Monday, July 20, 2009

Weekend Update - July 20th

It's another long weekend, and I have to say that this summer is the summer of concerts for girl and I. Last summer, it was the season of travel, as we went all over the place last year, but this year, it's been concerts. First, Duran Duran, and this weekend, it was Death Cab For Cutie at Edgefield here in town. I've been to Edgefield dozens of time, and know the place very well, especially Blackberry Hall. I've never seen a show there, so I was curious to see how the venue would work for a show, especially one for a bank like DCFC. They are a very good band, but their music can be rather mellow, so you need to have the right venue to make things interesting. Crystal Ballroom works for them, Memorial Coliseum, not so much, and thankfully, Edgefield was very good to them. It was a very good show, and they played various songs from their catalog, including a few old gems for fans like myself that have been there since the very beginnings. Even the really warm day near 90 degrees didn't deter the surroundings, as the show went off without a hitch. The only thing that was disappointing was that concerts there stop at dark, and so Death Cab only played a really short set and one encore. And August is full of more shows, including a trip to Vegas.
The Timbers had a good weekend, too, getting a draw in Miami at 1 - all on Friday and a 3 to nil win on Sunday down there. Friday's game, the Timbers really were bothered by the speed of Miami, as they ran circles around the Timbers early, and the Timbers got a late goal from a free kick by David Hayes. Sunday was a completely different scenario, as the Timbers were the more aggressive, quicker team, and they put Miami on their heels in the first half, and then buried them with two early goals in the second half. The Timbers now own the longest unbeaten streak in USL First Division history with 16 straight games without a loss, and they have a first place battle with Puerto Rico Thursday night at PGE Park. Also in Timbers news, Scot Thompson became the record holder for most minutes played as a Timber over the weekend, and I can't think of a more deserving player to hold that record. Scot has been a true Timber through and through, and it's great to see him get this deserving honor. We'll have more about Thursday's match later on.
The issue of the Memorial Coliseum continues to boil around, as the city sets up a task force to try and decide what to do with the MC in the long run. The arts community has weighed in on their choice, wanting to turn the MC into a theater and arts complex, or at least preserve the artistic integrity of the building for future generations. Even the cyclists have weighed in, wanting to turn the MC into a velodrome. I wouldn't have believed it had I not seen it, but apparently, everyone has an idea for the building, and none of them seem to be geared towards the entertainment complex idea the Trail Blazers have put forth. 
I can appreciate the ideas put forth, because they are thinking outside the box and fit within the idea of Portland doing things differently. As a city, we tend to march to our own music, not following conventional wisdom in some cases, but simply going with what we think keeps Portland unique, even if it means swimming against the current. But the more I think we try to keep things weird around here to borrow a phrase that some residents here live by, we miss opportunities to do some real forward thinking. While the ideas for the arts and cycling are interesting, neither of them have even mentioned how to pay for their idea, much less the time frame to make it happen. It's blue sky thinking at its best, which might be good for some, but at the same, doesn't do much for reality. At least the baseball idea put out some actual figures and costs to pay for it, which while the numbers gave the opponents fodder to blog or write about, it did put forth some real concepts to what they wanted to do. Even the Trail Blazers haven't really explained their full idea of an entertainment complex, much less how the thing will be paid for. Yet at the end of the day, baseball is a bad idea for the area, even though a price tag has been associated with the project.
But a thought had been put forth today on Sports Radio 95.5 The Game about Portland and the way things are. For a city that likes to think we are progressive and forward thinking, we really fail at making decisions at key moments. In our desire to make sure everyone has buy-in on something, we tend to gather input so much that it almost makes our process seem slow and clunky by nature. And given the chance to really make a legacy for the city for years to come, we end up being tied up by the desire to make sure everything is exactly perfect and quirky. The Rose Garden doesn't get built unless Paul Allen pays for almost all of it out of his own pocket, and there was a huge amount of frustration about the $36 million dollars the city spent to help. We've managed to build transit with help, we've managed to have a good reputation for the city for people to visit or move here, we love our pets, the homeless do very well with panhandling and services, but sports fans are a neglected and misunderstood group, and not represented by most of the people in charge around here. We simply want our teams to be taken care of, now and in the future, and if the city wants to be part of owning facilities or assisting with things, they need to make some realistic and tough decisions and not cave when things get rough, or a small but vocal minority decides that the MC is an architectural treasure. Baseball, and really, sports in Portland deserve a whole lot better.


No comments: