The Friends of Memorial Coliseum is a diverse coalition of community members devoted to saving, preserving and encouraging an appropriate and inspired restoration of Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon.
Formed in 2009 to stop the building’s demolition, the Friends are now advocates for preserving Veterans Memorial Coliseum's historic character and advocates for the building's restoration, that fully honors the building’s design integrity, value to Portland and its role as a memorial to Veterans.
Veterans Memorial Coliseum remains a busy multi-purpose arena today (even with deferred maintenance), and that viability is the key to its future. But this also has long been a building that brings people together in innumerable ways. It’s a gathering place for any number of sporting and Rose Festival events, concerts, college graduations and political rallies. It’s also a sobering and inspiring veterans’ memorial, as well as one of the great works of 20th century modern architecture: a one-of-a-kind landmark, as well as a storehouse of Oregon’s cultural history from Beatles to Blazers to Barack – and more than a half century of Grand Floral Parades.
And yet this building’s potential has remained frustratingly hidden away from even Oregonians who have spent their lives going to the Coliseum. The open-curtain configuration that makes it utterly unique and breathtaking has been largely closed off. We’re inspired not just to save and restore Veterans Memorial Coliseum, but to re-open its potential and possibility. Great, inspiring designs have both a cultural and economic value, and that’s something we want to sustain and build on.
The Friends Leadership