The Memorial Coliseum
One Center Court
Portland, OR 97227
Portland Trail Blazers
Portland Winter Hawks
Designed by the architectural firm Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM), the Coliseum opened for business on November 1, 1960. A smaller and simpler version of the Rose Garden, the Coliseum has been called home by several Portland-area sports franchises over the years including the Buckaroos of the old Western Hockey League, the Winter Hawks of the current Western Hockey League, and the Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association. Following the 1994-95 NBA regular and post-seasons, the Trail Blazers have played 1,093 games in 25 years at the Coliseum, including 71 post-season playoff contests, nine games in the NBA Finals, and one World Championship. Upon leaving the Coliseum, the Trail Blazers had sold out 810 consecutive regular season and playoff games, a record unmatched by any franchise in professional sports. Total capacity for NBA Basketball is 12,888. The Blazers moved into their new home, the Rose Garden, in time for the 1995-96 season.
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Like the Rose Garden, the Memorial Coliseum was designed as a flexible, multi-purpose venue. In addition to the numerous basketball and hockey contests held at the facility, the Coliseum has been host to hundreds of concerts, rodeos, circuses, ice shows, and trade shows. In 1965 the Coliseum hosted the NCAA Final Four collegiate basketball tournament. November 1, 1974 marked the first time in history a U.S. President attended an NBA game as President Gerald Ford watched the Blazers defeat the Buffalo Braves (now the Los Angeles Clippers), 113-106 in the Coliseum. Portland, and the rest of the globe, saw the debut of Dream Team I in 1992 when the Coliseum played host to the Tournament of the Americas (North America's basketball selection tournament for the Olympic Games in Barcelona).
Source: The Rose Quarter
TRAIL BLAZERS HAVE PLAN FOR FORMER ARENA
November 5, 2009
Copyright 2009 MediaVentures
Portland, Ore. - The Portland Trail Blazers plan to reduce the size of Memorial Coliseum and create an entertainment district called "Jumptown" that will include music, sports and cultural events.
By adding condos and apartments, hotels, offices, stores and restaurants - and potentially a "Nike interactive experience" - the Blazers are trying to bring economic vitality to the struggling district surrounding the Rose Garden.
Blazers President Larry Miller wants to turn the aging glass palace into a more intimate venue for Portland Winterhawks hockey games, the famed Rose Festival parade and performances of all kinds.
By reducing the seating area, remodeling inside spaces and getting creative with marketing, Miller said he hopes the coliseum will be an added attraction in the bigger mix.
The Rose Quarter Stakeholders Advisory Committee, which began meeting this fall, is looking to adopt a new plan for the area over the next year. The group will accept ideas from the public through Dec. 1.
The Blazers, operators of both the Rose Garden and coliseum, have the right of making the first proposal for any private construction project involving the coliseum. The advisory committee will look at all the ideas, including the Blazers' plan, and make a recommendation to the City Council on what it would like to see in the Rose Quarter, including how best to redevelop the coliseum.
TRAIL BLAZERS RELEASE PLANS FOR MEMORIAL COLISEUM
January 14, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
Portland, Ore. - The Portland Trail Blazers have released their plans for the future of Memorial Coliseum. The proposal for the Blazers' "Jumptown" comes with no price tags or timeline attached. It doesn't hint how much of the cost taxpayers might shoulder.
Two Portland city commissioners called the idea exciting and impressive, albeit light on the nuts and bolts.
"I really am intrigued by the Nike museum. I hope that's more than a concept and will happen," Commissioner Randy Leonard said. The part that has Leonard and Commissioner Dan Saltzman intrigued is a Nike museum next to the coliseum. It was at a coffee shop in the old Cosmopolitan Hotel by the coliseum that Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman sealed the agreement to start Nike, with a handshake.
"You could literally stand in the building and look across the street at the point where Nike was started, so there's some symbolic and sentimental attachment to Memorial Coliseum," said Tinker Hatfield, vice president of design and special projects for Nike.
Still, Nike hasn't signed as an official partner. "We're keeping our eye on it," he said. The Blazers have varying development rights in the quarter. Isaac and Larry Miller, the Blazers' president, said they have no estimates on what the venture would cost. Baltimore-based Cordish Companies would develop the area.
According to drawings, the district would include a covered plaza off the Broadway Bridge, open for music and other public events. There would be a 250-room hotel, office towers and a multiplex of restaurants and shops. A garden to honor veterans would be built at North Interstate Avenue and Broadway.
The coliseum would remain a home to hockey but with the top seats converted into open "party decks." The Winterhawks have agreed to work with the Blazers, who manage the coliseum for the city and hold an option to develop it.
Since the mayor's call for ideas in December, about four dozen proposals have rolled in, ranging from a public market to a velodrome to a natural history museum.
PORTLAND MAYOR HAS PLANS FOR COLISEUM AREA
August 12, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
Portland, Ore. - Portland Mayor Sam Adams has a new plan for saving Memorial Coliseum, the former home of the Trail Blazers, according to The Oregonian.
Under his proposal, the coliseum would stay mostly as is - as an arena, but with fewer seats and possible room for veterans' events, amateur sports and active arts such as dance. It also needs $25 million for a basic maintenance upgrade, the newspaper said.
The original timeline called for one of three finalists to be picked by now, with financing researched and a developer picked. Instead, the mayor combined the finalists into one pitch and will use that to study the rest of the district.
"I've changed that," Adams told the newspaper. "And you might see further changes in the process depending on how things go."
He added, "I've let the process bubble, but we're at the point of the process where I get to be engaged and infuse it with some of my ideas and some of my vision."
In 2009, the City Council considered tearing down the neglected coliseum to make way for a triple-A baseball stadium for the Portland Beavers, who are being ousted from PGE Park so it can become a Portland Timbers soccer stadium. Architects and design fans objected. As a result, in August of last year, the mayor named a 31-member citizen advisory group to come up with ideas for the coliseum. He also called for a public brainstorm, which generated ideas such as creating an indoor dog park or car museum.
The Oregonian said the three finalists selected by the advisory group were largely expected, especially the Trail Blazers, who already own and operate the nearby Rose Garden Arena. The team basically has a non-competition clause over Memorial Coliseum extendable through 2023, as well as a development right that expires in November. Early on, Blazers managers proposed a Jumptown entertainment district, a glitzy retail and restaurant complex that critics dubbed cheesy.
The process also left one of the two alternate finalists, the people behind the multicultural Rose Quarter Community Crossroads proposal that included low-income housing and a world market, feeling duped, the newspaper said.
Now, the "enhanced facility" proposed by Adams doesn't leave much room for the Blazers' idea of a retail entertainment zone, the newspaper said. Adams wants a coliseum and Rose Quarter where arts and athletics meld with sportswear designers, handmade bike builders and professional sports. He would like to explore a 200-meter running track and velodrome in the arena; a 50-meter pool and amateur swimming in the meeting rooms area; and a restaurant or bar on the concourse.
The features could go outside the coliseum area, too, joining a possible athletics center for use by the Winterhawks, Trail Blazers and community kids, and a 2,500-seat entertainment venue.
The city could contribute $20 million of the $25 million for the upgrade; about $5 million would come from urban renewal dollars, and the rest would come from high-interest loans, according to Adams' proposal. But none of that would pay for anything other than the building upgrade.
J. Isaac, senior vice president of business affairs for the Blazers, told The Oregonian his team is game to try something different.
"The way I would look at it is we're at square one where we are now going to try to find out the best ideas and best way to do that," he said.
UPGRADES APPROVED FOR PORTLAND ARENA
November 18, 2010
Copyright 2010 MediaVentures
Portland, Maine - The Cumberland County Civic Center board of trustees approved a renovation plan that's expected to cost about $28 million, assuming county voters approve a bond next fall to pay for the improvements, according to the Portland Press Herald.
The renovation plan includes new premium seating in the 35-year-old arena, an improved box office and upgraded concessions. It also calls for several "back of house" projects, such as a larger loading dock and better dressing and locker rooms.
The plan approved by the board was recommended last month by a task force that has been studying the needs of the downtown Portland arena.
The $28 million price is an estimate from consultants hired by the task force, but a building committee will be appointed to come up with a more detailed timeline for the upgrades and a more precise cost estimate, the newspaper said.
The cost could be offset somewhat by private fundraising and revenue from things such as the sale of naming rights to the arena. Public funds likely would be raised by selling bonds, assuming voters approve that step in a referendum expected to be on the November 2011 ballot.