August 10, 2012

Another View: Congress Square Plaza a public asset that should be preserved

As the city grows, we should not abandon the things that make Portland what it is.

By RACHEL MILLER

The recent editorial regarding Congress Square Plaza grossly misrepresented both the current state of the public space and the tenor of public conversation at City Hall last Wednesday ("Our View: City should keep talking about Eastland ballroom," Aug. 4).

First, there were close to 200 people enjoying music in the Plaza amphitheater on Friday evening, using the open space as an anchor for the Arts District's First Friday Art Walk.

Second, your editorial stated that the park "(is) most used by the city's homeless residents, and they and their advocates dominated the study commission's public hearing Wednesday."

Only a handful of speakers mentioned the homeless population. Most were residents of Portland -- property owners and renters, nannies and carpenters, architects and restaurateurs -- who believe that downtown public space is a necessity for the high quality of life that the city promises and promotes.

Those who oppose a private building on the plaza want smart civic growth in a city they are deeply invested in.

They want success for the Eastland and for Portland's overall economic health, but believe that the social cost of this particular development is too high.

We must be vigilant that, in building a city to attract tourists and conventions, we do not obscure the Portland we know and love.

Rachel Miller is a resident of Portland.

 

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