very Happy 

Seriously, a canopy to keep the fur lined seats dry  would be nice ( and some of those are starting to look a bit seedy. Mine is cracked and so are the ones around me) it seems as the population ages and gets soft, people come to expect it. The more modern stadiums are getting them increasingly.

But I think perhaps a modest upgrade in both the number and Quality of the seats might be as important.  I know people have had concerns in the past that they wanted Merlo to stay intimate, but the fact is that the stadium is about at capacity now. Season totals have plateaued and I think it's because there aren't any more good seats to sell.

I see capacity not as the maximum crowd size, but as the comfortable crowd seating that you can coax people to pony up a season ticket for. We now have twice the average attendance We had in 2002, and about 50% more than 2005. Much of that is increased season ticket sales, and I think better seating for more people would help there. It's pretty hard to ask people to pony up for the year for an aluminum Bench seat. They do make molded seats that can attach to the benches, and that might be good enough.

The folks at Jeld Wen got it. They built new seats not to get more seats, but to get BETTER seats for fans.

Some additional seating could be provided by just better utilizing the space. The end zone has an aisle both in front of and in back of it, which is pretty wasteful. If you push the seats to the rail, you could have more rows. Access could be from a couple of portcullis  entries from the back. It might even be possible to have seating over the back aisle and make it a tunnel. A bonus is it closes off the stadium better. All those seats would be closer to the action, and I think turn OK end zone seating into GREAT end zone seating.
Increased capacity of good seats means more season tickets, and that means larger crowds.

( see how Saint John's did it. No front aisle at all.)


You could do something similar on the student side and expand capacity without making the place really look any bigger. You might have to push the fences back a little, but not much. If you can't have trees anyway, it's just wasted space. ( sure will miss them, though) the sideline access would probably work better if the stands were raised so folks could walk under/behind.

Seat access from the rear ends the issue of people standing in front of you and blocking your view. A few good plantings at the corners outside the stadium might get back some of that Northwest ambiance.

The main thing, though, is that those folks could watch the game even closer to the field, and one of the great things about the place now is how you are right on top of things. Any increase in size would be offset  by the increased intimacy with folks even closer to the players.

Another modest increase at each end of the main stands along with more stadium seats were the bench backs are would increase premium season ticket seating. They sell out early, now, don't they?

Then get the big screen like they have at Jeld-Wen. Even high schools have something like that. It worked for Basketball to make a better experience.

I don't know what they are planning to replace the cedars they cut down, but there are plants that don't produce as invasive root systems. They might need irrigation in summer, though.

A simple thing that might be done is to make the area  where you come into the stadium a bit more festive would be nice.

A simple block to keep folks from walking in front of everyone during the games would also be good. Right now folks (especially preening teens) do a circuit in front of people who want to watch the games. At least make them go behind at the portcullis entry at midfield. That way they can only do half a circuit.
either that or make folks use the portcullis during the games and block off the ends of the front aisle. I have my seat higher to avoid that issue, but I bet the folks down front get annoyed.

I think Pilotnut has a good idea about the low walls being decorated. Ads would help the program, but some good decorations would dress the stadium up even if they don't sell enough and make that stadium look a bit more updated.



Last edited by Purplegeezer on Tue May 03, 2011 12:27 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: What would you like to see at Merlo Field?

Post by DaTruRochin on Mon May 02, 2011 9:43 pm

I'm just going to start spitting ideas and brainstorm a bit (And I'm pretty sure PNut, Geez and I were all typing at the same time, so I might repeat a bit)...

~ Personally I've always thought adding simple stadium seat add ons to the existing bleackers could be a fun way to add comfort and a little color to the stadium:
http://www.daplast.com/english/index.php?page=21&idprod=7

Or a variety with backs:
http://www.daplast.com/english/index.php?page=21&idprod=0

Or you could spell out words out words:


They could serve to make seating more efficient and potentially jazz up the joint a little bit. Heck even finding a way to replace any of the current purple seats that have faded on the fancy pants side could be nice.

~ I like the idea of a canopy (I mean selfishly, who REALLY likes getting soaking wet), but that is something that has to be well done or it could look really cheap and flimsy. This is a canopy done well (But I'm assuming out of the current price range):


~ As long as were talking canopies, how about giving our beloved Pilots and their coaches a nice little portable sideline canopy, or heck, even make an awesome dugout so nobody's sigh tlines get interrupted (I'll do the digging!):

(I guess we can give the other team one too.)


~ Well it may not be superficial, and I know we all love the "character" it provides, but what about upgrading the stadium audio that has a tendency to be a bit, um, inconsistent?

~ I think doing something like the flags or something to line the side of the field that used to be encapsulated by trees, they could have names of past pilot greats on them or all the WCC teams (Speaking of, the WCC banner in Chiles is gonna both be out of date, in addition to being incredibly tired....but that's another subject for another time)

~ A bronze Clive Charles statue.

~Another idea, and I've heard the idea before, but what of making a walk of fame-ish grand entrance? That might be a bigger project down the road, but I've always liked the idea of telling the story of Portland soccer as you walk into the stadium.

~ What of upgrading the appearance of the entrances on the CC side? As of now it is just a chain link fence, perhaps an archway or something snappier could be done over there? I love an iconic entrance into a stadium, on of the coolest places I've ever visited had an amazing view as you approached from the tubes (May the place rest in peace):


~I don't know, has something along the lines of updating the fairly drab brown painted wood that lines the stadium been considered? I mean all the new bulidings have been a classic blend of red brick and windows, why not do something along those lines for Merlo? (Again, it could be a pretty big investment, but you could even do a brick facade type thing that might be a bit more affordable.) I don't know, but beige painted wood could definitely improved upon.

~ Better yet... We all know we want to see Wally driving a tugboat... Complete with an obnoxious fog horn to pull for every pilot goal.

And if you say that's too cheesy, uhhh, the Timbers have a guy cutting a log after goals and revving a chainsaw during games... I think Portland loves itself some cheese.


Last edited by DaTruRochin on Mon May 02, 2011 9:54 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: What would you like to see at Merlo Field?

Post by DaTruRochin on Mon May 02, 2011 9:53 pm

PilotNut wrote:--Just a thought, not sure how it would look... but one thing I love about the remodeled Jeld-Wen Field is the "Portland Timbers" logo surrounding the field on the wall... what about doing something similar at Merlo, if only just along the wall below the main grandstand?

Totally agreed on this point, on 2 sides of the stadium there is a huge, boring wall that lines the field, why not have a huge PORTLAND PILOTS in the official script line the stadium? Could be done with banners or paint.


That cheap rope/chain barrier thing that runs along the edge of the field on the Chiles Center side on the grass. That thing looks awful and cheap. How about something nicer (or get rid of it all together?)

While I suppose it is probably to keep people from stepping out on the pitch, yep, it really looks dumb. I know there isn't going to be money, or the need for it, but those advertising video banners you seen in most pro stadiums could potentially serve that same purpose as the white rope fence thing, while at the same time providing further advertising space. (OR if you don't like the idea of ads, you could continue the "Portland Pilots" motif I suggested earlier and wrap it all around the stadium. I mean it could even be boards without video too...)

And yeah, I mentioned something already, but I guess every entrance into the stadium is pretty damn underwhelming. Why not make people feel that they are walking into some place special?

I think overall the main reflection I keep going back to is that the place can just look a little tired. The purples are faded, the beige is boring, without getting overly flashy or inventive, just upgrading/refreshing what is already there could make a world of difference. I mean just look what changing the paint hues and whatnot did for Chiles! (Ok they got a sweet video screen too, but it didn't all happen at once, they bought the place a new outfit before getting a new car for the garage... Or something like that)


Last edited by DaTruRochin on Tue May 03, 2011 12:10 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: What would you like to see at Merlo Field?

Post by Geezaldinho on Mon May 02, 2011 10:01 pm

One more thing. The student side has potentially the best seats in the stadium as wasted field access.

Move the access to the left so it's in the less desirable end zone. Put some nice stadium seats at midfield and charge for them.


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Re: What would you like to see at Merlo Field?

Post by DaTruRochin on Mon May 02, 2011 10:11 pm

Ugh, I never realized the entrance gap wasn't even centered... But yeah, it is kind of a strange place for a 20 foot gap... OR ot a better idea expand the seats on either side BUT, keep a small gap and create a vomitorium there so the players enter on to the field at the middle like footballers are supposed to!
Eg:
You could even extend a tube out a bit to shield players from well aimed pokies Razz

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Re: What would you like to see at Merlo Field?

Post by Geezaldinho on Mon May 02, 2011 10:28 pm

A wet bar right behind my seat.

Sorry A_Fan, something has to give.

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Re: What would you like to see at Merlo Field?

Post by PilotNut on Mon May 02, 2011 10:42 pm

Purplegeezer wrote:One more thing. The student side has potentially the best seats in the stadium as wasted field access.

Move the access to the left so it's in the less desirable end zone. Put some nice stadium seats at midfield and charge for them.

Completely agree... fill the gap. Also, I agree on just a fresh coat of paint on things... that brown is sooo drab. It would be really cool if at least the exterior wall along the parking lot had a brick facade to match the other buildings on campus.

Also agreed on the corner entrance near CC... that could be a VERY impactful/cool place to do something nice on an otherwise eyesore of an entrance... it would be noticed not only for every soccer game, but also every CC event, where the crowd has to walk past it on the way to/from the parking lot... a nice archway, even something to match the main entrance. I like it... a lot. So essentially, redo the entire length of the stadium along the parking lot.

Oh, and how about upgrading from Pokies to M&M's? Wink

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Re: What would you like to see at Merlo Field?

Post by DaTruRochin on Mon May 02, 2011 10:44 pm

Better yet ALMOND M&Ms... I'll be the contour of the nut could provide the aerodynamics for some serious long distance ref sniping.



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Re: What would you like to see at Merlo Field?

Post by Stonehouse on Mon May 02, 2011 11:36 pm

Great stuff, everyone! Keep it coming!

Seriously... this is very valuable feedback. A lot of it is almost assuredly beyond whatever budget there might be to do some things, but it's great to have some real opinions about what might make things better.

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Re: What would you like to see at Merlo Field?

Post by Geezaldinho on Tue May 03, 2011 12:07 am

Aw heck. Get phil knight on board. Then we can do a Bombonera Double decker far side stands. It keeps the hoi poloi at bay and solves the canopy issue, all on the same footprint you have now on the student side..



Skyboxes are the skinny white strip on the left of the bottom pic.


Then give the students part of the current main stands--- behind the visitors bench Smile

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Re: What would you like to see at Merlo Field?

Post by A_Fan on Tue May 03, 2011 8:31 am

Geezer, as long as that wet bar is only 1 row deep and self serve, I'm all for it.

I have qualms about a canopy. It would be nice to be out of the rain for those end of season and playoff games, but it sure is nice sitting in the sun for those first couple of months of the season. Maybe a retractable roof!

A new entrance would be nice. Maybe redo the ticket booths and make them part of the new entrance so it would be one grand entrance. I do like the wide open plaza area outside the gates which gives folks a place to congregate and meet up before the games. It would be a shame if any new entrance did away with this area.

Team flags at the now open end of the stadium is a nice idea.

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Re: What would you like to see at Merlo Field?

Post by DaTruRochin on Tue May 03, 2011 11:05 am

OK so this is game day operations... But lets just take the money and make.... A BOSNA STAND!!!!


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Re: What would you like to see at Merlo Field?

Post by Stonehouse on Tue May 03, 2011 11:07 am

DaTruRochin wrote:OK so this is game day operations... But lets just take the money and make.... A BOSNA STAND!!!!


BEST. POST. EVER.

Good lord, I'm drooling...

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Re: What would you like to see at Merlo Field?

Post by Geezaldinho on Tue May 03, 2011 11:20 am

Somebody needs to invent tracer pokies.

Sometimes I can't tell if I'm hitting the other coach or not....

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Re: What would you like to see at Merlo Field?

Post by PilotNut on Tue May 03, 2011 12:26 pm

Everyone else? Thoughts?

It isn't very often that we get to give direct feedback like this... what say all you soccer fans? No idea is too big or small or insignificant here!

We would love to hear from season ticket holders and non-season ticket holders alike... what would enhance the Merlo Field experience for you? Do you agree or disagree with any of the ideas so far?

If you aren't comfortable posting ideas in the forum, you can PM/email myself or DTR and we can anonymously forward on ideas.

Go Pilots!

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Re: What would you like to see at Merlo Field?

Post by DaTruRochin on Tue May 03, 2011 1:40 pm

But if you do send us the ideas anonymously, you do risk us taking all the credit for your own creativity and brilliance... Razz

All kidding aside, I can't stress how cool of an opportunity this is for us Pilot fans. The chance to give feedback to make a place we all find so special a little, um, specialer (Eat your heart out Bill Shakespeare), that is a very awesome thing indeed. PLEASE do not hesitate to contribute; I mean us blabbermouths can come up with our own ideas all day and post them, but I know there are hundreds, nay, THOUSANDS of Pilot fans out there who would love the opportunity to put their own mark on the Merlo experience.

Again please post on here, or feel free to message Pilot Nut or I. We will most definitely make sure your voice is heard.


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Re: What would you like to see at Merlo Field?

Post by Indigo Kid on Tue May 03, 2011 4:25 pm

Something simple - better sound system. Even before my hearing went bad, there were many times where I could not understand what was being said on the sound system. Maybe personal ear plugs to the sound system at each seat... Idea

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Re: What would you like to see at Merlo Field?

Post by Geezaldinho on Tue May 03, 2011 4:38 pm

I think they have tried working with the sound system a bunch. They will probably have to work on it a bunch more.

The issue seems to be balancing the ability of folks to hear anywhere in the stadium with not disturbing the neighbors too much. It's probably more of an issue at night, when sound travels better.

There are active systems that sense where they are too loud and too soft, but they cost a pile of money. The only place I have heard of them being used is in more controlled venues, like concert halls.

Personally, I think you would get more information to folks with less disruption and cost with a nice LED screen.

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Speakers

Post by UPWomenSoccerRookie on Wed May 04, 2011 1:20 pm

I didn't read through all the suggestions, so pardon me if this is a repeat.

My seats are near the top, near the center aisle, just below the press box. Last fall it was very difficult to hear any announcements. The speakers on the front of the press box did not function. At two different games I talked with the PA announcer to let him know of the problem. It was not resolved.

So my request is not necessarily for a new sound system, just one that works, or even as specific as speakers on the front of the press box that work.

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My two cents

Post by PilotFan7 on Wed May 04, 2011 9:12 pm

Hello to one and all Pilot Nation. First post and opinion on Merlo Field improvements.

I've read about the sound system and also would like to see some tweaks made to it. I sit behind the south end goal and it's rather hard to hear the speakers. With that said they could be louder now that the Chiles Center side trees are not obstructing the speakers.

I would like to submit my most notable improvement that I would like to and have wanted to see for a long time, dugout seats for the teams. Similar to Manchester United's Audi Seats @ Old Trafford. It gives the stadium that professional look and feel.

Thank you once again for providing an outlet for Pilot Fans like myself to express our ideas, thoughts, etc.

Can't wait for the fall season to get here. GO PILOTS!!! Goal Celebration!

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Re: What would you like to see at Merlo Field?

Post by Geezaldinho on Wed May 04, 2011 9:16 pm

Not sure about dugouts. There are only about 10 feet between the touch line and the wall.

The linesmen would fall in as they tried to run down the field.

Hmm...could be an improvement.

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Re: What would you like to see at Merlo Field?

Post by PilotFan7 on Wed May 04, 2011 9:42 pm

Purplegeezer wrote:Not sure about dugouts. There are only about 10 feet between the touch line and the wall.

The linesmen would fall in as they tried to run down the field.

Hmm...could be an improvement.

Sorry I didn't mean an actual dugout setup. Just the seats that they offer. The seats could be black or purple and feature the Pilots logo or Nike swoosh, etc.

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Re: What would you like to see at Merlo Field?

Post by PurplePrideTrumpet on Wed May 04, 2011 9:48 pm

Purplegeezer wrote:Not sure about dugouts. There are only about 10 feet between the touch line and the wall.

The linesmen would fall in as they tried to run down the field.

Hmm...could be an improvement.
You could move the benches up to the stands and have the coaches sit right next to the spectators like they do at English grounds.

But then there would be too much collateral damage from pokie strikes.

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