Homeless encampment drives Cambia Portland Classic to new venue for safety reasons

·2 min read

The Cambia Portland Classic debuted in 1972. Kathy Whitworth won the first two editions, followed by JoAnne Carner and a who’s who of legends over the past five decades.

Columbia Edgewater Country Club has been the event’s home for the majority of that time. This year, the LPGA’s longest-running non-major event is set to celebrate 50 years in mid-September. Only it won’t be at Columbia Edgewater.

A large homeless encampment now surrounds the parking lot that nearly everyone who comes to the event utilizes, and tournament organizers felt it necessary to move the event for health and safety reasons.

LPGA officials informed players of the change earlier this week in a memo.

“It was a real tough decision,” said Tom Maletis, president of the Tournament Golf Foundation.

Next week, LPGA officials will make a site visit to Oregon Golf Club in West Linn, which is slated to host the event in 2021 with options for an extension.

A story in The Oregonian described the area near the club down Northeast 33rd Drive as “dotted with run-down RVs, trailers, tents, makeshift housing structures and mounds of rubble and garbage.” For a time, gunshots were heard almost nightly, Lisa Larson, who serves as vice chair at nearby Dignity Village, told The Oregonian.

Maletis said he worked with the Port of Portland and the City of Portland for months, hoping to get word that conditions would improve in time for the event.

“We couldn’t get any guarantees that the situation would be cleaned up,” he said.

Stacy Lewis, the 2017 Portland champ, said she was very surprised by the news earlier this week.

“I love that golf course,” said 2020 winner Georgia Hall, “and obviously I won ’round there. It’s a shame they have to move it, but I understand why.”

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