Saturday, February 6, 2010

Where Are They Now? A tour of where Paintball used to be.

In doing some research for some writing on the Paintball industry in and around Portland, Oregon, I decided to take a field trip around the city to see what has been going on with the local Paintball businesses.  Not really knowing where to start, I picked up the latest copy of a leading Paintball magazine (The title will not be named here so as not to step on anyone's toes, but you may be able to find a copy of it yourself at your local Fred Meyer) and turned to the Field and Store directory at the back of the mag.  I also did a quick Google search for "Paintball, Portland, Oregon" and jotted down another couple of businesses names & addresses from and  I grabbed my Droid, my keys, my husband (I figured between the Droid and my husband I couldn't get lost) and off I went to explore.

Unfortunately, what I found were a lot of locked doors, and buildings that had been converted for new uses (or demolished altogether).  Here are the names and addresses I researched, and what you will find if you go there.

Stop #1: Xtremez Paintball, Tualatin
Address: 7060 Southwest Nyberg Street; Tualatin, OR 97062
Phone: (503) 692-8726

While this shop is still here, and appears to still be functioning as a Paintball store, when I stopped by the doors were locked.  Merchandise was scattered all around the store, the lights were on, but no one was home.  I hung around for a few minutes, thinking maybe the person on-duty had taken a break but no one came back.  The sign stated that the store is open from 10AM to 6PM on Sunday, and I was there right about 11:30.  The good news is that their website is open 24/7.  Maybe I'll go there next time.

Stop #2: Hit N Run Paintball
Address: 8900 SW Commercial St.; Tigard, OR 97223
Phone: Disconnected.

My first disappointment for the day, Hit N Run is listed as being a full service store with an indoor field through  It doesn't look like Paintball has been played there in some time though since the whole building has been converted to a ballroom.  I considered signing up for some classes though, might make me more fluid and graceful on the playing field!

Stop #3: Paintball Station
Address: 11680 SW Pacific Highway; Tigard, OR 97223
Phone: Number is now a fax line for some other business.

This one gave me quite the runaround.  I could not for the life of me find a building marked "11680".  It's as if it didn't exist, or if perhaps it is a magic building like in that Harry Potter book where the house is sandwiched between two other houses and can only be revealed if you have the secret passcode or spell or something.  Maybe if I wasn't such a Muggle I would have been able to find it.  Or maybe it's being guarded by some Leprechaun at the end of a rainbow?  The day was too overcast for the rainbow to appear so I didn't know where to look.  I was all kinds of befuddled and finally gave up looking for it after taking several passes on Pacific Highway.  

At the end of the day while recounting my adventures to my Mom (of all people), she told me that she remembers the building that used to be there 10 years ago... but that it was demolished.  No bueno.

Stop #4: Paintball Station
Address: 9123 SW Barbur Blvd.; Portland, OR 97219
Phone: Disconnected.

At this point, I was feeling discouraged but decided to venture on.  I was able to find the building this time, and even took a picture of it.  The space is occupied, but is no longer a Paintball store.  No, it is now a Somali Community Services Coalition location.  Not quite what I had been expecting.  (And oh yeah, that's my reflection in the window!)

Stop #5: Fury PB
Address: 14110 SE McLoughlin Boulevard
Phone: Disconnected

This time, I was at least able to poke around for a little while.  Where Fury PB once lived, there is now an entire complex of Pawn Shop.  At least I think it is one Pawn Shop.  You can sell things on one side of the complex and buy them on the other.  The center units appear to be used as storage for either end of the Pawn process.  On the "Buy" side, there were a couple containers of paint for blow-guns and a lone Brass Eagle marker peering down from one of the shelves near the entrance.  Not Fury PB, but they had a cool drum set for sale.

Last stop: Oregon Paintball
Address: 40 NW 2nd Street; Gresham, OR
Phone: (503)666-7930

By now I was thinking that Paintball was dead and gone from the Portland area, but I decided to give this one last shop a look.  For a moment, I felt like the M&M's in that Christmas commercial where they come out into the living room and see Santa and the red one says "He does exist!" And then Santa says, "They do exist!" and then they both feint and the Yellow M&M is left standing there looking all kinds of confused.  

Oregon Paintball is alive and well.  Unfortunately for me, they close on Sundays at 3pm (They are open Monday - Saturday 11-6) and I didn't arrive until 3:40.  But peering in the windows, the shop looks fully stocked and ready for action.  I plan on heading back out to see these guys on a day when I'm not wasting time driving all across town.

And so ends my day of driving the city searching for Paintball.  It was a great adventure, and we only got lost once!

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