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The Civic Stadium was built by the Multnomah Amateur Athletic Club (MAC) — the word “Amateur” was eventually dropped from the name. The club, which catered to Portland’s affluent families, first leased the site and built a small grandstand there in 1893, calling it Multnomah Field. They expanded the athletic field several times over the years, and finally, in 1926 added the full-scale, 28,000-seat stadium.
Originally intended to house MAC events, the field hosted collegiate sports, cricket matches, the Rose Festival coronation, dog racing, and in 1923, even a Fourth of July appearance by President Warren G. Harding. A crowd of 25,000 to 30,000 supporters attended Harding’s speech, as did dozens of disillusioned Wobblies, who were arrested for distributing handbills during the president’s speech.
Before the MAC developed the site as an athletic field, it was a large Chinese vegetable garden, supplying produce to much of Portland. In 1966, the City of Portland bought the field, which underwent a major renovation in 1995 and reopened as PGE Park.
The Oregon Journal, December 3, 1979
MacColl, E. Kimbark. The Growth of a City: Power and Politics in Portland, Oregon 1915-1950. Portland, Oreg. 1977.
The Oregonian, May 23, 1966
Written by Trudy Flores, Sarah Griffith, Oregon Historical Society, 2002.