My wife and I settled in Portland recently from northern Virginia. We have lived in a number of cities on the East Coast, the West Coast and in the Midwest, as well as in France, Germany, Morocco and Turkey.

Among all these places, Portland stands out as someplace special – blessed by its natural setting, with a built environment that respects and complements that setting. The proposed “midtown” development would strike a severe blow to that specialness.

The comment by Portland’s city manager and planning director in the Press Herald (“Another View: ‘Midtown’ would help bring vision for Bayside to fruition,” Dec. 12) asserts that midtown is a unique opportunity to bring development to Bayside and claims that it is consistent with the 1999 Bayside Vision.

I disagree. The economic vitality of our city comes not from large projects by outside interests like the proposed midtown development, but from home-grown initiatives by people who love our city and will stay to see their efforts through to success.

The midtown development is not consistent with the Bayside Vision. A central principle of the plan is that any development in Bayside will promote “a diversity of dwelling types” and will give “careful attention to design, scale, density and variety and will strive to create a healthy and compatible neighborhood similar to other successful urban neighborhoods on the Portland peninsula.”

The height, massing and scale of the proposed development are inconsistent with the scale and grouping of structures anywhere else on the peninsula.

It was very apparent from the slide presentation at the Dec. 10 public hearing on the midtown development that these structures would obliterate views of our beloved city from Back Cove and Interstate 295. It would also block views of the Back Cove from structures well uphill from the proposed development.

Michael Mertaugh



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