The New Portland Trailblazers

As I was walking to work last week I passed a guy all decked out from head to ankle in Blazers gear. I would say head to toe, but he was not wearing Blazers shoes though his black sneakers did fit right in. I remember back when it was not unusual to see folks sportin’ Blazers gear. I like that I am seeing it more and more.

I suspect the dark days of the Blazers are over for now. The team is on the right track. Players are pulling together, the team is winning more games, the fans are coming back and the blazers just drafted Greg Oden. As a season ticket holder I welcome these changes. I’m looking forward to the next several seasons.

For Eliot this increased interest may mean an increase in the side-effects of the Blazers being so close to our neighborhood. On game days southern Eliot neighbors deal with parking issues, noise and increased litter. To some, living so close to the Blazers is a dreadful problem that starts up every Fall. However there is a bright side.

As the closest neighborhood to the stadium there’s opportunity for the Eliot neighborhood. The portion of the Lloyd District that is home to the Rose Garden doesn’t offer much beyond the stadium itself. However, Eliot does. Can Eliot business find a way to prosper from the increased interest in the Blazers?

Not to long ago Billy Reeds found a way. Even though the restaurant was about a mile away on the corner of Graham and MLK, they were able to attract a lot of Blazer fans. How? Fans would stop in for happy hour prior to the game, then get a free ride to the game on the Billy Bus.

Can our restaurants on Russell near MLK benefit? How about those right on the Yellow Max line in the Lower Albina area? Could future restaurants in the SW corner of Eliot start appearing? Imagine how nice it would be to clean up that portion of the neighborhood.

Not only does business benefit, but neighbors have a benefit too. On nice fall and spring days, and the occasional nice winter day I walk to the Blazers games. If I’m not walking it’s a very short bus ride on 4, 33 or 44. Having the stadium a hop skip and jump away is on the long list of reasons why I like this neighborhood. I enjoy seeing all the suburbanites get on the Max knowing I will be home in 10 minutes or less and it’s significantly longer for them.

The Blazers’ regular season starts right around Halloween. There are still season tickets available, but over the next few years they may be harder and harder to come by. Visit blazers.com for more information. For a map of restaurants in Eliot Neighborhood see the Food and Drink Interactive Map . Go Blazers!

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