On Tuesday of this week, Mayor Sam Adams convened the second meeting of the Rose Quarter Stakeholder Advisory Committee. After spending the first meeting getting to know each other, the committee this time sat down for what was called "Rose Quarter 101", a series of presentations on the history of the development.
Even though the Friends of Memorial Coliseum is unequivocally against any renovation that removes the seating bowl from the arena, or changes the building so as to have a different function from a working arena, we wanted to emphasize to the committee that overall we are still very much open to and even embracing of other design changes. There is a lot of room for improvement in the portion of the Coliseum outside the seating bowl but inside the glass box, for example. Memorial Coliseum also desperately needs a better design for accessing its veterans memorial.
You can't say everything in 10 or 15 minutes. There is so much more we would have liked to share with the committee, and hopefully we will do that either face to face or at a future meeting. Even so, when Mayor Adams asked each member of the 32-person committee to share his or her thoughts following the presentation, the response was unequivocal. Member after member of the committee talked about having not fully grasped what a special work of modernist architecture Memorial Coliseum truly is, what a diamond in the rough it has been these past several years, and what fools we have been to keep the best part of the Coliseum hidden most of the time by closing a curtain around the free-standing seating bowl.