By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,515)
This afternoon Creative Portland voted decisively to support the sale of a portion of Congress Square Plaza to RockBridge Capitol for its construction of an events center for its soon to open four star hotel, the Westin. Not supporting the motion was Marty Pottenger. Patrick Costin, architect for the proposed events center, abstained from voting.
The Committee will deliver a letter to the City Council via Peter Bass, at its Monday, September 9th meeting at City Hall, 7 pm. Public testimony will be taken at the meeting and the Council is expected to vote on the proposed sale at that time.
The Creative Portland vote in support of the proposed sale was taken following a review of the sequence of events dating back to 2008 up to the present time by Bass. He also stated that there are other on-going tracks. One is a “visioning process” for the redevelopment of the intersection of High and Congress Streets. (Two l/2 hour tours were conducted by Scott T. Hanson for the public as part of that process today. It was hosted by the city’s planning office.)
It is anticipated that on Friday this week, the Friends of Congress Square Plaza, opponents of the proposed sale, will file with the city clerk a petition to change the city ordinance that governs the Council’s authority to sell public property. The signatures of 1,500 registered voters are needed for the matter to go to a city referendum that could retroactively reverse the Council’s positive vote. The Friends are expected to issue a press release on Friday, according to attorney Rob Levin.
However, as Councilor Ed Suslovic pointed out, the last time there was a referendum in the City it was in opposition to the mixed-income Island View apartments on Munjoy Hill. The public overwhelmingly voted to support the construction of the Island View complex Suslovic said.
Two new committee members were welcomed. They are: Bob Cote, of KeyBank, Portland and Randy Ferrell of Keller Williams.