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Memorial Coliseum spared a date with the wrecking ball

Memorial Coliseum will be incorporated into the design of an entertainment district in Portland’s Rose Quarter, as preservationists save the iconic building.
A proposed entertainment district next to the Rose Garden is officially off the table as the location of a new Portland Beavers ballpark, as city officials revisit decide to preserve Memorial Coliseum and incorporate into the area design.

No surprise: we reported last week the city was strongly considering keeping Memorial Coliseum at the behest of preservationists; putting a ballpark in the area meant the Coliseum would be demolished.  With the decision, preservationists won the battle to keep the 49-year-old arena, an icon of modernist design.

But at what cost? No one knows what to do with Memorial Coliseum, which has been poorly maintained and basically ignored by the city since the Rose Garden opened. City officials are talking about gutting the arena, which kind of defeats the purpose of preservationists. We’ve always maintained that with some renovations — like the removal of some seating and the addition of club-style areas — it would be a great home for the Portland Winter Hawks (WHL), but that possibility appears to be off the table. We’ve seen the Winter Hawks at the Rose Garden and weren’t overly impressed with the experience; the Winter Hawks will always be a secondary tenant to the Trail Blazers, and the place is just too large for junior hockey. A downsized Memorial Coliseum, on the other hand, would be perfect.

RELATED STORIES: Memorial Coliseum vote delayed as mayor adjusts site, financial plans; Portland’s Memorial Coliseum could be goner under ballpark plan

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