Members of the Portland Thorns, seen from behind, raise their arms together in front of fans in stands

The Thorns salute fans in the North End after their victory over Kansas City April 9. The traditional supporters section will be a lot more packed the next time they host KC, on June 20, after Providence Park starts allowing 80 percent capacity.

Providence Park is returning to almost normal, with the Portland Timbers and Thorns announcing today that the stadium will welcome fans at 80 percent capacity starting June 19. The Timbers face Sporting Kansas City that evening at 7:30, and the Thorns play Kansas City’s NWSL team at 1 p.m. on June 20. Everyone 16 and older must show proof of vaccination. Masks will not be required within the park, but they will be “encouraged” for unvaccinated attendees under 16, according to a June 3 news release from the teams. In addition, masks are "recommended" in restrooms and other indoor spaces “for the comfort of others.” 

“As our community continues the path back to normalcy, having our fans safely back in their seats in support of our clubs and each other is a moment that will be very special for us,” Mike Golub, the teams’ president of business, stated in the news release. “Should the state meet the 70 percent vaccinated benchmark before June 19 as expected and we are allowed full capacity without restrictions, we will reevaluate the vaccine mandate, but in either event we will follow CDC guidance that continues to tout the safety of outdoor gatherings with high community vaccination rates.”

A digital photo on a mobile device or a photocopy of a CDC vaccination card will be accepted as proof of vaccination, or the original card itself, showing the person is at least two weeks past the second dose of a two-shot series or the lone dose for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Orange zip ties on stadium seats, with the soccer pitch visible below

At the Portland Thorns–OL Reign game on May 23, zip ties helped mark off the distanced pods of available seats.

Season ticket holders, who were previously invited to purchase groups of distanced seats using their ticket funds held since last year, will return to their regular seats. Even with one seat out of every five left vacant, the allowed capacity is roughly 20,000, allowing for a larger crowd that many MLS and NWSL stadiums can hold at all.

The fan presence after June 19 will be a dramatic shift from the partial-capacity games so far this spring, starting with the Thorns’ April 9 Challenge Cup opener, also against Kansas City. On that night, there was no red smoke to accompany the two goals that secured the Portland victory—none of the usual smoke operators were available, one mentioned later, with none fully vaccinated yet.

The teams said other recent changes at the park, including paperless ticketing, mobile ordering options and cashless concessions, and a clear-bags-only policy, will remain in effect “indefinitely.”