While reading the March 1 story “Mystery developer buys properties, plans to remake sections of Bayside,” I was struck by the concluding comment by Josh Soley: “It’s been an eyesore on this entire peninsula. … This area is going to be the future of Portland real estate.”

I applaud Mr. Soley (the authorized agent for the properties’ buyer) for taking the risk to better our city, but I caution that when Portland thinks about the kind of city we want to live in, we remember it’s best to serve all of our citizens, especially the poor, and not sweep them away, out of sight and out of our hearts.

I live a five-minute walk from Florence House, a facility for homeless and battered women where I volunteer, and I can say with gratitude that I am glad to have them as neighbors.

Great hotels, restaurants, breweries, boutiques, cafes and their customers can coexist with social service agencies, health providers and community groups and their clients and constituents, richly. As the owner of a commercial property and a business – the Baxter Library building and the VIA Agency – in the heart of Portland, I can attest that cohabitation with the entire community of Portlanders is what makes our neighborhoods great. Without thoughtful growth, people can get left behind, and that hurts all of us.

This story reminded me of a quote by the philosopher Jean Vanier: “To live with the poor is to live with Jesus.” May we all be so lucky.

John Coleman


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