I’ve lived in the Portland area since 1972, and had a business in the Old Port almost 40 years. I’ve seen many changes, some good, some not.

Most changes, until the last decade or so, made sense in the big picture of Maine’s largest city and trends nationwide. While change is inevitable, respect was usually given to local tradition, history, architecture and repurposing. The old Press Herald building, now the Press Hotel and Union Restaurant, is an excellent example.

Increasingly, however, what was a thoughtful, informed evolution has become rapid-fire, money-motivated homogenization. When I saw the Dec. 19 article (“Public divided over Munjoy Hill demolition moratorium,” Page A1) and photos of the lovely 1890 home at 9 Moody St., and the space it had occupied, I teared up.

Our city is being destroyed. Going are lovely old homes on quiet streets. Going are landmark structures. Gone are many distinctively Maine neighborhoods. Gone, more and more, are one-of-a-kind structures that were wonderful examples of period architecture. In their places? Chain hotels that could be almost anywhere in the country; bland condo buildings like those throughout the U.S., which, here in Portland, house hundreds of people over the footprint where two families once lived, and the same stores found in any American city. Disappearing are the lovely views many people once had.

Traffic is far worse; we’re squeezing more people and businesses into space that was far less densely occupied. City planners seem to be thinking almost exclusively about money to be made, mostly by out-of-staters. The very characteristics that made Portland a popular destination are being destroyed. The East End is becoming condo heaven, the Old Port is Cruise Ship Tourist Shopping Center, and the West End will soon be overrun with traffic, trying to avoid the bumper-to-bumper Commercial Street crawl … already bad, because of all the new and coming condos and hotels.

Goodbye, Portland. Hello, Generica.

Louise Davis