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Fred Leeson

I remember the consternation her article inspired. Of course, she was right on every point. Often, it takes a outsider to show the way. Her insight was truly spectacular.

Jim Heuer

Thanks, Dan, for reminding us about Huxtable's trenchant insights into Portland way back then. Indeed, as you point out much has changed, with the city now notionally committed to becoming more pedestrian friendly in nearly all new development. Yet much remains to be done.

The observation that much of Portland appears to be "bombed out" is still true. Sadly property owners in Skidmore/Old Town appear to be waiting for that distant future when they will have overthrown the National Historic District restrictions and will be able to build 40 story buildings on the sites of their surface parking lots.

Political cowardice and distracted leadership have left un-approved the terrific proposed standards for rehabilitation and infill in that area, which could do as much for the revitalization of Portland's inner core as the developments in the Pearl have done -- and more human-scaled and pedestrian-friendly to boot. And other proposals for "opportunity sites" which would further erode the historic, economic, and functional value of the Historic District continue to be pressed as a way, depending on one's point of view, either to "jump start" the development of the area or to begin the process of de-listing as a Historic District so as to permit buildings of virtually any size to be built there.

Evidently the battle for a livable Portland, even 40 years after Ada Louise Hustable wrote, must continue.

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