A week after the Portland Trail Blazers announced the franchise had sold naming rights to the Rose Garden arena to a dental insurer, a team of signature gatherers is refusing to acknowledge the Moda Center.
Instead, they are holding fast to a Portland tradition: protesting.
The "Rose Garden Forever" movement has gathered 4,700 digital signatures on a letter to team president Chris McGowan asking him to "keep the name that has been around since 1995."
The naming-rights deal has been estimated at $40 million. The online petition website hosting the letter, change.org, is the center of a political trend decried as "slacktivism"—people clicking their support for movements that don't require them to do anything.
The protesters, led by Jon Garcia, are undaunted. Last Saturday, they collected 610 physical signatures outside the arena, and plan to collect more in Pioneer Courthouse Square this weekend.
On Tuesday, they revealed T-shirts for sale.
"Changing a piece of Portland History that has such a strong link to Portland and its name of the City of Roses should not be broken and should be treated as a treasure in the history of our great city," says the letter to McGowan.
The letter also suggests several compromises:
At the least, maintain the Rose Garden name in addition to Moda. Some options are below: Moda Rose Arena Moda Rose Garden Arena Moda Rose Garden Center Rose Garden Moda Center Rose Garden Moda Arena