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The Coliseum was memorable and great in its day, without doubt, but ever since the Rose Garden was built, the Coliseum no longer serves much purpose and the past decade has proved it isn't really needed. For example: the next Coliseum event listed on the Rose Garden website is an Alice in Chains concert two months from now. Ouch. There are better uses for that plot of land, many of which could obviously become beautiful architectural landmarks for decades to come, just as the Coliseum was for decades in the past. This is all probably moot anyway, though, as Paul Allen would likely never relinquish any control to the space, even if it means the Coliseum sits empty 325 days a year.

PS Merritt Paulson's dad's name is Henry, not Robert.

Stuart Emmons

I would hope that Commissioner Leonard would spend his time focusing on helping to bring jobs to economically strapped Portland using funding sources that are realistic, and bring jobs to Portland that are over living wage and permanent. Demolishing Memorial Coliseum and putting in a single use, dry day only Baseball Stadium is Just Bloody Stupid. Show me the money. Show me where the 150 events currently in MC are going to go. Commissioner Leonard is totally inaccurate about the Veteran's perspective - they fully support refurbishing their Memorial Coliseum. He is totally inaccurate about the level of support - choosing to diminish the opposition insultingly to a few elitist architects. Wrong again Commissioner Leonard. With Jobs, Schools and Housing in such dire need of attention, I don't get why the Commissioner wastes our time, and the other Commissioners' time, with this issue.


There are a number of questions which have never been answered clearly in order to justify the destruction of an important architectural and cultural landmark. Here are just a few: How would a ballpark pencil out, really? How many events per year will balance out the capital investment or even just the operating costs? How will the additional impact to that neighborhood work now and in the future as development fills in from the North along Williams? How many additional events will be programmed in PGE Park that would truly preclude baseball use or add enough revenue to make up for the change? Within the NW and SW neighborhood near PGE Park, is there a similar scale of event that is anticipated or will there be additional impact to the parking and transportation network? Etc.

In our modestly-sized city with its temerate but rather damp weather, two open air venues for two sports teams is extravagant enough to warrant scrutiny. The impact to the urban fabric around the Rose Quarter which is just now being knit together in a stronger cloth would not be strengthened with a development of that scale. Even with genius promoters throwing money at the problem, I doubt that the Metro area population will support both the Rose Garden and a new ballpark. Architecturally it brings to mind the oddity that is Safeco Field next door to Qwest Field in Seattle. Why would we do that?

Max Rockbin

I agree with Alice. No one has come up with anything practical to do with the Coliseum. Velodrome? Public Market? Monument to Semi-Good Architecture of the 60s?

The time for this battle was when the Rose Garden was being built. That essentially sealed the fate of the old Coliseum.

Now the battle should be for what that land will be used for. A ballpark isn't sensible.

It's not really a residential area, so a park probably wouldn't get a lot of use.

Brian Libby

Alice and Max,

Memorial Coliseum doesn't need a new idea or purpose. It's a busy arena that in 2009 held more events than the Rose Garden, over 150. There are many events held there that aren't official public events, such as religious gatherings. It's a busy arena and a successful business.

Portland now is the only major American city with two arenas of large but varying sizes back to back. That's an economic value. Ask the Trail Blazers, who run the building. They've routinely been told the two-arena scenario is a draw.

Max, your assertion that this is "semi-good architecture of the 60s" isn't legitimate or defendable. Don't take my word for it, either. Experts on historic preservation across America have lauded the building's one-of-a-kind architecture. And if you're saying that the 60s itself didn't produce good design, well that's just laughable.

Look, you don't have to be as passionate as I am about mid-century modern architecture in order to respect the fact that an overwhelming consensus finds this to be an internationally renowned architectural landmark.

You also don't have to be as passionate as I am about saving the building to acknowledge the fact that Memorial Coliseum is, indisputably, an economic benefit to the Rose Quarter. It also has a different sized arena than the RQ so they are not duplicates. There is no other arena of the Coliseum's size in Portland.


Merritt's dad is Henry Paulson.

Robert Paulson is the dead guy in Fight Club.


As for the cultural heritage piece, I was much sadder to see the Sweetbrier Hotel, where the Beatles stayed when in town, bulldozed to become a Best Buy.

Demolishing the Coliseum to make way for Veterans Memorial Stadium doesn't seem nearly so bad by comparison.

Brian Libby


There are a couple of silly mistakes I made because I wrote this post quickly.

For example, it's obviously Henry Paulson who was Treasury Secretary, not Robert Paulson as I originally wrote.

Also, rhetoric like, "We will protest like it's the height of the Vietnam war" is just that: words meant to express the passion of defense, not literal.

At the same time, none of this remotely detracts from the overriding message: that Memorial Coliseum is a historic landmark worth preserving, a very economically viable building that's a key part of the larger district.


Here's my question. We have groups of people coming out of the woodwork to save this building. After they have accomplished the task of saving the building are they also going to put in the same effort to raise the millions needed to remodel and upkeep the build? The answer is going to be NO. People want to save it, but when it comes time to pay they'll fight t make sure their tax dollars aren't spent renovating this dilapidated structure.

Brian Libby


You're right that taxpayers are fickle and often don't want to pay for even needed services.

But at least if we save the building it will be less expensive than demolishing it and replacing it with another 7,000-10,000 seat arena down the road.

Ray Whitford

As I have said maybe fifty times in forums and blogs and Randy, Merritt, PPS, and Blazers/Nike/Cordish need to listen:

Do the right thing at the MC and modernize it.

And look into the goal of using the Blanchard Site for a expandable AAA Ballpark. Spend the money now to create a great small ballpark/outdoor concert venue and later have it ready to tempt an MLB team to invest in getting it ready for the big leagues.

The idea of a HSR Station (Memorial Station) along the river is starting to gain traction and we who have been calling for it as well are hoping others join us.



Would you please answer one simple question that you've never managed to answer. You can't wave around the 150 events number unless you're backing it up with facts. La Luna had over 150 events a year and that didn't make it economically viable. I used to go to around 30 events a year there. It sucked when it closed down and I don't go to the offices that are there now.

So would you please do us all a favor and post a list of all the events and attendances of those events that occurred at the Memorial Coliseum in 2010. You keep using this 150 events number like it justifies the city spending tens of millions to keep the place open. Prove it for once. I realize you're placing architectural value on this place but the simple fact is this stadium was built with a purpose and at this point its outlived its intended purpose. The same thing happened to Yankee stadium and it had a hundred times more historical and architectural value than the MC and they tore it down.

Simple fact is you may think its an architectural gem worth any amount of money to keep standing and you may have some pals that agree with you but I bet the majority of Portland has a price tag they're willing to spend for a building that holds a few minor league hockey games, a few high school hoops games, and some meetings in a dank conference room. So if you don't agree with me post the events and attendances that happen at the Memorial Coliseum. Quit waving around that 150 events number and show us what the events are. It's a completely empty number unless you can prove more than 50 people are showing up to events at a 12,500 seat arena.


The Coliseum is a waste of land that goes mostly unused. It's time to tear it down, even if the only thing we replace it with is a community garden.

First, let's address what this fight is really about. History? How much of Portland's population was even alive when the Coliseum was still relevant? How much of the rest of the population lived here back then? The Coliseum replaced something else, and it's time for something else to replace the Coliseum.

I'm willing to bet that most of the people fighting to save the Coliseum don't even live here. I bet they're in the burbs. I bet they never walk through the Rose Quarter, and certainly not when there isn't something going on at the Rose Garden. They have no real idea about how vacant the Coliseum helps to make the Rose Quarter.

It's a ghost town over there. Oh, but that's something worth fighting for? Something to be proud of? I think not.

Losing the glass palace would be a gift to the city. A gift of activity in the Rose Quarter. How much time, effort and money are we going to waste trying to figure out a use for the Coliseum? Why?

Yeah, architecture geeks get off on it. And that's fine for them, but it's bad for everyone else and worse for the city because the Coliseum hurts the city more than it helps it. It creates a black hole. It isn't generating activity. It isn't generating revenue. It just sits there, empty. Almost always empty.

Look at the picture at the top of this very post. The Coliseum is empty. Abandoned. Irrelevant. Look at the sea of empty seats in events photos posted here. The Coliseum might as well be a ghost town. It sure turns its part of the Rose Quarter into a ghost town.

Luckily, the Coliseum is environmentally green, right? Oh, wait. It isn't. In fact, it's a nightmare in that regard. Its windows leak energy like a sieve. Well, at least it won't cost a fortune to upgrade and update to make it safe, earthquake wise. Right? Oh, wrong again. Heck, we don't even know what to do with the building if it stays. People are trying to find a use for it. That's nutty.

Tear it down. Put that land to use.


Jim: "Veterans Memorial Stadium"! Yes! I love it.


Not to beat a dead horse here, but rhetoric gets silly quickly.

"Memorial Coliseum is a historic landmark worth preserving"

Why? It sits empty more often than not. It's on such prime land that is being wasted. Funny how history wasn't worth saving to build the Coliseum, but now it's why we can't tear it down.

And it is "a very economically viable building that's a key part of the larger district"?

How? It'll cost a fortune to bring up to code. It wastes energy. It sits mostly vacant. It creates a black hole of activity in the larger district. I don't even understand how this is up for debate. Again, I think most of those fighting to save it never spend any time over there, which is why they don't realize or understand just how empty that part of the Rose Quarter is.

I wish we were having this conversation in front of the Coliseum. I think it would be hilarious to see a few people in a giant vacant lot fighting to save it.


First and foremost, MC is an asset that is paid for and has a value of over $50 million. I can't understand why we are even discussing the removal of a viable, lively public asset only to replace it with a newer, less lively, myopically focused, far more expensive venue.


If the MC was as busy and viable as several here have alleged, why are we even having this conversation? If the MC makes so much money, why isn't their a sufficient amount of revenue to support its upkeep? Why did the city go through the rediculous process of trying to get ideas for "repurposing" the old barn? Look, if you're going to argue the MC must be saved because it's just so damned attractive, fine. I don't agree with you, but to each his/her own. But don't try to claim the MC is a vibrant financial success because the evidence supports just the opposite conclusion.



Where have you seen the value listed at $50 million? I'm positive the land is worth between $10-$15 million but if you think someone would buy the MC property right now as is for $50 million I think you're in a dream world. The place needed at least $10 million in upkeep over a decade ago that still hasn't been done.

Still waiting on what the events are that occur in the Memorial Coliseum. Are we going to be spending tens of millions so it can continue to hold quilting classes?

Brian Libby

Wow, I don't even know where to begin addressing all this.

First of all, Garrett, let me answer your question from before. I was told by Portland Arena Management that Memorial Coliseum gets about 6,000 to 7,000 people per event. That's admittedly a smaller number than the Rose Garden's average attendance. Which is why the Blazers want to renovate the Coliseum into that size of an arena.

Next, let me answer Marc's question: "If the MC was as busy and viable as several here have alleged, why are we even having this conversation?" Because it was threatened with demolition for a baseball stadium, and because the arena was allowed to fall into disrepair, threatening its otherwise viable future.

Now I'll address Rob's comment: "It sits empty more often than not. It's on such prime land that is being wasted. Funny how history wasn't worth saving to build the Coliseum, but now it's why we can't tear it down."

Rob, it does not sit empty more than not. Check the numbers. It has been very viable as a smaller arena complimenting the Rose Garden.

Rob, you also say, "Architecture geeks get off on it." You should know better than such inaccurate stereotyping. I listed a plethora of national organizations that stepped up to support the Coliseum's preservation, plus Oregon veterans' groups. Randy Leonard and other anti-Coliseum forces have routinely tried to marginalize Coliseum supporters but it is plain fallacy.

Rob, the picture of an "empty" Coliseum that you cite at the top of the post was taken shortly after the building was completed in 1960. Of course it wasn't full yet. Do you really think you can mis-represent things that egregiously? The other interior picture of the arena, also largely empty, I took at 7AM on the morning of the Rose Festival queen coronation, before the crowd had arrived for the parade.

I fully understand people fuming about the loss of the Portland Beavers, but trying to undermine the nationally and internationally recognized history and treasure in this building just isn't fair or accurate.

And finally, I find it hugely disheartening that people think just because a building is old and built before most of us were born that it is past its time. Who in the world are these people who want to live in a city without history, without landmarks?

Joel T

If Portland decides to destroy the Veterans Memorial Coliseum, then please rename the Rose Garden Coliseum as Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Otherwise its just one more example of People's Republic of Portland shitting on its veterans and servicemembers.


I don't think the question regarding what the "150" events at the MC comprise has been answered yet. I don't understand the comment that the MC gets about 6k to 7k people per event. Is that an average over all of the 150 events? Are any of these events multiple day events that attract people over time, or are they events that pack 6k to 7k into the bowl every event? Etc., etc.



You said, "I was told by Portland Arena Management that Memorial Coliseum gets about 6,000 to 7,000 people per event."

You got told a bold faced lie if they said between 6,000 and 7,000 per event. The Winterhawks are the building's main tenant. They play 36 home games. Their average attendance was 4,437 and that's including games played in the Rose Garden where the attendance was significantly higher. There are two events scheduled at Memorial Coliseum from now until the end of the year. I would imagine if any event were to draw more than a Winterhawks game it would be worth putting on the Calendar.

There are two events between now and the end of the year scheduled for the Memorial Coliseum. Those two events are Alice in Chains in October and Yo Gabba Gabba in November. I'm positive Yo Gabba Gabba with outdraw Alice in Chains but I don't think either are going to bump the attendance that much.

So, Brian, lets get real here. Because Portland Arena Management says they average 6-7000 an event at the Memorial Coliseum doesn't mean it's true. We're also talking about the Vulcans who are trying to sell Jumptown. So either get a list of those 150 events that draw 6-7,000 or you're going to have to convince me a craft fair they held in the concourse of the MC drew 40K people. I'm not buying it.


The reality , Commish Randy , is that no one goes to minor league baseball. People , especially young people don't live like you did as a kid. It is slow and boring.

The idea that we would tear down [AT GREAT COST] a national historic honored work of architecture , to spend a small fortune building a useless minor league baseball park is barking mad. For those of you who don't care for the looks of the MC , I say the MC is a useful building that is paid for.

Minor League Baseball is dead for a reason , no one goes to it.


Billb, Leaving the MC up will come at a great cost as well.

Brian Libby


I found a third-party report on Memorial Coliseum's finances and physical conditions that may answer some of your questions:


Here is some of the text from that report:

In the years following the Trailblazers’ departure, Memorial Coliseum’s event mix has shifted to one of fewer spectator events and more meetings and assemblies. The City of Portland must decide whether to make the necessary improvement to the Coliseum to keep it operating as an active spectator arena or allow the venue to be redeveloped for some other public or private use.

The facility has generated approximately $1 million in operating revenue for the last three years. Given operating expenses it typically generates a loss. A notable exception is the 2007-08 fiscal year in which Memorial Coliseum hosted the Davis Cup Tennis Championship. In that year, the venue was able to generate a net income of $284,000.

Many older arenas that have lost their primary tenants have failed to generate the necessary event demand to remain operational. Many have been demolished to make way for other, more profitable developments or parking for the new facility. However, some examples exist in which older venues have been able to sustain an adequate level of demand to operate at an acceptable subsidy and to remain a valuable public asset. While there is no exact comparable for the situation in Portland, several relevant case studies are presented in this report. From each, there is important knowledge to be gained that can be related to the Coliseum.

In the case of Memorial Coliseum, two strategic improvements which would better position the venue in the events market are a reduction in seating capacity from a maximum of 12,000 seats to a maximum of 5,000—7,000 seats, and the development of premium seating (either luxury suites or club seating depending on a market study and engineering assessment).

Typically, the ability for a venue to garner parking revenue is an important factor in its ability to fund operating and capital costs. Given present terms, however, the Memorial Coliseum operating fund does not earn income from event parking, as it is used by the City for other purposes.

Myriad options for redevelopment, both public and private exist. The virtually column-free structure of Memorial Coliseum is well-suited for a variety of uses. Unlike most arena design of its generation, Memorial Coliseum’s glass wall design, coupled with impressive ceiling heights creates a structure which is both lively and interactive with its surroundings. All options require careful consideration with respect to development costs to the city, potential tax revenues, fiscal benefit, ability to attract outside visitors to the city, and whether the development is consistent with the overall plan of the city and sentiments of its citizens.


So if we find out how many people MC averages per event from the company that actually manages the facility, we should assume... that they're lying and those of us with no authority know better? If that counts as a sound argument, then I say the Beavers are lying about their average attendance figures as well, based on this photo:

Also, if the Winterhawks are averaging 4,400 people per game, and the Beavers are only averaging a few hundred more (5,200), then why are the Winterhawks being forced to find a new home?

By the way, Memorial Coliseum is also hosting a Blazer game in October, and you don't find that listed on their events site. So I'm going to assume that there is more going on there than what comes up in a google search on 'Memorial Coliseum events.'


Though I don't support tearing down MC (despite the fact that its construction helped destroy one of Portland's oldest neighborhoods and was/is an urban planning disaster), I do find it ironic that no one, including Brian, seems particularly concerned about all the old historic fabric buildings around town that are under threat of demolition.

Portland cannibalized itself in the 40's/50's/60's for parking lots, parking garages, and mostly-mediocre architecture; I worry about what remains of our historic fabric and wonder whether the hullabaloo around the iconic mid-century MC is a distraction from all the other, perhaps more mundane, preservation issues we have.



2008 assessors value: $57,302,670.00

- land: $13,164,700.00
- Bldg: $44,137,970.00

My comment was meant to show that we have a public asset that needs to be figured into any cost analysis.

I don't want to be sold a $15m tram that costs $50m, again.


Anybody want to address this, or are we going to ignore it?:

"The facility has generated approximately $1 million in operating revenue for the last three years. Given operating expenses it typically generates a loss."

"The facility has undergone many upgrades; however, many of its mechanical, electrical, and structural systems are at the end of their useful life."

"Memorial Coliseum has lost money in eight out of the last ten years, resulting in a negative cash position for both the City and PAM."


Anybody who talks about the Coliseum as an asset is mistaken. It's a liability.

S. Linder

The “Portland Beavers” have come and gone from Portland several times over the last 100 years. The current “Portland Beavers” were only established in 2000 when the city of Portland spent millions to renovate PGE Park for baseball! If the Beavers are again moved to another city, my guess is they will not keep the “Beavers” moniker so the name will always be available for a future, perhaps MLB, version of a Portland baseball team. If the Memorial Coliseum is destroyed, it will be gone forever.

If Merit Paulson cannot afford to buy a home for his baseball team, all it proves is Paulson cannot successfully manage a minor leagues baseball team in Portland. We should not be fooled into thinking that has anything to do with the viability of the MC.

I think the economics support renovating and maintaining the Memorial Coliseum, like any public park, I do not think it needs to show a profit, though that would be nice.


one of the great losses of tearing down significant old buildings is that the replacements rarely have the level of quality that makes cities beautiful...this goes for ornate victorians and austere mid-centuries alike

it would be unfortunate to lose this particular building, especially to something of low (read "economical") quality but basically equal use



At some point in time every building, freeway, bridge etc was VERY important to someone. A politician, an architect or a community. That does not mean that progress requires we preserve every single thing we have built.

The I-5 freeway that used to run where Tom McCall waterfront park is now, was opened to great fanfare and ribbon cutting and love from the community as it represented progress. Of course now, we all tell the story about how Portland tore the freeway out of our waterfront and how that was such an amazing thing and has contributed to Portland's vaunted livability.

Am I comparing the MC to the waterfront freeway? Yep I am. Both are/were important to somebody. The MC is important to YOU Brian and a handful of your compatriots. Just like the waterfront freeway was important to some Engineer and his engineer buddies.

But that doesn't mean either one are/were more important to the larger city and it's people. The waterfront park is far more beneficial to our great city than a freeway (that Engineer and his buddies be damned) and frankly I think that land is far more important to the city of Portland then the white elephant currently occupying it in the form of the Memorial Coliseum.

Is a baseball stadium the best use? I don't know. Here is what I do know, that area is a gaping hole in the heart of our city. The MC contributes greatly to that as well as the souless Rose Quarter area in general and preserving it will preserve another 30 years of terrible land use in what should be the vibrant heart of the city.

I have an office in the Leftbank project building. It's a wonderful space and a great example of re-purposing a building. But the area is surrounded by crazy traffic, parking garages, an empty MC and the Rose Garden. This is space directly across from downtown. It should be vibrant. The city is investing millions to have street car run down MLK and Broadway, the same investment should be used to make something useful out of the MC site. Tear the damn thing down and connect it to the Waterfront Park? A permanent outdoor market with waterfront bars and restaurants?

If you can come up with a viable plan. One that goes behind baying about 150 silly events that could easily be picked up elsewhere. A campaign to enlist real support behind whatever that plan is then I will listen.

Until then you are just a puppet that chirps out "No!" and has a handful of support behind you and you are putting your individual wishes over the greater good of this community. Your actions are essentially kicking the can down the street another 10-15-20 years.


Thank you for providing that report Brian!

Did you notice at the bottom where the total financial cost to fix the building up was?


All so we get to have another building that hosts Alice in Chains concerts. What a deal for the taxpayers...


Brian, the link you posted is broken, but based just on the link name, I'm guessing it's from Rose Garden Development? And you consider that a third party? I can now see where at least part of the problem in the argument is coming from.

As Garrett has been implying, of the 150 alleged MC events per year, probably 30-40 get crowds over 2,000, while the other 120 or so get crowds (many of which are not ticketed and revenue-generating) of only 10-100 in the various meeting/event rooms. And all 150 could easily be held at either the Rose Garden or Convention Center.


Rob, I'll address your point about MC operating at a loss. The following quote is from Will Macht from PSU's Urban Development Journal:

"...It is in the economic interest of the manager to hold just enough events at the Coliseum to keep it at a break-even level, but no more."

There's a lot more informationon this at the full post: http://chatterbox.typepad.com/portlandarchitecture/2009/04/memorial-coliseum-deal-was-structured-for-the-arena-to-fail-somebody-please-tell-david-sarasohn.html


That's an answer? Even if true, the MC is not operating at a break-even level. It's losing money - lots of it.


No, that's not an answer. It's a quote that leads to a blog post which provides the full answer.


How much of our tax money does the Coliseum cost the city each year? It's losing money. It's been losing money for a long time. That costs the city, which basically means taxpayers.

The Coliseum is a beautiful building, but it goes mostly unused, or at BEST shockingly underused. "Assemblies"? Come on now. Even the Winterhawks numbers are inflated because their average includes games with higher attendance in the Rose Garden.

Those arguing to save it aren't dealing with the reality of the situation. It's going to cost countless millions of dollars to fix the Coliseum. But, fix it for what purpose? How long has the city been debating what to do with the Coliseum? Too long. Has anyone found a new purpose for it? Not yet. How much will it cost to find a new purpose for it? How much money is the city losing each year on the Coliseum? I dare anyone to suggest that money couldn't be put to better use.

It's time to tear down the Coliseum. Plug the black hole of money the city loses on it and put that land to real use.


There's a lot of misinformation floating around. It would be interesting to learn what the real story is.

"PAM absorbs all operating losses generated by the Coliseum, and the City is responsible for capital improvements to the facility. PAM is entitled to recoup the operating losses incurred in a given year from any of the three subsequent years. Therefore, the $284,000 in net revenue generated in 2007-08 noted above was retained by PAM to make up for previous years’ losses. Memorial Coliseum has lost money in eight out of the last ten years, resulting in a negative cash position for both the City and PAM."

Source: http://rosequarterdevelopment.org/files/rq_mc_baseline_appendices_20091202.pdf

Brian Libby

Those of you for whom this is only about money, I think we're going to have to agree to disagree.

The Coliseum operates in the general break-even range in its current, pre-renovation state. There are numbers to support it being below or above break even depending on whether you include certain factors like parking revenue.

The broader point, or the perspective I come from, is that Memorial Coliseum is a landmark historic building that is worth preserving for its own sake. And as it happens, the current owners and operators of the building, the city and the Blazers, see a more viable economic future for the arena once it's renovated.

Rob, there just isn't a black hole of money like you talk about.

Can anyone tell me off-hand if some of the other city-owned properties turn a profit? Does Pioneer Courthouse Square?


"Rob, there just isn't a black hole of money like you talk about."

That's because you're only considering the numbers that support your opinion.

Douglas K.

Y'know, if it was really critical to put minor league baseball in the Rose Quarter -- and I think it isn't, because there are plenty of other places in town that could handle a minor league stadium (the Lloyd Cinemas parking lot; Delta Park; South Waterfront just south of the Marquam Bridge) -- there's probably a way to build one across the top of those two parking structures to the north. As long as they're structurally able to support about 6,000 seats, just build a continuous upper level above both structures and put a baseball field in the middle.

It really isn't worth tearing out a perfectly functional multi-use stadium that (a) is already paid for, and (b) could be financially self-sustaining with improved management. It would be a lot cheaper to renovate the place than to demolish it and replace it with a single-use ballfield for a minor-league team that has has only minimal local support.

Free Articles Directory

I hope the right decision is made, it's really a beautiful building


This whole discussion is mind boggling. Demolishing ANYTHING to pay for minor league baseball makes absolutely no sense, regardless of any argument about the supposed black whole in that area of the city.

To quote Jeremy, that would only be "kicking the can down the street". Ultimately, I agree...the district needs to be fixed. Putting baseball at the heart of it would not do that.

Jeff Joslin

I strongly disagree with one attribute.

I used to have a Porsche that Randy specifically admired in way that would not have been directed at the PT Cruiser I'll never have.

He clearly does not appreciate the Coliseum the way some do, but he's got lust in his heart for the right vehicle.


We are still talking about the Beavers...a mediocre MINOR league baseball team - a farm team to, historically, one of the worst baseball teams in MLB. If the city, Paulson, and/or Blazers come up with an incredible use of that site, a use that will make Portland a better city and an inspiration to other cities, but they would have to remove the MC, then perhaps some of the 'raging architects' may be more supportive. Until then, we have an egoist city commissioner that is proposing to mis-appropriate our tax dollars to seemingly have a better relationship with one of the wealthiest people in Portland.

Peter S.

Leonard's finacial figures are questionable. His backing certainly seems more driven by one particular interested party than by the overall picture for the city. But let's set that aside for a moment.

At this point can we take anything Randy Leonard says about architecture seriously? Really?

He's willing to spend taxpayer funds to preserve a big, neon corporate logo.

In his blogging about John Yeon's Portland Visitors Information Center he wrote it "was so deteriorated from its original condition, John Yeon suggested that it should be razed." An even cursory read of Yeon's correspondence at the time shows Yeon's main issues with the building's preservation were the almost seismic changes in the building's context and the ability of a building so tightly designed for one specific role to adapt to a wholly different one, neither of which are resolved by the otherwise well-intentioned renovation. Then he slapped (yet another) neon logo on the already off-balance composition, using applied chintz to do nothing short of putting a gem of Portland's early Modernism heritage in the same contextual class as Portland's icon of applied chintz, Graves' Portland Building.

It may be that, as Brian has written, "he is a big-hearted man with a passion for Portland." When it comes to architectural context and how it shapes this city, however, he's functionally illiterate.


I have been busy this summer and managed to miss this topic, but seriously why is this a topic?? This should of been dead in the water months ago, much like I already thought it was.

We get it, Leonard wants to "save" baseball in Portland, but wishes to do it in a non big picture way.

Does Leonard have an answer on why the city should raze a perfectly good, usable arena to build a ballpark in its place that cannot be upgraded to a major league stadium if the time ever came? Why again is he so interested in wasting millions of money on this idea? Obviously Paulson doesn't have much financial interest in keeping the Beavers here or he would be looking at ways to buy up property for a stadium to be built on or working out a plan where the city isn't the ones picking up the risk.

I am happy with renovating PGE for soccer, that park was never meant for baseball to begin with and we are finally completing the stadium it was intended for (granted it was originally intended for horse racing, but soccer works too.)

Seriously though, the city either needs to elect someone who is willing to tell Leonard to sit down and shut up when needed or we seriously need to look into replacing Leonard....maybe one of those "elitist architects" Leonard seems to loath so much, even as he tries to pretend he is some sort of architecture critic.


If the Coliseum were to get millions in needed renovations as are asserted, that doesn't mean that suddenly 150 more events will materialize per year in order to justify the cost of those renovations. What is known is that no private or public group has come forward to put money into the building. It should be torn down, and hopefully some very cool architecture will replace it.

I agree in the photos that are constantly posted on this website the coliseum looks amazing, with light shining through the windows and an interesting design. But go down there and see what it is like. It is a really a blight with empty spaces. I do blame that on the Rose Garden poor design, but that building is not going anywhere so let's move on.


why was my post removed?

Brian Libby

Joe, this is my blog and I have not removed any posts. If you'd like to re-post your original text, I'd be happy to see that it is published.


@Garrett -

2008 Coliseum Assessment

Building $44,137,970.00
Land $13,164,700.00

If you are going to tear down a $44M asset, that amount needs to addressed in the costs to build a new stadium.

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