From the midst of the Rose Quarter near the banks of the Willamette River opposite of
downtown Portland, the Rose Garden in person appears to be just attractive in person as
its name would suggest. Opened in 1995 to replace the undersized and outdated Memorial
Coliseum, the Rose Garden is one of the finer new buildings in sports and deservedly so
for the people in Portland who rank amongst the NBA's most rabid and loyal fans in the
Outside the Arena
The Rose Garden is the main component of the Rose Quarter complex which consists of
the Rose Garden at one end, and its predecessor Memorial Coliseum at the other end.
Sitting right in the center of this complex, between the Coliseum and the Garden is One
Center Court, a shopping and entertainment complex that houses a brewery, an Italian
restaurant, the Blazers team store, and the ticket offices for both arenas.
Several parking ramps abut the arena, including one built right into the building similar to
the configuration at our own HSBC Arena. A short block away is a light rail rapid transit
In the area separating the Garden from the rest of the complex there is a large and
attractive public plaza, complete with benches and tables, where people can hang out
before and after games. Near the main entrance there is a fountain area with two columns
in the middle, each one with a flame atop of it.
Like other new arenas this building has wide concourses for anyone to navigate through
with their soda and that special Blazer souvenir. Just about everything else we saw was
truly extraordinary here. To start, the color scheme in this building was amongst the best
we have seen everywhere. With red and black and white everywhere make no mistake you
are at the home of the Blazers. All signage, floor tiles, accents, trim and even the escalator
stairs are done in team colors. No detail was spared. This had us wishing that our very own
HSBC Arena would have picked up on that.
The concourses also have their fair share of historical memorabilia. Along the walls one can
see the names and faces of persons in the Blazers Hall of Fame. Icons such Walton, Lucas
and Buffalo's still revered Dr. Jack Ramsay adorned the building. Not to mention the old
banners from Memorial Coliseum celebrating their magic moments and great players.
If during the course of the game you need to leave your seat, there is probably no better
place than here to follow the action from the concourses. At many spots in the concourses
you will see a fully functioning scoreboard that keeps tab of time and score, along with
several monitors with each one that not only show the action on the court but also NBA.com
TV along with other games in progress. There are three huge sculptures sponsored by
advertisers such as Panasonic and Coca-Cola, all with banks of TV monitors showing out of
Also, from the upper concourses one can walk outside onto balconies which offer differing
perspectives of Portland.
Like many new places there is plenty to eat and drink here. Unlike any places we've seen,
here at the Rose Garden they use monitors to show the menu at most concession stands.
Those backlit concession menu panels are old style here in Portland.
This is a two level bowl with seats for over 20,000. Despite the size of the building, the bowl
still retains a sense of intimacy, unlike places such as the Molson Centre which are huge
and barnlike. Between the two levels is the suite level and the club level is at the upper
half of the lower sideline seats. There are also a few super suites atop the seating area in
one corner of the building which provides a nice, if not distant view of the action. Back
when this arena opened up in '95 it introduced a new trend in advertising in which there
would be simultaneous scrolling ad panels around the entire circumference of the bowl. It's
a design that has been copied by many other arenas and though the next wave of
technology is already making this passe, it still adds a nice touch.
If you are an information maniac and need to know every stat possible about the event on
the floor then this is the arena for you. High above the seating area there are not one but
several stat boards that keep track of every bit of info a fan may ever want. One at each
end keeps track of individual player (all of them, not just ones on the floor) stats for each
team. Another stat board (The Hustle Board) keeps track of both teams intangible stats
such as blocks, steals, and rebounds. Still another one(Sizzle/Fizzle) tracks positive and
negative stats i.e. made FT's, missed FT's. The information here is all concise,
non-confusing and well organized.
Due to all of the stat boards on the baselines the Blazers hang their banners from the
sidelines. At one sideline are the individual banners for Walton, Lucas, Petrie, Ramsay and
others along with the most recent addition Clyde Drexler. Above the other sideline are the
team banners for the division and conference championship banners along with the 1977
NBA Championship Banner. Definitely their shining moment of glory. This is a team that is
about to enter the playoffs for the 19th consecutive season so you can see that there is
plenty of tradition here.
The Blazers have their pre and post game radio show studio in the team store at One
Center Court. Peter had the chance to go on the air and say a few words about our odyssey.
Also of note, on the wall outside the Garden there is a plaque with all of the names of the
workers who built this magnificent arena...nice touch!!
Absolutely spectacular!!!! In a nutshell, probably the finest NBA arena outside of
Indianapolis. Both Andrew and Peter voted to add this arena to the top of our "five star
guide" list for our NBA venues. We would come back here anytime!
Special thanks go to KPAM Radio, including Andy Young Producer and Dwight Jaynes Host,
for having us on the Dwight Jaynes show on the previous Friday and for setting us up with
a pair of ducats for the game. Also a shout to the Blazer post game show, Mike Barrett,
Blazer Broadccaster, and David Barberis and Rich Patterson, Producers, for having us on
and for directing us to the East Bank Sports Bar & Saloon...nice choice
Food and team store 5
Scoreboard and electronics 8
Fan support 8
Location and neighborhood 5
Banners and history 8
In game entertainment 6.5
Concourses/fan comfort 8
Bonus: NBA TV in the concourses 3, Radio studio near main plaza 3
Total points: 68.5
April 1, 2001