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Eric Cantona

Brian,

if this deal ultimately happens civic stadium will be an amazing venue for big-time football (even the grid-iron variety). i've attended a fair share of NASL games, as well as both men's and women's national team matches there in the past. when you complete the horseshoe it becomes an extremely loud and vibrant space. i believe it will be the best soccer venue in the country. all the new MLS stadiums are soulless suburban developments (like the rose quarter...)that lack the historical feel and delightful urban setting that we have here.

i'm not knowledgeable enough to comment one way or the other on the financing arrangements but i would be interested to see what the MLS requirements are and why it is so expensive to upgrade the existing facility. seems a bit on the high side to me.

Shawn

Several blocks from my house is the site for the new Cully Blvd Improvement. It's a project long overdue for a dramatically underserved community.

Many community members fought long and hard for this project and I appplaud their efforts.

Sadly, just blocks away are streets without pavement, sidewalks, or even the most basic level of maintenance. It's a pathetic condemnation of the city's "effort" to maintain and improve its infrastructure.

Reading the Willamette Week article - and now Brian's post - upsets me greatly. Time and again the city demonstrates an elitist approach to development. Insider "sweetheart" deals, development boondoggles, and misplaced priorities lead me to wonder about the wisdom of our leaders.

Today the Willamette Week reports that the city is considering an increase in rates for water service. If the city cannot provide basic services like street paving, sidewalks, and affordable WATER, then why in the world are we considering these grandiose soccer plans?

Many will argue that economic development is an important priority...and I couldn't agree more. When businesses thrive and the economy improves, we all benefit. Yet I still have not seen a compelling case for MLS in Portland. Soccer is a boutique spectator sport and while many enjoy playing the game, evidence of fan support is anecdotal at best. For my money, I'd much rather see our streets and storefronts improved to support the people who need help most - the citizens of Portland.

Matt Davis

Matt Davis scoops the big boys, once again.

[TRUMPET BLARES FANFARE]

Thank you. Thank you. No, don't all clap at once...

ws

I've read that Merritt Paulson and the Paulson family will back up with their own money, taxpayer money they wish to borrow, but is there a guarantee that the Merritt Paulson and Paulson family's money will be in the bank, available to cover the debt if this deal doesn't work out?

Too bad about the Multnomah Athletic Club sitting where it is. It would cost many, many millions of dollars to replace their facilities elsewhere. I imagine though, that to do it wouldn't be as impossible as it might seem at first thought. The club owns nearby undeveloped land. Also, no doubt, they could make some sort of deal for a multi-use tower including new club facilities on the property formerly planned for the Allegro tower.

Darin

Shawn,

While a partially agree with you and the issue of unimproved streets, I don't see how adding some pavement in cully is going to bring millions of dollars into Portland's business revenue stream like an MLS team will.

Additionally, I'm not sure you can call the worlds single largest sport a 'boutique spectator sport.'

dennis

I am not a soccer fan, but this is definitely something I find myself getting excited for. While I do love baseball, I feel it would have a hard time picking up the kind of support that is needed here in Portland, but there seems to be enough of a love for soccer here that would definitely give this potential team a foundation to start on.

I do have to agree with you about the architecture expansion to PGE. I worry that it will be nothing more than a basic extension to add seats and the architecture of connecting the old and the new will be lost in the design, though I do think the horseshoe design will fit good there....though there is little to nothing that can be done about the MAC...I wish they had the decency to hire a good architect back then to design their building, but instead they gave the city something that looks like crap.

I do have to disagree with you about the new Beavers ballpark. I cant see the team's new home being all the way out in Lents. The team belongs somewhere close to downtown...though the separateness of the Rose Garden area is another issue in itself. If we were going to throw out random ideas of other locations, one could say where the post office building is in the Pearl (but I am not sure what their timeline is till they move, which the park would only need part of that site). Another possible location would be 12th and stark where the closed high school is (but I could see the resistance to that idea right away). Beyond that, it becomes a bit harder to think of a place that wouldnt require the purchase of new land or working out deals with other land owners such as the old shipping company that owns a bunch of parking lots in the northwest.

ben

well dennis i'm going to have to contradict you again. the MAC was designed by Greg Baldwin of zgf - he is one of portland's most important designers even though his partner Bob Frasca gets all the attention. if i remember correctly the MAC won a progressive architecture award back in the day and deservedly so. it had a face-lift and addition done in the late nineties by zgf, but i believe the "crap" part you refer to is the original vaulted structure. personally i wish we had more crap like that around.

Douglas K.

Where do the rest of you think a baseball stadium should go?

I think the minor league baseball stadium should be designed with easy expansion in mind, so that it can be quickly and (relatively) cheaply converted into a major league stadium if and when Portland lands a major league team.

So basically ... put it wherever the major league stadium will eventually go. Personally, I like the Lincoln High School site. Build a new high school along 18th, and then put the stadium between 17th and the freeway.

dennis

Well I take back my designer comment, I actually was not aware of who designed it.


Though I would like to refer my "crap" comment to what everyone sees when they go to a game at the PGE Park.

http://image36.webshots.com/37/2/14/97/2726214970063839775DRwoJC_ph.jpg

Now you have to agree ben that architecture is often seen from one's personal preference, and my personal preference thinks the back end of this building that faces PGE Park looks like crap...though you are free to feel differently.

Shawn

Darin,

I would be really, really interested in seeing data demonstrating the economic value of bringing MLS to our city. Please share, if available. My understanding of the situation is that it's been a tenuous proposition in other markets and while Portland loves to fashion itself as special, I question whether pocketbooks will open for this new team.

I understand the popularity of soccer on a global stage. And locally, there's enormous support for playing the game. However, playing and watching are two different things.

And finally, minimizing the Cully situation to simply "adding pavement" is EXACTLY the problem. It goes far deeper than some ill-kept streets; it's about decades of neglect and unfulfilled promises made to the citizenry. Potholes are a symptom of a larger problem...and I worry that this stadium is simply another insult to those who live outside the urban core.

Scott

omg...a building is not more aesthetically appealing because of who designed it...whoever that architect is, he may have gone on to do some great work...but I have to agree with dennis...the MAC club is an eyesore...as a city we have to stop being in love with the idea of who is responsible for any particular building and actually judge a building on its own merits.

ccl

What troubles me is that no one is discussing the very possible potential of this city tearing down Memorial Coliseum..."the bowl in the glass box". Now this building is significant considering the era in which it was built, the materials, the design, etc. For all of you "mid-century" modern lovers, this was and still could be considered the 'mother-ship'. The only out cry is from the veterans (understandably), but even most of them now reside in Paulson's pocket. For Portland's self acclaimed 'green' label, there are many significant buildings that have been or will be demolished.

Leo

“I wish the MAC would move somewhere else and the new MLS stadium would include taking over that space.”

I think this sentence exemplifies why I’m not generally a fan of professional sports and 100% opposed to supporting any professional sport with my tax dollars.

There are not a lot of gyms in the neighborhood. You would actually prefer to see one of the few *participatory* athletic facilities move somewhere else in order to make more space for a spectator facility so more people can sit on their butts and watch someone else play sports?

I’d rather see all spectator facilities converted to gyms.

Scott

Let's be realistic, the MAC club is a playground of the rich and connected...the amount of people downtown who ever get to utilize it is limited at best. It's not like it is a gym serving under-privileged youth, getting them off the streets.

Steve

So, Portland is planning a new soccer field for a millionaire, but new schools like the Pearl School and Rosa Parks School have no field to play soccer.

Are we planning to raise a generation of spectators?

Earl

Since I first heard this plan, my assumption has been that the rich and powerful MAC members were tired of watching baseball from their concrete wall and so they were pushing to get a soccer field to watch, until something better comes along.

Ray Whitford

Please explain your reasoning for not wanting a baseball stadium at the Rose Quarter (MC or Blanchard). It is the perfect location just like the Rose Garden is in the perfect location (center of the MAX system; at the center of the Interstate highways of PDX; near the Willamette River so river taxi's could happen; streetcar line on Broadway is being designed; parking structures at the RQ that are being under-used during the non-Blazers times of year; creation of a year-round entertainment district close to the Convention Center).

Please do some research before you make statements like this. It is your right to make these types of statements but please accept the possibility that your gut feelings or emotional responses might be overlooking important factual or real world issues dealing with urban planning.

Some of us have been thinking about PDX as a great place to live for decades and have been going to meetings to help that vision happen.

Give us your site for the AAA baseball park. And give us your reasons for your choice. Let us logically decision through discussion if your location makes sense more than the RQ.

Even here after all the information that has come out and people still think that this deal will effect the General Funds. Sometimes no matter what you say, the other person will not listen.

The GOP and the naysayers in PDX sound the same more and more.

Ray

Brian Libby

Ray,

I'm against a baseball stadium at the Rose Quarter because I hate the clustering of major stadiums and arenas in one place. Architecturally these are massive behemoths, and it's a challenge just to fit even one into the existing urban fabric. I think of the Rose Garden as a big mountain, needing foothills around it, not another mountain. If Memorial Coliseum weren't such a fine and historic building in its own right, I'd favor its demolition. But I'm 100% against it because it's too important and too nice a building. That leaves two big mountains at the Rose Quarter. It would be too much to have a baseball stadium there.

I'd favor putting a baseball stadium virtually anywhere else in the city other than the Rose Quarter.

Someone suggested moving it to Lincoln High School's site since Lincoln is investigating building a new campus anyway. Sounds OK to me. That site has excellent freeway and MAX access.

I also would be fine with the stadium being built in Lents. It's a little far from downtown, but again with good freeway access.

Ultimately having a site closer to the city center than Lents might be best, but there are plenty of other better locations than the Rose Quarter.

How about in Northwest Portland's under-utilized industrial area near the Fremont Bridge near Vaughn Street? How about near Portland Meadows and the Expo Center?

I'm going to ignore the unfair, mildly insulting "you should do your research" lecture and appreciate all of your other comments.

Earl

Ray says,
“Even here after all the information that has come out and people still think that this deal will effect the General Funds. Sometimes no matter what you say, the other person will not listen.”

Maybe people remember the unfulfilled promises of the PGE park renovation, and the unfulfilled promised jobs from the promised Nanotech Institute at OHSU, and so on, and they don’t believe the current promises.

Leo

“Let's be realistic, the MAC club is a playground of the rich and connected...”

Regardless of economic class, I find it unappealing to remove a facility for *practicing* athletics yourself in order to replace it with a facility for *watching* athletics being performed by someone else. I already do not want my tax dollars used to support a spectator sport facility of any kind, and I definitely do not want my tax dollars being used to convince a gym to move elsewhere in order to make that happen.

I understand that there’s money to be made in spectator sports, but if there’s so much money in it, why do I need to help subsidize it?

dennis

Actually I have to agree with you for the most part Brian. The clustering of stadiums is a bad idea because it will strengthen the island effect that is currently going on there and the Rose Quarter needs to strengthen its qualities as an urban district rather than adding another stadium there. The reason why I want to see the baseball park within the proximity of inner Portland is because of its current effect that it has being at PGE Park. PGE feels apart of that neighborhood because it is, I always like to joke when I go to a Beavers game that its our little Wrigley Field (or at least the PBR version of Wrigley). I would hate to see it moved far from the urban core where it becomes nothing more than a generic ballpark in the suburbs.

Actually if you wish to stay on locations, this would be a perfect opportunity to help revitalize the underused industrial area that is in the Northwest with a new ballpark and possibly use the urban renewal funds to help build a neighborhood addition in many of those parking lots in a private/public partnership with the company that owns the land.


I can understand why the city sees that tearing down the MC is the best choice for a new ballpark because it is the path of least resistance for the city. I personally have no attachments to the MC, but I can understand why many of you do. The city I grew up in on the east coast has a coliseum that was designed by Pier Luigi Nervi and is an amazing concrete structure that gets threated every time there is talk of getting an NBA team.

dennis

Cities so rarely get opportunities to build large scale architecture in their city and it doesnt seem right when they simply tear them down when the original use is gone.

While this may severely alter the original use of the MC, I cant see why the structure itself can't be incorporated into the idea of an entertainment district around the Rose Garden, then adding the ballpark to another neighborhood to have that help strengthen the identity of another neighborhood.

billb

The Memorial Coliseum is one of our finest works of Modern Architecture AND the Veterans Memorial. If we are green , then it should be re-purposed as a community athletic center , as has been proposed. The PPS site down the hill is publically owned and the building is nearly obsolete. It sits in a natural bowl , and could be planned for MLB expansion. It would connect to the local district , and act as a bridge between N.Po. and the Rosey Quarter.

rhome

I'd like to address several myths about the neighborhood:

(1) "The MAC is a playground for the rich." It is probably true that many of the wealthiest families in Portland are members of the MAC. But with a membership of 20,000 (largest in North America), the MAC has many, many others who are simply middle class. The MAC seems exclusive because the number of members are capped so that the facilities are not overwhelmed -- this requires that new members apply in a randomized lottery system to only allow enough people in when the same number of people drop out/die. There is no income requirement. In fact, the initiation fee (four figures) is quite reasonable compared with many country clubs (high five or six figures). A diversity committee also ensures fast tracked initiation and initiation assistance.

(2) "A ball field on the Lincoln Campus is better than a ball field at the Rose Quarter." I am unclear how putting the AAA stadium next to PGE park is better than putting the AAA stadium next to the Rose Garden. All are on mega blocks. The difference is that Licoln is in a mainly residential neighborhood -- so in my mind it would be worse. In fact, the neighborhood association is trying to push for a plan that would better connect the campus to the neighborhood, not wall it off even further.

(3) "The MAC Club is ugly" -- amen, brother. No myth here. And I'm not a big fan of the concrete aesthetic that is on the inside. But the new wing on the West Side is pretty nice and transparent. The facade that faces PGE park is hideous, though. Hopefully they'll fix that.

(4) "The MAC Club will move." Never in a million, billion years -- it's been on that site for 100 years and has too much invested in infrastructure.

Feel free to disagree. Frankly, as a member of the Goose Hollow neighborhood -- one of the most diverse in the city -- I'm happy to see further development. And one more word about the URA. The word "blight" gets thrown around and, while there's little to be found on the hilly slopes where the 100 year old portland mansions lie, there's plenty of underutilized sections in the flats. If a URA is declared, I hope funds are used to better integrate the area with the city, because right now it's cut off on three sides by Burnside, 405, and 26.

Brian Libby

I can understand people being against the use of public funds for the soccer stadium in light of how that money is needed for other social services, etc. But it's unfair to characterize this is solely a private stadium for the Timbers. A stadium such as this, just as has been the case with PGE Park, is a public building that is of tremendous value to a wide cross-section of the community. It's also a place where many other events can happen. A major stadium is part of the fabric of any metropolitan area.

I also think it's incorrect to characterize Timbers soccer games at PGE Park as merely a frivolous and empty experience. If you're not a soccer fan or a sports fan, that's OK, but just because you don't like the sport, or any sports, doesn't mean the stadium is a bad idea. I feel the same way about this as I would a new concert hall for the Oregon Symphony: a desire to build the best venue we as a community can, resources permitting, for all walks of life to gather to enjoy entertainment and artful or physical gifts on display. And accompanying that, a sense that this is the time to invest in public projects, when the economy needs a boost so badly and public-private partnerships like this can get people back to work.

Douglas K.

Another possible alternate location for the minor league stadium: Portland State University. Put it at the old Doubletree Inn site at 3rd and Lincoln (currently University Place Hotel/Conference Center). Use the stadium for Vikings football and soccer, as well as baseball if they ever get a college team going.

If and when major league baseball comes to Portland, the minor league team probably will go away. It would be convenient to be able to convert the ballpark to Viking Stadium and let PSU maintain it, instead of being stuck with yet another tax-funded white elephant sports venue.


Cora Potter

The Lents site was the best choice. It would have created a dynamic green line station area, development would have spilled over into the adjoining town center and the Powell station area, and it would have opened up the Gresham and Clackamas markets for attendance. For the size of the stadium being built, the neighborhood is a better scale too.

Lents was the first choice through the whole process, even up until the end. But, when the figures that Merritt Paulson was contributing to construction hit 0ver $20m, retaining the 20% of the current attendance for Beavers games that come out of the western suburbs became more palatable than gambling on a new market. It's unfortunate, but that's the way it goes. Until the negative and incorrect market perception of East Portland neighborhoods can be overcome, the central city will always be able to easily siphon away significant projects and investment.

A 9,000 seat stadium is just going to create another "hole" in the Rose Quarter no matter where you put it. The factor that is killing it now is the number of large blocks with imposing buildings. No matter how much retail you try to squeeze in around the periphery of those behemoths, it's not going to be helped by adding more of the same thing that's making it an activity desert now.

The advantage of keeping Memorial Coliseum over putting up a ballpark is that you can retain the architecture. If anything, Memorial Coliseum helps the Rose Quarter in that it adds a layer of architectural interest that will go away if a standard ballpark takes its place.

Ray Whitford

Sorry Brian to be so blunt but our ideas and vision of a baseball stadium in the RQ have been on-line for years (www.oregonstadiumcampaign.com). The Blanchard Site is where I would suggest the City site the AAA ballpark. Even Sam Adams mentioned the PPS/Blanchard location during the Wednesday CC Meeting.

I am surprised you didn't mention it in your list. Is that location to close to the Rose Garden for you tastes?

I understand and agree on the MC. I have been pushing for HSR (Memorial Station) and Sports Museum/Pubs/Hostel or Hotel using the MC shell for years.
I don't want this building to be lost, just re-tasked in the Oregon way of doing things (remembering the past and moving forward).

Ray

Eric Cantona

just for shits and giggles i thought some might enjoy this piece i found at football365.com (an english soccer website)under their 'mediawatch' section:

America's Problem: Revealed
America has a few problems at the moment. Nobody except Oprah has any money, that Madoff chap has achieved the impressive feat of lowering people's opinions of bankers, that second ammendment thing is turning out to be a pretty daft idea, they have about twenty wars on the go and Ann Coulter continues to sell books.

However, none of this is the biggest problem on that side of the pond, apparently.

Mediawatch's attention was drawn this morning to a website called First Things.com, which bills itself as 'The journal of religion, culture and public life.'

Alarm bells began to ring, as we naturally assumed that someone was trying to recruit us to Scientology, but as it turns out we were simply being directed to a blog entitled 'How Soccer Is Ruining America: A Jeremiad'.

Yes indeed Siree - 'soccer' is the problem with a country in which 100,000 people are shot every year.

'Soccer is running America into the ground, and there is very little anyone can do about it' the author of the piece, the learned Stephen H Webb, begins.

He goes on to offer a number of 'reasons' for his proclamation, including:

- 'Soccer is a game for girls' (because plating yourself in armour for a pussies version of rugby is the height of masculinity)
- 'Soccer penalizes shoving and burns countless calories' (apparently this is a bad thing)
- 'Any sport that limits you to using your feet, with the occasional bang of the head, has something very wrong with it...Only fools punch a wall with their hands' (ah - so geniuses like you prefer to break their feet on bricks then?)
- 'Everyone knows that soccer is a foreign invasion' (so ice hockey (established in Canada), basketball (invented by a Canadian) and baseball (derived from a French game) are as American as apple pie?)
- 'It is as tiring to play as it is tedious to watch' (and so the obesity problem is explained)
...And finally...
- 'As a display of nearly death-defying stamina, soccer mimics the paradigmatic feminine experience of childbirth more than the masculine business of destroying your opponent with insurmountable power' (so any activity involving running is like childbirth? Freud would have a field day with this clown)

Steve

The Oregon Symphony a non-profit organization, whereas Paulson’s is a for-profit company (isn’t it?), so I do not think they are comparable.

Anyway, when was the last time Portland built a new concert hall for the Oregon Symphony, and is anyone proposing landfilling it to replacing it with a new hall?

When was the last time Portland financed a ballpark, and is the bill paid off yet?

Andrea

Sorry, I can’t accept the premise that we need a new park.

Throwing away our recent “investment” in PGE Park, while borrowing additional tens of millions of dollars to support ANOTHER private sports team owner, tells me our “leaders” do not understand our economic or environmental situation.

How can TWO new stadiums be a priority when we literally have hungry children, crashing fish and bird populations, and crumbling bridges in seismically active area?

How many yards of landfill will this proposal generate?

dave

Cora,

Lents is a horrible choice for a ballpark site. Guys this is a residential neighborhood. It might work if you replace Lents Town Center with this but not in the heart of the neighborhood. That's crazy. Most of the people pushing for this location don't live there and have no clue what they are talking about.

One of my best friends lives on side street overlooking the park. I don't about you but I wouldn't want thousands of people coming by my house looking for a parking spot. Putting a major ballpark in the middle of a neighborhood is insane. Where are people going to park? Yes, many will take Max but many will drive as well.

How about the waterfront site in the Rose Quarter where the Red Lion used to be. If it's big enough, that might be a good site with great views.

Common Sense

The best location for a baseball park is PGE Park.

Though I wish there was more manufacturing in Portland, the underused industrial areas, like Swan Island, would be best for a soccer stadium.

One of the most valuable pieces of land owned by PPS is Blanchard. Isn't now the wrong time to sell Blanchard, wouldn't it best financially to hold the property until the Rose Garden matures?

ws

Just trying to shut off the italics... .

Jazbo DeFreeze

Tearing Down Memorial Coliseum is criminal and stupid. Let's tear down something that should be torn down.

Jazbo deFreeze

Don't mess with the Lincoln site. It should be dedicated for our children and we need a downtown school.

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