Monday, March 30, 2009
An interesting read on Oregonlive regarding a $63 million gap that the city of Portland is faced with in it's commitment for both the PGE Park remodel and the new AAA baseball stadium. To quote the article;
"Paulson's $88.8 million deal with the city is weighed down with a $26.8 million hole. The city also must move $36.2 million in costly, hard-to-sell bonds amid the worst financial crisis in decades. Put together, $63 million -- or more than two-thirds -- of the deal remains uncertain".
To me that sounds like this thing is far from a done deal. Especially when the article quotes Merritt Paulson as saying that he has not ruled out using either state aid or federal stimulus money. Not sure what Merritt has been smoking, but it has to be some pretty good stuff. All that I have to say to him is good luck Merritt.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
There is an excellent article in the Portland Tribune regarding the future of the Winter Hawks in relation to the possible demolition of the Memorial Coliseum and how they would fit into the Rose Garden. The article points out among other things that the Winter Hawks would be forced to practice elsewhere and that weekend dates might be hard to come by as the Winter Hawks are not as profitable as a concert or other similar event. Oh yeah, there is also the little problem of dressing rooms, etc. Do you suppose the prima donna's on the Trail Blazers would want to share 'their' locker room with a lowly junior hockey team? Just one more reason to keep the Memorial Coliseum.
One slight glimmer of hope in this matter is that the Hawks have a lease with the city that runs through 2013, so hopefully they can use that as leverage to stay in the Coliseum until then.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Granted, the Rose Quarter as it is now is not the most exciting place to be whether there are events going on or not. But as chronicled in the Portland Spaces blog, Blazers management wants to turn the Rose Quarter into some kind of Vegas styled 24 hour entertainment district. Of all of the ideas for reusing the Coliseum space I find this the most obnoxious. Does this even fit the vibe of Portland and the surrounding neighborhood? This would fit in better on Jantzen Beach or something, but not the Rose Quarter area.
It is almost like the major players who hold the future of the Memorial Coliseum in their hands are just throwing out ideas at this point. What's next........turning the Coliseum into a 20-screen cineplex or maybe turn it into a indoor ski slope? I better not give them any ideas!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Thanks to Gil Frey I was able to attend the OSAA Dance Championships at the Memorial Coliseum yesterday afternoon. Truthfully it was the first time since about 2004 that I had been to the MC (My last visit was for a "Scorpions" concert. Yuck!). I was thrilled to get a good look at the building and the memorial. The pool next to the memorial had been drained, for the winter I presume, but it was a nice sunny day so it gave me a good chance to show a friend the memorial and the lower ground level outside of the coliseum.
I did not get a chance to view the whole building as a large area of the concourse was closed off to allow the dancers a place to warm up before competing. The crowd was small and most likely consisted solely of friends and family, but they showed a lot of enthusiasm for the girls. I was surprised on how much I enjoyed the routines and I applaud the dancers for their hard work.
As far as the overall condition of the Memorial Coliseum, I saw a very proud building with lots of life left in it. Some things that immediately come to mind for updating are the seats (mine was somewhat creaky, but comfortable), the acoustic tiles on the ceiling, and the lighting inside the arena itself. Another improvement would be to enlarge the ice to a regulation sized ice sheet. And of course the arena needs to add skybox suites and a large "jumbotron" replay screen. This would allow the Winter Hawks to remain in the building and would quell the voices of people who say that the MC is old and outdated. In fact the Winter Hawks commisioned a report in 2003 that had artist renderings and computer models of such a remodel.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
The Oregonian has a great guest opinion today by Douglas L. Obletz regarding the reuse of the Memorial Coliseum. While I was not totally in favor of this idea when it was first floated to the public back in 2003 or so, it is a better alternative to having the building totally demolished and lost forever. It would retain the original spirit of the Coliseum, and Douglas calls for integrating a highly visible and accessible memorial. I do know that the local veterans have felt slighted that they have not been allowed access to the Coliseum meeting rooms, etc., so having a dedicated room for the veterans would be a great idea also, on top of keeping the current memorial.
I hope that in haste the city does not allow rich sports team owners who have no real roots in Portland to knock down our beloved Memorial Coliseum all in the name of "progress". I am also hoping that the citizens of Portland will put up a good fight before allowing the Coliseum to be demolished.
Friday, March 20, 2009
There is a nice article in the O this evening that deals with the fate of the Portland Winter Hawks in regards to the situation with the Rose Quarter and the possible placing of the baseball stadium in the same space currently occupied by the Memorial Coliseum. According to the article, the Hawks have a lease through 2013. This could be good news in relation to saving the Memorial Coliseum as I seem to recall that the city and/or Paul Allen's group were not sympathetic to the fact that the Hawks had a bad contract which did not allow much flexibility in the matter of profits related to food sales and advertising. So maybe the Hawks are not in the greatest mood to accomodate being pushed out of the picture for the "new kid on the block" as it were? Lets hope so!
Nearly a half-century ago Portland's Mayor Terry Shrunk stood before an audience to dedicate a structure everybody knew would continue to live on for a century or more as a tribute to area Veterans. The spectators heard the following words:
"This Memorial Coliseum is dedicated to the advancement of cultural opportunities of the community and to the memory of our veterans of all wars who made the supreme sacrifice to preserve for us the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die".
January 8, 1961
According to the Oregonian, MLS executives will be in town for a scheduled news conference on Friday with city officials, and according to speculation will be "awarding" Portland the next Major League Soccer franchise. Oh boy........I can hardly contain my excitement.
According to this post on the opb.org site, there are now competing ideas on what should be done with the Coliseum site. This is all starting to remind me of the fiasco in 2002 when there was talk of remaking the Coliseum into a Home Depot, among other things. Folks, it seems like already people are just throwing out ideas without a whole lot of research or input from the people of Portland. Have they asked the citizens if they want a AAA baseball stadium that will sit empty more than 6 months out of the year in one of the most visible locations in all of town?