Monday, June 1, 2009

LTE: Neighborhood would be difficult to convert to businesses

The following is a letter to the editor submitted by Friends of Lents Park's Kathleen Juergens de Ponce.

Visit the proposed Lents Park stadium site and two things will immediately strike you. First, the park is residential on all four sides. The houses on SE 92nd, including mine, are literally just across the street. How can these residences possibly remain liveable, when faced with the loudspeakers, floodlights, amplified music, etc. of 72 Beavers home games per year?


The second thing you will notice: there is no "stadium friendly" commercial development anywhere nearby, nor suitable vacant sites for such development. The new restaurants and coffeehouses of the Lents Town Center are a half mile downhill. Commissioner Leonard would have us believe that stadium-goers will ride down one more MAX stop to eat, drink and shop. Does any sane person find this plausible?


Leonard says the corner of SE 92nd and Holgate would be "the perfect spot" for restaurants. Unfortunately for him, the three commercial sites at this intersection are already occupied, one by a gas station (highly problematic to convert to a restaurant) and one by an auto shop which owns its land.


The only way the Lents stadium plan will work, either for liveability or for economic development, is if the City of Portland is prepared to condemn or otherwise displace existing owner-occupied homes and locally-owned businesses. What’s Leonard’s plan for getting rid of us? And are the City and the public prepared to stomach the costs and implications of such a plan? My neighbors and I sure as hell are not! Join us in fighting this whoppingly ill-conceived stadium scheme.

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