I read the Jan. 9 Maine Voices lament of Debra Tenenbaum (“Plans for Century Tire space typify threats to Portland’s uniqueness”), who moved here from Massachusetts and spent a lot of time in Harvard Square, but who now “can’t help but worry about the future of our city.”

She cited the importance of Portland being on all the “Best of” lists, and obviously sees that as a badge of honor not only for Portland, but also for herself. She concluded her lament by asking three “how” questions, all aimed at figuring out how to keep chain businesses out of Portland.

I’ll tell you how. Rather than telling other people what to do with the property they own, call your stockbroker right now and dip into your retirement fund. Or risk even more, and borrow money from the bank.

Buy your very own commercial real estate. Work 18 hours a day, and populate that property with “diverse, funky and vibrant” locally owned shops, restaurants and businesses.

Once that first effort is a smashing success, do it again and again. Rather than “stop, think and plan” (I couldn’t help noticing that very loud word, “stop”), surge forward on your own merits and “achieve.”

That will squeeze the chains out in an appropriate manner, add to the tax base and, most important, I’m sure Portland will be ever grateful for all the additional “Best of” lists on which it lands as a result.

Mark Robinson