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In reviewing the two primary proposals with an open mind, I believe the Jumptown scheme is the best not only for the district but for the region.

The Jumptown plan has the grander vision for redeveloping the area. Sure, there are design issues that will need to be addressed, but most projects do at this early stage.

The hotel component will be a nice addition for NCAA basketball tournament events, figure skating competitions, Blazer games and other major events that bring people from outside the region. The hotel will also help in attracting future sporting and entertainment events to Portland and also isn't that far from the Convention Center.

The canopy design could be similar to the one at PDX International, which I find to be attractive. I would like to see more connection to the river - but that may come with future development.

Portland's population as of last July was 582,130. The Metro area is listed at 2.2 million. This means there are about 1,618,000 evil "suburbanites". This Rose Quarter development will be used not just by Portlanders but citizens from around the Metropolitan area and States of Oregon and Washington.

Let's seek a successful design that is Portland-focused (local values and architectural leadership) but not at the exclusion of the rest of the people living in the State and Region.


The Blazers have illustrated how Tone Deaf they are by bringing in Carpet-Baggers Cordish and out-of-town Designers. Portland has good developers and world - class Engineers / Architects / Designers.
The City Council has a civic obligation to see that a Public Building does Public Good. Part of that Good is local jobs. Not just contractors , but us smart Pencil-Pushers too!

steve Rawley

Great run down, Brian. I'd like to see MARC adopt the Blazers' vision for the MC, while still providing recreation facilities.

I am very much in support of the "public option" presented by the MARC, in terms of having a facility run publicly for public benefit.

I also like the vision of a sports village, as opposed to the Downtown Disney feel of Jump Town.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I'm on the RQSAC.)

Steve L.

You say the Blazers are flexible and you hope to see more illustrations, but Obletz has already demonstrated his flexibility by responding to criticism and changing his proposal. Isn't Obletz willing to make further changes?

I would not want to see the long-term maintenance of Memorial Coliseum tied to the success of Jumptown. If Jumptown fails, like the previous Rose Quarter restaurants, wouldn’t that threaten the long-term preservation of the Coliseum? Are the Blazers going to come back after a few years saying, “All we need now is a headquarters hotel and we know it will be successful this time?”

I would have more support for the Blazer’s proposal with the following: 1) The development is open to a variety of businesses from an array of stakeholder and local developers 2) The entry canopy of the Coliseum is preserved and 3) The funding is put to a public vote.

P. Haggerty

Let me make sure I have this right: 1) In order to save the seating bowl of the Coliseum, you would have us jump on board the boring, ugly, massively expensive and unPortland Jumptown plan; 2) you would have us select the "vastly, vastly cheaper" Coliseum plan so that less pubic money could be spent on it so that the opportunity exists to spend "vastly, vastly" more public money on JumpTown; and 3) Rick Potestio will make sure everything comes out just fine. Really?


There are things that are appealing about both schemes. I like the idea of the area being developed as a sports center.
I don't like the potential for some kind of odd "lifestyle Center" based around sports and would like to see more community design happen at the Rose Quarter.
The historic Memorial Coleseum should be kept as true to the original design as possible, but should not become a dead museum.
And lets please use are underemployed, excellent local design talent please!

Brian Libby

Mr. Haggerty,

I don't think your summation represents what I was saying.

There are two Memorial Coliseum plans (MARC and Jumptown) and one Rose Quarter plan (Jumptown).

One of those plans, the Blazers' Jumptown, preserves Memorial Coliseum mostly according to its National Register strictures.

The other plan, MARC, totally guts the inside of the building.

So I'm inclined to support the Blazer plan for the Coliseum.

Like I said, I'm more skeptical about the rest of Jumptown, but it's been made clear to me that the planning there is in its earliest stages, and no real design work has even begun. That allays some of my fears about Jumptown not looking good.

I'm not advocating anything when it comes to public money, except a renovation of Memorial Coliseum. That's a cheaper option than gutting the building to build something new inside. I certainly am not advocating a bunch of public money for Jumptown.

In other words, I'm saying I like the Blazers' Coliseum plan better than the MARC's Coliseum plan. Not that I'm supporting the broader Jumptown plan in its current form.

I'm sure you have legitimate concerns about the Rose Quarter like everybody else, but I hope I've shown here that my point isn't as absurd as your comment seems to try and make it out to be.

Frank Merris

Whoever wrote this blog is a fucking prick. Your interpretations are garbage. IF you think the blazers have a good proposal, you are wrong. They are selfish bastards trying to ruin the city of portland. If this blog isn't removed in the next 24 hours, you will be hacked and f--ed over.

Completely incorrect opinion.

Joe Trahin

This is a terrible interpretation of the two proposals. Clearly baised and terrible. Which one has more facebook fans? huh? That's right. Get out of here with this bulshit report. I'm not saying that the MARC is better, but if this person is supporting jumptown with this terrible comparison, then i will for sure be going the other way.

Good luck with this terribly made blog.


Ryan Handle

Mr. Haggerty:

First of all, I want to say that "Frank Merris" comment needs to be removed as it takes away from the potential of this report.
And Joe Trahin: though facebook fans are important, how about we get down to the two proposals. It really comes down to what you value. This will be a true test of what the Portland Spirit wants to see.
What do people think?

Ryan Handle

Fred Leeson

Vital elements of any Coliseum plan should be preservation of the orignal bowl and the entry canopy. If they want to adjust seating in the bowl -- or use portions of the bowl as a club-level drinking club -- that works for me. The reason the canopy is so vital is because the Blazers built a nearby arena that a) looks like some sort of injured whale and b) doesn't even have a discernible front door. This was their idea of architecture?

Brian Libby

Whoa, Frank and Joe - are you feeling OK? Can I help you with a tranquilizer or something? Frank, I think you're foaming at the mouth.

Frank, I could report you to the police for making these kind of violent threats. Do you want to have a conversation like civilized human beings or just a chest-thumping testosterone contest that puts you in the slammer?
Joe, I didn't mention a single word about Facebook fans. What in the world are you talking about?

And again, let me try and spell it out for you: I'm not giving my support to the Blazers' Jumptown plan. I'm saying that their Memorial Coliseum plan is more preservation oriented than the MARC's. That's all, pal!

Using phrases like "fucking prick" and "garbage" are what you do when you don't have a real point to articulate.

And Joe, if you are threatening to stop reading the blog because of your own misinterpretation of what I said, let me be clear once again: GO AHEAD!

To both Joe and Frank as well as everyone else:

(1) I appreciate your CIVIL contributions of ideas. Angry intimidation is not appreciated, to say the absolute least.

(2) Again, this is not an explicit endorsement of Jumptown.

Why does wanting to save a landmark building on the National Register like Memorial Coliseum make people so venomous?

Brian Libby

Also, Joe: If this is such a terrible report I wrote, what would you change? Which aspects of the architecture did I misinterpret? If you're going to make such blanket insults, I'd love to hear your own words of wisdom and learn all that I've been missing.

Brian Libby

Portland Architecture readers:

I'm getting fed up with psycho blog commenters who disrupt otherwise civil conversations. It's OK to disagree with me, but not to make threats and call people fucking pricks.

I've considered removing the comments section from Portland Architecture, but I don't want to disrupt the legitimate and positive conversations that do sometimes happen here. So what's the answer? I'd love to get feedback from those of you not wearing tinfoil on your heads.


Brian, just remove the rude comments that don't offer any legitimate commentary or content - and edit the comments with actual commentary and content, but the occasional rude phrase or ad hominem attack. (leaving a note that the comment was edited to remove ____).

That's what they do over at portlandtransport.com - there's also a page with the "rules" to inform folks.

Steve L

Mr. Libby,

Can you direct me to where I can find information on the "bevy of athletic facilities" in the Jumptown proposal that you referenced? I haven't been able to find it.


Brian Libby

Cora, thank you.

Steve, I was writing about the athletic facilities in the Jumptown proposal based on a document the team gave me outlining their plans, which were as follows. The text of it referred to a "a community athletic center that will also serve as an additional practice facility for the Trail Blazers, Winterhawks and visiting teams."

To be fair, it definitely seems like the Jumptown athletic facilities would be a lot smaller than the MARC's.

Steve L

Thank you for that information. With all due respect to your architectural point-of-view, I personally don't care what the place looks like (within reason, of course), as long as it adds value to the community. We don't need more shops, restaurants and bars..these types of businesses that currently exist are struggling as it is. More of them will just add to the problem. What we need is a facility that will attract folks from outside the region, city and state limits - folks who will bring their money and spend it in Portland. The MARC is such a facility. Further, as you clarified for me, the MARC will have much more to offer the community, I emphasize the word community, in the way of heathly and beneficial athletics. These are the values that speak to me, and is why I am supporting The MARC.


Brian- I agree that it would be a mistake to remove the Comments section and think that the best approach is to ignore or remove the rude and ridiculous but not limit the thoughtful discourse.

I also think you're missing the big picture in the comparison of these two front-running proposals, and that you are perhaps overly influenced by both a love of the Blazers' role in Portland as well as the idea of pure preservation -as opposed to adaptive reuse.

It seems clear to me, from their approach to the Rose Garden, their past handling of the Coliseum venue, and from this current proposal, that the Blazers' organization places no real value on the Coliseum or its history (architectural or otherwise). The Jumptown proposal exhibits this tendency, from my perspective, by relegating the Coliseum to the background in their imagery, completely overwhelmed by the flash, glitz, and swoopiness of the Rose Garden and their new L.A.Live-Lite concept.

Admittedly, I've never understood preservation for preservation's sake. This great building cannot be exactly as it once was because, with the construction of the Rose Garden (and all the contemporary bells and whistles), it became a second-class facility. --Not in architectural terms, of course, but certainly in the mindset of event promoters and the general public. By emphasizing the glam and glitz of Jumptown and continuing to direct major events to their primary venue, the Blazers organization is setting the stage for continuing the status quo for the Coliseum, relegating it to smaller off-market events like the circus, Toto/REO Speedwagon shows (no offense to fans), etcetera. This, from a preservation perspective, should be unacceptable. The building, without a well-considered adaptive reuse such as the MARC program, will sit empty for hundreds of days each year, and you certainly can't appreciate the beauty of the bowl when the lights are off. Not only that, but the customers that they're hoping to attract to the Jumptown bars and restaurants will populate the area only on event night. The problem is not that the patrons may be 'frat boys' or 'suburbanites', but that they'll only be around for special events, just as is currently the case. The Blazers will increase their income from parking, concessions, and leases to national chains, but they'll have done nothing to benefit the people of Portland, this 'neighborhood', or the building.

The MARC proposal is focused on public usage, exactly the type of use and concentration of activity that could make the district viable for the mixed-use projects that seem like such a stretch in the Jumptown proposal. Though it may not preserve the building in exactly the way that you personally would choose, it would preserve Portland's sports heritage and independent spirit, providing a different kind of venue for a myriad of different competitive, amateur, and professional athletic events.

You certainly are not required to be objective, in either of your roles in this matter, I just hope that you and the advisory committee can look at these proposals with a balanced perspective that truly considers the big picture.

Brian Libby


Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

You're right that I may be somewhat biased in favor of the Blazers because I love the basketball team. But I'm also biased in favor of Doug Obletz in that he's a local developer rather than an outside developer, and seems to have values more in tune with Portland.

Also, I want to be clear again that I'm not endorsing Jumptown. Rather, I'm endorsing Jumptown's plan for Memorial Coliseum. This is an important distinction to make. I agree that other than the Coliseum, Jumptown seems troubling in certain aesthetic, economic and programmatic ways.

However, I disagree with your characterization of Memorial Coliseum as a second-class facility or an economic hole. The MC actually hosted more events in 2009 than the Rose Garden. What's more, once the MC gets the basic maintenance it should have already received, the building will be an even bigger economic resource.

I agree that it's better to have the MC be a public building. But I argue that a multipurpose arena like the MC already is would be more valuable to Portland than an athletic facility that would draw funds away from already under-funded athletic and community centers around the city.

You're right that I and the advisory committee should be balanced in our perspective and considering of the big picture. I may define the big picture slightly differently, but the point is well taken.

Thanks again for thoughtfully contributing to the conversation.


I think Brian's paragraph below is critical:

"I agree that it's better to have the MC be a public building. But I argue that a multipurpose arena like the MC already is would be more valuable to Portland than an athletic facility that would draw funds away from already under-funded athletic and community centers around the city."

Most cities have a secondary multi-purpose arena to handle the events that only will draw 7,000 to 10,000 in attendance. A concert / Winterhawk game that draws 5,000 doesn't translate well in a 20,000+ seat arena.

In the Seattle area there are smaller arenas in Everett and Kent. If the M.C. is reconfigured into a "local gymnasium"...the Portland area is left without a secondary arena other than the Chiles Center.

The positive aspects of the M.C. is not just the historical architectural significance, but the location adjacent to the Rose Garden and a centralized location. The two arenas can be marketed together or have two separate events occuring simultaneuously.

I would hate to see events bypass the Portland area due to lack of a suitable mid-sized multi-purpose arena.


Since we are all so hysterical about returning the Coliseum back to 1960 lets also tear down everything around it and bring back the giant autopian-era tree-less asphalt surface parking lot (as seen above). Thats every bit as much a part of the original design as the entry canopy and original seating bowl.

Luckily we let the bare bones parking lot evolve into a pedestrian space, its a shame we cant also allow the building to adapt to current needs instead of going crazy over the slightest modification of the coliseum to bring it up to the 21st century.

Brian Libby


That's a clever argumentative approach but upon closer inspection it doesn't stand up.

From the beginning, no one has argued that every single aspect of Memorial Coliseum and its surrounding context needs to remain exactly the same as it was in 1990. Neither the Friends of Memorial Coliseum nor any of the other people fighting to save the building (such as the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the US Green Building Council, and the American Institute of Architects) have taken that stance.

Look at the National Register listing. It protects the glass exterior, the entry canopy, and the concrete seating bowl. If you try and make it seem like wanting to save those things is somehow extremist by suggesting we'd want to preserve the parking lot as well, or any other silly stuff like that, well, you're just being silly.

If one were to follow the logic you are using here, that trying to preserve landmark historic architecture is somehow contrary to an acceptance of the 21st century, then you're essentially arguing that all important historic architecture be torn down. So answer me this: Are you looking to tear down Portland's Central Library? The Portland Art Museum? The Pittock Mansion? Because those preservation efforts aren't being very 21st century either.


Jeffrey- From reviewing the MARC plans and Brian's descriptions, the MARC also incorporates the mid-sized venue (6-7000 seats) that could accommodate smaller concerts and the Winterhawks, so you'd have an even higher degree of programming flexibility. I don't know that it's reasonable to assume that building the MARC would somehow negatively affect the existing athletics and aquatics facilities in the region, but I'm ready to believe that Portlanders and 'suburbanites' alike would find a major facility on the Max line to be a huge amenity.

Brian- I think that your comment "What's more, once the MC gets the basic maintenance it should have already received, the building will be an even bigger economic resource" actually underscores my point. The Blazers have neglected the facility, which is why all this conversation is happening in the first place, and are currently distracted by the shiny, flashy schemes that they're envisioning for the surrounding district. Their response to the mayor's request for proposals could almost be deemed 'non-responsive' since they've shown us so little about their plans for the Coliseum. Their proposal is off-topic, more or less- they may as well have proposed a new 'lifestyle center' at the Lloyd Center Mall or Swan Island and just pledged to leave the Coliseum alone.

If the Coliseum, as is, is a great 'economic resource' to the Blazer's organization, they probably wouldn't have imperiled it through neglect and mismanagement in the first place.


I guess it comes down to how important the concrete bowl is to the community?

It sounds like the MARC plan gives us a better, more useful Coliseum, but it sacrifices the "concrete bowl in a giant glass Costco" aesthetic.

I'd rather have a Rec Center with a pool and all that, but my priorities are different than those of one who runs an architecture website.


A response to some of the issues raised on this post can be viewed at http://www.marcpdx.org/news/ and on Facebook at MARC - PDX/Discussions


Not to rain on anyone's parade, but the Blazers' proposal is the only one that has any money behind it. Obletz's proposal is virtually unfunded. I think you can argue all day long about what proposal is more asthetically pleasing. But the one that has the best shot at financing will prevail.


To me, the preservation effort would be completely lost if the bowl goes away. It is the bowl in the glass box that makes this building special, not just a mid-century modern glass box.



I wish people really could disagree without being disagreeable too. As times goes by internet communication gets courser, and it would appear the matrix is eating itself...or something like that. I like the idea of setting up rules that allow for vigorous debate, but disallow plain old vitrol and obvious drunken internetting (with the penalty of corse being simple deletion). I've seen plenty of blogs with good anti-abuse rules: I think that you can probably come up with a set of rules that improves the discussion here.


I've done this before, let me bring a little perspective based on my former life in Baltimore.

Design Collecive, referenced above, is a very solid architecture firm. I also submit that the prime reason they included the Barnes & Noble, ESPN Zone, Hard Rock Cafe image on their firm profile page (which you linked to) is that their office is, in fact, located in that building. Further, that building is not a "neo-historic" wrapper to a contemporary building, it is actually a real historic building (but with new signage). Check out the wikipedia page:


The Power Plant redevelopment in Baltimore is very successful, and very well liked. Even on bitter cold days, I would see tourists posing in front of this set of buldings and snapping pictures of themselves. Hey, I can't say that Cordish bats 1.000 (who does), but I do think that they at least deserve credit for breathing life in to old buildings like that one. I will admit that their PR has been pretty lousy, as they could do alot more explaining on why they are the right choice for the Blazers and the city. (Their website does not do that job for them. As you allude to, it is key for us touchy feely Portlanders to understand each others values-- I am not sure they know that. It is funny that the Blazers, who have worked so hard to regain their squeaky-clean image, do not understand this rule applies not only to their personel decisions but also to their their physical space.)

Of, course, I'd like Portland architects to at least be collaborating on any real work that comes out of this, but I think we need to give the Baltimoreans the credit they deserve.

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