East Burnside's iconic dive the Galaxy Karaoke Lounge will soon be demolished, according to permits filed by the building's owners. The unique building's check-marked roof will be replaced with a one-story bland brick façade housing a new bar and restaurant called Trio. Though no one's shedding any tears for the Galaxy's infamously steep drink prices and greasy fare, historical preservationist Val Ballestrem dug up an interesting tidbit on the building: It was Portland's first Denny's, built in 1963. "The 'check mark' design is one of those trademark patterns from the era of 'Googie'; architecture—something that we don't have a lot of (remaining and intact) here in Portland," writes Ballestrem on the blog Portland Preservation. Owner Foo-Hong Foong says the tear-down will help the new bar, which plans to have three rooms and serve food in trios on plates, "We need a new face, a new face will draw more people in." SARAH MIRK
Vocal smart-growth advocate Robert Liberty shocked his fellow Metro councilors this week with a surprise announcement: He's resigning from his post to take a gig as director of the University of Oregon's Sustainable Cities Initiative. Liberty has been an outspoken supporter of policies that promote density in Portland and a significant critic of the Columbia River Crossing's current plan to replace the I-5 bridge to Vancouver with a larger $3-4 billion project. One potential replacement is already calling councilors to ask for their support in appointing him to the open seat: Bob Stacey, who narrowly lost the race for Metro president this past fall. Stacey's opponent in the tight race, Tom Hughes, will be one of seven votes deciding who should take Liberty's seat. SM
Last year, the Portland City Council decided to let Memorial Coliseum stick around for a while. This year, the council is giving it a new name. In a vote Wednesday, January 5, commissioners decided to spell out exactly whom the building-size "memorial" is for, coming up with the name—wait for it—Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The vote was preceded by a parade of decorated old soldiers, along with a few young ones, all singing Mayor Sam Adams' praises for bringing forward the recommendation. The name change has been, perhaps, the easiest piece of Adams' agonizingly slow effort to redevelop the Rose Quarter into a place where people want to go even when the Trail Blazers aren't playing.