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LPGA pulls longest running non-major tournament from Portland, cites safety concerns

KATU Portland logo KATU Portland 6/22/2021 Genevieve Reaume, KATU Staff

The Cambia Portland Classic will celebrate 50 years this year, but the tournament won't be held in Portland. It's moving to West Linn.

The tournament, which is the longest running non-major competition on the LPGA tour, is traditionally held at the Columbia Edgewater Country Club. In a letter to members, the country club board president said the move is because of safety concerns.

"Their reason for departure center around the City of Portland’s response to safety and security around the city.  With LPGA players, Media, Sponsors, and thousands of spectators coming into town this fall, the tournament organizers had concerns about the safety of the city and opted to find a venue out of the city limits," Ken Smith said in the letter. "At this point, we are unsure about future years of the tournament and where it will be conducted. But we will keep you informed of any updates as we learn more in the coming months."

The tournament is now scheduled to be at the Oregon Golf Club Sept. 16 through Sept. 19.

“We’re pleased that the decision was made to keep the tournament in the greater Portland metropolitan area and look forward to its continuation in September 2021," Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler's office said in a statement. "We understand the tournament organizer’s concerns and we’re working to address those.”

The news  of the relocation hit the same weekend Travel Portland started a national advertisement campaign to encourage people to come to Portland. Travel Portland put a full-page ad in the Sunday New York Times telling people, "You've heard a lot about us lately. It's been a while since you've heard from us."

"I don't think there's a reason that people shouldn't come to Portland and see everything that we've got going on," Jeff Miller, the president and CEO of Travel Portland, said.

Caption: LPGA pulls longest running non-major tournament from Portland, cites safety concerns (KATU - 4 PM)

Despite the tumultuous past year, Miller says Portland is still a hot spot. 

"We know that on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, downtown had a 78% occupancy. That is phenomenal. So we are really encouraged about what the summer will be," Miller said.

Miller is estimating the area hits about 50% to 60% occupancy this summer, compared to a normal 80% to 90%.

When asked if he was concerned about events leaving the area, like the Cambia Portland Classic, Miller said he wasn't worried.

"We believe Portland is a safe and secure place and there's no reason to take your event anywhere but here," Miller said. "I have no concerns about safety in Portland."

Travel Portland also released the following statement:

We were disappointed to learn of the LPGA’s decision to relocate the Cambia Classic Tournament to another nearby golf course in Oregon. Of course, we respect their decision. Travel Portland works with the organizer to arrange hotel blocks and we still expect to see some business from the tournament. We hope they have a successful tournament and we will do everything we can to bring this tournament back to Portland next year.

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