Portland’s residents bestow our city “exalted status” as “the center of the universe,” according to Bob Casimiro in his Aug. 3 letter. The thrust of his hyperbolic argument is that Portland is suffering “unbridled growth.”

A comparison of Maine’s largest city with Weymouth, Massachusetts, is the basis for his argument. This comparison is fundamentally flawed.

As the urban core of a metropolitan area of about 525,000, Portland’s population density ought to be far higher than that of a bedroom suburb such as Weymouth. In fact, a more densely populated urban core is vital to the economic health of the region. Portland’s challenge is to manage its growth so that the region’s economic base expands, while still providing for the needs of its residents.

No one who has witnessed increasing population and its attendant building boom in any other region can describe Portland’s growth as “unbridled.” Ask Federated Cos. or the owner of the Portland Co. property just how unchecked the city’s growth is.

Portland has checked growth to such a point that the city is struggling to address a lack of housing that much of the increasing population can afford.

It is hard to understand what Mr. Casimiro is complaining about. Traffic and drive times? Ask any driver in Boston if he or she would prefer an average speed of 14 mph to the nearly glacial pace at which traffic in their region typically moves.

In his letter, he decries an influx of immigrants as adding to the problem. Perhaps he longs for the (90 percent white) demographics characteristic of Weymouth.

As a resident of Bridgton, Mr. Casimiro is welcome any time in the urban center of the area of which he now lives on the periphery. But he has no right to criticize the environment that those of us who live here help define.

George Houk


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