The Columbia Edgewater Country Club has been a longtime host of the Cambia Portland Classic, but a rise in homelessness around the property was a concern for tournament organizers, who elected to move the September event to the Oregon Golf Club in West Linn, Ore. “[The organizers’] reason for departure centers around the City of Portland’s response to safety and security around the city,” Columbia Edgewater CC’s President wrote in a message to members.
The Cambia Portland Classic, an annual stop on the LPGA Tour, won’t be contested at the Columbia Edgewater Country Club this September because the tournament organizers believe nearby homeless camps have made the club unsafe, Willamette Week reported. The club’s Board President Ken Smith announced that the hosts would instead be moving the tournament to the Oregon Golf Club in West Linn.
Smith wrote to members on June 20 that the Tournament Golf Foundation “had concerns about the safety of the city and opted to find a venue out of the city limits,” Willamette Week reported.
“Their reason for departure centers around the City of Portland’s response to safety and security around the city,” Smith wrote, but declined to disclose any details about specific concerns.
But the event’s organizers, Tournament Golf Foundation, were more forthcoming, Willamette Week reported. They said the safety risk came from nearby homeless camps.
“Portland has experienced a rise in houselessness, including the areas surrounding Edgewater,” the foundation wrote in an e-mail to players in the tournament. “With respect to the health and safety of LPGA players, staff, fans and local community, TGF has elected to relocate the tournament for 2021.”
Portland mayoral aide Sam Adams told Willamette Week he met with the Tournament Golf Foundation about a month ago, and it relayed that the LPGA had “expressed concerns about the safety of the surrounding area, the houseless camps and the fact that the camps were in very rough shape.”
Adams, who oversees homeless policies for Mayor Ted Wheeler, said “they wanted to know why the city wasn’t doing anything about it … If you’ve been out there, it’s rough. We need to address those kinds of issues not only for any potential conflict but because folks in those areas are living in squalor.”
Adams said the TGF did not expressly ask the city to move or clean up the camps, Willamette Week reported.
“They felt that the need to clean things up and the size of the issue was too great and an undue burden that the city was facing,” so they decided to move it outside of the city, Adams said.
Much of the land where the camps are located is Port of Portland property, which the city will at times take liberty to clean, Willamette Week reported. Smith said the future of the tournament returning to Edgewater is uncertain.
Adams told Willamette Week, “We’re going to work hard to get next year’s event back at Edgewater.”
The LPGA and Tournament Golf Foundation did not respond to a request for comment, Willamette Week reported.