The stretch of the Fore River running from the Veterans Memorial Bridge to the Casco Bay Bridge is now under a bright light, thanks to a proposal from the cold-storage company Americold and the city’s Economic Development Department for a zoning change to raise building heights on West Commercial Street to 70 feet from the current 45.

This proposal has come up quickly, and unfortunately, Portland doesn’t have much of a plan to guide what and how development happens. So we should pay close attention to big decisions, especially one that would permit the erection of 70-foot warehouses on a key vista and entrance to the heart of Portland.

There’s great potential for positive economic development for the city in the “portification” of this area, and it’s already happening, with the help of Eimskip, for example.

However, with that development should come the responsibility to ensure we don’t sell off the extraordinary mix of vistas, architecture, water and green that makes Portland unique.

In fact, the city has an opportunity to create a truly groundbreaking mixed-use corridor along the Fore River. Let’s hit pause on increasing height limits till we can get all those committed to this part of Portland to contribute to a plan that takes into account aesthetic, environmental and economic interests. Together we can create an iconic and appropriate gateway to the city.

Pamela Shaw

Portland