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Viks need to stay at Jeld-Wen; Blazers aim for 2017 All-Star game; Boss meant a lot to Winterhawks; and more notes

Working our way toward another busy sports weekend …

• I'm hearing this could be the last season for Portland State football at Jeld-Wen Field. The Timbers want to go to natural grass, as are most of the sites in Major League Soccer. This despite the fact that the latest incarnation of FieldTurf was judged in one five-year study as safer and of better quality than real grass fields. If Jeld-Wen goes to grass, PSU -- which has one year remaining on its contract to use the facility -- would get the boot, I'm told.

Where would the Vikings play? Probably Hillsboro Stadium. That would be a disaster for the program coach Nigel Burton is trying to build at the Park Blocks. Hope it doesn't happen.

• Toronto gets the 2016 NBA All-Star game, and some Portlanders are up in arms.

I see it as a good sign that the Moda City will be the hub of the basketball world a year later.

Chris McGowan, Portland's erstwhile team president, will focus on drawing the mid-season classic here in 2017. If Toronto can get it, so, too, can Portland.

And remember, the NBA owes us one. The city was granted the All-Star game in the late 1980s, only to have it rescinded, then never given back.

I'd be surprised if Portland -- which has never played host to the game -- isn't next in line.

• If Jann Boss wasn't indispensable to the Winterhawks' organization during her 30-plus-year career, I'm not sure who was.

"She did everything," says Ken Hodge, the Hawks' long-time general manager/coach, of Boss, who died last Friday at 69 after a battle with cancer.

Indeed. "Mama Hawk," as she was affectionately known throughout the Hawks' organization, served a variety of positions -- including office manager, secretary/treasurer of the board of directors, vice president/finance and part owner -- during her 31 years there, beginning in the team's inaugural 1976-77 season.

Boss, who received a WHL distinguished service award in 2010, was the friendly face greeting the public and the media for years. She was there in 1976 when, as a somewhat cub reporter, I covered the Hawks during their maiden voyage in Portland. She was a joy to deal with.

"Jann was a very special person," Hodge says. "She was a really big part of our (front-office) team."

Her memorial service is at 10 a.m. Saturday at Beaverton Foursquare Church.

• Bringing up the rear in major-league home attendance figures are Tampa Bay (19,259) and Miami (18,645). They may love their baseball in Florida, but they don't love to make the trek to the ballparks to watch games in person.

It's a shame for the Rays, a probable wild-card entrant in the American League playoffs, get such feeble support. Wonder how they'd draw in Portland? We'll never know, unless some public officials wake up and get serious about starting the process of a stadium project.

• They're having a 50-year anniversary of Oregon State's 1963 Final Four team Saturday in Corvallis. Coaches Paul Valenti and Jimmy Anderson, along with all the players (minus Lynn Baxter and Grant Harter, who are deceased, and Terry Baker, who is out of the country). That includes All-America center Mel Counts, Frank "The Flake" Peters, Steve Pauly and Jim Jarvis.

Can it really be 50 years? Seems (almost) like yesterday.

• Mike Hass, the 2005 Fred Biletnikoff Trophy winner as the nation's outstanding receiver, on his impressions of Oregon State junior Brandin Cooks: "Oh God, he has everything. He has that burst after the catch … that's the most impressive thing about him. Once he gets the ball in his hands, what he does with it … that's what I like to watch."

• The great Dick Butkus will be making a couple of stops in the area next month. The Hall-of-Fame linebacker will appear at the Oregon State Alumni Center prior to the Nov. 1 Oregon State-Southern Cal game in Corvallis, then be honored the following day by "Marriage Team," a non-profit organization that strengthens and restores marriages, at the Hilton Hotel in Vancouver, Wash. Dick and his wife, Helen, have been married for 50 years. For information, call 360-450-3181 or go to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

• No surprise that Eugene's Prefontaine Classic was ranked as the No. 1 invitational track and field meet in the world for 2013 by All-Athletics.com, beating out perennial international events at such sites as Zurich and Brussels for the first time. Pre Classic promoter Tom Jordan does the legwork, and Nike provides the resources to lure the greatest field of athletes you'll see together for competition. It's why it's a can't-miss event for me every year.

• A nice thing: USA Football, the sport's national governing body, recently awarded equipment and uniform grants to youth and high school programs throughout the Portland area based on merit and need. Portland Lutheran High ($1,500) and the Sherwood Youth Football Association ($1,000) were among five Oregon and Southwest Washington beneficiaries receiving a package offering a variety of equipment and uniform options. USA Football annual distributes $1 million in equipment and uniform grants throughout the U.S., made possible through support from the NFL Foundation.

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Twitter: @kerryeggers