PORTLAND, Ore. — If you've been to Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival--you've seen the impact of Paul Allen and his family.
The spectacular outdoor stage is named in their honor. They gave both time and money here.
“Well, its well over $11 million,” Festival Executive Director Cynthia Rider said.
“And I think that it’s not—it's the philanthropy and their investment here but it’s also how much they personally have given,” she said. “Paul himself came every year, his sister Jody was on the board of directors when the Thomas theater was built. So, they've had an incredible impact in innumerable ways here.”
Paul Allen traveled to the festival as a boy every year with his mom and sister--he never forgot the place.
“That's a wonderful thing when something is important to a person when they have a free day or free couple of days –that they get away and come to this place that rejuvenates them,” Rider said. “And I always got that sense from him that this was that special place for him.”
Allen also gave to medicine-- backing two OHSU Alzheimer’s researchers with a million-and-a-half-dollar grant. He also gave money to install music and video screens for patients waiting an hour for a cancer screening at OHSU, the video screens carried Allen's personal photography from around the world.
Then there is the Blazers basketball team. It’s a team the billionaire bought when he was just 35-years-old.
“We are a small market team, but we had a big market owner,” Neil Olshey, President of basketball operations said. “And he never, he never treated the guys here whether it was contractually, in terms of resources, in terms of how we travel, the buildings we play in --we were as big a market franchise as anyone in this league because of Paul.”
What happens next with the team is an open question, one management was not interested in answering today. In fact, they won’t even say who owns the team.
“Um...I think those details will come out. Right now, right now. We don’t have all of those details, so there will be more to come on it,” Chris McGowan, President and CEO of the Trail Blazers said.
In the meantime--the impact of Paul Allen remains--he's remembered by Neil Olshey as an owner who loved the process of putting together a team. He studied all the game films and scouting reports and really cared about the players.
“He loved players. Its why he loved the draft. Right?” Olshey said. “It was about the future and it was about seeing things other people didn’t see and it was like raising children.”