PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Portland City Council will review a proposal to renovate the Keller Auditorium during Wednesday’s work session ahead of a looming decision to renovate or rebuild the state’s largest performing arts center.
Halprin Landscape Conservancy will present their plans to renovate the Keller, as part of a grant agreement after the City of Portland and Metro each gave $200,000 to the group to look into seismic upgrades to the auditorium.
The group’s plans include “safety, accessibility and functionality upgrades,” according to the City of Portland. However, no decisions were made on Wednesday.
The decision to renovate or replace the Keller comes after a 2020 study highlighted the need for seismic upgrades to ensure the performing arts center can withstand a major earthquake.
The city says no decisions on the future of the Keller Auditorium will be made during Wednesday’s 2 p.m. meeting. In the spring, City Council will hear presentations on rebuilding the Keller.
According to the City of Portland, the Keller plays a key role in Portland performing arts – bringing in half the revenue of Portland5’s Center for the Arts.
Scott Andrews, co-chair of the Halprin Landscape Conservancy, previously told KOIN 6 News there are several reasons why the Keller should be renovated rather than replaced.
“Frankly, it’s the right thing to do. It’s a hundred-year-old structure and the City of Portland doesn’t generally destroy hundred-year-old historic structures. Portland City Hall, the Portland Building are good examples of that,” Andrews said. “The building was the only one left standing after the PDC redevelopment of the south auditorium district took place. And frankly, the neighborhood was built around it…it’s kind of the glue that holds that neighborhood together.”
In addition to the Keller’s historical significance, Andrews argues that the auditorium should be renovated because of the venue’s proximity to parking garages, restaurants and hotels, noting, “for what we’ve seen of the alternative sites, that infrastructure doesn’t exist.”
According to Andrews, full renovation estimates run at $250 million with construction taking place over a 19-month period.
If approved, renovations could start in 2027 or sooner depending on the city’s actions, Andrews said, adding, “we think another facility would be wonderful, we just don’t think it should replace the Keller.”
This is a developing story.