Is it time the Portland Trail Blazers move on from the Moda Center?

The Moda Center is 27 years old, having opened in October of 1995. Perhaps it’s time that the Portland Trail Blazers consider moving to a new home.

The arena shouldn’t be replaced just for the sake of replacing it, though. Some teams do seem to desire a newer, fancier state-of-the-art arena. Or, in the case of the Los Angeles Clippers, a place they can call their very own, as they currently share the Crypto.com Arena with the Lakers, which is owned by a third party. The Clippers accomplished their goal when they broke ground on the Intuit Dome last year which is set to open in Inglewood.

There are many pros and cons to building a newer place to play. The biggest con would be the money of course and who would foot the hefty bill that comes with erecting a new building?

Ben McLemore, Portland Trail Blazers, Moda Center

Ben McLemore, Portland Trail Blazers, Moda Center (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Should the Portland Trail Blazers move on from the Moda Center?

When the Rose Garden was built, it came with a $262 million price tag. Nowadays, new facilities like the Intuit Dome come with a $2 billion-plus cost to construct. Would this bill be divided among the taxpayers and written off as a sort of business venture for the city like so many stadiums have been in the past? The responsibility could fall on the team owner, whoever that would be going into the future.

Another issue that arises is choosing the location for such a massive establishment. Selecting the property also comes with its own adjacent problems to think about. A good example of this is what took place with a proposed Sonics arena in Seattle’s SoDo District. According to komonews.com in 2019:

“The project has faced fierce opposition from the Port of Seattle, fearing game-day impacts to freight traffic, and the Seattle Mariners, which would butt up against the club’s parking garage at T-Mobile Park.”

KOMO, Seattle’s ABC affiliate also reported,

“Hansen’s (Chris Hansen, the investor at the time as well as potential owner) were dealt a serious blow in May 2016 when the Seattle City Council rejected a proposal to sell a small section of Occidental Avenue to Hansen’s group by a 5-4 margin. The vacating of the street was viewed as the last major step toward Hansen getting a master-use permit and making the $490 million arena shovel ready to lure an NBA team. A memorandum of understanding allowing $200 million in public financing for the project with the city and King County expired in late 2017.”

There COULD be property available for an arena around the Portland area somewhere. There are many pros of a new home for the Blazers, including possibly bringing on an entertainment district built around it like Los Angeles’ “LA Live.”  Plus, who wouldn’t want to be the envy of the entire NBA with a brand new arena, all the new technology, the bells and whistles, and the newness of it all?

The Clippers and Philadelphia 76ers with 76 Place at Market East being announced and opening in 2031 currently hold the crowns for the shiniest new homes. Maybe Portland’s best bet is renovating the NBA’s sixth oldest arena which seats 19,941. The city of Portland owns the property it sits on and is trying to extend the lease with the Blazers. Until Jody Allen decides to sell the team, it’s likely the Moda Center will remain where they play, especially if the lease with the city is extended.