harry merlo

Timbers, Pilots share a common denominator

Harry Merlo not only supported UP's program, he owned the Timbers
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

Harry Merlo.

The name is recognized for the University of Portland's prized soccer field (how many fields actually have grass on them anymore?), and as a supporter of sporting events in the 80s by Oregonians family with the state's history.

But, most people don't know of his history with the Portland Timbers - as owner for three seasons through through the lumber company Lousiana Pacific, which he was president of for 22 years.

With the team ready to fold, Merlo came to the rescue in 1980 and provided plenty of cash and optimism - including the franchises indoor team - in rollicking days of the North American Soccer League.

Portland had already established itself as Soccer City, USA, in the stands, and Merlo sought to take advantage of that on the field through signing European players. But, it didn't take and the team finished above .500 in just one of those three seasons. With the team unprofitable at the close of the '82 season, Merlo looked for a buyer but none arrived. The team folded.

The three extra years, though, helped Soccer City, USA, long into the future, though, as many influential figures in the Rose City's soccer history arrived, or remained here from their home bases in Great Britain.

The story of Portland's soccer roots are covered in 

Oregonsports Journal

 

Hall of Fame honors five greats

Ken Simonton leads the list of honorees
March 10, 2014 / Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

Ken Simonton said there was never any doubt he was going to attend "Tailback U" until Mike Riley called him during the offseason of 1997. Simonton was headed for Southern Cal, but changed his mind when USC assistant coach Mike Riley called him with a stunning message - he'd been hired as head coach at Oregon State.

"I knew right then I was going to Oregon State," Simonton said Monday. "I knew coach Riley would do great things there, and I wanted to be part of it."

Simonton related his story as part of the 2013/14 Oregon Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Multnomah Athletic Club. He joined the list of inductees along with longtime coaching great Barry Adams, bowler Dave Husted, women's basketball and volleyball standout Lindsey Yamasaki, and business leader Harry Merlo.

 

 

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