« National Trust For Historic Preservation urges City Council to preserve Memorial Coliseum | Main | Pink Martini's Thomas Lauderdale: Memorial Coliseum "one of the best buildings in the city." »


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


Well...if one of the reasons for NOT putting the new stadium where MC sits is size, then I wouldn't think the Lloyd Center site would work...it's not really any bigger than the MC site. I also can't imagine putting a stadium in the industrial wastes of NW...there is NOTHING out there in the way of food and drink...you are surround on all sides by several blocks of warehouses and very pedestrian-unfriendly streets. The idea of condemning a perfectly good movie theater just to save MC seems a bit much...especially to people like me who NEVER go to events at the MC or RG, but go to movies quite a bit. Please try to remember that the entire city isn't in thrall of sports venues. Just my ¢2

Brian Libby


The Lloyd Cinemas plan forwarded by Rick Potestio would not require any condemnation of Lloyd Cinemas itself. The business could operate alongside a stadium. This would actually benefit Lloyd Cinemas.

Your point about the other site in the industrial area having not close enough access to food and other amenities is well taken. But the nature of this problem could rapidly change. The admittedly industrial site borders NW 23rd Avenue, one of the most popular retail corridors in all of Portland. Stretch that retail just a couple more blocks and your industrial stadium is suddenly in the thick of things. Plus it's very close to two freeways.


i still vote for conversion to velodrome + use for daily bike workshops, classes, training etc. to keep it occupied and used all the time.


I like the Lloyd Cinemas idea, but you would more than likely need to build a parking garage to make that happen. That lot is often very full as are the lots around the Mall. Traffic would be a nightmare, but that will be the case regardless of where you put the ballfield and people can adapt to that.

I have to say, I'm horribly disappointed in our mayor. He want so badly to put his name on this thing that he's willing to jeopardize the city to do it.


The Lloyd site is desirable.

A few others:

1. Directly next to the new 'hybrid bridge' at South Waterfront. Good access and gives people a reason to visit (spend money) the area.

2. Powell Park/Fred Meyer corporate parking lot at SE Powell & 22nd. Soon to be served by MAX.

3. The roof of the Convention Center - plenty of space, parking, transit, etc.

4. Since we are discussing tearing down historic buildings. Why not the Pittock Mansion site? I jest...kind of.

I agree with Petestio. This city's population is growing weekly. It would make more sense to keep an existing 10k seat venue, then to build a new one in 10 years.

Cora Potter

Perhaps for financing schemes... it may need to remain in the OCCURA, but there has already been an alternate, and originally preferred site identified. That's Lents Park.

Lent's Park was not eliminated as a site because it lacked any features or amenities needed for a successful AAA Baseball Stadium. It's still an excellent alternative.


The Yeon site has historical precedent behind it. I believe that Portland's baseball stadium was located a block or two from there before Civic Stadium/PGE Park was built.


The cinemas site is a horrible idea. That area is notorious for bottlenecking almost every day of the year - not to mention the logjam during the holiday season. The only solution might be to put the stadium underground with parking on top.


Having worked at Lloyd Cinemas, this plan would NOT work. The parking lot gets completely full during the summer months with movie goers. The parking lot across the street is full with shoppers. It is ridiculous so say there will be ample parking. I cringed at reading this. Please get your facts right before you post so you are not spreading falsities.


wow , that Yeon site is good. The Sat Pic reveals it's access well.
Great flat 'shovel-ready' land and it jumps onto the freeways with essentially it's own on-ramp. Room for cheap surface parking , so no expensive parking structure. AND the history of Baseball in the spot is great. Talk to the old timers , they all have stories of sneaking out of school to see games here.

Brian Libby

Regardless of whether there's available parking in Lloyd Center for a baseball park at the Lloyd Cinemas site, it still makes sense. Why? PGE Park doesn't have any parking AT ALL. More parking could easily be constructed underground or in additional garages on the north end of Lloyd Center.

It's too bad, Schuyler, that you cringe so easily, but I'll resist the easy temptation to trade insults.


actually these two ideas are much better than the idea of putting it at the MC. Minor league stadiums should always be more integrated with neighborhoods, they tend to have that Wrigley Field charm that way.

The Lloyd Cinemas idea would be an exciting location that could really reinvent the area, plus the complaints on here about parking and traffic are really a non issue...those issues would have to be dealt with either way, which would require new structures to be built anyway...though dealing with a private owner for this is an obvious setback that I think the city wants to avoid if they are looking at the MC as a serious option (a building the city owns).

The Yeon site is a great location because of its access to the highway, the possibility of a streetcar connection and the extension of the 23rd district which would come with this development. I would have to say this would be the best location that is also ready to build on now. Heck it wasnt that long ago that the Pearl District was nothing more than warehouses and abandon rail tracks.


The Lloyd cinema/mall idea could work well, especially considering the success of the Landmark Mall and cinemas at Fenway Park in Boston. Before and after games, the shops and theater are extremely busy, and other times it retains the general draw of shopping/movies. Parking at Fenway is miserable, with the result being that most people take public transit. Maybe the Blazers could rent out their parking garages in the off-season and people could park and ride a few stops to the ball game?


I've posted about NW Front areas being good locations in the past. I still think a river based location (ie. like San Francisco ATT Park) would be best to anchor the northern reach but the Yeon/23 would be a very accessible location as well.

I shuddered when Lloyd cinema location was mentioned. Huge bottlenecks. There would have to be some serious reorganizing of traffic in the area.

pat lando

I agree with alternative sites and would post yet another opportunity out in the Gateway. PDC has already re-classified as a development zone and dumped money into it. (Can't you just see the developer's chasing that land down?) It is at a hub of public and private transportation access, and the potential for injecting associated services (retail and other) is large. In short, the process for the stadium relocation doesn't pass the litmus test and should be scrutinized. I ma preparing the molotov cocktails for tomorrow's meeting and need some help...

eric cantona

some thoughts:

* any proposed site that lacks the ability to convert to MLB standards should be shit-canned immediately after conception. this should eliminate most of the ideas currently on the table.

* good luck rezoning the yeon site. home depot tried it years ago to no avail. the city needs close-in industrial land and there are powerful forces that would not allow a stadium to happen there.

* i've yet to hear anything (that stands a snowball's chance) that better's the original lents proposal.

* did i mention that reasonably easy conversion to MLB standards should be one of the highest priorities?

Cora Potter

Oh...and not to nitpick Rick's renderings, but home plate needs to face Southeast. It's a requirement of the Pacific Coast League and logic if you take into consideration the time of day that most baseball games are played.


The Yeon site offers a potential new link between established NW neighborhoods and the new development along the river. Connecting these areas through Yeon development could be a nice goal for future development. Each area has a unique feel and the transitions between the gentrified 23rd street, the industrial Yeon area, and the new slick riverfront towers could be interesting.

I have always liked a little industrial grit in cities and I hope Portland retains its grit. Creating manufacturing jobs in Portland is something in which I take personal pride, and the connection between sports and hard working manufacturing folks should be strengthened and celebrated.

Ford Field in Detroit incorporates parts of an old Hudson’s Department Store warehouse as a cornerstone (ironically housing luxury seats and restaurants), and the stadium has a somewhat unique industrial look and feel that appeals to me.


I like Steve's post @3:14. Just to add onto it a bit:

Do a Google Images search on "Ebbets Field" for an idea of what a Yeon ballpark could look like and how it could blend into the neighborhood. The lot is oddly shaped, so you could build a really interesting outfield wall. It's only 1.2 miles to walk the length of 23rd down to Burnside, so there's already a vibrant neighborhood nearby. And, it must be designed with MLB expansion in mind.

Jeff Joslin

Well, here's the (former) regulator in me. I agree the Yeon site's intriguing. Doubly so, as it's role in saving one landmark would help offset the unfortunate removal of National Register landmarks on the site (the former U.S. Steel buildings).

That said, it was the traffic increases that killed a proposed big box on the site 15 years ago, given the impacts on nearby industry. That, along with the commitment to Guilds Lake as the one last remaining industrial sanctuary, would be a big hurdles to overcome.


I am betting "traffic increase" was more of a front to help combat Home Depot from moving in, which would be in direct competition with much of the industrial businesses in that area. Plus this would be something for public use, which would give it much more leverage that something like Home Depot or any other hardware store would not have.


My random thoughts...

a. The Park Avenue West tower has been put on hold for 9 months and will be shorter by ten floors with the elimination of condominiums. In lieu of shortening the tower, re-design to add ten (lower) floors of office space for PPS so they can move out of the Blanchard site. Not sure of their space requirements...just a wild thought since they indicated they are "not ready to move" and this idea would add more jobs into the downtown core. (or build the PPS offices in Lents?)

b. Place the minor-league baseball stadium at the PPS Blanchard site - and allow the site configuration to be easily expandable to Major League standards. At some point, as the Portland region grows, we need to have a plan for a relocated team. A minor league stadium that can easily be expanded should be a priority. Now is not the time to be short-sighted in a race to redevelop.

c. Portland was able to host the US Figure Skating Championships & Davis Cup Finals due to the fact that Memorial Coliseum was adjacent to the Rose Garden - factors the selection commitee liked w/Portland's bid. The MC was used for practice & other events.
Demolishing the MC will compromise future opportunities for Portland in hosting large events.

d. The Winterhawks do not draw enough to fill the Rose Garden - better to have 8,000 in attendance in a smaller building. The MC is a mid-sized arena with architectural and civic history that should be renovated to meet modern demands or modified into a semi-open air concert pavilion/arena with a partial roof retraction (less $$)

e. Provide a connection to the Willamette River - restaurants with downtown views at the site of the fomer Thunderbird motel, docking capability for water taxi's and other boats (similar to boats arriving at Husky Stadium for UW football games)

f. The Lloyd Cinema lot appears to have the stadium "shoe-horned" into the site. Most likely no room for future expansion and parking/traffic may be a problem.

g. The Yeon site may have potential as it is shovel-ready - unless the site has contaminated soil due to decades of industrial use (cost + time)...and may face opposition from the manufacturing sector.

Douglas K.

I previously proposed putting the new Minor League Stadium in the Lloyd Cinemas parking lot -- if not here, than over at Portland Transport. I'm glad someone with solid architectural creds posted this idea.

I don't like the site because the new stadium wouldn't be expandable to a major league team. On the up side, it has FANTASTIC transit access, and plenty of parking right across the street at Lloyd Center.

My only suggestion: add to the proposal an expansion -- at Stadium expense -- of the Lloyd Center parking structure around the north end of the mall. Another three or four stories of parking (above ground and underground) would mitigate the lost parking spaces from the movie theater lot, and provide the mall with even more parking year-round. There's an easy trade-off at that point: the stadium pays for the expanded parking structure and gives it to the mall (which then would pay property taxes on it), in exchange for perpetual use of the entire mall parking lot for baseball games and movie-goers. The movie theater might -- in a practical sense -- get MORE parking out of the deal, and eliminate their need to pay property taxes on their existing lot. They might even be willing to sell the lot at a very reasonable price if they get enough bottom-line benefit.

But there shouldn't be a huge need for parking. As I mentioned, the transit access is great. Three light rail lines (Blue, Red and Green) stop right next door, and there are quite a few bus lines within a few blocks.

But all things considered, I still prefer putting the stadium on the future Major League Baseball site -- wherever that will be.


To paraphrase the Chinese curse, "We are living in interesting times."

Jim Heuer

There seems to be a bit of nostalgia going on here relative to the value of major league baseball stadiums being in neighborhoods: "like Wrigley Field" has been written several times in recent responses.

As a former resident of that Northside Chicago neighborhood around the ball park, I can tell you that there was uneasy coexistence between the neighborhood associations/residents and the owners of the ball park. Ultimately in every battle, the ball park owners (then the Chicago Tribune Company) won due to their tremendous political clout.

The problems for the neighborhood were noise, parking, congestion, and light. The latter was the worst issue (surprisingly). It was the result of the enormous banks of lights required for night baseball. Without night baseball, attendance will never be great enough to support a major league team. But, imagine those lights creating daylight right outside your bedroom windows.

After years of fighting over it, Wrigley Field was allowed to play night games -- first a limited number per year, then as the Chicago Tribune Company twisted more political tails, the limits were lifted, creating an intolerable situation for the folks in the surrounding condos.

Bottom line, is the current MC site is an area close to downtown where greater residential density makes tremendous sense. Putting a baseball stadium there which is expected to morph into the major league version is very much at odds with making that area more residential and people friendly.

Let's shoot for those other sites that Brian and others have advocated where parking, expansion, and reasonable distance from residential structures makes a full-size ball park feasible.

(For the baseball trivia minded, there were 5687 day games played at Wrigley field before the lights were finally installed in 1988 despite the public relations and legal battle waged by the neighborhood associations.)


Some comments:

- I can guarantee you that when major league baseball comes to town, they will want a new stadium. Expanding the minor league park will not be an option. Stadiums don't expand well. Look at Key Arena as an example. The Texas Rangers first home was an expanded minor league park that they couldn't wait to get out of.

- Take a closer look at the Holiday Park Hospital/State Hospital site. Seems to be that it could fit in there. A footbridge over I-5 to the Rose Garden garage takes care of parking issues. By placing the stadium against the freeway, you improve rest of the neighborhood by creating a transitional buffer.

- The Yeon site is tough. When Costco tried to build a store, it got shot down by its industrial neighbors. Without the streetcar and a commitment to rezoning, I just don't see it working.

- I know people want to keep it in Portland but how about locating the ballpark in downtown Vancouver. There are a number of sites that might work, it will be close to the new Max line and Vancouver might be willing to contribute some $$ to offset the expense to Portland taxpayers.


vancouver?? um, no.

Douglas K.

Expanding the minor league park will not be an option. Stadiums don't expand well.

It absolutely will be an option if it's designed to be expanded right from the start. I agree that we shouldn't put a minor league stadium in the future major league site UNLESS expansion is designed into it from go.

On the other hand, if we do put the Beavers in a dedicated minor-league stadium that could never be anything bigger, we could put it practically anywhere, as long as it's next to a MAX line and easy to drive to. I'm fine the SE corner of Clackamas Town Center, for example. Plenty of parking there already, it's right off of I-205, and at the end of the Green Line.

Or if we keep it in Portland, put it n Delta Park next to Portland International Raceway. Again, plenty of parking, close to a freeway, served by MAX, and lots of available land.

Taylor Vignali

Memorial Coliseum is a great. I don't have a problem entertaining the idea of a new building on that site. However, what bothers me is that all of this fuss is being given to a MINOR league team. The average person has no interest in minor league sports. I don't feel such a small project is worthy enough reason to greenlight this project.

On the other hand, if the people involved had true vision...and were planning for the introduction of a Major League baseball team sometime down the road, I think i might be more supportive of their plan. Why build a 9000 seat stadium...when you could build a 30,000 to 50,000 seat stadium and court a major league franchise (which could be used for football as well). Someone should ask our city planners why they are not thinking of the long term plan? Will Portland NEVER have a major league sports team outside of the Blazers?

It seems to make no sense to build such a small venue only to have to tear it down at some point in the future for being too small. Why not house the Beavers at a temporary location in the suburbs until the city can develop a more visionary use for the Rose Quarter site with a more compelling long term plan? Go big or go home!


taylor, no city builds a major league ballpark in hopes to score a team some day, that would be the biggest waste of money. It makes more sense to design a minor league ballpark that is designed to be expanded to a major league one later down the line.

Minor league ballparks can become a functioning major league ballpark if it is designed to be expanded.

Plus, isnt the city council and Adams doing what the city has planned for the past 10 yrs to do? wanting to put a ballpark where the MC is, is nothing new. If I remember correctly, it was the chosen site for a major league team back when we were in the running for one. I am guessing the city wants to put this ballpark there if we ever become in the running for a team again. To me, that sounds like we have spent years planning this out and people who havent paid any attention to this over the years are acting this this is all new news and no one is thinking this through properly.


Show me a successful ballpark that has been converted from 9000 seats to 45,000 plus seats. The few times it has happened, it hasn't work. Just like Paulson is getting his way, a new ball park owner will demand a new ballpark.


Kansas City started out at an expanded minor league stadium that was built in 1923. The Athletics played there from 55-67, the upper deck was constructed for the Athletics. Later the KC Chiefs and Royals would play here before it was demolished in 1976.


The Texas Rangers first ballpark was the Arlington Stadium that was originally a minor league ballpark. They played there from 72-93, which had 3 expansions during that time.

There is a couple examples for you, in recent expansions cities have built brand new stadiums when they are awarded a team, but that doesnt mean it isnt possible to expand a ballpark to handle a higher capacity...which I could go into detail of the number of stadiums that have expanded their seating during their lifespan if you like.


Tiger Stadium in Detroit was opened in 1912 to hold 23,000. The stadium was expanded many times over the years to reach its ultimate capacity of 53,000. The stadium was not pretty and was abandoned in 1999, but there will probably never be a better place to watch a baseball game. With all the talk of “sightlines to downtown” in the Rose Quarter, I am more concerned with sightlines between fans and home plate.

Tiger Stadium has been vacant since 1999 and was 1/2 demolished (back to its original 1912 size) in the last year. Despite hard times, Detroiters are fighting to save what is left of the stadium as a historical monument and great place to play ball.

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