Alpenrose and Baseball: The Severing of a Decades-Long Partnership


Photo by: Laif Kvarsten

Laif Kvarsten (he/him), Staff Writer

Situated between Shattuck and Oleson Road, Alpenrose Dairy has long been a fixture in the Southwest Portland community. As the only remaining dairy in an area where grazing cows was once ubiquitous, Alpenrose serves as a source of pride and a link to the past for Portlanders. The site is currently the location of Alpenrose’s milk processing operations, and has historically been the home of a velodrome, a quarter-midget racing track, a replica pioneer town, and three baseball fields.

But in 2019, the use of these facilities came to a halt. Alpenrose’s sale to Washington-based Kent Brothers, exacerbated in the coming years by the effects of the pandemic, resulted in the closure of nearly all of Alpenrose’s beloved community resources. For many Southwest Portland residents, nothing has stung more than the departure of both little league and highschool baseball. 

Since 1956, the fields at Alpenrose have hosted prominent baseball games, including the Little League Softball World Series—an event that drew fans from across the country. It was also the primary location for Oregon’s Little League District 4, a league that encompassed much of the then-Wilson district and the majority of Washington County. Jeremy Shetler, head baseball coach at Ida B. Wells, remembers his childhood playing time at Alpenrose fondly. “There wasn’t a better memory of baseball than those 7PM games at Alpenrose main field,” said Shetler. 

Alpenrose also sponsored Ida B. Wells’ American Legion summer team, the Alpenrose Red Sox, since the 1970s. The dairy had the distinction of being the longest running business sponsor of an American Legion team, and often helped cover costs associated with the summer team. These costs typically totalled $3000-4000, and included baseballs, uniforms, and umpires. Additionally, Alpenrose donated the milk and juice for Wells baseball’s annual pancake breakfast. The effects of Alpenrose’s beneficial partnership with the baseball program are hard to miss; featured on the baseball scoreboard at Ida B. Wells is a large Alpenrose logo, erected after the dairy helped the school cover the cost of a new scoreboard. 

In late November of 2022, Alpenrose officially announced what had been speculated for several years: the company has plans to move out of Southwest Portland after purchasing a new campus in Clackamas. According to Alpenrose, summer 2023 will see the beginning of the move to Clackamas. This move solidifies the departure of the community facilities that Southwest Portland has come to rely on, despite intentions to preserve the land by several descendents of Alpenrose’s founder, Florin Cadonau. The Cadonau descendents who held a majority stake in the company sought to sell the dairy, spurring the family drama that ultimately led to Alpenrose’s departure from Portland.

As for the future of the property, Lennar Northwest, a developer based in Vancouver, Washington, has submitted a development proposal to the City of Portland. If approved, the proposal would result in the construction of 193 single-family homes on the 56-acre Alpenrose site. This would spell the end of baseball at Alpenrose once and for all, leaving no trace of the fields that decades of athletes have made memories on. 

“Every kid who wore Ida B. Wells or Wilson colors played there,” said Shetler. “I wonder if they know that they [the Cadonau family] have taken away the future memories of generations of kids who won’t get to experience those memories.”