63-Year-Old Building Earns Impressive Sustainability Certification 


Portland, Ore. (December 11, 2023) – Veterans Memorial Coliseum has earned LEED Gold® certification for Operations and Maintenance, a groundbreaking milestone in creating more sustainable venues and arenas. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement in construction, maintenance and operations. Available for nearly all building, community, and home project types, LEED provides a framework to create healthy, high-performing and energy-efficient buildings.   

For a building constructed more than a half-century ago, reaching LEED Gold certification status exemplifies the enormous effort and collaboration between Rip City Management and the City of Portland—and demonstrates a commitment to providing another environmentally responsible Portland arena. The Coliseum is owned by the City of Portland and operated by Rip City Management.  

Partnering on modifications and upgrades at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, the Rose Quarter sustainability and operations team and the City of Portland are proud to have achieved the building’s first LEED Gold certification. It marks the second arena within the Rose Quarter to reach LEED status, as Moda Center was the first already-existing arena to achieve LEED Platinum certification in 2019. 

“LEED is an important benchmark for standardizing, measuring, and tracking building performance,” said Brittany Saulsbury, Rose Quarter Sustainability Operations Manager. “We are proud to now have both arenas on the Rose Quarter campus certified, which showcases our commitment to continued improvement in our operations and dedication to sustainability best practices.” 

The LEED Operations and Maintenance (O+M) v4.1 rating system includes an assessment of visitor experience data and the building’s performance data for water, energy, waste, indoor air quality and transportation. 

Since 2015, the Veterans Memorial Coliseum team has collaborated with RWDI, an engineering and consulting firm, on LEED certification planning and the transition to more efficient and sustainable operations.  

“We applaud the coliseum’s team for working alongside us through their journey of sustainability,” said Elaine Aye, RWDI Strategic Advisor – Sustainability. “Through their efforts in working towards LEED v4.1 for Existing Buildings certification, they have been able to demonstrate significant environmental performance improvements which yielded a LEED Gold certification.”  

Projects that contributed to the arena’s LEED Gold certification achievement included energy efficiency upgrades to the heating and ventilation system’s chillers and cooling towers—the arena’s large-scale indoor cooling system, and the conversion of all existing facility lighting to LED. Additional operational efforts included adopting green cleaning policies arena-wide, implementing a comprehensive compost program, and gathering feedback from visitors on their experiences. 

“Strategic planning and a years-long collaborative approach to creating a more sustainable Veterans Memorial Coliseum allowed us to make fiscally responsible capital and operational improvements, making the space better for our community and the environment,” said Karl Lisle, City of Portland External Partnerships and Programs Manager. “Earning LEED Gold is a bonus.” 


Established in 1995, the Rose Quarter is a 30-acre sports and entertainment district located on the east bank of the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon. The region is highlighted by two multi-purpose arenas, the 19,393-seat Moda Center and 12,888-seat Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Together, the venues serve as homes to the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, WHL’s Portland Winterhawks and a wide variety of concerts, family shows and other events. Founded in 1970 and purchased by the late Paul G. Allen in 1988, the Trail Blazers are the foremost resident of the Moda Center after winning the 1977 NBA Championship at Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Widely known for its innovative approaches to sustainability and environmental practices, Moda Center is the first existing arena to earn LEED Platinum Certification in 2019 after receiving LEED Gold Recertification in 2015 and becoming the first existing professional sports venue in the world to receive LEED Gold status in 2010. In 2023, the Veterans Memorial Coliseum earned LEED Gold Certification, a tremendous effort for a building built more than 60 years ago. The Rose Quarter also includes a large commons area, annex office building, four parking garages, signature restaurant and bar Dr. Jack’s, and easy access to the city’s robust public transportation system. For more information and a list of upcoming events, visit