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STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series coming to Oregon State Fair

The Oregon State Fair in Salem will host the U.S. championships of the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series this August, with competitions that test top lumberjacks in chopping, sawing and speed climbing.

The series’ quarterfinals, semifinals, U.S. professional championship and collegiate championship will run during the fair’s opening weekend: Friday, Aug. 27, through Sunday, Aug. 29.

Athletes from other countries will also compete in the professional competitions, which include lumberjacks wielding souped-up chainsaws, hand saws and axes, and climbing 60-foot poles. Another event features women darting across bobbing logs in a 70-foot-long pool.

STIHL, an outdoor powertool maker, bills the competition as the “premier lumberjack sporting event in the world.” It’s the 25th season of the TIMBERSPORTS series, which has expanded to 19 countries and is televised on ESPN2.

The event has never been held in Oregon, said Drew Mahalic, CEO of the Oregon Sports Authority, which helped bring the championships to the state fair. “We’re hoping it finds a home here because it just makes so much sense for it to be in Oregon.”

— OregonLive.com, February 28, 2010

USA Cycling awards Masters Road National Championships to Bend

USA Cycling has awarded the 2011 and 2012 Masters Road National Championships to Bend. Following the city’s successful hosting of the Elite/U23/Juniors Road and the Cyclo-cross National Championships, the cycling hotbed is now poised to host another round of the nation’s best. Held in Louisville, Kentucky 2008 through 2010, the USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships are scheduled to go off in Bend, Aug. 30 – Sept. 4, 2011 and August 27 – Sept. 2, 2012.

The two-year agreement between USA Cycling, the sport’s national governing body, and Visit Bend is expected to bring more than 800 competitors and 2,500 visitors to the Pacific Northwestern city for seven days of racing leading up to the Labor Day Weekend. Bend expects to continue to enjoy a significant economic impact in conjunction with the cycling championships. According to a study by Oregon State University, the two USA Cycling National Championship events hosted by the city in 2009 brought Bend $2.5 million dollars in direct tourist spending.

“The National Championships we hosted here in 2009 left no doubt in USA Cycling’s mind that Bend’s enthusiasm for and appreciation of competitive cycling makes it unlike any other destination in the country,” said Doug LaPlaca, president and CEO of Visit Bend. “It is our goal to turn that enthusiasm into a long-term partnership that provides USA Cycling with consistently world-class championships, while providing Bend with a substantial amount of visitation tourism spending during traditionally slow times of the year.”

In 2009, Bend hosted the USA Cycling Elite, Junior and U23 Road National Championships, as well as the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships. Both events will return to Bend in 2010.

“In hosting the 2009 USA Cycling National Championships Bend showcased an entire community who passionately embraces the sport of cycling and its various disciplines as a lifestyle,” said Steve Johnson, CEO of USA Cycling. “That type of support is critical to growing the sport across the country and is a large reason why Bend was awarded the Masters Road National Championships for 2011 and 2012.”

Portland Triathlon the “Greenest Race” – Triathlete magazine

The Freshwater Trust Portland Triathlon has been named the “Greenest Race in the World” by Triathlete magazine in its March 2010 issue. Citing integral race elements like bamboo bike racks, a “living finish line,” and non-toxic body marking performed by the Portland Society of Calligraphy, Triathlete put the event at the top of its list of ten standout international triathlons.

The Freshwater Trust Portland Triathlon made its debut in 2007 and will be held for the fourth time on August 22, 2010 in downtown Portland. Organizers made a commitment to social and environmental responsibility from the outset, pledging to minimize the event’s footprint while upholding a high standard of excellence for each participant. In three years the event has been named an Editor’s Pick for “Best New Races” by Inside Triathlon magazine, one of “21 Must-Do Triathlons” by Bicycling magazine, and one of the “10 Greenest Races” (and the only triathlon listed) by Runners World magazine. The event has been recognized as a model of sustainable event production by the City of Portland’s Office of Sustainable Development and lauded by USA Triathlon, the national governing body for the sport.

The Freshwater Trust Portland Triathlon earned distinction from Triathlete by introducing innovative green practices and products. The event was the first in the country to directly integrate carbon offsets into the online registration process, reducing the impact of participant travel on global climate change. In 2009, through a special project with Nike, the triathlon became the first event to provide swim caps made from recycled silicone. This year, the event will offer the first recyclable bib numbers. And in 2007, the triathlon hosted the first all-naturopathic medical tent in addition to traditional emergency medical services.

The Freshwater Trust Portland Triathlon has spurred the development of both an environmental non-profit and a city-wide festival. The Council for Responsible Sport (CRS) was founded following the first edition of the triathlon in 2007 to administer a sustainability certification for sporting events. Modeled off the LEED standards for green building, CRS enables event directors to incorporate environmental responsibility into their events while informing consumers which events adhere to rigorous standards.

RiverFest, a city-wide festival celebrating the Willamette River, was founded by organizers of the Freshwater Trust Portland Triathlon in 2008 to bring increased attention and resources to rehabilitation of the waterway flowing through the middle of Portland. The festival’s motto of “Respect – Reconnect – Renew” epitomizes efforts to restore the Willamette to a place of prominence in city life.

Governor Kulongoski to join Winter Celebration at the Square

Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski will join Oregon Olympians and Paralympians Friday evening at the Oregon Sports Authority’s “Winter Celebration at the Square,” a free public viewing event featuring the broadcast of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games Opening Ceremony on two giant LCD screens at Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square. Prior to the Opening Ceremony broadcast, Governor Kulongoski will give remarks on the spirit of the Olympics and what it means for Oregonians to have this year’s Games in the Pacific Northwest.

“It will be an honor to share the stage at Pioneer Courthouse Square with distinguished Olympians and Paralympians from Oregon,” said Governor Kulongoski. “Gathering together in Portland’s ‘living room’ to watch the Opening Ceremonies is quintessentially Oregonian.”

Following Governor Kulongoski’s speech, Oregon Olympians and Paralympians, including decathlete Dave Johnson and snowboarder Lisa Kosglow, who was recently named president of the Oregon Chapter of U.S. Olympians, will share memories of their unique Olympic experiences with the crowd. Portland Trailblazers founding broadcaster/ambassador Bill Schonely will also be on hand.

“Winter Celebration at the Square” is being organized by the Oregon Sports Authority, through fundraising and generous sponsorships.

The live event program with Governor Kulongoski and Oregon Olympians and Paralympians will begin at 7:30 p.m. Local Olympic programming on KGW NewsChannel 8 will begin at 5:00 p.m. on the LCD screens at Pioneer Square. NBC’s broadcast of the Vancouver 2010 Opening Ceremony will begin at approximately 9:00 p.m.

In addition to the broadcast, the Oregon Sports Authority is providing complimentary warm drinks, live music performed by Portland reggae band Rhythm Culture and great prize giveaways throughout the evening.

Destination Races introduces Wine Country Half Marathon

Destination Races, LLC is expanding its popular Wine Country Half Marathon Series to Oregon. The fourth, and newest, edition to this series, the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon, will be held on September 5, 2010 with activities planned throughout the Labor Day weekend.

The event features a bucolic 13.1 mile course starting at Stoller Vineyards and Winery in Dundee. Runners then wind through the heart of the Willamette Valley, finishing in the town of Carlton where the Wine & Music Festival is held from 9:00am to Noon. Local wineries will be pouring at the festival which also features the race awards ceremony, live band, exhibitor booths, and beer and food garden. The festival is co-sponsored by Ken Wright Cellars and the Willamette Valley Wineries Association.

The Race Expo is held on Saturday from 10:00am to 6:00pm at The Allison Inn, a luxury resort located in Newberg. Open to the public, the expo features exhibitor booths, packet pickup for runners, informational seminars and a wine and food tasting hosted by Chehalem Mountain Winegrowers.

According to Matt Dockstader, founder of Destination Races, the event is positioned to introduce the Oregon wine country to a whole new market. “This area is very picturesque, the wines are outstanding and best of all, the people here are so warm and welcoming.” Dockstader added, “I really believe this is going to be one of the premier destination races in the country and if the other Wine Country Half Marathons are any indication of what’s to come, Oregon wine country can see a measurable boost in tourism that weekend due to the event.”

The Oregon Sports Authority played a leading role in bringing the event to Oregon and facilitated introduction to event partners, making it possible for a 2010 event to come to fruition. “We’re delighted to help bring the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon to the Yamhill Valley,” said Drew Mahalic, CEO of the Oregon Sports Authority. “It’s a chance to share two of Oregon’s greatest passions — wine and running — with visitors coming to participate from across the country.”

Destination Races also produces the Napa-to-Sonoma, Santa Barbara and Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathons in California. These boutique-style events draw runners from all over the country and are limited to 3,000 runners or less, usually selling out well in advance of the race. The Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon also offers a team competition and a 2-person relay.

Elite runners will compete for $2,000 in prize money sponsored by West Coast Bank, plus Ball Watches and magnums of wine. Each participant receives a technical running shirt, colorful finisher’s medal, and logo wine glass. Top three finishers in each age category win a bottle of wine and other awards. The Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon is limited to 2,000 participants in its inaugural year. Registration is currently open and can be accessed on the event website at www.run4oregonwine.com. For more information on the event series, visit www.destinationraces.com.

Portland goes for the gold with local links to Vancouver events

Athletes are gearing up, organizers are planning to use artificial snow and the 21st Winter Olympics are set to kick off with the opening ceremonies Friday, Feb. 12, in Vancouver, British Columbia.

It’s the closest the Olympics have been to Portland, but if you don’t have a ticket to any events, a couple hundred hours of television coverage will be provided by NBC and other networks (see day-by-day list on page 4). NBC’s 17-day coverage, aired locally on KGW (8), begins with opening ceremonies at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12.

— Excerpt from the Portland Tribune, February 4, 2010

Portland Timbers officially launch MLS work

As Merritt Paulson faced 50 PGE Park employees Thursday morning in the first official staff meeting of the Major League Soccer Portland Timbers, he spoke in grand terms of the franchise that begins play in 2011.

“This is bigger than the Pacific Northwest being the hub of soccer in North America,” Paulson said. “This is about soccer finally taking hold in the country. You know, for years people have asked, ‘When will the world’s biggest sport finally matter in America? When will all those kids who play soccer actually watch soccer?’ And I tell you that that time is now.

— Excerpt from OregonLive.com, February 4, 2010

eUpdate – Winter Celebration at the Square, MLS Finalized, Wine Country Half Marathon

The Oregon Sports Authority is pleased to announce “Winter Celebration at the Square,” a free public viewing event of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games Opening Ceremony at Pioneer Square on Friday, February 12. You’re invited to join in the spirit of the Olympics as the square is transformed into the ultimate living room setting for winter sports enthusiasts, complete with two giant LCD screens, interviews with Oregon Olympians, live music, warm drinks and a hockey goal-scoring challenge. Plus, enter now for a chance to win a trip to see the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony!

Click below to view the entire Oregon Sports Authority eUpdate.

Finally, MLS comes to Portland

In big Timbers news, the Portland City Council provided their official approval of the operating deal between the city and Peregine Sports to bring MLS to the Rose City. The resolution passed by a four to one vote, with Commissioner Amanda Fritz providing the single no vote. She cited concerns about the deal’s effect on the spectator fund and using the funds for other uses, although Commissioner Randy Leonard later refuted most of her arguments. Further items that passed included approval of the initial construction agreement, approval of the zoning changes for PGE Park, and approval of an agreement with Ball Janik LLP to provide consulting services on the stadium redesign. Paulson signed his portions of the agreement this morning, putting the wheels in motion for Portland Timbers MLS to start in 2011.

— Excerpt from OregonLive.com, February 3, 2010

Join the Oregon Sports Authority’s Winter Celebration at the Square

The Oregon Sports Authority is pleased to announce “Winter Celebration at the Square,” a free public viewing event of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games Opening Ceremony at Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square on Friday, February 12. The spirit of the Olympics will extend from one Northwest city to another as Pioneer Square is transformed into the ultimate living room setting for winter sports enthusiasts, complete with two giant LCD screens, interviews with Oregon Olympians, live music, warm drinks and a hockey goal-scoring challenge.

Local Olympic programming on KGW NewsChannel 8 will begin at 5:00 p.m. on the big screens at Pioneer Square, followed by a live event program from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., featuring introductions of Oregon Olympians and Paralympians, and several exciting prize giveaways. NBC’s broadcast of the Vancouver 2010 Opening Ceremony will begin at approximately 9:00 p.m.

The Oregon Sports Authority invites the public to join in the festivities leading up to the celebration by entering for a chance to win a trip to see the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony at kgw.com. The winner will be announced at Pioneer Square on the evening of February 12.

“Given our proximity to Vancouver, B.C., we decided to provide Oregonians with the opportunity to come together and celebrate the Olympic Games being in this part of the world,” said Oregon Sports Authority CEO Drew Mahalic. “The Olympics are the absolute pinnacle of sport and the Opening Ceremony is always a magical night so we hope people enjoy the chance to come downtown and share in the experience together.”

Nearly four years ago, the Oregon Sports Authority hosted a very successful World Cup Soccer public viewing event at Pioneer Square. Well over 10,000 fans came to watch the semifinals and final, jamming Pioneer Square and electrifying downtown Portland. The Oregon Sports Authority is pleased to once again provide the chance for people to come together and witness one of the world’s greatest sports spectacles.