November 9, 2013

Another View: Selling public parks should be close to impossible

A referendum protects the public interest.

By Richard B. Anderson

I am in strong disagreement with your editorial position in the Nov. 4 paper, regarding the sale of part of Congress Square Park (Our View: “Referendum wrong way to settle Congress Square issue”).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Richard B. Anderson is a resident of Portland.

I have not been involved in the issue, but I think the sale of public parkland is quite different from most other actions that may be taken by representative government.

State and municipal parklands, publicly owned and managed, are held for the benefit of the public and should never be disposed of without the fullest participation of the citizens. This small public park should have the same legal protections as all publicly owned parks.

This issue would have been somewhat more contentious if, for instance, someone had proposed to buy a piece of the Eastern Promenade or Deering Oaks. The long-term integrity of Portland’s wonderful parklands depends on the support of committed citizens now, and forever.

In my opinion, selling parklands should be very close to impossible. The requirement to have a referendum before such action is the way to protect the public interest in the maintenance of parklands, that, after all, are owned by all the citizens.

 

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