More than 15 months after a transformer fall prompted the closing of Sckavone Stadium, baseball will return Tuesday to the field in Westmoreland Park.
The first games will be played by the Northwest Independent Baseball League, one of several adult baseball leagues that use the facility.
The stadium, which dates to 1940, has been closed since April 2016, when a transformer supplying power to the stadium lights fell and landed near the concession stand. There were no injuries, but Portland Parks & Recreation determined that the eight light poles needed to be replaced.
Six new light poles with directional high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps were installed. The lights will allow night baseball at Sckavone for the first time in seven years.
In a separate project, improvements were made to the playing field.
The initial timeline called for the stadium to reopen this spring.
"The absurdly wet spring certainly did not help construction on this nor many other projects citywide," says Mark Ross, public information officer for Portland Parks & Recreation. "But we have an improved stadium, and extend our thanks to all PP&R project staff, neighbors, ballplayers, and partners for their efforts. We share their excitement."
The lighting project was finished in the fall and completed on budget, according to Ross. The Portland City Council allocated $828,000 from the general fund for the lighting project.
Musco Lighting installed a Green Generation Lighting System. It has a 25-year warranty, Ross says.
The field improvement project cost $16,853. Those improvements — leveling and grading the infield and planting new grass, plus repairing ruts in the outfield — were mostly completed by spring. But the new safety netting could not be installed, Ross says, until the field dried completely from the soggy spring weather. It finally went up last week.
Groups that use the stadium include the NWIBL, the Portland Adult Baseball Conference, and the Men's Senior Baseball League. Sckavone also has been used in recent years by several youth baseball organizations, including Sellwood Junior Baseball, Lincoln Youth Baseball and Rams Baseball.
During the school year, it has been used by Portland Interscholastic League teams and Central Catholic High.
The stadium already is booked through the end of September, Ross says.
Reservations for all PP&R facilities can be made online at portlandparks.org, or by calling 503-823-2525.
Baseball was first played on the site in 1940, and a wooden grandstand opened in 1943. In 1955, the stadium was named for Nick Sckavone, who advocated for the stadium when Westmoreland Park was being built in the late 1930s. Sckavone also spearheaded funding for the stadium's first lights, which were installed in 1944.
Nearly 20 athletes with Portland or Oregon ties are headed to London for the IAAF World Championships, Aug. 4-13 at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Here's the rundown, by event:
110-meter hurdles: Devon Allen, former University of Oregon
1,500: Matthew Centrowitz, Nike Oregon Project and former UO; Johnny Gregorek, former UO
5,000: Paul Chelimo, Portland/U.S. Army; Ryan Hill, Bowerman Track Club; Eric Jenkins, Nike Oregon Project and former UO
10,000: Hassan Mead, Oregon Track Club Elite
Steeplechase: Evan Jager, Bowerman Track Club
Shot put: Ryan Crouser, former Barlow High
Javelin: *Cyrus Hostetler, former UO
Long jump: *Damarcus Simpson, UO
*Going into this week, Hostetler and Simpson still needed to meet the world championship qualifying standard in their respective events.
100: Deajah Stevens, Ariana Washington, UO
200: Stevens, UO
400: Phyllis Francis, former UO
5,000: Shelby Houlihan, Bowerman Track Club; Shannon Rowbury, Nike Oregon Project
10,000: Emily Infeld, Bowerman Track Club
Steeplechase: Courtney Francis, Colleen Quigley, Bowerman Track Club