I was surprised to read in Wednesday’s paper (“Shipyard Brewing proposes ambitious beer-themed hotel,” Page A1) that there is a person in Portland city government identified as “Jeff Levine … planning and urban development director.” Who knew?

After living through the frenetic pace of overdevelopment in Portland, specifically in and around Munjoy Hill, I assumed it was just a free-for-all. I mean, would anyone actually plan for multi-story buildings designed with little regard for aesthetics or the surrounding area to sprout up in a very small area from Congress to Fore streets in a matter of a few years?

So, in accord with Portland’s apparent planning philosophy, I have a modest proposal for Mr. Levine. I can’t help but think that the Eastern Cemetery is wasted space. Why not take it over and build even more unattractive buildings with outrageous price tags? Just think how many overpriced condos he could fit there.

Sure, he would have to dig up the remains of Mainers who fought to preserve the Union. An important (and beautiful) reminder of our history would disappear. The tourists and schoolchildren who visit the cemetery on a regular basis might feel inconvenienced.

But why should he let aesthetics, a sense of community and history or the needs of Portlanders who can’t afford to live here anymore stop him? It hasn’t so far.

Kenneth Bailey


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