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Tagg Bozied's Patella Tendon

Have you got any locations in mind for a new baseball park? Any at all? Show me one site in this town "that makes sense for everyone" and I'll show you an unruly and willfully ignorant mob ready to throw rotten vegetables at whomever wants to build it there.

I'm going to add a dash of schadenfreude to my drink this evening in celebration of this great day. Good Riddance Beavers, and don't hurry back.

billb

Well said B , one note , the common spelling among sports fans
is not canzano , but clownzano.
ps the best site is still the
PPS land near the blazer dome.

Kenny B.

The problem is that the Beavers were Minor League. I believe, if the Majors came to Portland, people would support it in force. I too use to go to Beavers games in Civic Stadium in the late 70's & early 80's, and unless it was an exibition between the Pirates and the Beavers, there was no one there. A beutiful new MLB ballpark at the PPS site would be awesome. It could be built with sitelines of both Mt. Hood & Downtown. It could revive the area like Coors Field did in Lodo in Denver. It's all a possibility with leadership with vision, & the jewels to get it done. The key is leadership, not socialites, bartenders, ex-cops, & soft in the saddles running the show. Portland needs DO-ER's, not passive doobie smokin' phish freaks.

marc

You write like a man with a guilty conscience.

Brian Libby

No guilty conscience here, Marc. I'm simply trying to be gracious towards Portland Beavers fans. If I had to trade the Beavers' departure for Memorial Coliseum's survival, I would say yes to that every single time. Just don't want to gloat now that this seems to be what is happening.

dennis

I always laugh when I hear that baseball has been apart of Portland for over 100 years, which yes this is mostly true, but the team has left numerous times and has had several names over the years.

I laughed when Canzano said that baseball is gone forever because of this, which must be asked, was it gone forever the last several times the team moved away??

Portland will get another minor league team and will get a new stadium built for it that makes sense. Obviously it makes no sense to build a stadium that cannot be expanded to a MLB stadium if the chance ever comes up. The only reason why the right site wasn't found in a short and poorly executed search was because all the cities within the metro each wanted to do it without costing citizens any extra money to build, which meant that any acquiring of land needed to be kept to a minimum, both the MC and Lents were city owned thus making them the only options without purchasing land.

I have to agree with everyone that has mentioned this, including the MLB report that was done when Portland was trying to get the Expos, the PPS is the best option for the city when it comes to a new baseball park. It would be wise of people like Leonard to quit crying over their spilled milk and bad moves that were made over this issue and begin working with the PPS to purchase their site and help move them to a more efficient location.

I say this should be done now while we are without a baseball team because it is something that could happen in a much slower manner this way and done over several years, helping to keep the transition a much smoother process for both the city and the school system. Then when baseball decides it wants to come back to the city, we would no longer have to have a stupid debate over where the ballpark should go because the city would already have a location...which by the way, this should of all happened when the city was trying to go after the Expos...something I must say Vera Katz did drop the ball on alittle bit.

Rob

What a screwed up world where the Beavers are gone and this building stays. We have to go back decades to see a photo of the building where it's actually being used. I'm sure this photo was chosen because I pointed out how every photo of Memorial Coliseum featured an empty parking lot.

Oh, right. I forgot. The Coliseum gets plenty of use these days, right? It's main use now is for assemblies. ASSEMBLIES! Events with 100 people or less. It would be funny if it weren't true. Portland has a coliseum whose main use is for assemblies.

I was in the coliseum last month to photograph the BMX finals of the Dew Tour. Note that the coliseum was mostly empty. Even an event that got TV coverage couldn't fill the coliseum.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jalpuna/4910881251/

It's sad, but, Portland's best hope to put that land to use is an earthquake. It's no secret the building isn't up to code in that regard, and since it's bleeding money there isn't money to bring prepare it for the future. A quake will bring the "glass palace" to the ground, and then FINALLY we can put the land it sits on to use. Until then, I guess we'll just pour more money into trying to figure out how to repurpose the coliseum.

The word of the day, boys and girls, is ASSEMBLIES. Without assemblies, the building would sit even more empty than it already does.

dennis

Thank you Rob for that insightful amount of information. The fact that you have been there once and thought it was mostly empty is a good enough analysis for me on what should be done with the MC.

truth

yes Rob, i'm sure that most folks didn't attend the DEW Tour because it was at the coliseum...very obvious.
As far as "bleeding money" goes, that would imply that money is being spent on it, while the building is in disrepair because the long term maintenance has NOT been done.
But great rhetoric you have there.

Rob

"yes Rob, i'm sure that most folks didn't attend the DEW Tour because it was at the coliseum...very obvious."

No, that wasn't my point at all. There's a reason the coliseum has trouble booking events. It's too big of a space for the sort of events it can get and its facilities are too out of date. You should go back to the last coliseum post and follow the links in the comments regarding the amount of money the coliseum loses each year (admittedly, partly due to politics).

You can bash my comment as much as you like. I realize that's easier than dealing with facts such as that assemblies are the main use of the coliseum these days. Assemblies.

I won't deny that it's a beautiful building, but it gets little use. There are what, two concerts booked there through the entire second half of 2010? How many years have discussions about repurposing the coliseum come and gone? It's a beautiful building and I understand why lovers of architecture would fight for it, but it's time has come and gone.

"Memorial Coliseum has lost money in eight out of the last ten years, resulting in a negative cash position for both the City and PAM."

http://rosequarterdevelopment.org/files/rq_mc_baseline_appendices_20091202.pdf

Brian Libby

Rob,

It's true Memorial Coliseum has been unprofitable for many years, but only by a tiny margin. Restoring the building as a 7,000-8,000 seat arena will change that.

What's more, you are stereotyping the events Memorial Coliseum draws. First of all, it isn't assemblies. It's a wide variety of events. Second, it's not a hundred or a few hundred people. It's 6,000 to 7,000 people. Third, this isn't just about money. We don't build arenas simply as money-making ventures. We build them as community gathering places that enrich the city. You're right that in most cases it might not make obvious sense to have two major arenas next door to each other. But when you keep both of them properly kept up, and have two complimentary arena sizes, it gives a business/market advantage. Ask the people running the arenas.

I'm not here to bash you or your comments. And I DO sincerely appreciate your acknowledging that this is a beautiful building. On top of that, if you're upset about the Beavers leaving town, I don't blame you. It's unfortunate.

But don't make this out to be some moral or economic or community failing. The baseball team got kicked out of its home by its owner. In search of a new site, they first looked to tear down the MC and the community voiced its opposition. They then looked for any other place to house the baseball team, and the subsequent locations didn't want them.

You can hammer the economic argument, but to me it seems you're doing that because you're upset about the Beavers' departure. Which is it? If it's driven by the Beavers departure, take a look at their own numbers. If the ballpark had been built, the team was projecting a small increase in attendance, then a drop. The stadium we were going to tear down a busy and beloved landmark for wouldn't have even been close to full.

Let's all work together to find a way to bring another minor-league team to the Portland metro area and built the team a very small, inexpensive ballpark somewhere that doesn't destroy a beloved one-of-a-kind building honoring veterans.

Rob

"Second, it's not a hundred or a few hundred people. It's 6,000 to 7,000 people."

Brian, those numbers are wildly inaccurate. I'm not saying that you're lying. I'm saying you were given incorrect information.

From 2007 to 2009, Memorial Coliseum averaged 430,000 attendees per year (and that's a slight over-estimate). Divided by the total number of events, that comes to fewer than 3,000 people per event. Fewer than 3,000. It's as simple as taking the total annual attendance and dividing it by the the total number of events/assemblies/meetings held at the Coliseum.

And even that number is too high because it assumes each event is only one day long. Divide the total number of attendees by the total number of even days and the number drops closer to 2,000. Certainly not 6,000 to 7,000.


"You can hammer the economic argument, but to me it seems you're doing that because you're upset about the Beavers' departure."

Actually, no. I'd be in favor of knocking down Memorial Coliseum even if the only thing that replaced it were a grassy park.

My issue is that the Rose Quarter is an urban planning disaster and nothing is being done to fix it. In fact, people are fighting to save the worst offender: Memorial Coliseum. It's a sea of parking and wasted space. I wouldn't mind that in the suburbs, but it's such prime land right in the heart of the city. Don't get me wrong here. I love having the Blazers in the heart of the city even though I don't go to games or even care about basketball. I think it's great to have sports and entertainment in the city and especially on the MAX line. That's good for Portland. But having a mostly empty building sit surrounded by parking lots does no one any good.

Memorial Coliseum would be used more if its capacity were significantly reduced. No one is arguing that.

But how to fund it?
And how to fund a retrofit of the building?
And how to fund an update of the building's facilities, many of which are at the end of their life cycle (if not beyond)?

Memorial Coliseum is a gorgeous building, but it has been a building without a purpose for too long now. Is the cost of updating and repurposing the building justifiable? I don't think so.

There's a reason people don't want to address the financial questions.

Rob

Even days? Sorry! "Event days." It's also worth noting that total attendees is probably an inflated number that counts an individual multiple times if the event lasts more than one day and the person attends more than one day.

In the fiscal year 2007/2008, Memorial Coliseum had a turnstile attendance of 425,224. There were 163 events that year with a total of 221 event days.

That's an average attendance of 2609 people. Nowhere near 6,000 to 7,000.

If you divide the total attendance of 425,224 by event days, the average attendance at Memorial Coliseum is only 1,924 people. That's just one example.

Brian Libby

Rob,

Let's say you are right about the 3,000 average. That still doesn't detract from my point: Everybody pretty much agrees that if the Coliseum stays, it needs to be brought up to proper condition. It's no wonder attendance levels are small at the Coliseum given that it's been allowed to (a) fall into disrepair and (b) its best and most unique feature, the open curtain and view, has been closed off.

You say "My issue is that the Rose Quarter is an urban planning disaster and nothing is being done to fix it. In fact, people are fighting to save the worst offender: Memorial Coliseum."

To that I say, how in the world can you look at a development with three huge above-ground parking garages, the worst kind of eyesore that exists in any high density urban area, and possibly call a building on the National Register the urban planning problem?

If we were serious about fixing the Rose Quarter from an urban planning perspective, we would be burying that parking underground and activating the pedestrian experience. We would be adding housing and hotels and office space, and public spaces and micro-retail. No urban planner would ever argue for tearing down a landmark building instead of parking garages as the proper urbanistic move.

You say with regard to retrofitting the building, "But how to fund it? And how to fund a retrofit of the building?"

But this, to me, is ignoring the obvious: a working building that is already built is of much more inherent value and much less cost than a building that hasn't been built. How can we talk about justifying the cost of a building already built when we're talking about applying all the much greater costs of demolishing it and then building another, less-utilized building in its place? After all, Memorial Coliseum is a multi-purpose building and the baseball stadium would not have been.

On a related note, you say the MC "is a gorgeous building, but it has been a building without a purpose for too long now." I disagree: If one assumes that the Rose Garden and the Coliseum are offering the same thing, that might be true. But there is no other 6,000-7,000 seat facility in the city. The MC in its updated format will fulfill a very legitimate market niche.

You concluded by saying, "There's a reason people don't want to address the financial questions." I feel very willing to do so, but at the same time, to frame this only as a matter of money would be a disservice. That's the mindset that has seen so many buildings demolished that our children and grandchildren have gone on to lament the passing of.

truth

Rob, you are very good at math...I'm not, but I tried anyways. According to the O, the beavers had an average attendance this year of 4,265(last place). Over 72 games (i counted quickly) that's a total of 307,080 attendees. Does it make sense to spend millions to tear down MC, a veterans memorial and significant piece of mid-century architecture(other peoples words, not mine), and build a baseball stadium that won't serve any other function and have lower overall attendance figures than what currently exists at a deteriorating facility? I would think overall attendance figures for the year would be a better gauge than average attendance figures, when we are talking about an indoor multi-use coliseum vs an outdoor baseball stadium.

Rob

Truth, you're comparing only-the-Beavers at PGE Park to everything at the MC. That's not fair. You should compare only the Beavers to only the Winterhawks, for example.

By the way, I'm not saying we should tear down the MC to replace it with a baseball stadium (though I'm not necessarily opposed to it). I think the MC and its parking lots should be removed and replaced with many things that bring life to the otherwise desolate Rose Quarter. If that can be accomplished while keeping Memorial Coliseum (NOT including the surface parking lots), then I'd very happily support it. But keeping the coliseum and the surface parking lots around it simply because the building is beautiful seems ridiculous to me. Much was lost in order to build Memorial Coliseum. Memorial Coliseum can be lost to build a better neighborhood/district.

I think it's time to think big with the Rose Quarter. The MAX goes through there and soon the streetcar will too. The Rose Quarter should be a vibrant district for Portlanders (and maybe tourists as well. Any dollars they bring would be good for Portland). The Rose Quarter should be a vibrant district. Instead, it's the Rose Garden arena and a whole lot of nothing (with a mostly underutilized Memorial Coliseum in the center of a huge parking lot). People drive there and then they drive home. And that's it. Contrast that with Saturday Market, for example, where people do more than just arrive, attend and leave. They wander Waterfront Park. They wander downtown. They eat at our restaurants and drink at our pubs. In the Rose Quarter, most people drive in and drive out.

When I see people fighting to save Memorial Coliseum, what I also see is people fighting to save huge surface parking lots and create massive debts that will be required to retrofit the building, upgrade its facilities, reconfigure the seating to lower capacity, etc etc etc. People always say they're happy to discuss those costs, but they never get around to doing it because, at that point, it becomes more cost efficient to tear down the coliseum and start from scratch. Brian mentioned making the coliseum more green. That won't be cheap, and even if it leads to future savings it still has to be paid for up front. That money has to come from somewhere.

Reducing capacity in the coliseum will help to book events, but it won't do anything to fix the Rose Quarter. I think we can do better.

In the end, all of this talk is silly. The coliseum will continue to just sit there underused in disrepair until it's too late to save it or until a plan for something better comes along. Maybe MLB? Maybe something else entirely. I think the coliseum is just a place holder until that day arrives.

truth

Rob,
What else would happen at the baseball stadium? Obviously not soccer...and PGE would still hold PSU and high school football, so I think the comparison is actually pretty accurate and fair.
I also agree with the fact that the rose quarter needs lots of help from the urban planning standpoint, but I believe your understanding of the parking lots is a bit inaccurate. Most of the parking there is structured and not surface lots. The old photos are a bit dated at this point. And since all that parking is required for the Rose Garden, taking down MC doesn't help a bit to those regards.
I won't pretend to have an answer to the money thing, but I can't believe that your assertion that taking it down and building another venue is cheaper than fixing the existing venue. Then again I can't say i'm behind saving MC 100% at all costs...but tearing it down without a plan is as bad as tearing it down for a AAA baseball stadium. Let's also remember Merritt chose to get rid of the Beavers when he agreed to make a soccer only stadium without a option for another baseball stadium. It's no-one else's fault.

ws

I personally believe the death of baseball in Portland is more due to MLS stipulation that the stadium be soccer-only. The gall that the MLS has -- a slight figure in the major sports arena in the US -- that they mandate a soccer-only facility for its minor market sport is outrageous. Nothing against soccer, but its market share is quite low compared to MLB, NBA, and NFL. I hope it does well in Portland.

The idea of a multi-purpose stadium in the wake of our current financial metldown makes (too much) sense. I'm not talking about building those 1970s donut-style multi-purpose stadiums that were ugly; but look into the possibility of stadium seats retracting, alternation and orientation of seats for the game being played, interchangeable parts, etc., etc.

I look at the current MLS seating configuration and I can see it working quite well with baseball if the seats could retract.

Look at the renderings of the new stadium:

http://www.portlandmls2011.com/stadium/
Baseball fields are meant to be very dynamic. It has flexible dimensions and could work with a multitude of sports.

In short: MLS is to blame more than any other party.

Greg

How hard is it for some to understand. The fans didn't show up, so the team left. We simple are not a baseball kind of town. It might of worked in Vancouver because basically its the bridge and tunnel crowd that attended games. Portland mentality has a quirky outlook and has more interest in alternative sports that PDX has a chance to own. Being a new city why play the game of attracting east coast archaic sports on the decline? Soccer is somewhat new, up and coming sport in the US, so we have a chance to compete as a solid soccer city. It just makes more sense.

ac

i was at last friday night's game at pge park. that was the most full i've EVER seen it in the last 7 yrs i've been going to beaver games

i'm not sure you can really slam the coliseum for low attendance and ignore the attendance for the beavers, especially when the coliseum is at least immune to weather for its events

if beavers fans filled PGE stadium like the timbers, then this might be more of a missed opportunity

and why can't the beavers share the stadium until a new home is found? it's not like the timbers will play every other day

ws

Greg: You're dead wrong about Portland not being a baseball town.

http://www.oregonlive.com/beaversbaseball/index.ssf/2009/11/beavers_ducks_slated_for_showd.html

Average game attendance for the Beavers is like 5,000 fans per game, except for this year. Timbers are doing better than that -- but not drastically.

If P-town had an MLB team, it would do well.

Best game for Timbers was about on par with a college baseball game matchup:

http://www.portlandtimbers.com/newsroom/headlines/index.html?article_id=1816

I wish soccer well in Portland, but the league simply has not proven itself. At the end of the day, minor-league baseball is not going away. Neither is MLB.

Has MLS proven itself? Will it be around in 20 years? Is soccer a fad in the US? What happens if MLB goes belly up? Does it matter that Portland's a so called good soccer town?

What matters most about soccer is not how well it does in Portland -- but how well it does as a national brand. It hasn't proven that and has very weak TV exposure.

Regarding baseball in America vs. soccer in America: the best players are in the US for baseball. The best players for soccer are not in the US.

I want the Timbers in Portland. Unlike the Soccer peeps out there, I don't want to advance my sport of choice by pushing another sport out at the same time. The justification for soccer being a "sport of the future" in the US is asinine.

Baseball is not on the decline by any statistical measure.

dennis

It should be mentioned that MLS has been around for 17 years and has managed to have a very stable financial history in those years which will more than likely continue for them.

The Beavers have left Portland how many times now?? I am betting that this will not be the last time Portland has a baseball team.

If the city is going to spend any money on a new ballpark then it should be done in a way that would be a ballpark that could be expanded to a MLB stadium and the MC site is not that site seeing that it would be a ridiculously tight squeeze to get a MLB stadium in there.

As for attendance arguments, currently 7 MLB teams this year have not been able to fill their stadiums over 60%, I personally love baseball and would love to see Portland get a MLB team, but realistically it would be a risky move for an owner, and Portland would more than likely be a team wasn't a money producer for the league, but rather a money taker.

In the end, PGE Park is being turned into what it was built to be, Portland will get a new ballpark and a new baseball team in a few years and Portland will then be able to say that it has two pro teams and two minor league teams.

And ws, your last line is kind of false seeing that most sports and other event like things are currently in a decline in attendance do to the fact that less people can or are willing to pay for the costs when there are other worries going on. Bad economy equals lower attendances across the board.

Mike

Coliseum really needs to go away... We have two convention/expo centers both on MAX for events. The Winterhawks and the Blazers can and should share the Rose Garden. And for the next few years at least Portland will be by far the largest market city in the United States that does not have some form of Pro Baseball. Shame on the city council for casting away hundreds of jobs in construction and stadium services by failing to act. It would be great to attract a MLB or Minor League team here but I fear that they may not ever come, not because they fear no one will buy their product but rather because the city leaders lack the political will to lead.

Brian Libby

No disrespect, Mike, but I think you're wrong on all counts.

The Coliseum is not simply an expo/convention center. It's an arena. And the plan to make it a 7K-seat size will give Portland an arena scale it doesn't otherwise have. Simply sharing the Rose Garden isn't the same thing. Special events like Davis Cup tennis and the Dew Sports tour came here as a result of there being both arenas.

If Portland is the largest city without a pro baseball market, it's not because of Memorial Coliseum. It's because of the city's lack of will to build a stadium on another site. Owner Merritt Paulson pulled out of negotiations to locate the stadium in Lents. And the suburbs of Beaverton, Clackamas and Vancouver all showed a lack of will to bring the team - which has approximately 150 season ticket holders - there.

It's not worth construction jobs to build a baseball stadium if we're losing an economic asset in the arena. But as it happens, there will be plenty of construction jobs devoted to restoring the Coliseum and building in the Rose Quarter - all without putting the cart before the horse.

I agree it would be great to attract an MLB team, but building a minor league park at the Coliseum site would have been a hindrance to that, because there would not have been room for expansion of the stadium.

I'm not here to defend city leaders or judge their ability to lead, but tearing down a historic landmark building on the National Register to build something of inherently less value to the overall city is not a demonstration of proper leadership.

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