Rose Garden

Rose Garden Profile

  • LOCATION: Portland, Oregon
  • COUNTRY: Oregon
  • YEAR OPENED: 1995
  • CAPACITY: 19,980
  • OWNER: Vulcan Inc.
  • GAME: Basket Ball

The Rose Garden, also commonly known as the Rose Garden Arena, is the primary indoor sports arenain Portland, Oregon, United States. It is suitable for large indoor events of all sorts, including basketball, ice hockey, rodeos, circuses, conventions, ice shows, concerts, and dramatic productions. The arena has a capacity of 19,980 spectators when configured for basketball, fewer for other events. The arena is equipped with state-of-the-art acoustics and other amenities.

It is owned by Vulcan Inc., a holding company owned by Paul Allen, and is currently managed byAnschutz Entertainment Group and AEG Live. The primary tenant is the Portland Trail Blazers NBAfranchise, also owned by Allen. The other major tenant of the building today is the major junior hockeyfranchise Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League, which splits its schedule with theMemorial Coliseum next door. In addition to the Blazers and Winterhawks, several other professional sports franchises, and the Portland State University men's basketball team, either currently play home games in the Rose Garden, or have done so in the past. In addition, the Rose Garden is a popular venue for concerts and other artistic productions
Construction on the Rose Garden began in 1993, and the arena opened on October 12, 1995. The arena cost US$262 million to build; construction was financed with funds obtained by a variety of sources, including the City of Portland, Allen's personal fortune, and $155 million in bonds issued by a consortium of mutual funds and insurance companies. These bonds would become the subject of an acrimonious 2004 bankruptcy in which the Oregon Arena Corporation, the holding company which owned the arena at the time, would forfeit title to the Rose Garden in lieu of repaying the bonds per the payment terms. Allen would later repurchase the arena from the creditors in 2007.


Two concourses, the 100 level and the 300 level, are open to the ticket-buying public during events; the 100 level concourse provides access to the lower bowl (including the 200-level seats); the 300-level concourse provides access to the upper bowl. A third concourse, the 200 level, provides access to guest services such as a sports bar, a barbecue grill, an executive banquet facility, and several outdoor terraces, including two which permit smoking. A fourth concourse, known as Suite Level, provides access to the skyboxes and is restricted to patrons who have skybox admission. All concourses provide a variety of concession stands. The arena also features 32 public restrooms; women's toilets outnumber men's toilets 3 to 1. There are wi-fi hotspots throughout the arena. The concourses are decorated with historical memorabilia.
The primary scoreboard is a Mitsubishi-manufactured high definition video scoreboard. This scoreboard, which hangs from the ceiling over center court, features four 15 feet by 22.5 feet (4.5 m by 6.75 m) video screens, among the biggest in the NBA. The arena also features over 650 television monitors placed throughout, showing the action on court. Auxiliary scoreboards located both in the arena itself and the concourses provide statistical information, including "hustle" statistics for basketball (rebounds, blocked shots, and steals). Three media towers, one at each main entrance, provide video of other games in the NBA

Tenants and events

The arena's current primary tenant is the Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA. Both the Trail Blazers and the Rose Garden are ultimately owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who also owns the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League. The Trail Blazers have a lease agreement with the Rose Garden which runs through 2025, and an exclusive site agreement with the City of Portland requires the team to play all home games in Portland (not necessarily in the Rose Garden) through 2023.

It is also home to the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League, a Canadian junior hockey league. Both the Trail Blazers and Winterhawks previously played in the Memorial Coliseum and moved to the Rose Garden when it was completed in 1995. However, the Rose Garden and the Memorial Coliseum split Winterhawks home games during the season. The Rose Garden and Winterhawks hold the Western Hockey League's record for single game attendance with a crowd of 19,103 on March 15, 1997 in which Portland tied the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds, 6–6. The arena was also built to accommodate a NHL franchise and there has been speculation over the years about Portland landing an NHL team; however this has not occurred. A former third tenant was the Portland Lumberjax of the National Lacrosse League, who played four seasons in the Rose Garden prior to disbanding.

The arena has hosted numerous other minor-league sports teams as well. In 1997, an AFL team landed in Portland from Memphis as the Portland Forest Dragons. Two seasons later, they relocated to Oklahoma City. From 2000 through 2002, the Rose Garden hosted the now-defunct Portland Fire of the WNBA. In the past, the Portland State Vikings men's basketball team has played home games in the Rose Garden; currently, the team plays its home games in the Peter Stott Centeron the PSU campus.
The Rose Garden has also hosted PBR Built Ford Tough Series bull riding events.
The arena has also hosted the May 23, 2011 edition of Monday Night Raw.
Also hosted Unforgiven (2004) & No Mercy (2008)


In the early 1980s, as the National Basketball Association increased in popularity, it became apparent that the 12,888 seat Memorial Coliseum, which was the home of the Portland Trail Blazers at the time, was no longer an adequate NBA facility. The Trail Blazers had sold out every home game since April 5, 1977. In 1988, the team was purchased by Paul Allen and made appearances in the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992. Allen soon expressed a desire to build a new arena for his team, and in 1991 chartered the Oregon Arena Corporation, a private corporation with Allen as the sole shareholder, to build and operate a new facility. The team soon made an agreement with the City of Portland to build a new multi-purpose arena on the Coliseum's parking lot.

Notable past events

While the Rose Garden has never hosted the NBA Finals (Portland's last appearance in the Finals was in 1992, three years before the Garden opened), it has hosted two NBA Western Conference Finals series, in 1999 and 2000. In 1999, the Trail Blazers were defeated by the San Antonio Spurs; in 2000 by the Los Angeles Lakers. Both teams would go on to win the NBA championship. One NBA-related event the Rose Garden—and for that matter, the Trail Blazers franchise—has never hosted is the NBA All-Star Game. The Trail Blazers are one of several franchises to never host an All-Star game; the Blazers' All-Star drought of 37 years is second only to the Boston Celtics, who hosted the game in 1964. According to the Oregon Sports Authority, the main issue is hotel space close to the arena; the city of Portland lacks the large "headquarters" hotel needed to host the NBA and media entourage which accompanies the game. '

In 2004, Portland was selected as one of five cities in the U.S. to host the Dew Action Sports Tour, a new extreme sports franchise to start in 2005. Titled the Vans Invitational, the event was held at the Rose Quarter from August 17–21. The Rose Quarter hosted BMX: Dirt and Freestyle Motocross. The Dew Action Sports will return to Portland for a third year.

In the Winter of 2005, the Rose Quarter hosted the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, an event attended by over 100,000 spectators. The Rose Garden would later host the 2007 NLL All Star Game on March 10, 2007.
In 2009, the Rose Garden hosted first- and second-round games of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. It was the first time NCAA men's tournament games were played in the state of Oregon since 1983, though the arena did host the finals of the 2008 Big Sky Conference men's basketball tournament. The state had been under an NCAA-imposed tournament embargo due to sports betting being legal in the state (specifically, the Oregon Lottery's "Sports Action" game, a parlaygame which allowed bettors to wager on NFL games), but was awarded 2009 tournament games when the state Legislature eliminated Sports Action from the lottery's lineup. In addition to sports, the arena regularly hosts numerous other types of events, including concerts, circuses, ice shows, and conventions. Portland State University holds its spring commencement ceremonies at the arena.

Notable non-sports related events include the 1998 Portland State commencement ceremony, where the keynote speaker was then U.S. President Bill Clinton. The President, speaking before a packed house in the Garden (including a graduating class of 2000), gave a speech embracing immigration to the United States, and was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the university.
On June 27, 2000, a Roger Waters concert at the Rose Garden became the basis for the concert video In the Flesh: Live.

Popular R&B trio TLC performed a concert at the arena on January 11, 2000, one of the final dates on their FanMail Tour.

The cast members of the film High School Musical performed at the arena during their High School Musical: The Concert Tour, on December 10, 2006, with Jordan Pruitt as their opening act.

Oregon Arena Corporation bankruptcy

Claiming the local economy was responsible for reduced revenues which made it unable to make payments on the loans used to finance Rose Garden Construction, the Oregon Arena Corporation filed for bankruptcy on February 27, 2004. After negotiations concurrent with the bankruptcy failed to produce a settlement, the United States Bankruptcy Court ordered on November 8 of that year that the Oregon Arena Corporation transfer the Rose Garden to the creditors. A new corporation owned by the creditors, Portland Arena Management (PAM) took over operation of the Rose Garden. PAM in turn hired Global Spectrum to operate the arena. For several years, the Trail Blazers (still owned by Allen) and the Portland Arena Management had a highly hostile relationship, with the two entities competing for ticket sales.

The team made numerous complaints about a "broken economic model", and there was much speculation that the Trail Blazers might leave. The team was put up for sale in the summer of 2006, only to be taken off the market again several months later. Speculation intensified as to what would happen, and the team and Paul Allen were roundly criticized in the media. Despite the criticism and the team's poor finances the team insisted that bankruptcy was the right move.

Early in 2007, Allen and the creditors reached an agreement for Allen to repurchase the arena, and the team and the building were united under common ownership once more. After much speculation that Allen would hire Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) to replace Global Spectrum, arena management elected to extend Global Spectrum's management contract by one year in the summer of 2007. In September 2007, Global Spectrum announced that the arena would undergo US$13 million in renovations.