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get a grip

Brian- you are splittng hairs. Lents is a suburb. Lents is as sprawled out as any outer tier neighborhood in any city. Nobody can seriously believe that as many people are going to drive all the way out there, park in an off-site lot, and take a bus to see a minor league game as would go to the Collesium site. They are really trying to jam a square peg in a round hole here. I find it hilarious, and more than a little hypocritical, to see Leonard ignore his own study and plow forward this questionable deal after he was the chief blowhard on other projects, like the SoWa tram, that had much better supporting evidence. Let it go.

Brian Libby

Get a grip,

First of all, I'm kind of guessing that isn't your real name. What's to hide?

Second, this isn't a post about the validity of the Lents site. It's about not under any circumstances whatsoever tearing down Memorial Coliseum.

Put the stadium in Lents. Put it in Hillsoboro. Put it in Arizona. Put it in Delta Park. I don't flipping care! Just don't destroy one of the great buildings of Portland, and one of the most unique arenas in the world.

Regardless of whether Lents is or isn't a suburb or suburb-like place, the Portland metro area is different from other sprawled out American cities. It's impossible to know if Lents would have great attendance, but it's also impossible to prove that it wouldn't using a study basing numbers on other cities like Phoenix or Atlanta.

But again, this is about Memorial Coliseum.


I agree with both Brian and "get a grip". Putting the stadium in Lents is asinine. So is tearing down MC. Nobody has yet been able to explain why PGE park can't be used for both soccer and baseball with a few modifications.

Seriously, this whole hullabaloo is being driven by Paulson, Sam and Randy in pursuit of an ego project.

Just once, I'd like our city leaders to concentrate on creating jobs and better education, not sleazy deals like this. Portland has lost its way, both in pursuit of Paulson AND thinking of tearing down MC.

We need to let this baseball thing go, and we'll save $85mill in the process.

get a grip

The arguement to save the Collesium would be alot more convincing if someone actually put forth a believeable idea to reuse or rennovate the existing building. All the things I've heard, like the MARC, are so convoluted you have to question what is really being saved of this "masterpiece". If all you are saving is a tired-old curtainwall that has outlived its useful life, what is the point? It becomes just a facade game. The building is an energy hog, and its function as an arena conflicts with its architectural concept. What is so impressive about the "bowl in a glass box" concept when they have to hang curtains during events, the acoustics suck, and its near impossible to keep a comfortable temperature when full of people. It really seems more like its function is fighting its form, which isn't very honest from a modernist point of view.


Many Years ago TVA architects performed a feasibility study and built a beautiful model of a design to renovate MC. Maybe they'd like to share some images of the model or a site plan? I don't remember the exact extents of the remodel, but the model was nice to see.

Brian Libby

The argument for the Coliseum that our group (Friends of Memorial Coliseum) has been making is that it should be retained as an arena. A PSU study, as well as the profitable results when Global Spectrum was running the arena during Oregon Arena Corporation's bankruptcy, have proven MC is still viable as an arena.

Maybe the Coliseum isn't a masterpiece on the level with Fallingwater or the Taj Mahal. But you are very much under-rating the special quality of the bowl-in-a-box, transparentness of the building. How could you possibly say that having daylight pouring into an arena is function fighting form? All you have to do is close the curtain if you want the daylight out, but pretty much no arena in the world has that special ability like the MC to bring the outside in.

I'm sure you're a good person who wants the best for the city, "get a grip". But if this kind of logic always held the day, we'd never preserve any of our historic architectural treasures. People always want to get rid of 50-year-old buildings that they don't appreciate, but love and want to preserve 100-year-old buildings. But if we were successful in tearing down all the 50-year-old buildings, we'd never have any 100-year-old ones.

Memorial Coliseum is an extraordinarily special and unique work of architecture. And don't take my word for it. Ask anyone. Ask the National Trust, or the AIA, or the millions of Blazer fans out there. This is a diamond in the ruff we absolutely positively have to save -- and as an arena, not an athletic facility or an entertainment mall.


"Memorial Coliseum is an extraordinarily special and unique work of architecture. And don't take my word for it. Ask anyone."

Yeah! Ask me! Oh wait, I think its a huge waste of money, resources, and public space that could be used for something actually useful. But, I'm probably not 'anyone' enough for the Blessed Architects in their ivory towers.

I'm all about conserving architecture for a reason, but this is a forgotten building that no one really cared about for the last 50 years that has all of a sudden a 'diamond in the ruff we absolutely positively have to save' because someone wants to put it to use.

I wish you all could find something useful for Portland (or architecture, for that matter) to do with your time.


So you'd rather force a baseball stadium on a park than tear down the Coliseum because you think its a beautiful treasure.

Despite the facts that point to it being a huge waste of money just to get it to a level where it could compete with the Rose Garden (it never will because Paul Allen's group contractually runs it).

Paul Allen is going to rip it down and the boys from Cordish are going to have their way with the MC. That building won't be there in 10 years and if it is it will not have had one nail or polish of improvement done to it.

Personally, I'd prefer to have a nice AAA baseball field there that people in the city would actually use rather than a decrepit old arena that will cost tens of millions to fix up only to sit idly by while the newer better arena next door gets all the use.


"How could you possibly say that having daylight pouring into an arena is function fighting form?"

Because we live in Oregon, where the existence of daylight is just a rumor for 250 days of the year.


I also find it amusing that Portland's 'gem' it's 'treasure', 'one of the great works of architecture ever built in the city of Portland' doesn't even make into the heading of the PORTLAND ARCHITECTURE BLOG.

Nice...I can tell what a massive influence it is for you all.


"Memorial Coliseum is one of the great works of architecture ever built in the city of Portland."

You're kidding, right? It's a glass box eyesore that will soon be gone, if not for a new baseball stadium, but a Fuddrucker's for Paul Allen's 'entertainment district.' Which would you rather have? Trust me, there is no 'C' in this multiple choice, just A or B.


I think the idea of the Ballpark out in Lents is a bad idea and doesn't fit in well with an urban plan for Portland. A new stadium ABSOLUTELY has to be on a transit line such as the street car or max! The idea of modifying MC to be an outdoor type venue is a good use of it, tie it into all of the water front festivals with entertainment in it during them would help in filling it up more than twice a year. I think SoWa is the most ideal space for a new baseball stadium. there's a lot of land under or near the freeway that is vacant or under utilized. There are multiple transit ways of getting there, close freeway access and it could help bridge downtown and SoWa a little better. it would have a little of a Safeco feel to it which isn't a bad situation... just me two cents, but yes let's keep MC intact as much as possible please.


I say keep the MC and "renovate" it into an indoor/outdoor venue and alternative conference space. Imagine the new Cowboys stadium operable doors and roofs easily applied onto the Coluseum. Lents is a bad spot for a new baseball stadium, and doesn't fit into the master plan for city development. Any new sports venues have to be on a transit line (streetcar, Max). I think the best option is to put it somewhere in the north portion of SoWa. Give it kind of a Safeco feel. it has the Tram and street car for transit, and relatively good freeway access. Plus SoWa is needing something to tie it into downtown and I think a stadium and the accessory buildings could do that. Imagine people walking along the river front to go to a game. The life and fitality that could bring during the summer would be fantastic. It would be a great change of scale, and spur additional growth down there. That's my 2 cents, but I definitely agree we need to keep the MC as a public performance venue (hell, I even can see open air but covered hockey being played at the MC during the winter). There are enough creative people in this town I just won't believe we only have 2 solutions to this problem.


sorry bout the double post :(



But Lents Park IS on the MAX - The new Green line starting this September. This is a big plus for the Lents idea (which is still 2nd tier to the MC site, however). SoWa, at least for the next 5 years, has no public trans from PDX outside of C-Tran, and 1000's of people aren't going to take that to see minor league baseball.

Also, as soon as you figure out a price on those MC conversions you're imagining, let me know if it's only 3 or 4 times the price of tearing the MC down and building a AAA ballpark.



The problem with the Coliseum is this. Brian Libby wants to renovate it as it. The seating bowl has to remain as it is to keep the "bowl in a box" style that gives it its uniqueness. The problem is that limits the arena to concerts and minor league ice hockey played on a rink that's too small.

Promoters don't like using the MC because the facility is terrible for concerts. The sound is miserable and the facilities for performers are so bad a few of them have refused to play there ever again. Minor league hockey is minor league hockey. It's hard to justify repairing the facility since they can barely pay rent on it now and the concert situation likely wouldn't increase. The Rose Garden still has better acoustics and the toilets don't overflow when you get more than 4,000 people there.

The alternatives to maintaining the facility as-is all involve gutting the inside and removing the "bowl in a box" element. Those alternatives are also estimated to cost $50+ million according to a study completed in the year 2000 before the dollar totally went tits up. I'll let you speculate what the cost would be in today's dollar.

Now due to Libby's efforts they're trying to put a ballpark in Lents Park and Paul Allen and the Blazers are going to put a Buffalo Wild Wings where the Memorial Coliseum stands. Why? They have a ton of money and can do whatever they want.

Ben Waterhouse

Just sell the goddamn baseball team already. Nobody goes to the games, and no one ever will. It will never pay off the cost of tearing down the Coliseum, let along building a new park. Let it die.


Thank you for your response, and I'll admit I haven't done full due dilegance on my ideas but I do have some issue with your rebuttal and they are: 1)SoWa (South Waterfront) has the Portland street car which terminates nicely down there and also ties in nicely to the max lines.
And 2)if we're talking cost I really don't think it would be 3-4 times the price, it would be more like 1 1/2 times the cost, but we'd have 2 venues instead of one so there would be 2 sources of revenue to offset those costs. I say if we're going to spend the money to build a new AAA ball stadium it should be easily adaptable to become a Major league ball stadium, and I further say that if time and money are an issue SoWa is a better option because we wouldn't be delayed by having to properly deconstruct an existing large Coluseum. It also sends a better sustainability message to reuse the space for a new but similar use. At a Sowa site for the stadium you can almost start building as soon as you have your permits, MC demo and construction would impact the baseball season as well as basketball and hockey(I know hockey's, not the major concern but there are still fans that would like to see the season) and therefore loose a lot of revenue.
I'm not saying my answer is the best or cheapest, I just think it's an alternate that I haven't heard coming up (maybe for a good reason that I'm unaware of) but to me it feels like a decent plan to tie the downtown to the south waterfront with a new civic project. Wherever the new stadium goes, I sure hope it's not Fuddruckers that replaces the coluseum, i'd rather see a Dave and Buster's if it's going to be privately developed as a restaurant, or maybe a Big Al's if you're looking for a more local entertainment angle. But let's keep looking for options instead of rolling over and taking either of the only two options we seem to be given right now.


As it is, just sitting there, in its present condition, the MC isn't really hurting anything. It's condition is good except for things that any building routinely needs after 60 years of standing.

I'd heard it before, but laughed when reading Eric Cantona point out...or claim, over on blueoregon that Civic Stadium/PGE park is too big for AAA baseball. So they want to tear down MC to build a baseball stadium smaller than Civic Stadium/PGE? Or, the convention hotel?

Civic/PGE's location is right for baseball, much more so than Lents may ever be. If left field is too short, someone should have thought of that years back when light rail was being installed, so street and rail could have been realigned to allow the Civic's east wall to be pushed out to make sufficient room for left field. Then the city might have been able to get the pro ball team some people want so bad.

" Nobody has yet been able to explain why PGE park can't be used for both soccer and baseball with a few modifications." PD

Some have said it's a big hassle to convert back and forth between a rectangular field for soccer and the diamond for baseball. Sounds like a valid point, but how much of a hassle, and how limiting would it be?

The people that want to tear down MC really don't seem to have much in the way of good ideas to take the coliseum's place. Nothing more it seems, than expensive highly speculative busy-work. The MC is too good a building design to lose to that kind of weak thinking.

Patrick Sullivan

Just for everyone's information, there are several reasons why PGE cannot serve both AAA Baseball and Major League Soccer.

1) Right now the situation is already bad for the Timbers. There are "patches" put over the bases for every game that don't lay down smooth and are a hazard to players. Not to mention the dirt section left at home plate in the corner of the field which is totally unsuitable for any level of play, especially in the rain.

2) It is MLS policy that new teams must play in a "Soccer Specific Stadium," (SSS). When being awarded a new franchise, Merritt Paulson agreed to these terms. A SSS rules out the possibility of playing baseball as the field sizes are incompatible. This does not rule out American football, and the PSU football team and high school football playoffs will still be able to play at PGE.

3) An MLS team needs a SSS in order to have maximum control of revenue stream and scheduling. Right now the Timbers and Beavers have to schedule around each other. We're fortunate not to have the case of other bigger cities who have to operate around the schedules of NFL franchises.

4) Other locations that have been suggested for a soccer stadium (Hillsboro in particular) are not tenable options. It is far easier to move a mildly popular AAA baseball team than a top-tier professional franchise. Not to mention AAA baseball teams move cities far more often than MLS squads (remember the Portland Rockies?).

There are other small reasons, but these are the biggest reasons why a baseball/soccer combination is not an option with an MLS franchise in 2011.


"All you have to do is close the curtain if you want the daylight out, but pretty much no arena in the world has that special ability like the MC to bring the outside in."

Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN (where the NHL's Wild play) has curtains going around the seating to keep the light out. On multiple levels at that. I wouldn't call light blocking curtains anything special.

Bruce E

Brian, again I ask: what events will take place that can take advantage of the natural light curtain bowl?

Jeremy Wright

Two things:

1) Show me the damn money. Essentially Brian you are arguing to preserve the building as is, which currently costs taxpayers half a million a year just to keep the lights on. Where are the funds (which will be a hell of a lot more than $40 mil, trust me) to turn this building into something usable? No rosy scenarios. Where are you going to find $100 million?

2) You have yet to address the real reason MC was abandoned as the baseball site - the guys at one center court and namely Paul Allen. They want the Convention Center URD money and they want the MC land and they are going to get it now the Blazers are popular again. They are going to turn it into a giant Fudruckers. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT THAT? Forget Paulson, he isn't your problem anymore. It's a guy with alot more money and political capital.

I'm gonna enjoy watching the light bulb go on over your head when you realize how badly you were played this spring.

eric cantona

WS: putting 2-4,000 fans in a 20,000 seat stadium does not make for an exciting and vibrant environment. i've been there many times and it's not what a AAA team needs. they'd be much better served by a small 7-9k stadium similar to what's been proposed.

i am not in any way advocating placing it at either lents or in the RQ. both are bad ideas for a variety of reasons. honestly, there may not be a place for the Beavers in this town anymore.

which brings us to Garrett and Jeremy.

i'd be happy to "show you the money". it's right there in front of you. we've traded jabs before on this, but let me reiterate: the MC can be successful with relatively minimal upgrades. it will not compete with the RG whatsoever. they are two very different facilities. if properly maintained and marketed the MC can actually turn a profit, and eventually pay for any upgrades.

Portland is generating quite a national and even international reputation for sustainable development and thinking. in fact, our esteemed mayor has been quoted as saying the RQ is going to be "the most sustainable entertainment district in the US". tearing down a completely usable structure with architectural merit is the exact opposite of sustainability.

and, please, don't give me any shit about Paul Allen and Vulcan tearing it down, or doing anything with the MC. we OWN it. they have no say. we can certainly work with them, and create a situation that benefits all the parties.

Douglas K.

Let me repeat Brian's earlier point for all those who apparently missed it:

A PSU study, as well as the profitable results when Global Spectrum was running the arena during Oregon Arena Corporation's bankruptcy, have proven MC is still viable as an arena.

Got it? The MC can turn a profit right now if it's being managed by the right people (NOT the Blazers). It's paid for, and with minimal upgrades can support itself indefinitely.

As far as SoWa goes, there's a 20-acre site just south of the Marquam Bridge that OHSU owns and plans to build a campus on. They won't need the entire site for decades. No reason we can't put a minor league stadium there on a 40-50 year lease while OHSU develops the other 15-16 acres.

As for transit, the Streetcar is there already and the Milwaukie MAX will run right past the site. While the entire line will take years to build, a segment from PSU to the Marquam Bridge is only about a half-mile long. It could be built and opened within a year. Also, parking isn't a problem: there's already acres that can be used for surface parking and generate money for OHSU until they develop the land.

And if part of the funding plan is urban renewal money, SoWa is in an urban renewal district.

Mayor Sam Adams

The Memorial is not being considered for the AAA ballpark.


"The story does quote Council member Randy Leonard, who points out a a major flaw in the study, conducted by HVS International. It calls Lents a suburb, and uses numbers from previous suburban stadiums with lesser revenue numbers. To some this might seem like splitting hairs, but it's an important distinction. Lents is an outer neighborhood in Portland, but because Portland is not a sprawled-out metro area like most big cities in America, it's much more easily accessible from the center of the city than most suburbs would be in this country."

The study is not flawed. Lents would be far away from the city center, which is the whole point of the study, along with numerous other impartial studies showing that minor league baseball attendance is approximately 50% higher in downtown locations than non-downtown locations.


Brian and Douglas K.,

You can keep on beating that dead horse PSU study all you want. The fact is that no city Portland's size is capable of profitably supporting two facilities the size of MC and the Rose Garden that are across the street from each other. There simply aren't enough events. The MC is literally falling apart, and the only reason that it has shown minor profits in certain recent years is because they are spending zero on necessary maintenance, much less upgrades.

That's why cities like Denver and Philadelphia blew up their older redundant facilities, and why cities like Phoenix are struggling under mountains of debt when they tried to have dual facilities coexist.


"Put the stadium in Lents. Put it in Hillsboro. Put it in Arizona. Put it in Delta Park. I don't flipping care!"

NoNoNoNoNo. Now, THIS is totally what I was referring to a couple of weeks ago when I posted:

"As fired up as the design community had gotten about saving MC, we need to get fired up about the unsustainable, sprawl inducing and overall poor site planning and complete shortsightedness of the Lents proposal. I'm actually quite disappointed with the whole community, and yes, unfortunately this site as well, for basically throwing its hands up in the air for the MC victory, and then burying it's head in the sand regarding Lents, as though the two things are unrelated. It's quite sad and more than just a little bit hypocritical. Bad design, bad decisions and bad planning are all related to the overall health of our City, oh, but who cares now that memorial Coliseum is 'saved'. It's a total, "I got what I want, who cares about anything else" mentality, and it makes me sick."

Now, the response that was given at the time was:

"Another commenter above, Paul, said my mentality was that of someone saying, "I got what I want, who cares about anything else." I dispute that vehemently."

Now dang it, I'm sorry, but you just said it yourself that you don't care whether the stadium goes in a location that would not be in the City of Portland's best interest, and that MC is more important to you that than the overall good health of the City, the City Plan and smart future development - and that makes me quite upset, angry and sad. I'm so sick of self-interest groups that can't see the overall bigger picture beyond their own desires, and I don't mean that as an attack on you personally, Brian, because I respect and thank you for what you do for this city and the design community, and I agree with you on most issues, but it's aimed at anybody who believes that all issues within a complex situation break down into "what I want vs. that other stuff that I don't give a rip about. Enough is enough here. Nothing is getting accomplished, and it's time to get past all the politics already and come up with a solution that works for everybody.

MLS is a great opportunity for the City, the Beavers can find a new home that is better suited to their smaller crowds, and the MC can stay put, but we need to cut the crap and work together on this. All groups have valid arguments, all groups are 100% behind what they are preaching, yet why does everyone act as though all of these things are mutually exclusive? C'mon people. We're here to solve problems and think of better ways to do things that help out the greatest number of people, not to think narrowly about what we alone want and piss on everybody else. That's not good design; heck, it's not even good humanity.

The Lents Site, it doesn't work. You can build it, but nobody will come long term. It's foolish to push for it at best, and hypocritical at worse. It will not be a catalyst for growth. Studies, past AAA developments, and planning has proven this.It is not centrally located, is not easy to reach for all people in the area, and shouldn't be placed in a residential neighborhood (and it's not even close to a similar situation as Wrigley Field, so don't even bring it up) It is not the right location, period, so let's all stop pretending that it is, Timbers Army and fans included.

The MC, don't tear it down. It's obvious that it's too important to too many people, and it would be as big of a shame to tear it down as it is now with it's current management. Call up Ron Paul's Portland Market Group, use it as the indoor/outdoor space that has been proposed for the east side for the past couple of years, whatever. Just keep it, build around it, and utilize it intelligently - that is the sustainable solutio. And when they finally decide to put residential/mix-use in the Rose Quarter (which is LONG overdue), the space would be a nice Community Center/Gathering Space. Use what we have as best as we can; that should always be the goal.

So the Solution is to find a centrally located place to build the AAA Stadium within the downtown area. Write the Mayor and the Commissioners urging them to look for another location for the Beavers, that isn't the MC. Write Mr. Paulson and ask him to decouple the two projects so that the opportunity that MLS provides isn't wasted. The best solution is still out there; it just hasn't been discovered yet.


@eric cantona

You're addressing me directly so I will do the same for you.

Sure the MC might break even or might even turn a profit. Thats a no brainer. The problem is its going to turn a mild profit. Very mild.

Look, nobody has done a serious estimated cost analysis on what it would cost to get the MC up to something where it wouldn't spit out feces when 4,000+ show up (I'm not making that up...the plumbing backs up).

The problem is you're talking about an outdated arena in a valuable parcel of land that is doing nothing.

You assume performers want to play there. Who? Mudvayne? Puddle of Mud? They're garbage. Anyone with any credibility plays at the Rose Garden. Justin Timberlake isn't playing at the MC just because the city tells him to. You have to take reality into account. Anyone relavent plays at the RG because if you want to see Beyonce you're not going to be happy with backed up sewers and to small concourses. It's reality folks.

Reality: Paul Allen dropped hundreds of millions into the RQ. His business controls whatever happens there. The MC isn't going to be profitable as long as the Rose Garden exists. If the Rose Garden isn't profitable the Blazers aren't profitable. If you don't think Blazer fans aren't going to make their voices heard you're a moron. The city can't bully Paul Allen. Bully Paul Allen and you end up with the Seattle Trailblazers.

Tough break ya'll.

Brian Libby still hasn't come out with a viable plan for the Coliseum. Sure it's kinda nice in the daylight. What are you going to do when the Rose Parade isn't happpening?

I just want ideas Libby...just one idea that makes sense other than a concerty venue because I'll blow a whole through that big enough for a cat to walk through.

eric cantona

i'll tell you what Garrett, let's both encourage the City to do its homework on this issue. Brian, yourself, me and many others posting here have a real limited access to any honest FACTS about the MC. what if a study was done assessing the current condition of the coliseum, and what it would cost to repair it from an operational perspective. then you could start costing out additions like luxury suites, or acoustical retrofits, etc. with that we could have a much better understanding of the value the MC represents. or doesn't.

i wont bore you here woth the number of events that could be housed there IF it was upgraded to operate well. filling it would not be a problem.

oh, and Paul, nice post.


Can you post a link to the Friends web site? And, btw - love the logo!


I agree with paul's comment above except for one thing - the city has been trying to come up with a viable solution for the MC for the past decade, with no success. That's what cracks me up about all these accusation of "fast tracking the demolition" and "back room deals". This was a very open and public process from November 2008 when then Mayor Elect Adams recommended MC, and May 2009 when we got a "The MC is not been considered as a site for baseball".

The only things that I see being fast tracked behind closed doors are just the opposite - we never got a valid and official explanation why the MC was no longer being considered (just speculation that the architecture community single-handedly put a stop to it, and rumors about the Blazers wanting to use the site for their little Fuddruckers/"water is magic" crapfest).

And now we have an unelected, unaccountable board getting ready to slap the "historical register" moniker on the MC, making it extremely difficult to remove or significantly repurpose the building. At least the baseball proposal was an open process with a public vote by elected, accountable individuals.

Brian started off the post by saying, "it's never over, is it?" I feel the same way but in reverse - "it's never going away, is it?"


Thank you Patrick, for finally explaining the issues as to why PGE Park, centrally located, on the MAX line, usually three-quarters empty at most events I've attended, and a lovely park in my humble opinion cannot be used for professional soccer. There are more than I thought there were to be sure. Overcoming these in someway shape or form, in this century seems more attainable then building a new park in any location. I would rather see one vibrant, thriving professional field, than three empty venues.

John T

"...Portland is not a sprawled-out metro area like most big cities in America..."

Um, have you driven out on the east side past 42nd Avenue? Portland has less population density than Beaverton, and half as much population density as the mother of all sprawled-out cities, Los Angeles. Let's not pat ourselves on the back for being something we're not. Outside of a few square miles in the center of town, Portland is a low-density city.

Also, just because Lents doesn't have picturesque cul-de-sac streets named after exotic shrubs doesn't mean it's not a suburban neighborhood.


The MC is a dump. It is a terrible waste of prime real estate, and also the opportunity to do something really special there. I don't necessarily advocate placing a minor league stadium there, but doing nothing and leaving that dank, unoriginal building is asinine.

Fixing the MC is putting lipstick on a pig. Thanks for providing the links to city government, as I wrote to each of them imploring them to do something positive with the space.


I think both MC and Lents is a bad idea.

1. The biggest issue with Lents is parking. The way the city plans on getting the parking numbers for the new stadium is to include 250 on street parking, that means that sleepy neighborhood will have zero parking in their neighborhood every game. Who here wants to live in an outer Portland neighborhood and come home to that every home game night?? Seriously, if Lents was a wealthier neighborhood, those people would freak...try and suggest building the ballpark in Laurelhurst...same theory.

2. The MC should be used for the Portland State Vikings. The team had made it to the NCAA two years in a row and being in a larger venue would mean more money for the team, as well as eliminate the need for the school to build a larger venue for them near campus. Also, having the Vikings play in the MC would be a huge moral boost for the team. What college basketball player wouldnt want to play all their home games in the same home that the Blazers once played in?

3. Brian, if you say you are all for smart planning in the city, you should act more like it. Clearly you dont care about baseball, orat least minor league baseball...that is fine, but that is no reason to say you could care less where the park goes. I am not a basketball fan, but I dont think the Blazers should build a new stadium out in Clackamas just because they can get more surface parking lots out there. You really need to watch what you say here because it is all connected.

4. Saving 50 year old architecture is very important, it is an imprint of a period in our city and one day those same buildings will be 100 years old. Who here wishes Old Town still had all the buildings it once had? When they tore down all those buildings, they were all 50 years old....much like what is going on here.


"The MC is literally falling apart..." Greg

"The MC is a dump." Matt

Both of those appear to be nothing more than disparaging remarks made with malice. The building continues to stand just fine; all the windows are there...no cracks in the concrete...the interior as seen in the pics Libby has posted show the building to be clean as a whistle. The building needs a new roof, new plumbing, and any number of other updates and innovations that many 50 year old buildings routinely require.

To date, no one seems really to have come up with any idea that would be 'really special' to take the place of the MC. If anyone had, the struggle to keep the MC on would likely be far less resolute that it is today. Until someone does, it's not a very good idea at all to take the MC down. What people jokingly say might replace it in the short term....crappy fast food restaurants...could turn out to be reality...much the way the Portland Hotel was demolished to become a parking lot for 50 years before someone came up with the great idea of making its former site the home of Portland's Pioneer Square.



I am stating facts. This is from 2004 article in the Tribune:

"The roof leaks. The heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems are antiquated and balky.

The lighting system, controlled by a panel that looks as if it came from a World War II-era bomber, needs regular attention. The concrete flooring is patched in places where the ice-making system underneath has been repaired. The ceiling is stained and dirty, but because of its construction, it’s virtually impossible to clean. The seating is shabby.

Daylight shows through splits and holes in the black curtain that hangs above the seating area, there to block light from the Coliseum’s glass exterior walls. 'We don’t even patch it any more, it just makes bigger holes,' Isaac said.

As for the leaky roof, it’s close to needing replacement."

That was five years ago, and it doesn't even mention the decrepit scoreboard.

The only "malice" I've seen in here are the attempts to smear Paulson (nice Grinch picture), City Council, and any reporter who dares to write an article recommending the MC's demolition.

Brian Libby


You are a welcome addition to the conversation, but I don't see your argument of the Coliseum being in disrepair having much of any validity. If we tore down all the old buildings that leaky roofs and holes in curtains, we wouldn't have anymore old buildings.

Just because a diamond is in the rough doesn't mean it's cubic zirconium. If we tore down Memorial Coliseum because of it being in disrepair, it would be a huge mistake to future Portlanders. It's one thing if you think the building isn't needed or it's not the architectural gem that the majority believes. But old buildings need repairs. It's still vastly cheaper to repair the MC than to tear it down and, in another generation when we need a 12,000-seat arena, build another one. And even if it weren't, we should preserve the buildings that matter to the community and to the generations.


Greg, the facts you've just cited do not constitute a building "...literally falling apart". Didn't your statement, that I quoted in the earlier comment imply that the MC was falling apart? Such a statement incorrectly implies structural failure, which so far, no one has suggested exists with the MC.

Roofs, plumbing, the curtain, the seating....those are fittings, not structural components keeping the building together...replacement of those kinds of things in a building as old as the MC are inevitable. An argument that a building needs to be torn down because of those kinds of needed repairs is a weak one.

Actually, I'm sure many of the seats may be in worse condition than the ones seen in Libby's photos...they've got to be, because the ones in the photos look to be in great condition. With all the UV's that the curtains absorb, if they're the originals, it's some kind of minor miracle that there's anything left of them at all.

Big business deals are always going to leave people wary, as they should be, I would think. Paulson's another big businessman with a big, longshot business deal in mind. Why shouldn't people be wary of his idea? You'll just have to excuse the people that are outright rude as they express their wariness in regards to him and the deal he's trying to secure with the city. I think there's been plenty of people that have given Paulson much respect and even admiration for him and his dream along with their wariness of his dream and plans for Civic/PGE Park.

I think people want to have a really good reason to believe Paulson's major league soccer team will fill more of Civic/PGE Park's 23,000 seats than the Beavers do at about 5,500 average per game. Someone needs to tell them what that really good reason is.


ws and Brian - my response was in rebuttal to the claim that my statement was made with "malice". While it's fair to debate the extent of disrepair, or whether or not "literally falling apart" is hyperbole, I don't think the term "malice" adds anything to the discussion.

The argument about MC being in disrepair is valid on two counts (although to be fair, we are all flying blind to an extent in this area):

1. The recent profit and loss statements on the MC do not include necesary repairs and maintenance. If they did, it would be much more of a money loser; and

2. If the combined costs of necessary repairs and modernization are substantial, this should factor into the equation on whether or not it should be preserved.

I also disagree with two statements you made in your last post:

"It's still vastly cheaper to repair the MC than to tear it down and, in another generation when we need a 12,000-seat arena, build another one."

This presumes that we'll need a 12,000 seat arena in a generation. If cities twice the size of Portland are blowing up their redundant facilities for lack of use, I think it's safe to say that we won't need a 12,000 seat arena anytime soon (although I'm saying this with the knowledge that PSU intends to build a 4k-5k seat arena on campus which would relieve any potential overflow issues at the RG for a long time).

You also mentioned that a majority wants the MC to stay. I haven't seen any impartial polls confirming this, and I highly doubt if there would be a majority if the poll question included an estimate of the city's annual cost to maintain the facility.


I agree, Greg...I'm not sure how a band of very vocal protesters has suddenly turned into "a vast majority". Of all the people I've talked to about the issue (casually as it comes up in conversation occasionally) only 1 of them has regarded the MC as anything special...most find it cold, brutal and boring...and would like to see it gone. Honestly though, I think most people (read, a vast majority) just don't care one way or the other.

Brian Libby

Guys, KEX radio did a poll a couple months ago asking whether Memorial Coliseum should be torn down for a baseball stadium, and the "no" responses outnumbered "yes" by an 8-to-1 margin. Granted, that wasn't a referendum on the Coliseum itself or its delayed maintenance needs. But even if you cut that support in half, it would still be a 4-to-1 margin.

The Coliseum could absolutely pay for its repairs with operations. During Oregon Arena Corporation's bankruptcy year when Global Spectrum was running the Coliseum, it turned a profit.

And besides, even if Coliseum operations didn't quite cover the cost of repairs, who says public spaces have to turn a profit?

Scott, you may be correct that a vast majority of the public at large doesn't care about this issue. But you could say the same about almost any issue - the voting public is apathetic about most stuff that doesn't directly affect them.

Maybe it's just my imagination, but it seems often that people disagreeing with me about the value of Memorial Coliseum try to pigeonhole myself and the building's other supporters as elitists and snobs who are getting in a tissy about nothing. But everybody has their passions, right? If architects and an architecture aren't going to protest when landmark buildings are threatened, who is?


@Brian Libby

I imagine if KEX did a phone poll that said "should we spend $15-50 million to fix up the Memorial Coliseum I would assume the margin would be around an 8-1 in favor of letting the MC rot. Unfortunately that's just kind of the reality of doing things in Portland. I don't remember a whole lot of kind opinions about spending money to remodel the old armory into a theater. The same people were there saying, "but the children/potholes/schools/homeless/displaced farm animals deserved the money more than the Armory.



Do you have a link to this poll? There is no mention of it at the KEX or the Trib websites (other than a garbage Internet poll on the Gresham Outlook site which shows a nearly even split).


I feel like some of Paulson’s motivations are wrong. He should be concerned with providing the best place to watch a baseball game, instead of maximizing profits from parking. As a baseball fan, the most important stadium design element to me is a good view of the pitcher / batter dual.

If you love baseball, you will get out to Lents (or Delta Park) to watch a game. If you build it (and it doesn’t cost an arm and leg to park) they will come.



Under the MC proposal, Paulson would have received zero parking revenue - it would have all accrued to the city since they own and control the adjacent parking garages.

What happens with the parking situation in Lents is anybody's guess.



How many of these architects, who are fighting to save it, use the MC? How much have you used the MC in the last 15 years? I've gone to a few concerts and the curtains never came into play in making it an amazing experience. The place was divided in half and still only half full. These shows were for bands that were getting some serious national attention and should have been able to draw some large crowds. I only say this to point out that the MC, along with no longer holding major sporting events, is past its prime.

Yes, the MC was at one point a magnificent marvel of modern architecture, however, like many modern pieces, it is a complete energy hog. It shares the same block with a much larger arena. Even if it were a better architectural statement, it will never function fully as an arena as you say it should.

I am not for putting the new baseball stadium in this location per se. However, saving the MC for the reasons you list, does not compel me to get on board. I think the MC has lived a good life, but its time to move on. At the very least, adaptive reuse is in order.

Also, have you noticed the only thing in common to all the many pictures you have recently taken of the MC? The lack of people in the seats. Please tell me the last time that place has even been near capacity? Obama? Could have easily been put in the RG. The MC has been forgotten.

Another forgotten group in Portland... The Portland Beavers. Paulson needs to sell that franchise and use the money for conversion of PGE to a soccer specific stadium. But that's another topic.

Sorry, this has become a little rant without hard facts. But its simply my opinion. And it probably is not worth a whole lot seeing how I am not yet a licensed architect.


"Also, have you noticed the only thing in common to all the many pictures you have recently taken of the MC? The lack of people in the seats." AVarela

AVarela, do you think a possibility exists that those pictures were taken at a time when an event was not in progress?

"Another forgotten group in Portland... The Portland Beavers." AVarela

The Beavers draw an average of about 5,600 people per game. People argue back and forth, trying to guess how many people a pro soccer team in Portland will draw, and whether that number justifies converting Civic/PGE Park to a soccer stadium. Will soccer draw 10,000 people? That's still going to leave Civic/PGE Park's 23,000 seating capacity seeming kind of empty, isn't it? How about 15,000? That's starting to fill the old stadium up pretty good, but will soccer in Portland really draw that many people?

Do a search for U.S. soccer attendance figures. I think 15,000 might be an ambitious number for Portland.

All that glass, most likely none of it double or triple paned. Probably does sap a lot of energy to heat and cool it...I haven't heard much about where the MC stands on that issue. For the present...so what? Because the fact remains whether people like the building or not...no idea has yet been proposed for the site of the coliseum that truly justifies demolition of that building.

The MC has 12,888 seating capacity. With modernization, some of the whistles and bells the RG has, such as its adjustable acoustic ceiling, and a better, more fair business management plan, the MC would likely not be taking the abuse it is in its present condition. The RG seats 22,000...some people seem to think that's too many seats for some activities and events....in their opinion, such a capacity lacks a critically important coziness and intimacy of a smaller capacity arena such as the MC.


I just need to add my 2 cents.

The MC holds some great memories in my mind. My family had season tickets to the Blazers my entire life (they got in early). So I recall many great nights--and a few I would rather forget.

I feel strongly that a "new" Memorial Stadium needs to be thought about here. The arguments that this building is a treasure to the community is scary. The memorial in the basement area is falling apart. The inside of the building still has banners of the early 90's Blazers team. It looks like it was freeze dried for 20 years.

The building itself is an odd Bauhaus building in southeast Portland. It doesn't really fit the overall area. It leads nothing to the imagination and the space could better be used.

The city needs a central area for public events. This space is in the center of two main directions of traffic for folks on the Max and is the best place for bringing the city together.

In my opinion, lets give the veterans a place of respect. This is no Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. We're not desecrating the memory of those who served our country by giving them a new place of honor.

The inscription: "To the memory of a supreme sacrifice we honor those who gave their lives for God, principle and love of country” does not hold true for this shadow of a once good building for the city.

Lets give the city what it needs. A new outdoor facility that brings the city together.

Finally, we are concerned that the Mayor has supported demolition of the Coliseum under the mantra of “sustainability.” We question the accuracy of this assumption. Choosing new construction over reuse is rarely the most sustainable choice.

[Brian's editorial note: I removed the URL attached to this comment because it seemed to be spam, but I'm leaving the comment itself.]

[name removed]

The MC holds some great memories in my mind. My family had season tickets to the Blazers my entire life (they got in early). So I recall many great nights--and a few I would rather forget.

[Brian's note: I removed the name and address of this comment because it was spam-oriented.]

[name removed - spam]

This space is in the center of two main directions of traffic for folks on the Max and is the best place for bringing the city together.

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