The LPGA’s Cambia Classic in Portland will no longer be played at the same course in Portland. At least, not this year.
That’s because a large homeless encampment surrounding the parking lot at Columbia Edgewater Country Club is forcing the mid-September event to move to the Oregon Golf Club in West Linn, Ore.
How bad have things gotten in the homeless area in the Columbia Edgewater parking lot? Well, the Oregonian described it as “dotted with run-down RVs, trailers, tents, makeshift housing structures and mounds of rubble and garbage.” Oh, and there have also been gunshots nearly every night.
The LPGA informed players of the change in a memo earlier this week, per GolfWeek. The Classic is celebrating its 50th year in Portland.
“It was a really tough decision,” said Tom Maletis, president of Tournament Golf Foundation, the Portland-based nonprofit organization that runs the event, via the Oregonian. “We are frustrated and disappointed about the move. But it’s just something that we feel is best for the tournament and everyone involved.”
Portland was once considered a beautiful place that was well worth a visit. But times have changed over the past year or so.
“The exodus delivers another hit to the Portland sports landscape, which, over the last year, has lost much of its cachet as a growing sporting destination,” the Oregonian wrote. “In October, the NCAA denied Portland’s bid to host the Women’s Final Four, reportedly because of concerns about the state of downtown and the city’s declining national image. Also, sources say, the city’s pursuit of a Major League Baseball team has been damaged by the escalating homeless crisis.”
The Classic has also raised more than $18 million for Portland charities since 1972, per the Oregonian, “helping the Boys & Girls Club, Easterseals of Oregon, the Oregon Food Bank and others along the way.”
Maletis said organizers tried to make it work. They wanted to keep the Cambia Classic at Columbia Edgewater, but city officials, true to form, offered little support.
“We couldn’t get any guarantees that the situation would be cleaned up,” Maletis said. “… As much as we wanted to kind of hang tight and hope everything would be all right, we just didn’t really know.”