Portland Timbers are an American professional soccer club, competes in Major League Soccer (MLS) as a member club of the league’s Western Conference. The Timbers have played their home games at Providence Park since 2011. The history of the Portland Timbers stretches back to the spring of 1975 when the original Timbers club joined the North American Soccer League. The team folded at the end of the 1982 season as player salaries outpaced team revenue. Within three years, the sports organization came back as FC Portland Timbers and formed the Western Soccer Alliance (starting from 1986 – Western Soccer League).
In 1989, Art Dixon, a local businessman, took control of FC Portland and renamed it the Portland Timbers. In 1990, the WSL announced it had reached a merger agreement with the American Soccer League. The new league was named the American Professional Soccer League, but the team played only one season in this league: in 1991. The team owner Art Dixon folded the team, having lost more than $500,000 over the two years he owned the team.
Another team’s return was in 2001, the team played in various leagues, including the USL First Division and the USSF Division 2 Professional League. On March 20, 2009, Don Garber, a Commissioner of Major League Soccer, announced the Portland franchise as Major League Soccer’s eighteenth team. Its owner was Peregrine Sports, LLC, a group led by Merritt Paulson.
The owner has been striving to join the Major League for a long time: he had to renovate the PGE Park stadium to get it. The nickname of the soccer club remained the same. The name was selected on March 8, 1975, from more than 3,000 entries in an open contest. The word “timbers” is related to the logging, which sustained the Portland’s economy in the 19th century.
Meaning and History
From 1975 to 1982, the team from NASL used various logos with the image of an ax inside the big circle. After the transition to the second level of the American Soccer Pyramid in the early 2000s, they unveiled the new logo – a triangular one with vertical green stripes and a white pine tree against the black background. However, it didn’t last long: in 2005, the logo went back to its origins.
2001 – 2004
2005 – 2010
2011 – 2015
The Portland Timbers’ MLS logo incorporates elements of the former USL design of Portland Timbers emblem. The circular shape represents unity, wholeness, and the pursuit of perfection. The white ax pays homage to the Pacific Northwest’s logging industry, as loggers traditionally used axes to cut down trees. There are three chevrons organized to resemble a pine tree.
The ax runs out of the circle – the lower part of the handle laps over the club nickname where all letters are uppercase. The word “Portland” is bigger than the word “Timbers.” It’s done on purpose to demonstrate the reference to the region. The Timbers logo also reflects the team’s colors, ponderosa green, and moss green, representing the state of Oregon’s forests.
2016 – 2018
The soccer team updated the logo in 2015 when it won the MLS Cup. Designers removed the inscription from the circle on the Portland Timbers logo – they kept only the ax designed as the letter “Т.” This is the reference to the word “Timbers.” Diagonal stripes are still reaching out for the ax. Their disposition has changed: they shifted lower and became continuous. A number of stripes (three on each side) represents the franchise’s membership in three leagues: NASL, USL, and MLS. The color scheme of the current Portland Timbers logo is the same as in the previous logo.