Interesting that Brian Libby would want to take Randy on a tour considering he admittedly hadn't been inside the building for years.
I find your finding of Leonard's inconsistency interesting, interesting... given your inconsistency on favoring/not favoring new stadia in Oregon.
"I also believe that you, as a small but vocal group, are failing to see the bottom line here"

Is Leonard talking about architects or Timbers fans?

Honestly, no matter what he thinks of Libby, he can't engage in this type of back and forth. He is completely unprofessional. Everything is personal and petty to him. It's frankly a bit terrifying that someone this immature has the power to push through policies for the whole city.
blabby for once i agree with you.
loose. cannon.
Commissioner Leonard,

I apologize for the negative rhetoric. It was not helpful and I regret it. In fact, I will post an addendum to the blog saying so.

Sometimes when campaigning against members of City Council one can feel small and powerless, so much so that a person lets personal passion cloud the discussion. That was my mistake in the post, but I'm completely willing to stop bickering and find common ground.

However, the invitation was sincere and was indeed meant as an olive branch. It would be unfortunate for my words to prevent you from taking a good hard look at the Coliseum from the inside.

Ultimately this isn't about your architectural tastes or mine. But the men and women charged with protecting America's historic architecture, organizations like the National Trust and the US Green Building Council, are on the side of those seeking to save Memorial Coliseum.

Avoid the Coliseum tour if you want to spite me. Go on the Coliseum tour out of deference to those organizations. Go on the tour to make sure you're right that this building so many people love and want to protect is indeed ugly.

Again, I'm sincerely sorry for the name calling. Let me be clear that I don't think you're ignorant. Obviously. I have voted for you numerous times. But when I read the "ugly" comment, I felt defensive towards all those I felt it was insulting.


---Brian Libby
Oh, and Blackout - I've been in the Coliseum many, many times. I watched Clyde Drexler and the Blazers there, and the USA Dream Team, and a bunch of bad classic rock concerts. My mom saw the Beatles there.

I was suggesting that Leonard go on the tour not specifically with me, but with some experts--like the original designers of the building, who still live in town, or the city's historic preservation experts. Or Bill Walton!
Special to Dan Saltzman:

I worked as a stagehand for that Jethro Tull concert.

Even sold them some loudspeakers!

Jim Lee
Well, the recliner and television imagery says it all. Leonard is definately a part of the crowd that believes everything is disposable as long as we can sell coca-cola there.

What a sad thing this must be for vets in Portland. My beloved 82 year-old father-in-law travelled on the kindertransporte and rememebers kristalnacht in frankfurt in the late 30's. A late uncle on the other side fought in Normandy and we took him back there a few years ago; people in the town of St Lo came up to him and thanked him knowing nothing about him, other than the fact that he was walking with a cane and was speaking English. My father, who had me at age 57 in the early 60's spent two years in a prison camp in Manchuria in the 40's.

Let us not forget that we are talking about the great generation here. Seeing this boor write about his living room makes me want to cry.
"After years of discussions, no one has been able to come up with a viable use for the building. You called it a sleeping giant. Unfortunately, I think of it as the fat white elephant sitting in the middle of my living room."

So Randy Leonard thinks of all of Portland as his living room -- to be arranged and decorated as he chooses, and only he chooses. That explains a lot.
I am not sure if I should vote for Randy Leonard again. Randy, go on the tour. Listen to what the people have to say and show you before forming your opinion.
Maybe it's time the Merc sets up a somewhat separate political blog. For Portland.
Libby is a pretentious ass-clown. He would saddle city taxpayers with a decrepit, useless eyesore of a building just because he happens to find it aesthetically pleasing. The Rose Quarter is not a museum - it's a functional business district with a need to expand, and relics from the past cannot be allowed to stand it its way.

But what I really want to know is, why does the Mercury have a transvestite in thrift-store clothes on its front page?
Actually, the Coliseum was finally making money under Spectrum's management. Regardless what you think of it, they've been generating revenue with it with a mix of concerts, sporting events (pro ice-skating, to motorcycle ice racing), home shows in the exhibit halls, and events BENEATH the Coliseum proper, even. Again, this wasn't under Paul Allen, or the city's management, but Spectrum. Will tearing it down for a one-purpose event site bring in as much? For ex. we only have a couple of sunny months (at most) a year for outdoor concerts...?
Memorial Coliseum is not useless. 34npdx points out that is generating revenue as we speak. Furthermore, it can be renovated and turned into something better. A new baseball stadium on the site will cost how much money? We can spend that money to renovate Memorial Coliseum. There was a great editorial in the Oregonian about the MARC. Read it.

These "kill the coliseum" people must be angry at the world and posting while drunk. Or they are in the pocket of Paulson. Those are the reasonable explanations I can think of for these kinds of responses. They are all just personal attacks against good people who are representing the best of Portland.
Although somewhat tangential, why doesn't PDX look in NW in the industrial district west of the police station? There is a lot of room and while those businesses generate revenue from taxes, with the falling price of steel, the likelihood of the general public shifting towards renewable energy sources, and the federal initiative to invest in trains this area is ripe for renewal and a stadium there would probably generate more revenue. It would be a logical expansion of the pearl and it would not increase traffic to an area without the capacity to take it.
A bit of old history on our Coliseum:

When opened for business in 1960 it was among the very few large indoor arenas, and has set a standard for functionality and financial viability not equalled since.

In 1960 there were no arena concerts because amplifiers and speakers were not sufficiently powerful, so concerts were not part of the planning. When concert gigs eventuated there was need to suspend huge speaker arrays and lighting trusses, and the Coliseum's great 300 foot bridge trusses had sufficient excess strength so that code engineers allowed roadies to fly monster gear. Our Coliseum was at the forefront, the great enabler of arena concert venues. Major acts would start their tours in Portland because our Coliseum was the easiest house to work, and Local 28 IATSE members were among the few who knew how to work a very large venue. Many acts would rent our Coliseum for several days even if they were not opening in Portland simply to get their road shows in order. That is what Jethro Tull did on the tour that Dan Saltzman remembers.

Want to do a logging equipment show? A liturgical conference? Trade shows? Auto Shows? Christmas shows? Bridal shows? Hockey games? NBA finals? Our Coliseum was the only such venue in North America consistently profitable to its owners--us--because of the excellence and versatility of its design, construction, management, and operation. For three decades its profits shored up operation of Civic Auditorium and Civic Stadium.

If Paul Allen had any business acumen, architectural knowledge, show-business smarts he would have built a 20,000 seat version of the Coliseum and worked the synergy between the two. Rose Garden went bankrupt. Coliseum supported other venues. Allen's lackeys must bad mouth our Coliseum precisely because it is so stupendously superior to the pile of Kansas City rubbish that he erected next door.

Here is a little known engineering fact: when Kansas City tried to build its down-market version of our Coliseum, its roof collapsed exactly as its architect was being awarded a prize nearby! And now Sam and Randy feel the need to install more Kansas City crap in place of the world's standard of excellence in indoor public arenas!

Let's take up a collection to send Sam and Randy to Kansas City--in strait jackets.

Jim Lee
@Brian Libby

Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, John Philip Sousa, 37 World Series, Jack Dempsey, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, Pope Paul IV, Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict, Billy Joel, U2 and countless other famous people and acts.

Yankee Stadium. Torn down last year.

The Coliseum isn't Yankee Stadium and it doesn't have the history of Yankee Stadium. Quit using who used the building in the past as some excuse to keep it standing. Yankee Stadium had far more usefulness than the MC does when it was torn down.

Want a list of stadiums built around the same era that were either torn down or sold to a private entity? Salt Palace (SLC), Summit (Houston), The Forum (LA), Boston Garden (Boston), Madison Square Garden (NY), The Spectrum (Philidelphia), Hemisfair Arena (San Antonio), Omni Coliseum (Atlanta), Reunion Arena (Dallas), Chicago Stadium, McNichols Sports Arena (Denver), Coliseum in Richfield (Cleveland), Market Square Arena (Indianapolis), Capital Centre (DC)...all demolished and only 2 of them still stand and they stand because the city sold them to megachurches.

Blackedout, who the F cares what happens in New York? This is Portland! Where is your civic pride, poser? Yankee Stadium was privately owned anyways. We own Memorial Coliseum. AND the NY Yankees hood-winked the government into subsidizing the new stadium by threatening to move the team to New Jersey. Sounds similar to what Paulson, hailing from New York, is trying to do to us.
BlackedOut, you still haven't explained how an uncovered 8500-seat minor league baseball stadium at twice the cost of the MARC (according to your own figures) is a suitable replacement for a renovated Memorial Coliseum. Drink less beer before you comment.
Quite right: our Coliseum is not Yankee Stadium; it is a far more productive and aesthetic piece of architecture. And we, not sports thugs, own it. It could make even more money for us now than it did before the Rose Garden if Paul Allen's minions were not trying desperately to run it into the ground.

An acquaintance once related the task of introducing the architects of the Rose Garden to our Coliseum. They were astonished by its simplicity and spaciousness, and averred that Paul's Palace never could be built to so high a standard. "We own it. It is a central part of our civic life. We like it that way."

Architecture lecture for those unwashed: Construction of modern stadia began with the Yale Bowl and the Rose Bowl by classically trained architects a century ago. They chose Roman amphitheaters, specifically Arena di Verona, as their model. The architects of our Coliseum chose the Roman model too, swooping up the sides of the bowl at its minor axis and keeping the large aulae at ground level on the major axis. Then they placed a gigantic pavilion on four columns outside the bowl, extended the great steel bridge trusses to locate huge glue-laminated timber mullions for the complete perimetric glazing.

Our Memorial Coliseum thus is a classical-reductionist building, the simplest possible solution to a very complex and demanding architectural program. I admit to being a classicist. If others do not like Vitruvius, Dante, Mozart, I cannot help them.

Other cities have obliterated their large arenas because they were lousy buildings built by lousy architects in lousy cities. Not so the persistent and economic folk of Verona! In Dante's time they enacted a city tax to maintain their 30,000 seat amphitheater, which tax continues to this day. And it makes much more money than it did 2,000 years ago, when admission was free! I have a photograph of a stagehand operating a fork lift to move sets for "Aida" through the aula once frequented by beasts and gladiators, just as my friend Dalroy Connell moves gear for rock shows in our Coliseum.

I neglected to list the NCAA finals and the free roller skating. Also the fact that our Coliseum is self-heating and self-cooling, an act of environmental consciousness that no other arena yet has matched.

We can exile Randy and Sam to any of those other crummy cities too. I'll contribute to the transportation.

Jim Lee
Wow. i just read about the MARC. Without having ever heard about it, I independently dreamed up (and ranted wildly on blogtown) a list that includes some of the MARC elements (pools, diving boards, climbing wall)and a few more (restaurant, bar, dance and concert hall, and tropical butterfly garden); I left out the ice rink and the sports medicine center (shudder, clinics don't mix with fun, except unintentionally). So, in general, what I'm getting at is that it doesn't take a whole lot to imagine many cool futures for the coliseum, and a task force already has. What happened to MARC? Why is Leonard saying "noone's come up with a good plan?" Was it too expensive? Someone please clarify if they know..

The MARC? Seriously? You don't know anything about it do you? Educate yourself. It costs $93 million-$104 million in 2002 dollars.…

Replace the existing blackout curtain
Repair/replace roof
Re-paint ceiling panels
Replace Arena Ice Rink concrete floor
ADA improvements, as required
Seismic improvements, as required
Repair of the exterior canopy fire sprinklers
Resealing of the Concourse floor
Expansion of the Energy Management System at the Lower Level
Recovering / replacement of existing arena seating
Improve lighting in the concourse and at the building entrance
Video Replay on Scoreboard
Club Seats in center section (proposed 400 seats)
Provide club lounge above club seats opening to arena & main entrance
Comprehensive Signage & wayfinding program. (Includes new graphics/advertising sign band, maps, concessions)
Remodel Concession Areas with new finishes and equipment
Remodel box office
Widen east concourse
Remodel lower floor meeting rooms
Upgrade sound system, cable TV system, and concert power feeds


The MARC costs twice as much as a new 8500 seat AAA ballpark and won't draw half the people. The MARC would be a community center. A really, really, really expensive community center. Thanks and come again. P.S. Bloomberg would have been crucified if he let the Yankees go to New Jersey and you know that. They were never going to leave. The citizens of NY, when forced to put up or shut up, shut the eff up. When they didn't lead some major outcry to not let Bloomberg change the laws for a 3rd term they proved that.

At least try to make a good argument.

Portland isn't NY...pshaw...then don't hold the MC up like it's some sort of cathedral. I hate the Yankees and recognize that stadium as the cathedral that it was. The MC is a fracking arena. Tear it down.
BlackedOut, you were throwing around numbers like candy and quoted renovations at $30 million. That why I explicitly said "according to your own figures". I know all about the MARC. It is worth investing in our community versus investing in a private business entity from New York who wants to knock down a Portland icon and architecturally important building to build a minor league baseball stadium that will only serve to bring in 2,000 people from the suburbs 70 days during the summer. Please explain how this is more beneficial to Portland over a place where people in the city can go engage in healthy activities, and also be available for high school sporting events and other functions.

You are not representing Portland. You are representing the Paulson family's business interests. I read your soccer message board, and you Timbers Army people really like to trumpet your "civic pride". You are a bunch of hypocrites who like to wave the flag of Portland for your self-aggrandizing pleasure, but when it comes to real civic pride you would gladly throw this city under the bus for the sake of your patron Paulson. This is a stain on the Timbers.
A Portland icon? Oh please. Erickson's Saloon is a Portland icon (unfortunately the Barracuda now), Dan and Louis is a Portland icon, Saturday Market is a Portland icon, the International Rose Testing Garden is an icon. The old stadium nobody bothered to tear down 14 years ago is not a Portland icon.

I have never had one single relative or friend come here and say, "gosh I really will never forget my visit here and I'm going to tell everyone about that wonderful Memorial Coliseum you guys have." want to invest $90 million in a giant community center? Really? Give me about $20 million and I'll make 4 community centers that work for more people than a community center at the RQ will ever do.

Yeah my patron Paulson. Keep convincing yourself I work for him too. You just call out my civic pride because I like something you don't and have been far more invested in it than you ever bothered to be. Congrats. You win big boy. All those meeting I sat in on and you didn't bother to show up to or testify at really prove how you are so civically mindedly better than everyone else.
BlackedOut, are you pathetically trying to "community center" the MARC the same way the Republicans tried to "community organizer" Obama? Not buying the way you are trying to disingenuously frame the situation with loaded words of your own choosing. I am not sure why you continue to defend the private business interests of Merritt Paulson from Lake Oswego via New York over the interests of the Portland community. Or are you going to argue that somehow a minor league baseball stadium in the Rose Quarter, AT THE UNNECESSARY EXPENSE OF A BUILDING IN PERFECT WORKING CONDITION AND GENERATING REVENUE DESPITE BEING PURPOSELY STRANGLED BY VULCAN, WITH THE POTENTIAL TO BE IMPROVED, is the best choice for the Portland community? Once again, you are a stain on the Timbers. If this is the type of owner we have, we should ask him to sell the team to someone who understands and respects Portland.
@Portland Lover

hahahah Ok win. I'm a total shill for Merritt Paulson and no sports team owner in the entire country has ever asked for help on a stadium. You're so smart. How could I have no noticed that this whole time every owner in the entire world has been paying for their own private stadiums that they just give the city. It's like a gift really. Especially in Portland where Merritt should totally pay for all those remodels even though the Multnomah Athletic Club has first right of purchase to PGE Park and Vulcan has first right of purchase to the MC. Merritt should totally remodel all of that for the city and then just not own any of it. You're totally right.

Oh and Portland Lover. Keep looking for that owner K? I'm sure you'll find one one day. Let's totally get together and figure out how we can run Paul Allen out of the city too huh?
The point is Paulson shouldn't be insisting on knocking down Memorial Coliseum. There are other options, some of which involve spending his own money. He could also keep the Portland Beavers at PGE Park. The two teams share PGE Park right now. I am not suggesting that this must be the solution, but pointing out that Paulson insists on pursuing the single solution that hurts Portland the most in the face of so many other solutions. I'm not comfortable having a person like that own my soccer team.
Paulson didn't suggest knocking down the MC. Adams did BECAUSE IN 14 YEARS NOT A SINGLE EFFING PERSON HAS COME UP WITH A WORKABLE PLAN FOR THE MC and everyone all agreed it was a better location than Lents. Paulson agreed to put forth more money and guarantee certain things that he otherwise would not have if the stadium was located in a less centrally located area.

The two teams cannot share PGE Park. I don't think I need to dig out the very article where Don Garber said flat out that if there wasn't a plan to move the Beavers out of PGE Park Portland wouldn't have been awarded the franchise. The idea that the two teams can continue sharing is something concocted by Fritz that she's been saying that is flat out untrue.

BlackedOut - your selective listening abilities are most impressive. you continually gloss over the point continually made that the MC can, and has, turned a profit in it's current form. you're right about the MARC proposal. it is too expensive, at least right now. do you contend that, if the MC is marketed properly, that it will NEVER make a profit, or be able to pay for it's own upgrades?
The average attendance for Beavers games is about 5,500. So for 5,500 people, we must tear down the MC and put up a small baseball stadium, or we can't have a MLS team? What a crock of shit. How about Paulson lets the city decide where the baseball stadium goes and stfu. Send the beavers down to play in Keiser for all I care. This is ridiculous.

Put it to a public vote.
BlackedOut, please pull out that article. No matter what Don Garber said, the attorney who is advising the city council disagrees that there is a stipulating that the Beavers must leave the stadium. Shill, shill, shill. Again, I am not saying that this MUST be the solution, but pointing out that you and Paulson seem intent on knocking down MC under any circumstances. You say that knocking down MC was Adams' idea, but in a recent article in the Oregonian where Paulson talks about considering Lents in the face of all the pro-MC voices, he said that Memorial Coliseum was still his preferred option. This is disgraceful.
The Coliseum was immensely profitable for over three decades and easily could be again with proper maintenance and modest repairs befitting a 50 year old building. The basic structure is as good as it ever was.

Based on my years working at the United States Naval Ordnance Test Station I have devised a highly workable (and very cheap!) plan for restoring the MC: fuel-air explosive inside the RG.

Jim Lee
Can I watch? I'll help with clean-up.
Now let us talk some baseball and stuff.

I grew up in Saint Louis watching Stan Musial batter the outfield walls of Sportsman's Park. In Portland I watched Eddie Basinski (without his violin) turn pretty double plays at 24th and Vaughn. I watched Ozzie Smith perform shortstop gymnastics behind the architecture building at Cal Poly.

Professional baseball of any caliber never will work in Portland, Oregon, for in this age of personal motoring people of all social and economic levels would much rather enjoy our flawless summer days at the beach, mountains, deserts, rivers--even at golf courses--than sit in a sweaty baseball park. In my dad's time it was understood that in Saint Louis everyone was allowed a couple of afternoons off each month of summer to regard the Browns or the Cardinals. I don't know if that is still the case (certainly not for the Browns), but Saint Louis remains the best baseball town in the country, because there is nothing much else to do of a summer afternoon, which is guaranteed to be sweaty wherever one goes.

Professional basketball works in Portland precisely because our dreary winter evenings provoke folk to get up and out and have some clean and highly social fun. Harry Glickman turned down offers by his friend Pete Rozelle, Commissioner of the NFL, to put pro football in our city because he knew it would not pencil out financially. He kept the Buckaroos playing at MC until an NBA franchise became available, when he grabbed for the brass ring.

If Merritt Paulson thinks he is Harry Glickman GOD HELP US ALL!

Jim Lee

P.S. In our city a MARC repurposing of MC likely would draw several thousand patrons a day, every day, or a million each year, far more than a feckless minor league baseball team.

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