Another substandard story about the PGE Park soccer renovation
When it comes to criticizing the City of Portland's plan to blow eight figures turning PGE Park into a soccer-only stadium for a "major league" (by U.S. standards) team, that fellow Peter Apanel is even more annoying than we are. Last week, we wrote about how Apanel had dug out the stadium regulations promulgated by FIFA, the international soccer authority, and found that the proposed renovation would not satisfy many of them. Among those he cited were seat depth and type, restroom facilities, and concession stands. He also complained that MLS, the "major" soccer league calling the shots on the Portland deal, did not appear to have any written standards at all, suggesting that they were making them up as they go along.
Several readers predictably noted that the "major" league is, technically speaking, not bound by FIFA regulations, and that in any event those rules were written for high-end World Cup soccer matches only (one of the real major league events). And so Apanel's argument was, in their view, weak.
Later in the week, Apanel wrote us back with a surprise: Apparently there are in fact written stadium guidelines put out by the "major" soccer league. At least some of them are contained in this document, which Apanel says he obtained from Dave Logsdon, the city's spectator facilities manager. And lo and behold, in several ways the league's guidelines are even stricter than FIFA's guidelines, and so the Timbers' expensively renovated stadium clearly won't meet them.
Restroom requirements:So where does this all leave us? If one asks Apanel, he'll tell you that a new soccer stadium -- not a renovation of PGE -- is the way to go. Whether one agrees with that or not, one would have to admit that after blowing tons of dough, Portland is not going to get a facility that's a showcase for the league. And in a few years, you can bet that Little Lord Paulson or his successor in fiscal irresponsibility will be griping about that, and the public money will again be summoned for the next phase of unnecessary "improvements."
Based on 20,000 capacity, and a 60:40 male/female ratio, here are the minimum MLS requirements: Men's restrooms -- 20 toilets and 171 urinals; along with 40 sinks. Women's restrooms -- 228 toilets, with 114 sinks. Family restrooms -- 4 toilets, with 4 sinks. Total toilets/urinals: 423. Overall ratio: One per 47 people.
FIFA standards: 180 men's toilets/urinals, and 160 women's toilets. Total toilets/urinals: 340. Overall ratio: One per 58 people.
MLS standards exceed FIFA standards by 24%.
I still don't have an exact count on the number of existing restroom facilities in PGE Park, but according the Oregon code, based on the same figures shown above, PGE Park would need [only] a minimum of 64 men's toilets/urinals, and 56 women's toilets, for a ratio of one per 166 people.
All seats must be individual. Armrests are recommended.[Many seats in PGE Park are bench seats that would not be upgraded. -- JB]
Reserved seats: 33" minimum row width (riser depth); 36" recommended. Minimum seat bottom width: 19".
FIFA standards: 33.5" recommended minimum row width (riser depth).
The row width for all existing seating at PGE Park is 30". The proposed row width for new grandstand seating at PGE Park is 30".
Food Concession Stand requirements:
MLS recommends one point of sale (POS) per 150 people, with four linear feet of counter space per POS. That adds up to 133 POS locations, and 532 linear feet of counter space.
FIFA recommends one point of sale per 200 people, with 1.0 m - 1.5 m (39" - 59") of counter space. That adds up to 100 POS locations, and over 300 linear feet of counter space.
That is, if the league doesn't fold first.