Portland's loss is West Linn's gain.
The Cambia Portland Classic is changing its location for this year's LPGA tournament — moving from Portland's Columbia Edgewater Country Club to West Linn's Oregon Golf Club — over concerns about nearby homeless camps in Northeast Portland.
The tournament director told KOIN 6 News they decided to relocate the 2021 tournament — the longest-running non-major tournament on the LPGA tour is set for Sept. 16-19 — to Oregon Golf Club due to Portland's rise in homelessness, including the area surrounding Columbia Edgewater. Tournament organizers also cite the health and safety of the LPGA players, staff, fans and local community as additional reasons for the move.
With thousands of people coming to Portland for the tournament each year, the tournament has faced increasing safety concerns because of people living near the parking lots used for the event.
Tom Maletis, the president of the Tournament Golf Foundation, the non-profit that runs the Cambria Portland Classic, noted this is a special year for the tournament.
"We've been at Columbia Edgewater for over 30 years of our 50 years of existence … and now we are going to the Oregon Golf Club," Maletis said, adding that the tournament had also been played at Pumpkin Ridge and Portland Golf Club. "It was a very tough decision … since Columbia Edgewater has been such a big part of our past tournaments and things."
But after looking at the situation and talking with people, tournament organizers opted to move to West Linn for this year.
"Around the adjacent area of Columbia Edgewater ... there's been a rise in houselessness. There's been a lot of safety issues, health issues that we had with that area being so close to the course," Maletis said.
Maletis noted that not far from the main entrance to Columbia Edgewater on Northeast 33rd Avenue is a stretch between Marine Drive and Columbia Boulevard that he said "has been one of the worst in Portland. We've been really concerned about it because within a few hundred feet of the encampments area and a lot of the people is where 95% of our spectators, players, staff and everyone come into the Columbia Edgewater facility."
Before making their decision, Maletis said they spoke with the LPGA, the city of Portland, the Port of Portland and Columbia Edgewater officials. Because it takes months of planning, Maletis said they needed to make a decision now.
West Linn Community Relations Coordinator Alicia Shroyer said they are very excited to have the Portland Classic in West Linn.
"This tournament has had a strong presence in the Portland metro area for the past 50 years and we can't wait to welcome the LPGA Tour and their supportive fan base to our community," Shroyer said in a statement to KOIN 6 News.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said the city understood the reasoning behind the tournament's move.
"We're pleased that the decision was made to keep the tournament in the greater Portland metropolitan area and look forward to its continuation in September 2021. We understand the tournament organizer's concerns and we're working to address those," Wheeler said.
The 72-hole tournament has a $1.4 million purse and will be broadcast live on the Golf Channel. Oregon Golf Club is located at 25700 S.W. Petes Mountain Road.
KOIN 6 is a news partner of Pamplin Media Group.
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