Now that the divisive vote on the Portland parks referendum is over, it is time for the residents of Portland to come together in order to plan the revitalization of Congress Square Park. I urge the mayor, City Council, and Rockbridge Capital to drop the idea of developing valuable open space in the heart of the city. Another vote on this issue in November would be a nightmare.
Open space in dense urban settings is vital to any great city. There are many residents in this area that live in affordable or low-income housing. If nothing else, they deserve a place to enjoy the outdoors. The numerous employees of the businesses in the area also deserve a place to take a break.
Residents enjoying concerts, food, movies, and other forms of entertainment should be an achievable goal for Congress Square. This would be far more appealing than gawking in a convention center window, watching people in suits and fancy dresses frolicking about.
Another propaganda-filled campaign on this issue will only serve to divide the people of this city even more. A strong majority of peninsula residents voted yes, while off-peninsula voters chose no. As an off-peninsula home owner who voted yes, I ask my fellow neighbors how they would feel if business interests and political leaders wanted to develop two thirds of Dougherty Field, Baxter Woods, or Riverton Trolley Park? Most likely the feelings would be outrage and resentment. I’m sure Mayor Brennan and his fellow councilors would also feel these emotions if development came to their neighborhood parks.