In early September, Mayor Adams asked Portlanders submit their ideas via Twitter for what to do with Memorial Coliseum. In our blog poll, "giant shark tank" came in only seven popularity points below "year round farmer's market."
Luckily for Portland, the Mayor's office has extended the deadline for Memorial Coliseum makeover pitches to January 8th and slightly refined the submission process (send in yours here). Sadly, the 40 citizen-submitted ideas so far are... eh... let's just say they tend toward the "shark tank" end of the spectrum. Here's the top five worst Memorial Coliseum makeover ideas so far:
1. "Mount Life": "We are ready to 'dream a great dream with the power to move the hearts of all,'" writes this project sponsor, who dreams the great dream of dividing the Coliseum bowl into "training or creation areas" like an indoor garden, sound studio and homeless social services agency.
2. "Portland, the Park": A surreal indoor theme park "similar to the indoor park at Mall of America" that would construct a miniature version of Portland inside the Coliseum, including a Willamette River Wave Pool and Lake Oswego children's area. They do this in Europe. It's called Mini-Europe. And it's weird.
3."A Family-Community Recreational Center": This application just says, "Water Park, Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor, Fudrucker's Hamburgers, Pitch & Putt, etc. (just suggestions)" Mercury Intern Dave Bow asks, "Why do so many people think this city needs more log flumes?"
4.Tribal Casino: You know what's inside tribal casinos? Sad old people. Weak coffee. Surf and turf. "Spirit of Asia" Comedy Concert. NO.
5. Roller Coaster: Kudos to the random Roller Coaster Enthusiast who submitted their dream plan on the very first day possible. Though the RCE doesn't seem to care much about Memorial Coliseum or any of the development issues surrounding it, they rightly point out that having a roller coaster near downtown would be pretty sweet. "Doesn't have to be huge," RCE concedes.
Three ideas I think are actually okay (plus a bonus sixth terrible idea!) below the cut.
None of these three ideas blow me away, but hey, at least they don't include log flumes.
Indoor Market: From the pitch— "Indoor market for produce, seafood, flowers, spices, small cafes. Also, could incorporate music venue. This city sorely needs something like this. ie. Pikes Place. In such a rainy city this could draw more winter tourists, not to mention all the residents that live here." I think they're right, it could be cool to have a multi-level Pike Place market here in Portland. The farmers markets that pop up around town are very popular and it would be great to have a central place to get local foods year round.
Keep it a Venue: The current venue structure sucks because there are too many seats for the kind of shows the Coliseum can usually get and the load-in, load-out space is too small. But it is set up to be a venue, maybe the city could invest a bit of money and bring it up to speed.
Some sort of museum: The vast space feels like a museum already, so going with submitted ideas to make it a "Smithsonian of the West" or an Environmental History Museum might not be too far-fetched. Of course, that would require money and seeing how Portland's current history museum, the Oregon State Historical Society, is struggling to make ends meet, maybe it's not a possibility.
Bonus! Submission #38 was disqualified from the running because it isn't so much an "idea" as a "rant" but I'll give it a special star anyway:
Tear it Down: The Memorial Coliseum is ugly. U-G-L-y. Ugly. Tear the darn thing down, create a park around the memorial wall honoring veterans—heck, why not update it with veterans who gave their all since the Ugly Thing was build? Create a ball park and let it be used for high school and college sports. An important note is that parking at the Ugly Thing has always been close to an impossibility. Let's have a retro stadium where we could watch the West Hills at sunset, sip on a micro brew, and ignore the pretensions to grandeur that major league soccer represents.
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