Lincoln’s struggle to get field space for athletes


Keira Saavedra

Lincoln athletes struggle due to a lack of tennis courts and softball and baseball fields.

Keira Saavedra

In 2017 Portland Public School (PPS) voters passed a bond measure so that PPS could renovate old school facilities and build new ones. Lincoln’s new building was funded by that bond measure. Even with this rebuild, there is no room to expand or add outdoor athletic facilities such as tennis and softball due to the downtown location of the school.  

The new building comes with many upgrades to athletic facilities such as multiple gyms, a wrestling room and a dance room. Unfortunately, sports such as softball, baseball and tennis were excluded from upgrades. This exclusion brings to question the effects the lack of space has on athletes as well as how having a school downtown can impact certain sports that require larger amounts of space. 

Lincoln Athletic Director Jessica Russell recognizes the struggle with finding space for athletics on a downtown campus. 

“Being downtown, you are more confined or constrained and we don’t have a park right next to our campus like many of the other schools,” said Russell. “Even though it feels like they have all those facilities on their campus it technically isn’t.”

Lincoln has never had its own softball and baseball fields or tennis courts. Many other PPS high schools such as Roosevelt and Ida B. Wells have softball, baseball and tennis courts on campus. While McDaniel and Jefferson have on campus baseball and softball fields, they do not have tennis courts on campus. Franklin, Benso, and Cleveland use parks within walking distance of the school for practices.

Lincoln Principal Peyton Chapman sees the impact that the lack of space has on the Lincoln community. 

It is inequitable that Lincoln High School (LHS) athletes have fewer places to practice and play, and it is also inequitable when LHS teams have to displace other schools’ teams, especially teams that have more historically underserved students. Adding a field helps all students in PPS compete with student athletes at suburban and rural schools,” said Chapman. 

Sophomore Mia Maycumber plays on Lincoln’s softball team. She and her teammates have often had issues with the travel time it takes to get to practices and competitions. 

“Sometimes it can be stressful, and I know it affects my teammates even more. Some of them take Ubers to the games and practices and worry about being on time. When you don’t get to the games on time you feel out of place and unready,” said Maycumber. 

Chapman said Lincoln and PPS are working to try and create a space closer to campus for softball and baseball so that they do not have to travel as far.  

“We are working with PPS to add a multi-purpose field at West Sylvan [Middle School], which is the only site owned by PPS where an added field could be built within the LHS cluster. We are hopeful we will have funding and approval by August to move forward with the design process,” said Chapman.