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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Goodbye Rose Quarter... Hello "Jumptown"!

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Wed, Aug 12, 2009 at 5:40 PM

The plans to redevelop the Rose Quarter and Memorial Coliseum into a 24-hour entertainment district moved forward this afternoon, as Mayor Adams and the Council signed off on a set of non-binding guidelines that lay out the process of choosing a Rose Quarter redevelopment proposal. The guidelines (pdf) and today's meeting revealed two important things: 1) The Blazers might not be the group chosen to redevelop Memorial Coliseum. 2) Regardless, the Blazers are now calling the whole area Jumptown.

That's an improvement, I guess, from their old Rose Quarter redevelopment slogan "Water is Magic!". But isn't it a little awkward, I asked Blazer's president Larry Miller, to name the Rose Quarter urban renewal project after the vibrant 1940s African-American neighborhood that was in that location... until an urban renewal project ripped it apart?

No, no, no, said Miller. "We think this continues to pay homage to something that used to be there," says Phillips. The Blazers are still working with horrific Hard Rock Cafe-loving developers Cordish on plans for Jumptown, but promise that the project will be locally-driven, utilizing local architects. "This is not being driven by an outside corporation like Cordish. This is being driven by Portland and Portlanders," says Miller. They are planning to put together a public citizen advisory board (similar to the citizen stakeholder group Adams' office is coordinating) before making any final design decisions but Miller says that the Blazers' plan will "absolutely not" turn Memorial Coliseum into a mall-like hub of restaurants and chain stores. Instead, he imagines a use more in line with the Coliseum's history as a venue—they've already met with the guy who's pushing a velodrome on the site.

But it's not for sure that the Blazers will get the chance to redevelop Memorial Coliseum themselves. Here's the city's flow chart on the process will work. Look, it's simple:

AAAAAA!!!!!!
  • AAAAAA!!!!!!

The process from here on out is explained below the cut.

Okay, so Memorial Coliseum is owned by the city and its development rights are enmeshed is a complicated web of legal agreements ranging back decades. The citizen stakeholder committee Adams' office is forming next month (after receiving 120 applications for its 20 seats) will look at design ideas for the Memorial Coliseum from anyone who wants to present them. Anyone from the Blazers to your crackpot friend's idea for a massive PBR swimming pool will be on "equal footing" according to Adams. The stakeholder committee might get 200 ideas, it might get only six. But either way, they'll just be sketches of uses and budgets.

The stakeholders will recommend a handful of the ideas to City Council and then whoever pitched those ideas will have to make a formal proposal. If the Council decides to go with an idea for public use of Memorial Coliseum (like a public library) then the Council can greenlight the project right away. But if it's looking to redevelop Memorial Coliseum with a private company, then the Blazers get the chance to make the first proposal to Council. Only after rejecting their ideas could Council look at other private proposals.

Does that make sense? Winterhawks President Doug Piper testified at the meeting today, worried that the redevelopment would go straight away to the Blazers with no chance for other agencies to even pitch ideas. Adams promised that everyone would get a fair shot at presenting their ideas. "We like competition," said the mayor.

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