The women of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) don’t feel safe in Portland, Oregon, and have decided to move their tournament out of the city.
Thanks to the riots, the removal of $15 million from the Portland Police Bureau’s budget, a rise in homelessness, and a 52% increase in murders in 2020, one of Oregon’s longest annual golf events — the LPGA Cambia Portland Classic — has been moved from Portland to the Oregon Golf Club in nearby West Linn.
“It was a really tough decision,” said Tom Maletis, president of the Tournament Golf Foundation, the Portland-based nonprofit organization that runs the event. “We are frustrated and disappointed about the move. But it’s just something that we feel is best for the tournament and everyone involved.”
According to the organizers of the tournament, the decision was made because of safety concerns, as one of Portland’s largest homeless encampments is located near the Columbia Edgewater Country Club, a private golf club next to the Columbia River, where the event was to be held. The Daily Wire reports: “The encampment is located close to the entrance to the private golf club, surrounding a nearby parking lot where attendees, players, and media would park their vehicles for the tournament.”
The Oregonian states, “Both sides of 33rd (a nearby road) are dotted with run-down RVs, trailers, tents, makeshift housing structures, and mounds of rubble and garbage. As Portland’s homeless crisis has spiraled further out of control during the coronavirus pandemic, the stretch of road has quietly grown into one of the city’s largest encampments, transforming a tree-lined stretch with large bike lanes into an eyesore, fire hazard and — Portland Classic organizers say — a safety hazard.”
Organizers of the event had been working with city officials to come up with a solution to the problem, with the officials stating that they were hoping to have the area cleaned up before the LPGA event in September. As they were unable to get a guarantee that the area would be safe, the organizers decided to move the tournament.
“They gave us some positive feedback,” Maletis said. “It’s possible a solution could have come to fruition. But it wasn’t anything we could rely on and we were not completely convinced our concerns would be addressed and taken care of it. As much as we wanted to kind of hang tight and hope everything would be all right, we just didn’t really know.”
“With so much planning with the golf course and their staff‚” he continued, “and so much infrastructure that has to be completed, we were running up against a deadline to put on a first-class tournament and have time available to execute what has to be done to stage an event of this magnitude.”
Travel Portland released a statement following the news of the event being relocated:
“We were disappointed to learn of LPGA’s decision to relocate the Cambia Tournament to another nearby golf course in Oregon. Of course, we respect their decision. Travel Portland works with the organizer to arrange hotel blocks and we still expect to see some business from the tournament. We hope they have a successful tournament and we will do everything we can to bring this tournament back to Portland next year.”
The Cambia Tournament isn’t the first event to be effected by the ongoing chaos and lawlessness in Portland. Last year, the NCAA denied the city’s bid to host the Women’s Final Four, “citing concerns over the city’s declining image and the state of downtown Portland,” according to The Daily Wire.