The mascot may fall from sight, but the man will take root as a fan
by: KYLE GREEN, Portland Timber mascot Timber Jim warms up the crowd in the PGE Park beer garden during a game against the Rochester Rhinos.

He came, he sawed, he conquered thousands of soccer fans who otherwise might have sat on their hands. But all wood things must come to an end, and next week marks the passing of the chain saw. Timber Jim, aka Jim Serrill, will take his final bow as team mascot when Portland plays Puerto Rico at PGE Park on Thursday night. “It’s time,” says Serrill, 54. Since his first performance in 1977, Serrill has become the most recognized, and probably most beloved, face of the franchise —passionately revving up his chain saw, cutting blocks of wood to celebrate each Timber goal, climbing the 80-foot pole in center field, hanging from the rafters and leading the cheers. “I loved the entertaining. I’m going to miss that big-time,” says Serrill, who trims trees and clears power lines for a living. Health concerns and family needs led him to relinquish his iconic role. “Diabetes has been affecting my feet,” he says. “I can’t do the acrobatics like I used to. I’m not landing my tricks. I’ve gained a tremendous amount of weight —the insulin makes you put on the pounds —and I really doubt that I could do a flip right now. “And bottom line, there’s my grandkids. They come to the games, and I haven’t been able to hang out with them.” After Thursday, he will. Timber owner Merritt Paulson and “many others tried to talk me out of retiring,” Serrill says, “but I really think it’s best for the club. Eventually, I think they’re going to get a Major League Soccer team here, and they’ll need a younger guy.” Serrill still plans to root for the Timbers at all the home games, joined by grandson Connor, 5, and granddaughter Keiana, 6. Keiana lost her mother, Serrill’s daughter Hannah, in a 2004 car crash. Continuing on as Timber Jim —and especially the support of the team and the Timbers Army fan club —has helped Serrill get through the pain. “I’m so grateful for the Timbers community,” he says. “I love those people. What they did for me when Hannah passed away, I can never repay that.” Serrill has convinced Paulson to continue the traditional cutting of a log in honor of each Timber goal and has suggested a possible successor, Levi Brown, a logger who appears on “Ax Men,” a History Channel show. “(Brown) hasn’t committed, but he’s an awesome kid, he’s going to be a superstar,” Serrill says. Paulson says the club has “a loose plan” for replacing Timber Jim that includes fan input and possible auditions and might lead to someone “doing their own thing and creating their own identity.” The first 1,000 fans Thursday will receive Timber Jim farewell T-shirts. Serrill will be honored at halftime and sign autographs after the game. Then he’ll become just like any other fan, if that’s possible. “I can still sing for 90 minutes,” he says. “I’m going to sit all over the stadium and spread the love.” The outfield pole decayed so much it had to be taken down, but the mascot who thrilled all ages by scaling it remains a household-name ambassador for the local side. Across the street from PGE Park, fans can order Timber Jim Logger Beer, one of the specialty offerings at the Bullpen Tavern. “I’ll probably come back (as Timber Jim) and do a game or two, playoffs or whatever, if they ask me,” he says. “I’ve had so much fun.” This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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