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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Randy Leonard Dismisses "Raging Architects" and Calls Again for Demolishing Memorial Coliseum

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 2:20 PM

A surprising article in the Columbian this week reads like a blast from the past: City Commissioner Randy Leonard arguing that Portland should demolish Memorial Coliseum to make way for a Beavers baseball stadium.

The city pitched the plan to demolish Memorial Coliseum back in March 2009, but quickly shelved the idea after vocal opposition from hundreds of Portlanders prompted Mayor Sam Adams to instead kick off a long public process to look at how to repurpose the historic building rather than tear it down.

But now the redevelopment process is stalled indefinitely and Leonard is apparently back on the "Knock 'er down!" campaign.

With no new home for the Beavers in Portland, millionaire owner Merritt Paulson has said he'll plan to sell the team at the end of the 2010 season. Leonard, with Paulson's support, told the Columbian that since the redevelopment process is falling apart, now is the perfect time to pounce on the Coliseum. From the story:

“It’s getting down to the wire," Leonard said. And what it takes is just the will of two more council members to stand up to the raging architects.” ... "The Coliseum is arguably a better site today than it was then, because of all the pushback. Sam went through a public process to try to identify a better use for the Coliseum. And the reason it fell apart is there is no good use for the Coliseum. The only thing that’s changed is, more people now know that it’s not an economically viable venue.”
Save Memorial Coliseum leader and raging architecture critic Brian Libby hit back today on his blog, invoking war over the modernist landmark. "The Friends of Memorial Coliseum are ready to put bullets back in our weapons and do war," said Libby.

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