Watching a game at the Moda Center (formerly the Rose Garden) in Portland, Oregon is quite the event. The arena opened in 1995 at an extravagant cost of $262 million and was financed through a variety of methods including the city of Portland and the fortune of lead investor, and Portland Trail Blazers owner, Paul Allen. The Moda Center is perfectly located for a good night out in Portland as it is situated in the famous Rose Quarter, which is an area full of restaurants, bars and other entertainment venues.
Any time there is a corporate name change of an arena the fans tend to revolt and this was certainly true in Portland when the Rose Garden became the Moda Center. The Rose Garden had quickly become an iconic venue within the city, named as it was because Portland is known as the Rose City and because the developers wanted to reflect and add to the basketball legacy of venues such as the Boston Garden and the legendary Madison Square Garden.
Though the name has changed, the Rose Garden retains all the features which make it unique in a sea of concrete and steel arenas around the nation. This eight level building measures 140 feet from the event floor to the highest point of the quirky, saddle shaped roof. While some see the design as ugly, it was voted among the five ugliest buildings in Portland in an article in the Portland Tribune, many have come to love the arena for the game day experience alone.
One of the most well-known features of the Moda Center is its “acoustical cloud”. In a bid to replicate the crowd noise from the Trail Blazers previous home at the Memorial Coliseum the arena architects had to find a way to amplify noise in a much larger space. The result is a set of 160 rotating acoustic panels suspended from the ceiling of the Moda Center, each shaped like the wing of an airplane. While one side of the panel reflects sound, the other absorbs it and the effect during Blazers games is that noise from the upper deck is reflected back down to the court. The panels can even be lowered for other events, such as concerts or musicals, which both help improve the sound and also increase the intimate feeling within the arena. All this work has not gone to waste as the venue is highly thought of compared to similar facilities because of this unique feature.
The atmosphere created by the acoustical cloud only adds to the game day experience in Portland. Upon entering the arena fans are given a free program and can easily get lost in the history of the Blazers franchise with the pictures and memorabilia from times past. Fans can also get their faces painted in the team colors or go eat at one of the many local restaurants which have a presence inside the arena’s concourses. One of the greatest assets of this arena however is the fans. These are not fans that are only there because a friend had an extra ticket. They are hardcore basketball folks who live and breathe Portland Trail Blazer basketball. The resulting experience is why a game as the Moda Center should be on any NBA fan’s bucket list.
image courtesy of rosequarter.com