« Sorkin Out | Main | Frozen Music »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I think this site is an amazing resource and has tremendous potential.

As for the Memorial Coliseum site, I don't think the MARC / Recreational Center will ever happen. I think we would be far better off to honor the UDA Master Plan and tear the thing down and start creating a new neighborhood that can work hand in hand with the Blanchard site.

Mike Thelin

This is great news! There are many hidden gems--shell buildings covered in siding--in the North Albina Industrial area just waiting to be freed.

As for the Memorial Coliseum, I agree with the last post. Tear it down, create a new neighborhood that connects well to the Rose Quarter and creates new jobs for North and Northeast residents. Then, have a design competition to build an incredible memorial/park/square for our veterans--one that honours them more than an empty and dated sports facility that has lived well past its days. The MARC is a waste of money. Similar facilities in other cities only exist with massive public subsidy. And unless the facade of the Coliseum were dramatically changed, the area would never be pedestrian friendly.

Brian Libby

I would hate to see the Colisseum torn down. It's a SOM midcentury landmark! I have a great book at home of Julius Schulman architectural photographs from that period, and Memorial Colisseum was the only Portland building listed. Plus, the Colisseum is sacred ground -- it's where the Trail Blazers won the 1977 NBA Championship! I wish the original neighborhood there had never been destroyed, but now that the Colisseum is with us It'd tear my heart out to see it go. There have GOT to be some uses for it that would allow the building to continue life in some form without being torn down.

Amateur Redeveloper

The best use of the Coliseum (IMO) is to convert it to a performing arts center. You could fit 2-4 separate theaters in that space. One for the symphony, one for the opera, one for the ballet, one for musicals. All specifically tuned and constructed for the needs of the particular tenant. Each tenant could practice full-time in the space the performance is supposed to be given in, allowing the directors to fine-tune the works better.

The Keller becomes surplus that could be redeveloped. The sale of the Keller (and maybe the garage across the street) would go a long way to paying for the conversion of the Coliseum.

The Schnitz would still handle mid-sized pop concerts, lectures, graduations, and groups that need an auditorium for the day.

Mike Thelin

No question--it's a cool building. But I have yet to hear of a redevelopment scheme that would actually work. The MARC is just a bad idea. Similar facilities in other cities just don't pay for themselves, and I'd much rather see our tax dollars go toward a public market, or another civic amenity than the MARC. In an era when publicly financed projects are under increased scrutiny, the MARC is just too big a risk to take with public funds.

I'm also not big on the performing arts center either. I don't believe we should move our arts scene away from downtown's cultural district. The vitality of downtown is far more important to the city than the Memorial Coliseum's future. The layout of the area is very pedestrian unfriendly, and unless the surrounding lots were redeveloped on an enormous scale--including the Blanchard property--I'm not sure Portlanders would get very excited about an auto-friendly performing arts center surrounded by crappy motels, fast-food franchises, carwashes, and a street pattern that appears to have been airlifted from Tigard. Of course one could argue that a performing arts center would revitalize the area, but the Memorial Coliseum, the Rose Quarter, and the Convention Center have never lived up to their redevelopment promises or possibilities. Additionally, a lot of the strip-center and drive-through retail establishments in the area undoubtedly have many years left on their leases. They're not going away anytime soon.
The Memorial Coliseum is nice looking, but it's truly a white elephant. And unless a wealthy philanthropist or foundation comes along and offers to fix it, it will remain more a liability than an amenity.

Big Boomer

The MC can wait until the plan for the lower North/Northeast is agreed on. It is a gritty neighborhood (brick industrial type structures with warnings about asbestos, etc.).

I don't look at losing out on the Expos as a bad thing. The MLB owners wanted too much for the team. Only DC (marketsize) could afford the price. I see all the work done by the state, the city, The Baseball Group, and the Oregon Stadium Campaign as laying the foundation for an owner saying "Portland has their act together!" and "That is an untapped market". Blanchard and the Post Office are the only sites on the short list for a baseball stadium.

I see the Blanchard site completing the sports complex in Portland. We could advertise to the convention planners that we have year round sporting events within walking distance of the new convention center hotel. Not many convention centers can say that!

Go to www.oregonstadiumcampaign.com and join into the forums. My name there is also Big Boomer.

My hope is the movement of the train and bus station to the open space at the mouth of Sulivans Gulch (close to OCC, RQ, the river, the Eastbank Park, freeways, and North/South high speed rail). I5 is placed underground from Broadway to I-84 (perfect straight line), then below grade at NE 9th to SE Hawthrone where I5 then curves to the SW to line up with the Willamette Tunnel.

We must ban together on this big of a vision and it's long term scope. Lower North Portland is just one part of it. But its a major part because we can show the city that developing the city blocks takes more than just getting the building codes right.

There is pushing for the design work on the new Columbia River Bridge to support HST. There is land to be designated in North Portland for HST.

There are politicians who need to get on board.

We need to do the hard stuff in order to finally create a city that others don't wait to leave (micros, baseball, hiking, theater, books, biking, eating, canoeing, etc...).


The comments to this entry are closed.

Lead Sponsors


Portland Architecture on Facebook

More writing from Brian Libby


  • StatCounter
Blog powered by Typepad

Paperblogs Network

Google Analytics

  • Google Analytics

Awards & Honors