Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Rachel Bachman and the Oregonian do hit job on University of Oregon arena project ...again!

Rachel Bachman a sports reporter for the Portland Oregonian, newspaper is at it again. Bachman did several articles for the Oregonian that were the forerunner for ESPN's hit piece on Phil Knight and Pat Kilkenny in the ESPN program "Outside the Lines". In fact, I wouldn't doubt that Bachman is where ESPN got it's inspiration. See my post below on that program.

In today's Oregonian Bachman has an article that takes the point of view that the University of Oregon has hired a "Construction firm and architect to build Oregon's new basketball arena that have worked on numerous Nike project but never on an arena" and that is not a good idea and she ends the piece by quoting Joe Stinolis of a construction firm with experience in arena construction, that "I believe it's best handled by companies who have done it before...." The entire article is under the headline ""Favored companies new to the game" The point being made is that Phil Knight of Nike and a major donor is handpicking his favorite to the detriment of the University. Well, I have never met Phil Knight and do not speak for the UofO but on reading the article I felt something was missing. Based upon a little research on line I found the missing piece. In the second paragraphs of Bachman's piece she writes; ""UO officials also want to hire an architect that never has designed an arena...." The architect firm is TVA Architects. It's not till the 9th paragraph , buried in the article that the following is written and I quote "TVA was joined on the project by Ellerbe Becket an accomplished sports design firm that is focusing on arena's seating bowl." Even deeper into the article is the following "The firms now working on the arena project include Hoffman, TVA, Ellerbe Becket...." So who is Ellerby Becket? A quick search on the Internet discloses that Ellerbe Becket is an international architecture, engineering, and construction firm that has designed and constructed numerous arenas through out the United States. Click on the title above for a link to their web site. Some of their projects include:

American University in Cairo, Recreation Center

Bovis Lend Lease, Centennial Olympic Stadium

Capital Projects, TD Banknorth Garden (formerly FleetCenter)

Charlotte Coliseum Authority, Charlotte Bobcats Arena

City of Grand Forks, The Alerus Center

City of Sioux City, Tyson Events Center

Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Clinic Courts

Elon University Elon, University, Rhodes Stadium

FedExField, FedExField Renovations

FedExForu, FedExForum

First & Goal Inc. (FGI) Qwest Field & Events Center (formerly Seahawks Stadium)

Georgetown University Law Center Georgetown University Law Center, Sport and Fitness Center

Gonzaga University Gonzaga University, McCarthey Athletic Center

Grand Action Committee, DeVos Place Convention Center

Hammes Company, Lambeau Field Renovation
Ford Field

HSBC Arena, HSBC Arena

Huizenga Holdings Inc., BankAtlantic Center (formerly Office Depot Center)

Kiel Partners, L.P. Scottrade Center (formerly Savvis Center)

Lexington Center Corporation, Lexington Center/Rupp Arena

Louisiana Office of Facility Planning and Control Louisiana Superdome Renovation

Madison Square Garden, Madison Square Garden Renovation

Maricopa County Government-Stadium District, Chase Field (formerly Bank One Ballpark)

Minnesota State University-Mankato Minnesota State University-Mankato, Taylor Center

Missouri State University Missouri State University, JQH Arena

MLB Atlanta Braves, Turner Field

Monroe County, Frontier Field

NBA Cavaliers, Quicken Loans Arena (formerly Gund Arena)

NBA Pacers, Conseco Fieldhouse

NHL Tampa Bay Lightning St., Petersburg Times Forum

Physical Culture & Sports Comm, Guangdong Province Guangdong Olympic Stadium

Portland Family Entertainment, PGE Park

Prefectural Government of Saitama Saitama, Super Arena

Quad City Civic Center Authority, Mark of the Quad

Rhode Island Convention Center Authority Dunkin’ Donuts Center

San Antonio Spurs, AT&T Center (formerly SBC Center)

Santa Clara University Santa Clara University, Leavey Center

Southern Methodist University Southern Methodist University, Ford Stadium/Paul B. Loyd Jr. All-Sports Center

Sprint Center, Sprint Center

St. Catherine's School St. Catherine's School, Sports and Fitness Center

St. Olaf College St. Olaf College, Tostrud Athletic Center

State of Connecticut University of Connecticut, Rentschler Field

Texas Tech University Texas Tech University, Jones AT&T Stadium Renovation/Expansion

The Hotchkiss School, The Hotchkiss School Athletic & Fitness Center

Towson University Towson University, Johnny Unitas Stadium Renovation & Expansion

University of California, Davis University of California, Davis, Aggie Stadium

University of California-Berkeley University of California-Berkeley, Walter A. Haas Jr. Pavilion

University of Maryland University of Maryland, Comcast Center

University of Miami BankUnited Center

University of Minnesota University of Minnesota, Gibson/Nagurski Football Training Complex

University of Missouri-Columbia MU Sports Training Expansion & Renovation
University of Missouri-Columbia, Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field Renovations

University of Nevada, Las Vegas University of Nevada -Las Vegas, Sports Renovations & Improvements

University of Notre Dame University of Notre Dame, Stadium Expansion & Renovation

University of Oklahoma University of Oklahoma, Lloyd Noble Center Expansion & Renovation

University of Oregon University of Oregon, Autzen Stadium Expansion & Renovation

University of Virginia University of Virginia, John Paul Jones Arena

Verizon Center (formerly MCI Center) Verizon Center (formerly MCI Center)

Yale University Yale University, Payne Whitney Gymnasium Renovation

So I guess there is a firm with experience in arena projects associated with the new University of Oregon Arena project, but you had to really dig to find that out because that was contrary to Rachel Bachman's thesis and she buried it in her article and did not give all the facts that are readily available through a little research.. The arena will be built in spite of Rachel Bachman’s best efforts.

The following is from a press release from the Ellerby Becket web site dated January 24, 2008:

EUGENE, Ore. – The University of Oregon released the latest conceptual design for a new $200-million arena, just days after a key legislative committee lent support to the project's financing package.
The architectural team of Ellerbe Becket/TVA Architects created the rendering as part of a pre-development effort that will continue to advance the design until a final decision is made on the project.....
The current vision is the result of the design collaboration between Executive Architect Ellerbe Becket of Kansas City, a premier arena designer with extensive collegiate arena experience, and Design Architect TVA Architects, one of Oregon’s preeminent design firms. Ellerbe Becket has received acclaim around the world for creating high-performance sports facility design. The firm’s resume includes some of the world’s most notable venues – Centennial Olympic Stadium for the Atlanta Olympics, Madison Square Garden and Lambeau Field. Ellerbe Becket’s introduction to the University of Oregon came earlier this decade when the firm renovated Autzen Stadium. Other recent projects include the new John Paul Jones Arena at the University of Virginia and the McCarthy Athletic Center at Gonzaga University. Approximately 90 million fans a year attend events in Ellerbe Becket sports and entertainment facilities.
TVA Architects Inc. is a nationally recognized architectural, planning and interiors firm based in Portland, Oregon. It is the recipient of over 50 local and national awards for excellence in design and is active designing projects throughout the United States and Asia. Established in 1984, the firm specializes in the design of athletic facilities, corporate headquarters, high-rise office and condominium towers as well as museums and private residences.
“We are very pleased with the most recent vision for a world-class arena to serve the University of Oregon and the entire state,” UO Athletic Director Pat Kilkenny said. “I am personally extremely proud of our entire team, including the people who are working on the financing, marketing plan, design, construction and the many disciplines that it takes to make this project successful. Many exceptional people are putting in very long hours to create the best outcome possible.”



I was discussing this story with two people at different times today and they both said independently that if the University of Oregon had picked an out-of-state firm with arena experience the Oregonian would have writen an article critisising the Ducks for not hiring an Oregon firm. There is no way they can win with the newspaper. Also in re-reading the article I was amazed at the number of people who would not talk to Rachel Bachman. My guess is her brand of advocacy journalism has caused her to burn a lot of bridges in the past.