The Portland Steel were a professional arena football team based in Portland, Oregon and members of the Arena Football League (AFL).
The Thunder have former Oregon Ducks quarterback Darron Thomas on their inaugural roster.When asked about being assigned to Portland, Thomas said, "That was one of the main reasons I came back and accepted this opportunity to come here, just for the fans and I know people are behind me [...] I'm coming in to compete and be the starter and that's what I came out here for." The Thunder played their first game on St.The name is derived from the region's steel industry and rich history.According to the AFL's website, the steel industry has been a backbone of the Portland working culture for over 150 years.After taking over the franchise and re-branding it as the Steel, AFL commissioner Scott Butera said in a press release, "We highly value the Thunder fans and this step was needed to stabilize the team in the Portland market." Employees, staff, vendors and even broadcasters were owned combined thousands of dollars in unpaid bills prompting several lawsuits against Arena Football One, LLC.
As of September 2017, only one lawsuit was settled out of court.
Steel is an overtly visible part of the Portland landscape, with foundries decorating both the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, and is seen in several of the city's 12 iconic bridges.
On September 7, 2017, Portland television station KGW did an investigation about the AFL's operations following the takeover of the franchise from Emmert and reported that the league's owners Arena Football One, LLC, quietly shut down the operations following the 2016 season and left town leaving a trail of unpaid bills and failing to pay former employees and vendors money owed to them.
The team played their home games at the Moda Center.
They were known as the Thunder until the franchise went under league ownership in 2016 and became the Steel.
After starting 0-4 at home, the Thunder won their first game in Portland in week 11, beating the San Antonio Talons 55-40.