The Denver Gold will move to Portland, Ore., for a 1986 United States Football League fall season that will have teams playing in nine cities, USFL Commissioner Harry Usher announced yesterday during league meetings in Memphis.

The Gold will replace the Portland Breakers franchise, which collapsed financially at the end of the 1985 season and failed to pay its players and coaches $1.2 million in salaries and benefits.

Usher said the league would shrink from 14 to nine teams with franchises in New Jersey, Baltimore, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Birmingham, Memphis, Phoenix and Portland.

Dropped were franchises in Los Angeles, Oakland, Houston and San Antonio.

Gold club officials sought the move because of the difficulty in competing with the NFL Denver Broncos . . .

The New York Giants activated kicker Eric Schubert, who had been waived by the team during preseason after making three of five field goals.

Schubert is the Giants' third field goal kicker this year. Ali Haji-Sheikh, who kicked in the Giants' first two games, remained on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.

Former Maryland kicker Jess Atkinson, who replaced Haji-Sheikh earlier in the season, was waived by the club Monday, then signed by the St. Louis Cardinals.

Tyrone Davis, a rookie defensive back suffering from back spasms, was put on injured reserve to make room for Schubert.