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City cobbles together new redevelopment plan for Veterans Memorial Coliseum

by: FILE PHOTO: PORTLAND TRIBUNE - The Portland Winterhawks will be a major player in redevelopment of Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The hockey organization is putting $10 million into the $31 million project.Portland’s City Council will take up next week a revived $31 million public-private redevelopment plan for the Veterans Memorial Coliseum area.

Mayor Sam Adams said the plan included a $21.5 million contribution from the city and the Portland Development Commission, and $10 million from the Portland Winterhawks hockey organization. Portland Arena Management, which handled the Rose Quarter and the Rose Garden Arena, will manage the project for no fee.

“The Veterans Memorial Coliseum has served as a regional community asset for 51 years, providing a venue for community celebrations and entertainment, and currently hosts more than 400,000 visitors per year,” Adams said Tuesday. “I’m pleased that today we can announce the public-private partnerships that move us definitively toward the revitalization of this iconic asset.”

Part of the plan includes an option for PDC to develop parcels in the Rose Quarter area as part of the agency’s Rose Quarter District Plan and Central City 2035 N/NE Quadrant Plan.

City officials have worked on the redevelopment plan for the past three years, meeting with financial partners, PDC and talking with a veterans focus group to iron out goals for the renovation and enhancement of the Memorial Gardens at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The veterans group helped establish design guidelines and principles for the Memorial Gardens.

City commissioners will discuss a handful of ordinances on the proposed partnership beginning at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29. They include a formal partnership agreement, a revenue sharing plan and an operating agreement.

The ordinances will guide Veterans Memorial Coliseum’s renovation and improvement and will make the Portland Winterhawks the anchor tenant and an active partner in the building for at least 10 years, maybe even up to 20 years.

During the past five years, the city has considered razing the coliseum and replacing it with a baseball stadium. That idea was scuttled, however, when local architects helped get the building named to the National Register of Historic Places.