Lately I've been getting a lot of emails about the volume of trash on the Eastern Prom, its potential causes, and what we should do about it. Read on to see one of the most recent emails on this topic (edited for anonymity) and my response.
Given the number of people killed by police in the U.S. each year and the disproportionate impact of police violence on people of color, we will be reviewing the policies and procedures of the Portland Police Department at our next Health & Human Services and Public Safety Committee meeting on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 at 5:30pm.
Here's what we're looking to cover at the meeting:
On May 18th, the Council will consider instituting time-limited parking on Waterville Street, a residential street on Munjoy Hill. If the change is approved, the currently unrestricted parking along the street will become 2-hr parking from 9am-6pm. However, there's an important catch:
On February 5, 2018, the Portland City Council unanimously approved a festival license for Waterfront Concerts, which allowed the company to begin booking acts for its 2018 concert series at the Maine State Pier. The Council approved this license despite the fact that the owner of Waterfront Concerts, Alex Gray, had pled guilty to domestic violence assault in October of 2017.
I’ve received a few requests to explain my original vote on this issue—a yes vote, approving the festival license—so here's an account of my reasoning leading up to that vote along with an explanation of my current thinking on this issue.
I know: they’re huge. And they’re plastic. And they don’t exactly complement any particular style of home décor except, perhaps, “LEGO Chic.” Plus, they take up a lot of space, and they can be difficult to situate if you don’t have a spacious driveway or more than ten feet separating your house from the one next door.
But they’re going to be so good for the environment. And for the workers who’ve been hefting hundreds of bins each day for the past six years. And once you get over their size, color, and unnatural appearance, you may find that they have many benefits for you, too.
I am pleased to say that on November 21, 2016, the Portland City Council unanimously passed the moratorium I sponsored, prohibiting new developments on parcels abutting public parks in the R-6 Zone on the East End of the Portland peninsula. The moratorium is retroactive to October 5, 2016, and it remains in effect until February 6, 2017. That means that the city has until then to put some new rules and regulations in place to help protect our parks and open spaces and ensure they won’t be compromised by nearby developments.
My Morning Meeting
I was able to meet with developer Bernie Saulnier and his team this morning to talk about the potential development at 155 Sheridan Street. I am pleased to report that the developer is working very hard to address the concerns that have been expressed and to come up with a viable design that will please the community. At present, I don't believe we've reached that point, but this is a work in progress, and I am hopeful that we will get there.
Today we had a chance to discuss an idea I floated separately to the City Manager and the developer in an attempt to find a plausible solution that would allow the developer to proceed with his design in a new direction.
If you've read the Press Herald or the Forecaster recently, you're familiar with the issue here: a developer is contemplating a 6-story condo project that could block the views from Fort Sumner. I italicize could because no plans have yet been submitted to the city for approval and the design of the proposed building is not yet final. Needless to say, the view from the park at Fort Sumner is iconic in the city and numerous residents have contacted me to express their concerns.
This evening, I was able to meet with the developer and other interested parties. As promised (to those who have contacted me with concerns), here is an update of where things stand at present.
There's Something in the Air
Over the past week I've not only received complaints about the odor emanating from the East End Wastewater Treatment facility, I've smelled it. That's how I know it has, in fact, been providing a little more olfactory stimulation than usual of late.
The aroma doesn't often waft its way down to my home in East Bayside, so I usually don't encounter it unless I go running or biking along the East End Trail. I do both of those things quite often, though, so I am familiar with the typical smell level of the facility.
Some level of smell is to be expected from a wastewater treatment facility, of course, and the benefits provided to the community by wastewater treatment far outweigh the inconvenience of the smell. However, the increased odor as well as concerns from District One constituents about the potential for health risks associated with it prompted me to contact officials at the Portland Water District for information.
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