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memorial coliseum velodrome has a real ring to it....eh?


I know you are shocked about the parking garages thing and very much for saving the MC, but doesnt it seem counterproductive to tear down very expensive parking garages that are making a revenue, only to have to find another place for new parking garages within the Rose Quarter to replace the ones that would be lost?

Sounds like that idea would shoot the cost of this up even higher...I know you want to save the MC, but it makes no sense to tear down parking garages if they will just have to be replaced with more garages.

Brian Libby


A parking garage can be built anywhere! The Coliseum is a one-of-a-kind jewel. Clearly if the parking garage were torn down to make way for a baseball stadium on that site, they'd need to replicate that parking elsewhere, such as underground or on a nearby site. But there are lots of nearby places where a new garage could go, such as the abandoned motel across the street from the current garage.

Saving a garage over an architectural wonder can not be justified by any economic criteria. This is just not the Portland way.


so basically you wish for the city to balloon the cost of this to move parking garages to save a building that has little use and is going to need a massive renovation just to upkeep its current wear and tear. All of this is going to cost alot of money.

Plus my point with this is the fact that the city had a lengthy report about this being the best spot for a major league team years ago when we were in the running. All I am seeing is the city following through with this idea by building a ballpark there that could one day fill that demand...the choice of the MC shouldnt come as a surprise to anyone, but it seems most people havent been paying any attention to their city the past 10 yrs.

Brian, I have a question for you, if it is so important to save this aging structure, how will this new added costs be covered? What would you suggest be done with the MC to preserve its current state (and if you say the bowl should be taken out for reuse, then you might as well tear the building down). It is nice that everyone is up in arms about this, I love that about my city for the wanting to protect its architecture, but you cant just say protect it without a follow up plan to prevent it from being a money pit of a building. That is what I am getting at.

Brian Libby

Dennis, there isn't time to talk about practical uses for the Coliseum and funding mechanism while Rome is about to burn. I absolutely agree the Coliseum needs a plan, but first we have to stop it from being razed.



Since you seem to be responsive. Please answer this single question.

I can imagine we both agree that the MC is run down and in need of improvement if it were to remain. A very similar structure from the same era exists in Fort Wayne Indiana. They have spent $61 million bringing it up to date and it has far more usage than the MC.

I respect your opinion that the MC represents an era of architectural history I fail to agree with the "beauty" in it. It's a giant concrete bowl that's surrounded by a glass box.

So my question is this. Is it worth $50 million or so to bring the building up to date so Panic at the Disco will have another place in town to play when they roll through? Will Thomas Lauderdale and Pink Martini be playing fundraisers to raise the money to make the necessary upgrades to the MC to make it a viable venue?


Right on, Brian Libby! Thank you for keeping everyone updated on this issue, and for providing this open forum.

On another note, all of these arguments regarding $ for upkeep and maintenance ring ridiculous to me. Isn't it common knowledge that the cost of homeownership includes basic and preventative maintenance? Are we to condemn, demolish, and replace all structures that require renovation and $ spent for maintenance and improvements as they age? And who determines what $ amount constitutes a money-pit drain and how do we fairly balance and compare these costs with the value of sustainability, historic preservation, significant architecture?


The biggest problem I see is that the public process is a joke. You don't start a conversation with the citizenry by saying, "this is where we are putting the new stadium and now we want to hear from the public to know what color we should paint it or what chain restaurant to put next to it."

It may very well turn out that the Memorial Coliseum should be torn down, but I haven't seen the evidence to support such a decision, especially in light of the environmental/sustainability issues, the respect for the Veterans (I mean, what does it mean to be a memorial if you can just tear it down once it inconveniences you?), the architectural heritage.

What Sam Adams is suggesting will do nothing to enliven this area. We are building an open air stadium that has only one use, can only be used a view months out of the year, and will be used for only a handful of games each season. Unbelievable!


actually Brian being practical should be the most important thing...hell, isnt it more practical to look at other ways to reuse the current Riverdale School than it would be to tear it down to replace it with a larger structure?

Well same goes with this, and yes there is an argument for saving and for tearing down, but right now there is a lengthy report made years ago that says this is the best place for a future major league ballpark...with that said, I think it would be important to hear a practical reason to save the structure other than I saw the Blazers play there when I was a kid...I am all for saving structures and giving them new life, but saving something because someone has a personal memory to a place isnt a good enough reason...that doesnt pay for the cost of renovation needs, which this building does need.


Save the MC! Build the baseball stadium elsewhere, and keep a functioning coliseum. Any money spent remodeling the MC (now or in the future) would be less than having to build a new one the next time our growing city needs a large venue. It's by far the most sustainable option. Plus we preserve an important, if unappreciated, structure.


Hey, I like Panic at the Disco.


this site will not fit a major league stadium, so believe me, when we get to that point we will be looking for another site for major league

what other building can we tear down to make this proposal work?


i think i missed something at the
beginning of all this hoo haw -
why can't baseball stay in PGE Park
( um, it looks and feels like a baseball park, why cram a rectangular sport in a
diamond shaped building ? )

and put the Soccer somewhere else ?
a cool new stadium ?

is it because baseball love is dwindling ?

sorry - life long non-sports fan here....
but, next year i'm signed up for season
tickets for the Blazahs ! i'm catching
the fever.


If sammy has the money for a costly demolition of the MC , then just use it to restore this fine work of modern glass architecture.[and put a huge green roof on it and make an awesome roof-park] There are good ideas around , farmers market , community sports center , velodrome , even casino...
Put the MLB sized park on that Yeon property. Shovel- ready land with it's own freeway on-ramp and cheap surface parking. Why always go the 'hard' way sammy....


Why do I feel like Sam and Randy have access to the Cheney political play book? Getting very Dick-ish around here!


@John - PGE is a multi-sport facility. It's too big for AAA baseball and the perfect size for MLS with minor modifications.

It would cost around $50 million to remodel the existing MC and then maintain a sparsely used facility with one small hockey team lessee that is averaging around 3,000 fans per game. It will cost around $40 million to knock the thing down and put up a new stadium with a regular lessee that will use the facility on more days with more fans.

I don't pull my numbers out of nowhere. Similar facility...they've spent $61 million to bring the thing up to date and they have FAR more lessees than the MC.


Douglas K.

Don't need to tear down any buildings. Put it on the vacant lot on the Yeon property. Put it on the surface parking lot next to Lloyd Cinemas. Put it over those two low-rise parking structures. (Need to replace parking? There's an empty surface lot directly north of the Coliseum. Parking for the Coliseum, the stadium, and Rose Garden.)

Dennis, the "lengthy report made years ago that says this is the best place for a future major league ballpark" was probably talking about the school district property right across Broadway. There isn't a big enough space anywhere in Rose Quarter for a major league ballpark, unless the Rose Garden itself is demolished.


actually, someone on skyscraperpage.com suggested that next to OMSI would be a good idea too.


I personally dont think the Rose Quarter is the best place for a minor league team, but I havent heard any good uses for the MC that preserves the bowl inside the building other than do nothing with it.


@ Garrett

numbers from somehere are not better than nowhere when they are misleading.

Allen County is not apples to apples. That project had a major expansion. It is not relevant.

From the wikipedia article:

In 2002, an extensive renovation and expansion was put into motion, which raised the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum's roof by 41 feet, therefore increasing the arena's seating capacity to 10,500 for hockey or music concerts and 13,000 for basketball. The structure was designed by A.M. Strauss Architects.


a refresher for those new to the issue:


future major league won't fit in sam's plan.

short sighted and frankly a little moronic.


@ dennis:

i said it before i'll say it again. put ron paul's public market in the concessions and the plaza and put randy rapaport's music venue inside the teacup. keep things happening there from 8 am to midnight.

don't tear down MC!

keep up the good work Brian.


now arguing that the city should tear down the PPS over the MC, now that is an argument...actually doing some looking into the old report for a pro team, it mentions the PPS as being the best location for a new ballpark...would make sense to listen to something we spent money on in research.

Well ben, the public market thing is a joke that people confuse as being related to the farmers market...but with that said, it would probably work well here, plus could be incorporated into this whole Live! thing. I do think there are other options other than tearing down the MC, but the spectacle on how this is all being handled is just funny in a horribly wrong political way.


Ron Paul's public market ideal is a joke. It's a farmer's market using taxpayer money.

Tearing down the PPS building doesn't make sense in a time where schools will have to be closed due to budget cuts.

How about just putting this where the garages are and building a new garage on the useless triangle of land between I-5, the max station and the steel bridge.


We were shown an 'eco district' with a ball stadium and gobs of retail bringing 'vitality' and 'activation' to the Rose Garden, while our economy is a disaster, businesses are careening to bankruptcy, and our schools are in desperate straits. All of this 'eco district' stuff, and the retail, is unfunded and will cost 10's of millions of dollars. SMOKE AND MIRRORS. As for retail - how many 'for lease' signs are in town and how in the world are we going to talk a bank into lending on this historically challenging area for.... but more retail? Where will these $ for what is being presented to us come from?
We are being sold something that is unfinananceable and has no hope of happening without the City virtually buying all add ons - in addition to its share of the ill-sited baseball stadium. Or, maybe Paulson would be willing to put up $200M++ to build this eco-district? I am confused about why we are even wasting our precious Council time talking about this pipe dream. Our house is on fire and our Council is talking about what color to paint the porch furniture.


I agree.

it feels like sam and others were like we need to sell this. first of all lets call it sustainable, the hot word of the last couple years. lets say we'll reuse the torn town coliseum to appease the architecture freaks, and throw on the name eco districs to appeal to the enviro nuts. (and yeah I'm an architecture freak, and an enviro nut) but when you get down to it the substance is just not there. but wait, a 120,000sf nike museum? hell yeah!

and actually this whole speedy process of review and design leads me to think the quality of the spaces, streets, and buildings will be really lacking! I dont think they can pull it off. i just hope they realize that.


We need to save the Blazers office building!!!! Its an outstanding example of 1990s architecture!!!!

The Memorial Coliseum is not a one of a kind building, it is just like every building elsewhere in the country built after the war and is designed by the most ubiquitous and corporate of architecture firms. It is a phony and faux copy of Mies van der Rohe's work, hence the fact that SOM the very architect of this building is commonly called the "Three Blind Mies."

It is pointless to have two arenas with the exact same function right next door to each other.

Most cities have torn down their Memorial Auditoriums/Coliseums and replaced them so its ludicrous to say that because its a memorial building it can't change. We should rename the airport Portland Memorial Airport which is a more fitting and high profile memorial than a decaying, redundant and seldom used building.


It is not pointless. These are not redundant arenas.

The two arenas next to eachother allow the Winterhawks and Blazers to play home games on the same night.


It makes NO SENSE to tear down a building (pretty or not, historic or not, a memorial or not) just because the organization running it (the Blazer organization) has a vested interest in making sure it doesn’t succeed so that their OTHER projects DO (the Rose Garden and ‘Live’). On what level does constantly deferred routine maintenance lead to a financially prudent decision to completely replace something (a plant you don’t bother to water, a house you don’t bother to put a roof on, a car you don’t bother to put oil in, a stadium)? How many times over the course of built history has a structure been deemed to have ‘outlived its useful life’ only because people were too short sighted to see its place in history? That long list could include the recently demolished Wells Fargo bank in the Hollywood district (another mid-century icon), the soon-to-be demolished Hollywood district Pagoda restaurant (a quirky roadside kitch gem), the south auditorium renewal district (got rid of THOSE slums), the Fox theatre (it was closed, right?), the Albina neighborhood (itself razed to make way for the coliseum), the original William S. Ladd mansion (of which we now ‘herald’ the restoration of the remaining carriage house), the old Portland Hotel torn down to put up a parking lot.

I think the final example is the most ironic. That parking lot was removed to give us Pioneer Square – an icon of Portland. NOW, we want to preserve a city-owned, income-generating, still-not-paid-for parking structure in order to tear down a neglected stadium... REALLY?


I think Ron Paul has some new york funding for the market.


If the coliseum is not making money, then make it make money. That building was designed to support several events at the same time. Last year it only hosted 160 events (and made a very small profit). Why not host 300-400 events a year? A dedicated minor league baseball stadium holds 74 home games a year.

M Brown

Will Macht may have made the best point for why the Coliseum is in such poor shape and is so poorly utilized. The City's agreement with Paul Allen's management company provides no incentive for Allen to utilize the coliseum as a profitable venture. While granting that the Rose Garden may be a more preferable hosting location for events, it is worth pointing out that Allen stands to gain very little financially from pushing events to the Colisuem, where the City gets something like 60% of the revenue, rather than the Rose Garden, where the City gets... 0%. It's not really rocket science why the Coliseum doesn't get as much use as it could. Aging facility, comparatively inadequate services, financial disincentives to use.

By the way, all three of those things describe my 1910 house in Laurelhurst or just about any other building older than 30 years. What I would love to see is an argument for how the Rose Quarter gets better with the Coliseum gone and something else in its place. And, "Portland LIVE!" won't do it for me, and neither will a AAA ballpark.


Does anyone recall all the restaurants and clubs that were part of the Rose Garden when it opened? Just like any "Live" concessions will be, they were DOA.

Douglas K.

Tearing down the PPS building doesn't make sense in a time where schools will have to be closed due to budget cuts.

It makes perfect sense to do this when cash is short and schools are closing. Selling the building will be a shot of revenue for PPS. Or possibly an income stream if they sell it for a down payment plus thirty years of annual revenue. And if they're closing schools, they can just move their administrative offices to one or two of the schools being closed, and use the down payment to renovate/expand the place to meet their needs.


this whole debate is depressing. who cares? We are talking about sports and meanwhile a 12 lane $6 billion slab is being steamrolled through the "public process". MC is only a marginally interesting building anyway. The affect on the neighborhood is more pressing to me and I do not see a new stadium alleviating the already horrible dead zone that is the Rose Quarter. It has some very nice views, and it will just be squandered on an inward focused amusement which, frankly, I know few people are interested participating in. Plus, transit is a mess there, and will only get worse. Common people. Look at the big picture!


this sure does seem to make sense - put baseball by omsi.

even more than the lloyd center location or the nw yeon location.

check it out:


Brian Libby

Thanks to everyone who has read and/or posted comments to the site in the past few days. It's Memorial Coliseum that matters here, but you've also given this blog its highest week of readership in three-plus years of existence: Over 6,500 hits in the last three days alone!

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