The future of the Blazers doesn't just depend on better basketball management.
I have been a die-hard Blazer fan for the last 22 years. I've gone to games since 2001. Last year, I finally had the opportunity to get season tickets.
Now I'm no longer going to any games in person. Why? Because I no longer feel safe in the area at night.
Like many other fans, I took public transit to get to Moda Center. It's convenient--no parking. Others may be fine with trying to get out of the crowded garages--not me.
After last night's game (1/5 loss to Miami), I was waiting for the next MAX Orange Line train home. On the platform, a transient woman started wielding a long, metallic pole at someone else. I left the scene and got an expensive Lyft ride out of the area.
When I got home, I sold all of my remaining tickets. I don't care whether or not I get any money from them.
For me, the question is not whether that incident is normal for Portland or any big city. The question is whether I should even have to worry about my physical and mental well-being when going to a game.
This is on the city of Portland. When it comes to the future of the Blazers, I'm much more worried about the city's actions than any basketball-related problem the Blazers have.
All I hear from Portland's leaders are empty promises to clean up the city. All I see is lawlessness, not actual results. I really don't think it's a coincidence that I never witnessed anything like this until 2022.
To be clear, I didn't see anyone actually get hurt that night.
But what about future nights?
We are talking bad publicity for the Blazers and for the city if anyone actually gets hurt from a similar situation. We are talking even lower attendance figures, which are already way under what we're all used to.
We seriously could see the Blazers leave town altogether. Because why would any sane owner keep them in a city where the fans don't feel safe around their own arena, and no longer go to games?
It'll be interesting to see if any city officials actually care enough to address this problem, not just promise to fix it without actually doing anything.
Meanwhile, I've done my part. I sent a message to Ticket Services. I submitted a letter to the editor of The Oregonian (we'll see if it actually gets published). Please understand, I don't want my favorite team to leave Portland. Rather, I was worried that if I didn't say something, they might leave.
For now, please just be safe, everyone. Do what you need to do. Leave the area, call the police, whatever you need to do if you go to games at Moda anytime soon.
And if you want the Blazers to remain in Portland, please, please don't be afraid to also speak up.