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Monday, May 24, 2010

Memorial Coliseum: Will You Hold, Please?

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Mon, May 24, 2010 at 4:34 PM

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  • Mark Searcy
The meticulously timelined process for redeveloping Memorial Coliseum is on infinite hold, according to the Portland Development Commission. Mayor Sam Adams directed the three finalists proposing plans for how to repurpose the "Glass Palace" to do probably the last thing the three competitors wanted to do: work together.

The new TrailBlazers-Doug Obletz-Veterans Memorial Arts axis has been given an "indefinite amount of time" to pull together a compromise proposal that incorporates elements from all of their plans. Nathalie Weinstein at the DJC has the scoop from the PDC's Kevin Brake: "I intend to have a point where we won’t let the project stay stalled,” Brake said. “We want to allow the teams time without pressure to have these discussions. But realistically we need to set out an end date." The Convention Center Urban Renewal Area (and its pile of money) expire in 2013, so the Coliseum re-do needs to have its plans well under way before then.

This feels like one of those sweetly ironic made-for-TV movie twists. The developers who attacked each others' Memorial Coliseum ideas as self-interested profit-mongers (on the one hand) and a financially unrealistic pie in the sky (on the other) are now having to work together and share like friends. I wonder what they'll come up with. Maybe a roller coaster dinosaur experience which teaches us an important lesson about the crappiness of compromise? But for now, I'm surprised that the Blazer's well-coordinated plan and deep pockets didn't out muscle like the other contenders, like some predicted.

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