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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

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.

Apanel notes:

Restroom requirements:

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.

Seating requirements:

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.

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."

That is, if the league doesn't fold first.

Comments (5)

Where this leaves us at is that we'll put money into it. Paulson will hope he has the novelty effect for a couple of years with attendance up.

Then he will come back at Samdy and say the stadium is no longer acceptable and that Denver really wants the franchise. BTW, can we have upgrades of about $30M?

Then again, since Randy is such a genius with toilets maybe he can put those things in.

"20 toilets and 171 urinals; along with 40 sinks. Women's restrooms -- 228 toilets, with 114 sinks"

Why do women get so many more sinks?!

More makeup touchups/haircombing? The sink ratio does seem out of whack. However I think most men would probably be fine with a couple of common sink troughs offering a smattering of faucets and soap dispensers. That ain't gonna fly in the ladies' rooms.

Also, no mention of changing stations for the kiddies. I'm sure they've got a ratio for that, too.

Interesting find in that document:
1.9. Other Sports
The playing area can be designed to accommodate other sports. However it should be noted that if the viewing requirements (field dimensions) of these sports differ greatly from Soccer it will compromise the viewing experience as spectators will be further from the field than would be necessary. This effect on this standard of viewing should be considered at the beginning of the design stage. Stadia designed for a particular sport will always offer a better viewing experience than multi venue facilities. It is not recommended that a Soccer stadium be combined with an athletics track.

So the policy does allow a multi-use stadium...

Wouldn't having less toilets an such be a "green" thing. So then narrower seats will reduce obesity? A few solar panels and a wind machine in front of the announcer will make this a must have for such a World Class Green City.

What is the ratio of sinks / toilets and snuggle bunny space in city hall bathrooms?

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