Featured Stories

The coliseum is worth keeping

by: L.E. BASKOW, An aerial photo of the Rose Quarter shows the Rose Garden on the left and Memorial Coliseum on the right. A tentative city deal would destroy the coliseum to build a Triple-A baseball stadium.

I believe, strongly, that elimination of Portland's Memorial Coliseum (Soccer decisions coming up fast, March 26) is a major mistake for our city for these reasons:

• Portland will give up a significant competitive advantage that the city has in attracting events that other cities cannot accommodate because we have two world-class arenas side by side. Example: The U.S. vs. Russia Davis Cup Final that we won the right to host because we have the Memorial Coliseum that can provide dates that very busy buildings cannot bid for. That event brought an estimated $7 million to $10 million to the city and filled up every hotel room available.

Philadelphia is the only other U.S. city that has two such buildings, and they are going to tear down the Spectrum. Portland will become the only U.S. city to be able to host events that cannot find a location in a major metropolitan area.

• Elimination of the Memorial Coliseum will displace 50 or more groups who want to host events such as the Rose Festival, high school and college graduations and many other gatherings.

• This is a historic site. Think of the events that the coliseum has housed. It is a historic building with significant cultural history that we, as a city, should be looking to preserve, rather than destroy.

As a 'promoter,' I have been directly involved in bidding and bringing three International Davis Cup Matches (USA vs. Australia in 1981 and 1984 and the USA vs. Russia Final of 2007), plus the Basketball Tournament of the Americas (the Dream Team of 1992) and numerous exhibitions in tennis, volleyball, wrestling, gymnastics and boxing.

I believe we could, and should, market the fact that Portland can house/stage events for which many sports cannot find a venue with less than a year's notice.

Brian Parrott

Head coach, Portland State University men's and women's tennis

Southwest Portland

Hasty approach to MLS is shortsighted

While I agree with taking advantage of the economic opportunity offered by bringing Major League Soccer to Portland, I fear the consequences of kicking this opportunity out of bounds (Soccer decisions coming up fast, March 26). The speed at which decisions must be made subjects us to the risk of shortsighted and ultimately ill-fated planning decisions.

One can reasonably argue that the Rose Quarter is in need of improvement. But a piecemeal and hasty approach will not serve the long term. The owners of the Rose Garden want to create an 'entertainment' district. The Portland Beavers Triple-A baseball team want a stadium at the Memorial Coliseum, which at the moment seems to be the most expeditious location, but not necessarily the best location. And the city wants to seize the opportunities of the moment.

While these are seemingly compatible uses, who is looking at this within the total city context? Where is the overall vision that considers other elements such as housing, transportation, parks, commercial facilities and a host of other possible uses? We have to understand how this district relates and connects to the surrounding districts, the river and the total city, and then plan accordingly. Good urban planning in this context is not about individual interests doing their own thing. It is rather about the city orchestrating and working with private interests to fulfill a long-term vision that makes sense for generations to come.

These questions must be asked and answered before kicking the ball any further.

Stanley Penkin

Northwest Portland

Ballpark must face the city

Please, let's have the ballpark facing south toward the city, not east toward the arena and freeway (Soccer, city vote provoke debate, March 19).

Nick Christensen

Southeast Portland

Preserve the coliseum

I am a widow of a veteran and also a former president of the Portland Rose Society. I was disturbed to hear that there are plans for a baseball stadium to be built that would cause the demolition of the Veterans' Memorial Coliseum (Soccer, city vote provoke debate, March 19).

This Veterans' Memorial Coliseum was built for multipurpose use and specifically designated to be a place where the Portland Rose Festival would be able to start its annual parade. Many visitors and tour groups are able to be seated inside and view the parade in comfort - regardless of outside weather conditions. Prior to the start of the parade, the coronation ceremony for the Queen of Rosaria is also held there. Portland is known throughout the world as the 'City of Roses' and this festival observed its 100th Anniversary in 2007.

I grew up in Southeast Portland, attended Arleta grade school and graduated from Franklin High School. I am familiar with the Lents area and in my opinion this would be a better location for a baseball stadium. I am also a season ticket holder for the Portland Winter Hawks games and my friends and I enjoy the hockey games at the coliseum.

I am hoping and praying that the Veterans' Memorial Coliseum will be preserved.

Marilyn Mac Gavin

Boring

Honor our Veterans' Memorial

I grew up in Portland, attending Kennedy grade school, Jefferson High School and Portland State University. I represent the 128,012 Portland voters who all voted to build the Veterans' Memorial Coliseum (Soccer decisions coming up fast , March 26) and also the 200,000 other homeowners who live in Portland and paid taxes in order to pay off the $8 million bond. I was included.

I also represent the original of 1,677 servicemen - to the best that I know - who went off to war for the sake of their country and never returned. The one serviceman about whom I have the most knowledge is Gideon Wolfe. His ship went down in the South Pacific in a typhoon. Two other ships also were sunk in the storm. The Veterans Memorial Coliseum is dedicated to him. Gideon's name is on a memorial wall on the north side of the main entrance if you pause for a moment to look. To tear this building down, in my opinion, is the very highest act of disrespect.

Gil Frey

Milwaukie

Hotels, MLS will help the economy

In a letter to the editor, Rick Durbin stated that Sam Adams and the City Council are not focusing on the city's financial problem (Time for a better focus, March 19). He cites hotels, Major League Soccer and public transportation as things being focused on too much. The only problem with his logic is that all these things will help Portland's economy in the long run, not to mention Portland's surrounding counties and suburbs.

Aaron Epperson

Northwest Portland