2013-12-06 / Letters

From the outside, South Portland looks good

To the editor:

I was one of the volunteer canvassers who went door-todoor in neighborhoods throughout South Portland. I live an hour away, and except for trips to the mall, I had never set foot in the city.

Nearly everywhere I went I discovered that South Portland is a community where ordinary people and families can live good lives. Neighborhoods abound where kids play outdoors, parents visit one another and people look out for each other.

I also discovered that South Portland had managed, so far, to balance the presence of both good neighborhoods and a sprawling oil infrastructure.

The introduction of tar sands into South Portland with its added infrastructure and toxic emissions would destroy that balance. It’s not easy to create and maintain quality neighborhoods to begin with; it’s all too easy to lose them when residents no longer feel safe to live in them.

I like South Portland. I’d hate to see it blighted the way so many towns across the country are by dominating industries that create dangerous emissions. In talking to more than 100 voters, I found that hardly anyone in South Portland wants tar sands. Approving the moratorium as a first step will demonstrate that its city council understands that ensuring the health and safety of residents and neighborhoods must always come first.

Doug Bowen

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