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You'd better add a few market rate condos to your proposal if you want it to gain any traction. I mean we're talking prime riverfront real estate here. Someone in control surely looks at that and sees dollar signs. Actually, adding housing to the mix (even market rate) couldn't be a bad thing. What that district needs more than anything is increased diversity and density.

Seriously, the area is teaming with parking lots (and a few buildings that wouldn't be missed). The potential for development is huge, without so much as touching the Coliseum. Why its design is threatened is beyond me.


How many millions of fee dollars does Obletz and company receive in their redevelopment of the memorial coliseum with city and bond funds, without putting up a single dollar of personal funds? At least the blazers use their own money.

Also, it appears that the blazer proposal is the only plan that saves the bowl.


I don't mean to sound like an angry know-it-all, but to say that a concept like Jumptown, which does nothing to address any of the larger Rose Quarter issues and completely sacrifices the area in order to save one, single building, no matter how well designed that building is/was, poses a much bigger danger for Portland than even the shortest-sighted of preservationists. Hyperbole much?

We get it. You want the Coliseum saved at any and all costs, all others be damned. Just because other's don't necessarily agree with you doesn't mean that they "Don't Know Better"; it means that they think the bigger picture is different than how you view it. To you, the big picture is Saving the Building to Save Portland. For others, the big picture is Revitalizing the Area in the Best Way to Save Portland. If that vision includes saving the Coliseum, than that is great.

But for you, and others, to say that you are willing to throw away the entire area for the sake of one building is borderline disgusting. It's the same argument that you used for pushing the Lents Park location for a new AAA Stadium. You knew it was a bad idea, goes against everything this city stands for in regards to planning and livability, and yet you glassed over those little issues and promoted the site as the best thing for Portland simply because it saved what you felt was more important than any person or neighborhood or landuse plan, the Coliseum. And that type of narrow-minded, me-me-me type thinking is what I find dangerous.

Brian Libby


Thanks for your comments.

Although we may disagree, I think you make a fair point about my caring more about the fate of the Coliseum than certain other worthy concerns.

However, I would argue back that caring about the fate of the architecture of Memorial Coliseum isn't mutually exclusive from the needs of the other organizations and people involved.

In the case of Lents, I wasn't backing a stadium there in spite of concerns about the affect of it. Quite the contrary: I thought it would be a good economic investment in a long moribound neighborhood. After all, towns like Beaverton and Clackamas had many actively trying to bring the stadium there. It's not a lepper colony we're talking about. So, in other words, I disagree in particular with your saying to me, "You knew it was a bad idea." Neither you nor I can say whether the effect of a stadium in Lents would have been good, bad or both. Probably both.

Also, an important part of my overall point is that the MARC and VMAAC programs could still be built elsewhere than the Coliseum - even elsewhere in the Rose Quarter development. There is a LOT of available land there.

While the other Coliseum proposals could happen elsewhere, this contrasts with the fact that once you tear apart the inside of the Coliseum for those other programs, the historic nature of the building - the part the National Trust deemed important - would be destroyed.

As a result, I dispute your argument that I'm only looking out for the building. I see many options for those other programs. And I'm all for them getting built elsewhere! Let's build a MARC on the Riverfront, or a arts and athletic center (the VMAAC) there, or one of them on top of the Rose Quarter parking garages.

There is a chance for everyone to get what they want here. But only saving the interior of the Coliseum and building these other candidates' facilities elsewhere will do that.

I'm not looking for the other finalists to be prevented from getting the spaces they want. Just don't destroy a landmark along the way!


Thank you for your well thought out response. I think that we agree on many things, including the need for change in the Rose Quarter, but we obviously disagree with what we feel is the most important aspect of that change. I am willing to admit that I do not care about the Coliseum like you do; obviously. However, I am not one who wants to tear it down for the sake of tearing it down. I believe that it can be/ should be used in whatever the best use of the area turns out to be, but I don't believe the Jumptown proposal is anything near the answer, and disagree with touting it as the best solution because it's the lesser of the evils. In fact, I feel that using the Coliseum in a poor way as part of a flawed proposal will do nothing to showcase the Coliseum, will end up being a tremendous waste of money and resources, and will eventually lead us back to this discussion a few years from now when we're still trying to figure out how to revitalize the Rose Quarter. I also think that would be unfortunate for the Coliseum, because if this proposal fails, the next one will surely pitch the idea of complete destruction for the Coliseum. I also feel that keeping the shell and repurposing the interior is an acceptable compromise, IF what is to be placed inside is worth that investment and compromise. I believe the inside could be renovated and made to reflect modern day Portland, with both it's uses and chosen materials, while the outside reflects the modern era of when the Coliseum was designed and built. I'm imagining a beautiful, modern interior with a beautiful mid-century exterior. It reflects the reuse ethos of our city, keeps the vision of the buildings structure intact, and ties it all together for use today. I know you don't agree, and that's ok, but I feel that a respectful, and elegant compromise of the Coliseum is worth having a stronger overall Rose Quarter.


A smaller glass palace in front...wouldn't that also be considered "faux-historic"?


I'll weigh in with Paul on this one (his last post anyway). If there's a way to preserve the Coliseum in its entirety that really works for us now, fantastic; if, however, complete preservation only contributes to its continued obsolescence, and the continued obsolescence of the area, maybe it's unwise to hope for it's maintained absolute purity of original design. Because I certainly agree that allowing Jumptown to be built would be a far worse crime than modifying the Coliseum.

Nevertheless, this isn't zero sum, and I'm sure there's a way out of this that preserves the Coliseum in toto without creating a Jumptown. Again, there's no lack of space with which to get creative over there. And surely someone can use a spare stadium.


I still shake my head every time I think about the agreement between the PAM and the city.

The parking lot (1225 N Thunderbird Way ) is owned by Aegean (ie. Paul Allen) and the Coliseum is owned by City of Portland. Pauls development schemes rarely line up with the City so I wouldn't expect much there.


It seems like the Blazer’s proposal would be a lot more palatable if the proposal included returning the Coliseum to be “shared and owned in common” as Onward Oregon and others desire, and if the Blazers committed to using an appropriate developer.

Seems like the Obletz proposal would be a lot more palatable if the proposal had a location for the ball courts, fitness rooms and the jogging track, that didn’t require the bowl’s “haircut.” Perhaps along the waterfront in a public park space.

Can’t either compromise their vision?


Good post B , I must support you here , this is an stunning piece of Portland Architecture. There is all sorts of land in the proximity if one wants to build those other proposals.
Stop and think what Demolition costs! Do we really want to jamb a square peg in a round hole , and pay thru the nose to get an empty glass shell.
In 50 years we want them to look back and see that we saved a fine work of Architecture , and if the only solution that does that is Jumptown , then lets do it.
[unless you want to go back to my Peace Garden Hotel {-; ]

Ray Whitford

I'm hopeful that Jumptown is selected for two reasons: less cost to the public and creating an entertainment zone North of the main MC entrance. This would support a future jewel to the North of Broadway (at the Blanchard Site) called Memorial Stadium (AAA Baseball ready ballpark ready for MLB expansion) ten to twenty years from now. We can have housing towers in specific locations instead of thinking of the whole area North of Broadway as housing exclusively. Condo Towers in the Rose Quarter would support the "North Gateway" concept for travelers coming in from the North.

Plan all of the Rose Quarter improvements to include a below grade "Memorial Station" High Speed Rail component to the East of the Rose Garden in 30 years. This means in 30 years we would see I-5 goes under the Lloyd District to line up with the 8th/9th alignment of I-5 in the CEID.

10 years: Jumptown is built out.
20 years: We have a AAA Baseball Stadium ready for MLB.
30 years: We have true High Speed Rail through Portland and our Union Station on the West Side turns into more condos or something else.

Just saying.

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