Developer Jonathan Cohen is asking the city to increase the allowable building height along the eastern Waterfront so his company can erect a 600-car parking garage at 100 Fore St., where Hamilton Marine is presently located. To grant this request would be to allow the permanent desecration of Portland’s beautiful harbor frontage in order to invite in 600 more cars to add to the glut of traffic on Franklin and Commercial streets.

For decades, Portland’s residents have successfully fought off proposals to clutter the waterfront with parking garages – but given the pro-developer zeal currently pervading City Hall, the waterfront may be about to be thrown under the bus.

What public good would be served by allowing a 600-car garage on our waterfront? None. Wait … hasn’t the recent frenzy of development at least brought property tax relief? No – our taxes are steadily going up. Do we already have way too many cars in town? Yes. Instead of more parking lots, should we create satellite commuter lots with trolley service downtown? Yes.

City leaders in Portland, Oregon, figured out years ago that the way to keep city traffic in check was to slash minimum parking requirements for new development – it put its residents’ quality of life over allowing developers to profit by increasing traffic, noise and pollution.

Since when do we have to roll over every time a developer sees an opportunity to exploit our waterfront for profit? It’s time to say “no.”

Tica Douglas


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