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Posted on: February 18, 2022

City News Round Up: Friday, February 18, 2022

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City News Round Up: Friday, February 18, 2022
Please check our agenda center for the full schedule of upcoming Committees, Boards, and Commission meetings. The next City Council meeting is on Monday, February 28, at 5:00 PM. View the full Meeting Calendar.

Monday, 2/21: Upcoming Holiday Closure
All City buildings will be closed on Monday, February 21 in observance of Presidents’ Day. There is no change to trash and recycling collection. 

Portland City Council Meeting Recap
On Monday February 7, the Portland City Council unanimously passed an amendment banning the sale of flavored tobacco; the ban goes into effect on June 1, 2022. The Council also voted 7-2 to repeal the City’s current mask mandate; the repeal went into effect February 17. Masks continue to be required in City owned buildings. Repealing this mask mandate does not preclude the Council from considering mask mandate proposals in the future, nor does it prohibit businesses or organizations from continuing to impose their own mask requirements should they choose to do so. Learn more here and visit www.portlandmaine.gov/agendas to watch a recording of the meeting.

City Announces New Public Health Director
This week our Health and Human Services Department was pleased to announce the hire of a new Public Health Director. Dr. Alfredo Vergara, PhD, will start in the role in August 2022, after relocating to Maine from Mozambique where he currently serves as the CDC Country Director and Division of Global HIV and TB Program Director. Read more.

Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign
We're proud to have participated in the Maine Hire-A-Vet Campaign! The 2021 campaign resulted in the hiring of 217 veterans and immediate-family members earning an hourly average wage of $24.12; an increase of 72 Veteran hires from the previous year.

2/25: Office of Economic Opportunity, Black History Month Roundtable
In celebration of Black History Month the Small Business Association ME District office and the City of Portland’s Office of Economic Opportunity will host a roundtable discussion focused on the resources available to Black owned small businesses here in Maine. The event takes place Friday, February 25, 1:00 – 2:30 PM; learn more and register here.

Public Forum: Recode Portland, March 1-2
Save the date! Now in Phase II of Recode Portland, an effort to rewrite the land use code, the City will host a public forum to review the findings of the recent land use code evaluation. Learn more about the code and take the survey. The remote forum will take place Tuesday, 3/1 and Wednesday, 3/2; pre-register and see the schedule here.

Forum topics:
3/1: Housing, Climate Change, Transportation
3/2: Complete Neighborhoods, The Built Environment, Economic Development 

East End Beach: Kayak and Dinghy Rack Rental Update
The pre-registration window for 2022 rack space rental will be from Monday, 2/28 through Friday, 3/11. After March 11, registration will be open for all and processed on a first come first served basis. Specific rack spaces cannot be guaranteed and will be assigned based on availability once registration and payment is received. Learn more.

Cumberland County HOME Consortium Launches Fair Housing Study
The survey, open to all Cumberland County residents, will help identify public and private sector factors that may create barriers to housing choice and access to economic opportunity throughout the county. The survey can be found at www.research.net/r/CumberlandCounty2021AI until March 15, 2022. Learn more.

Request for Proposals: Food Concessions Operations at Deering Oaks
A Request for Proposal (RFP) was recently issued to select an experienced and qualified food service vendor to lease and operate the café concession at the historic Castle-in-the-Park in Deering Oaks. Proposals must be received by Tuesday, March 1, 2022 at 3:00 PM. Learn more. 

Volunteers Needed: St. Patrick's Day Parade, March 13
After a two-year absence - save the date for the return of the St. Patrick's Day Parade on Sunday, March 13! The parade will start at Noon on Commercial Street. Volunteers are needed as flag bearers, traffic control, and more. Email club2@irishofmaine.org to learn more.

Real Estate Taxes Due: Friday, March 18 
Please visit selfservice.portlandmaine.gov to find your bill or check amounts due.
Any questions can be directed to treasury@portlandmaine.gov or call 207-874-8490.

Traffic Alert: Carnaval ME
Taking place 2/18-20 and 2/24-26 Carnaval ME will close down Cutter Street (Eastern Prom) to the general public during the event operating hours. Access to the commercial launch/barge will be permitted intermittently – entry controlled by hired staff. 

Tax Applications Available: Senior PStep & Maine Property Tax Deferral
Visit www.portlandmaine.gov/TaxRelief to learn more about both of these programs. The Senior PStep applications are now available online, and anyone that qualified in 2021 will automatically be mailed an application next week.

Maine Property Tax Deferral: For qualified and approved applicants, the State of Maine will pay the property taxes each year. The state will place a lien on the property and all deferred taxes (and accrued interest) are repaid to the state when the property is sold or the applicant passes away. Find the full qualification requirements here. Applications must be filed with the Assessor's Office between January 1 and April 1 each year. Please refer any questions to:Maine Property Services, Property Tax Division, 207-624-5600 or prop.tax@maine.gov.

Nomination Papers Available for June Special Municipal Election
Nomination papers were made available Monday, 2/7/22 for the June 14, 2022 Special Municipal Election. Papers can be taken out via the City Clerk's Office at City Hall, please use the Myrtle Street entrance. Masks are required. Learn more.

Winter Recreation Updates
Things are warming up out there! Don’t miss this interactive conditions map - up to date info for sledding, skiing and skating conditions throughout our parks. Be sure to bookmark the Parks and Recreation's Winter Recreation page where you can find details about where to go, what to do, and check out upcoming programs here.

Work With Us
We currently have multiple job openings across a variety of departments. For more information, visit: www.portlandmaine.gov/jobs. See how we are working together to serve the community with other local agencies -in this recent video

Veranda Plan Update and Traffic Alert
The Maine DOT will be closing I-295 over Veranda St. in Portland the fourth weekend in April to accommodate the replacement of an aging interstate bridge. MaineDOT's Veranda Plan involves a full closure of the highway around Exit 9 from 7:00 PM on Friday, April 22 to 11:00 AM on Monday, April 25. Additionally, Route 1/Veranda St. (under the bridge) will be closed for a full week, starting at 2:00 PM on Monday, April 18 through 2:00 PM on Monday, April 25.

Current reminder to drivers: Veranda St/Route 1 in Portland was converted to two-way traffic in August 2021. Although this traffic pattern was put in place back in August, winter plowing and weather conditions have made the yellow paint lines on the road hard to see. There have been numerous instances of people driving in the wrong lane when making the left turn onto the I-295 on-ramp. MaineDOT is updating signage  to remind drivers to keep right, and coordinating a repaint and maintenance of the yellow lane lines. Learn more.


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