By Elliot Njus The Oregonian
Live Nation Entertainment is moving ahead with its plan to build a 10,000-seat music venue in Portland’s south waterfront.
The company has submitted new renderings that show the amphitheater’s proposed design, and it will present the plans Thursday to the Portland Design Commission.
The construction, if the project proceeds, is expected to cost $5 million. The latest design includes a public plaza outside the amphitheater, as well as a taphouse that would operate year-round on the land south of the Ross Island Bridge.
The amphitheater would be built on land owned by the Zidell family of Portland, which had long used the spot for its ship-dismantling and barge-building operation. The venue is intended as a temporary measure until the land can be redeveloped, the family has said previously.
The Zidells had proposed building a massive mixed-use district on the 33 acres, but that plan fell apart after the family and the city couldn’t agree on costs for public infrastructure, such as roads, parks and utilities.
The family soon pivoted to the amphitheater in a partnership with Live Nation, which puts on concerts and owns Ticketmaster. Live Nation also has proposed a concert venue at the Lloyd Center mall.
The Zidell idea has attracted some opposition from neighbors worried the concerts will bring noise they never expected in what was planned as a residential district.
The site has previously hosted temporary large-scale performances, including the touring equestrian show Cavalia, the acrobatic circus Cirque de Soleil and the music festival Project Pabst. Residents of buildings that face the property said the festival performances could easily be heard from inside their homes, though those stages were closer to the district, residents said.
“The kind of music I think they want to attract is necessarily of a louder nature,” said Susan Knoll, a resident of the Mirabella Portland tower. “This isn’t chamber music.”
The amphitheater also raised concerns for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oregon & SW Washington. The nonprofit, which houses children and their families while the children are undergoing medical treatment, recently opened a facility in an Oregon Health & Science University building in the south waterfront.
“It houses 76 seriously ill children, and families, who are in very fragile health,” said Jessica Jarratt Miller, the organization’s CEO. “Many of them are quite young and need bedtimes.”
Live Nation has hired engineers to conduct a sound study, and OHSU has hired its own experts to review the findings, Jarratt Miller said. She said the studies have convinced her an amphitheater could be built that wouldn’t affect families saying in the building, but she’s not yet convinced the current plan meets that goal.
“If it seems as though the amphitheater would do damage to those kinds of families, I really do have confidence the Zidell family would not pursue that, the city would not allow that, and Live Nation would not build that,” she said.
The Zidell family and Live Nation declined to comment Tuesday.