I don't know Brian Libby, but I know of him. He's behind Portland Architecture dot com. He's mightily involved with Friends of Memorial Coliseum. June 8, 2016--just days ago--that grand building was named a National Treasure by National Trust for Historic Preservation. All I can say is hooray! I hope this pronouncement helps save the building, helps it be taken care of for years to come. I've been inside several times since moving here in June, 2006, and find it amazing, fascinating, and well-deserving of living on for all to see and to take part in events held there.
From Portland Architecture published on June 9, an awesome statement that Libby quoted from Bill Walton, member of the NBA Championship Portland Trail Blazers:
Libby: . . .I'd like to share a statement from Trail Blazers legend Bill Walton, which was also read at the event yesterday:
"39 years ago this week, right here, on the banks of the powerful and majestic Willamette River, our beloved Portland Trail Blazers made history, changed the world and plotted a new path forward to the future…I was there then, as our Blazer team won the NBA championship at this magnificent shrine and temple—the Memorial Coliseum. I'll never forget that day, not only as a defining moment in Oregon sports history and my life, but also as a statewide explosion of joy, happiness and civic pride."
"Today most all of the other NBA arenas I played in have been torn down. But Veterans Memorial Coliseum still stands tall and proud because of its very special place in our lives and as a one-of-a-kind work of architecture."
"Today I'm happy to take this well-deserved and long-overdue moment to celebrate with the Friends of Memorial Coliseum, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Portland City Council, and all Oregonians as our wonderful Coliseum is officially named a National Treasure."
"Although basketball will always be the first thing I think of when I reflect on the significance of this building, it is so much more than that. Its world-class design with natural light pouring into the arena, is an important and enduring tribute to the brave veterans who gave their lives and everything else for us in both World War II and the Korean War."
"I'm a proud, loyal, passionate and grateful man—whether it's for the beautiful game we call basketball, the rapturous power of music, especially when created by the Grateful Dead, or the natural beauty of my second home Oregon. You can also add our Veterans Memorial Coliseum to that list: a landmark that continues to inspire each and every one of us, and a place where we can all come together in joyous harmony. The spirit of '77 lives on, in and with this spectacular Coliseum. And with the powerful actions and commitment that we display here right now, we know that that will thankfully be true for generations to come."
"And forever more, I will always be able to say, that yes—I was there … In the spring of 1977 … And also today—the day we saved our Glass Palace."
"Thank you Portland … Thank you Blazers … Thank you Oregon … Thanks for shining the light … Thanks for being the light … Thanks for making my dreams come true."
It's ironic that I had moved from my initial place watching the parade, around the corner and onto Burnside, and got to take this photo of Brian with Fishel's in the background.
April 30 it was announced that the furniture store will close after 95 years in business. The 100-year-old building possibly breathes its last breaths now. The Oregonian reported on June 1 that it could disappear if plans are approved to build a 17-story mixed-use building there.
If you had been Rip-Van-Winkling the last year or so and just woke up, you wouldn't recognize the east end of the Burnside Bridge, known as the Burnside Bridgehead.
Yard is jammed up beside the north sidewalk on the Burnside Bridge.
I took this photo one morning on my commute through the TriMet bus windshield. You can see that it completely blocks my beloved view of the Big Pink and the Portland Oregon neon sign that I had enjoyed for several years of commuting west on NE Couch by TriMet bus. No longer is the intersection an inspirational way to begin my day; it's a gosh-awful hodge-podge of modern ugliness.
I flat-out do not like the changes going on in every direction. Besides being ugly buildings, the housing units they hold are priced too high for regular-job-holders. I don't care if the 21-story Yard had a number of apartments set aside for households with incomes of up to 60 percent of the area's median family income--57 out of the 284--that's a pitiful, insulting toss of crumbs to Portlanders who deserve affordable housing options.
Besides the possible replacement of Fishels, one more is going up on Burnside between MLK and Grand--in the photo above, notice the red and blue angular roof-line--it was part of a used car lot which is gone now, a huge hole filled with the footings of what will become an L-shaped building; another one is supposed to go up across the street north of Yard--it will obliterate the view of the sky between Yard and that other ugly building going up on the right side of this photo; one more is going up in a tiny, odd-shaped bit of grass in front of Yard--it's that bit of bright green you see to the right of the person in the chartreuse-colored jacket. When I changed locations to watch the parade yesterday, I noticed that digging had begun. I believe this little bit of green should have been left along, should have been made into a lovely park where folks could relax a bit amid the ugliness and the traffic which will only increase at what is already a busy bunch of intersections within a few blocks of each other.
I'll stop here and not get on the soapbox; it's a lovely early Sunday morning here in Portland, and I need to get outside for a little while.
I won't go without saying thank you to Brian Libby and every other person who works tirelessly for preservation of our architectural treasures here in Portland, who want our fascinating neighborhoods to remain recognizable, who want new construction to fit into those neighborhoods instead of appearing like gashes in their very fabric. It's not that we don't want to house everyone here, we just want to do it in a responsible, affordable way that respects our beloved Portland.