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I'm with you on this, Brian. Stone Blazers fan even before I moved to Portland, and really proud now that they actually have players you can admire (Roy, Webster, Pryz ... actually, practically all of 'em). And that's no accident but a conscious policy of the management, which finally realized that bad characters can actually cost the team money if they undercut community support.
Now the question is: can the organization's new sensitivity to community values translate into the RQ redevelopment plan? And can anyone here suggest a model, a successful inner-city sports complex that "integrate[s] this area into the fabric of the city" as Brian suggests?

The RQ is such an offputting urban disaster as is that it seems like anything would be better than what's there now. It contradicts all of Portland's livability standards -- an intimidating desert around there when there's not a game going on, confusing to navigate and a barrier to urban liveliness, and I avoid it as much as possible. What would the Blazers and the city, respectively, have to do to make it work?


To tear down the classic Memorial Coliseum, rather than renovate and reuse it, will make Portland's "green" pretenses similarly crystal clear. At least to me. Any sports plan that involves destroying it deserves zero consideration.


Where do the plans to build a new baseball stadium (Memorial Stadium?) fit into all of this?


The original sin of the Rose Quarter the is destruction/havoc caused by destroying Albina and then building Memorial Coliseum and I-5. Took out the grid that was there and more or less walled off the RQ from the rest of NE.

MC is a great building but I'm not sure how it can fit into the proposals that have come out in the last couple of weeks. Assuming that MC is demolished, building a AAA baseball stadium that works in urban environment doesn't seem that difficult. There's a lot of good examples of urban baseball stadiums being built in the last 15 years or so. That said, RQ isn't really an urban environment, it's a strange suburban/ urban/ industrial tear in space time continium.

Whatever work that is done in RQ needs to make sure there is better interaction with Broadway and the Convention Center area. Hopefully they wouldn't put the new stadium next to the Rose Garden but mix in some midrise buildings. Not sure where you'd get the money for that in the current financial/real estate climate.

Also, would be great if the Portland Schools building
(what an abomination) could be thrown in as part of this proposal and blown up. Not sure if the City of Portland is going to want to give up the revenue for the parking garages at the edge of RQ.


The Memorial Coliseum is one of our Finest Works of Classic Modern Architecture , AND our Veterans Memorial. Tearing it down MUST be off the table. We saw some great ideas for turning it into a community sports facility , and with Obama Dollars we should act on them. This is like hitting a Triple , save/repurpose a good building , add community sports facilities , and Respect our Vets.

Put a Ballpark on the much better PPS site and give life to that neighborhood , and create a connection from N.PO. to the Rose quarter.

Alex Stange

Funny that the writer worries about "cookie-cutter" planning, then goes on to praise Leftbank and the Brewery Blocks. As a lifelong Portland resident, most of it on the inner eastside, those projects he praises are just as cookie-cutter to me. They're a different kind of cookie, but those kinds of developments are just as generic.

The suburban people want big-box retailers and a cheesecake factory, the city people will want boutique retailers and small restaurants. Make no mistake: neither vision is daring, both are cookie cutter.

You want to do something really adventurous: turn the site into something that can employ people in real middle class jobs, not just serving dinners and selling designer sunglasses. Build a trucking yard or a cement factory or something. Make cheap, no-frills office spaces so high tech companies like mine don't have to always locate in the suburbs. Why does the site HAVE to be some mix of retail and residential and commercial space? Isn't EVERY project in town like that now?

I agree that that Allen's plan will be awful, but a plan like what the writer suggests would be just as bland. It's only an aesthetic difference.


Build a trucking yard or a cement factory on this close-in urban site?

You have got to be kidding me Alex Stange!

The metro area may need those kinds of jobs, but this is not the place for them.


I've always thought the Memorial Coliseum to be a great looking building; the transparency allowing visibility of the undulating seating inside. The top of MC doesn't look so good, that's for sure, and should be improved. For a unique view of the city, it's great being inside it on a clear evening as the sun goes down.

The Rose Garden Stadium is of course, newer, with updated facilities, but I can't get to where I much appreciate its style. I don't know about the numbers, or what it takes to get a big complex like the RG able to make money. I haven't read the linked article yet, but that phrase: "entertainment-themed district "alive with activity 24 hours a day". . That just sounds like dreaming. This isn't NYC. 82nd Ave might be the only place in Portland where there's activity 24 hrs a day, and it's doubtful that the late night type on that street would be welcome at the RG.


I'm dreaming here but it's too bad the Coliseum can't be moved to the PSU campus. Renovated, it makes a perfect college basketball arena.

Douglas K.

One thing that the Rose Quarter needs is a significant day-time attraction. There's got to be a way to turn the Memorial Coliseum into a public building that draws in many people during the day.

Maybe tear out the bowl inside and turn it into a year-round four-square block Farmer's Market? Or find a way to build in a bunch of interior stores and make it Portland's version of Pike Place Market?

It could house a museum (it would have been a great home for OMSI, for example) but we don't have any major cultural institutions looking for a new home. Maybe it could become a multi-museum, housing the Sports Hall of Fame and bits of the Oregon Maritime Center and a few other small museums and starter museums, all under one roof. Or create a major Gallery of Public Art owned and operated by the Regional Arts and Culture Council to exhibit the large collection of public art owned by the City of Portland and Multnomah County.

Maybe transfer the Coliseum to Metro and see if the Oregon Zoo could turn it into a public aquarium or a natural history museum? (Or both, like the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.)

What about a train and bus station? In the past, Jim Howell has suggested putting a new high-speed rail station in Rose Quarter. It would speed up train traffic on the Seattle-Eugene corridor if the trains didn't need to slow down to cross the Willamette to Union Station. So wow about turning Memorial Coliseum into a multi-modal station, replacing both Union Station and the Greyhound Station?

Whatever happens, there must be a way to keep the building in public use as something other than a barely-used sports venue. Demolition should not be an option.

Charlie Brown

to improve the Rose quarter, any new design should insist on reconnecting the city grid with that area.

The Memorial Coliseum is a wonderful building that is but a shell of its prior self. some of my earliest memories are going to that building and watching afternoon high school basketball in the 1960s, the Portland buckaroos and the Trail Blazers. I remember the grand entrance with the big elm trees and the flagpole that were removed for parking garages for the Rose Garden Arena. "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that arena man to let us build anew."

David Benson

A dead-on blog.

The Coliseum is a modernist gem while the Rose Garden is a suburban mediocrity dropped thoughtlessly upon the Portland urban grid. What a pleasure it use to be to walk in the Coliseum concourse during the Blazer's halftime and view the sparking downtown across the river, or to drive by and see people milling inside. It was a show either way. The Glass Palace became iconic in a way the Rose Garden will never be.

At last, Paul Allen has learned how to build a great basketball team by hiring good people and letting them work. He has not yet learned how to build a good neighborhood. His urban planning judgment cannot be trusted. Don't unchain him.

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