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Steve R.

Great post, Brian. There is something about the simple bowl that just speaks to me, and I'm not even a sports fan -- other than hockey, of course. :)

I know this isn't supposed to be about RQ redev. efforts, but I just have to respond to this:

"...we seem to float every possible idea for Memorial Coliseum except the only one that makes any sense: preserving it as a multi-purpose arena."

I'm committed to just that, and I'm not alone on the committee. Also, it's what the Blazers and Winterhawks want (in perhaps an altered form), so that pretty much trumps proposals for hotels, museums, train stations and velodromes.


With your post's title, "The Rose Bowl, Memorial Coliseum and the genius of classical-modern", I actually thought you were referring to the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. THAT Coliseum in my opinion, offers an incredible processional experience from the street level into the spectator stands, and is quite the sight to see the Olympic torches blazing in the late evening sky when you're in the crowd of over 90,000 people.

While the Rose Bowl is truly a grand structure and a great experience, the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles provides a more apt comparison to the presentation and experience to the Memorial Coliseum up here in Portland.


Brian Libby

Great point about the LA Coliseum. And my USC-alum sister would certainly agree with you. I just wish they'd fix the seating configuration that exists now. For USC football games they actually have a set of temporary bleachers placed in front of the regular end zone seats. I'd love to see USC and a future NFL team headquartered there (and NOT in City of Industry, as is the current proposal) with the seating bowl of the Coliseum redone to get fans on all sides right up to field level.


Bummer about the Ducks. If Pryor had played like that all season, Ohio State would be national champions.

We have sparred about the MC in the past, but what's done is done, and if they want to re-use the facility in anywhere near its current form, there really is no feasible alternative other than in its present form. My hope is that they can reconfigure the bowl a bit to get the hockey dimensions correct, lower the seating capacity (via the bowl and maybe club seats), and then really push it as a "PSU-East" facility for hoops and other events that work best in an 8,000-10,000 seat facility. I doubt it would pay for itself financially but at least you'd have two nice facilities (three counting PGE Park) that work well for their intended purposes.


One other side note - I am 99% sure we are going to lose the Portland Beavers next season. It's not a huge loss in the sense that it is minor league sports and Portland is no longer a minor league town, but as someone who loves and appreciates baseball stadium architecture (and hates PGE for baseball), it will be a sad day when they leave for good.

Scott Tice

I really had no love for the Memorial Coliseum before the last half of 2009. I have changed my mind about the building after seeing the curtains being drawn back, literally. I grew up in that building and cannot recall a time when the curtains were open to allow the simplicity of the graceful curve of the oval against the background of the sky through the windows. It is blogs such as yours that have been key in making me a believer... thank you. Now what of those ugly grain elevators?


good post B , [go Ducks BBall] still I must suggest that we all keep an open mind about the adaptive re-purposing of the MC. While it is wonderful to keep our finest works of Modern Architecture , they must function in our times. Firmness-Commodity-Delight , eh.
If one demands old buildings sit around un-altered and under - utilized , then you turn the City into a Museum of useless old buildings. So please show up at the Mem Col Meeting and chat with presenters about their concepts.

Brian Libby


Great point. Of course the MC and modern architecture must "function in our times" as you put it.

However, Memorial Coliseum already does that. It attracted as many events last year as the Rose Garden. It's a popular multipurpose arena.


Dude, those grain bins are beautiful and they are part of the historic fabric of the neighborhood.


Interestingly, Ohio Stadium is the same age (1922) and the Rose Bowl Stadium but uses the 'stacked deck' configuration. I'm of two minds as two which I prefer as a spectator. I suppose whether or not you're under the deck makes all the difference in that consideration. Beautiful buildings both.

Fred Leeson

I'd like to see Memorial Coliseum preserved as a spectator arena. Perhaps some amenities (drinking facilites, alas) could be erected in the upper bowl where seats are least needed. It should be used for PSU sports (why expand the Stott Center when there's a great arena already in the fareless zone?) and hockey and concerts. The acoustics are not good, but I'm sure they could be improved with movable devices. I think the Blazers could make good use of it, too...how about multiple big TV screens simultaneously showing all the views seen in the production truck...with cheap beer and visits from the Blazer dancers...it could be a really hopping and fun scene, since the Rose Garden is already sold out. I really think we've had a dearth of imagination in regards to this building.


B , for all your readers the MC Event is Jan 26 from 5-8 [at the MC] I don't disagree with you that the MC is a working arena now , but for a small group of PDXers.Mostly sports fans ,
[and really does small town hockey need such an important building].
I and others are proposing new uses that can serve broad and forward-looking sections of Portlanders , Oregonians and Green Tourists. So please come by and chat!


Brian, you sure have a fascination with bowls. Maybe this is a carry over from college?
I was there at the Rose bowl as well. From inside the bowl, it was a beautiful place to take in a game. I was seven rows from the top and while it seemed a mile and a half away, it wasn't that bad of a view either. And yes, this was from the end-zone.

However, my criticism of the bowl is this, the egress there was simply atrocious. Without a concourse level, 100,000 people exiting through tiny tunnels just isn't a good idea. I am aware it was built close to 80 or so year. The other thing, with having a capacity of nearly 100,000, my thoughts were that Autzen, at 58,000 seemed a lot bigger, and I know for sure, it is a whole lot louder. Autzen would be a more contemporary approach to the bowl wouldn't you say? I like it the best, but... I'm a duck.

Sad about the results of the game, but next year, we look mean! On paper. Go Ducks!

dining room table

I am visiting that coliseum almost every month. I can see the fast improvement of it. Now I think it is the best coliseum in this country. Watching exciting game in that place is one great experience to everyone.

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