A Sellwood Man Compared Duplexes in Portland to Vietnam War Atrocities

It was a remarkable analogy as debate intensifies over neighborhood density.

"During the Tet offensive in February of 1968, the United States bombed to obliteration a group of villages called Ben Tre. In the process they killed a thousand Vietnamese civilians, wounded another 1,500 and, at the end of the day, Air Force Major Chester Brown justified it by saying it became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it.

"A question for all of you: Do you want to turn the City of Roses into the city of wilted flowers? Do you want to kill our community in an effort to save our community?"

—Sellwood resident Fred Bercovitch, testifying on May 8 to the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission. The subject of his outrage, which he compared to a war crime? The residential infill project, which could add duplexes and backyard cottages to single-family neighborhoods. Bercovitch said he's lived in Portland for roughly a year.