To translate this News Round Up, click here to view in browser.
City News Round Up: Friday, May 6, 2022
Please check our agenda center for the full schedule of upcoming Committees, Boards, and Commission meetings. The next City Council meeting is Monday, May 16, at 5:00 PM. Read the recap of the May 2 City Council meeting; view the full Meeting Calendar here.
Tonight! First Friday Art Walk
Download the map and see the full listings for the May First Friday Art Walk, tonight from 5-8PM.
Masks Required When Visiting City Hall: High Community Level of COVID
Because the CDC has increased Cumberland County's COVID risk level from LOW to HIGH, we are reimplementing masking requirements immediately for all staff and the public while inside City buildings and employee spaces. The CDC updates its transmission data weekly on Thursday evenings. We will make sure to update masking requirements as transmission levels change. Learn more and check the CDC data.
The Public Works Department will be re-painting crosswalks starting next week. Please make sure to slow down when you see crews performing this work and recognize they may be slippery until fully dried.
City Announces Plan for Food Truck Pilot on Eastern Promenade
Interim City Manager Danielle West announced the City’s plan for a food truck pilot on the Eastern Prom after receiving a significant amount of public feedback. The Food Truck Rules will be amended to allow food trucks only within the middle parking lot on Cutter Street. Learn more about the new food truck rules.
Governor Mills Announces $50 Million Homeowner Assistance Program
Governor Janet Mills, U.S. Senator Angus King, and Representative Chellie Pingree announced on Thursday, May 5 a new $50 million Homeowner Assistance Fund through the Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection to provide direct relief to Maine homeowners at risk of losing their homes because of hardships created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn the details of the program and read the full press release.
May 12: Downtown Worker Appreciation Day and Transportation Fair
Downtown Worker Appreciation Day is a way to say THANK YOU to Portland’s diverse & dynamic workforce. Anyone who puts time in downtown — in an office, restaurant, bar, shop, or gallery — is encouraged to take an early afternoon stroll to Monument Square Park on Thursday, May 12, 10AM-12Noon, for fun giveaways, a coupon booklet filled with downtown deals, yummy treats & refreshments, friendly faces and more. This year the many ways to get around downtown Portland will also be highlighted, with a ‘Drive Less, Do More’ Transportation Fair. Less driving means more money saved on gas, more time enjoying the great outdoors, and more time connecting with your community. Get all the details and register for the event.
May 13: Coffee and Climate - Food Waste Solutions
Join Portland and South Portland Sustainability staff next Friday, May 13, 9-10AM for their monthly virtual chat focused on food waste solutions. Learn about what happens to food scraps when we recycle them through local food waste drop-off sites and through curbside collection; Phoebe Lyttle of Garbage to Garden and Holden Cookson of Agricycle will be there to join the conversation. Get the Zoom link and more Coffee and Climate details here.
May 16-20: Treatment for Browntail Moth Infestation in Deering Oaks
A winter survey of the trees within Deering Oaks Park showed results that were improved from last year, but still concerning in the regards of potential Browntail Moth exposure and additional tree decline. During the week of May 16-20, the Parks Department will be treating infested trees with an organic insecticide through ground spraying/misting into the canopy. The Portland Farmers’ Market will move to Payson Park during the treatment. Starting May 16, residents can visit the market in Payson Park; the market will continue to operate out of Payson Park through June 12 (only four weeks this year, as opposed to six weeks last year). Learn more about browntail moth treatment.
City to Expand Free Community Composting; Read the Survey Results
Last week we announced plans to expand our free composting program, adding three more Portland neighborhoods to the program. In 2021, our composting pilot program successfully removed approximately seven tons of food waste from the general waste stream each month. See the recent composting survey results here, or read the full news update.
Public Restroom Forum: Watch the Recording
If you missed the public meeting for the three proposed public restroom locations, you can watch the recorded session here.
Thanks for Sharing! Read the Better Bikeways Feedback
Our second Better Bikeways questionnaire generated a lot of enthusiasm for and input on creating better bikeways in Portland. We heard which pilot project candidates should be priorities for 2022 implementation, preferences for bikeway treatments for the pilots and also preferences for bikeway configurations for specific streets. See the results of our bikeways questionnaire.
May 10: Info Session ME Office of Tourism Destination Management Plan
Don't miss this opportunity to weigh in! As part of a state-wide Tourism Master Plan, the Maine Office of Tourism is traveling throughout the state hosting listening sessions and will be at Hannaford Hall on the USM Portland Campus on Tuesday, May 10. Learn more about tourism, and register.
May 30: Deering Center Memorial Day Procession & Commemoration
Deering Center Neighborhood Association hosts the Annual Deering Center Memorial Day Procession & Commemoration on Monday, May 30, at 2:00PM. The Procession begins in front of Longfellow School on Stevens Avenue and walks up to Evergreen Cemetery. The commemoration will take place on the cemetery green in front of the chapel.
Portland Wins America’s Best Bus Stop!
One of our very own Portland, ME bus stops has won Streetsblog USA’s award for America’s Best Bus Stop! Local artist Ebenezer Akakpo, an immigrant from Ghana, applied a beautiful public art installation to one of Greater Portland Metro’s most popular bus stops at 519 Congress Street. Ebenezer’s "Hope and Friendship" installation surpassed bus stops in Baltimore, Norwalk, Juneau, and Boston to claim the inaugural title of Best Bus Stop in the USA.
Jetport Runway Closure In Effect Until June 13
The primary runway at the Jetport is now closed until June 13. All air traffic in and out of the Jetport will be operating on the airport's secondary north-south runway. This will lead to a significant change in air traffic over Portland, South Portland, Scarborough, and Westbrook. Learn more about the runway closure.
ReCode Portland Summary and Next Steps
After three months of great feedback, summarized here, the ReCode Portland team is using the public input received to draft changes to the land use code in the form of text and map amendments. They will make draft code amendments broadly available for public review, and then initiate another round of public engagement to collect additional feedback. Please continue sharing your thoughts! Contact them via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, and stay tuned for updates at recodeportland.me throughout the coming months.
Parks and Recreation Updates
Due to a staffing shortage, Saturday Adult Lap Swim and Open Swim at Reiche will be canceled effective Saturday, May 7 through Saturday, June 11, please call 207-808-5400 or email email@example.com with any questions. Summer Camp registration is open; view the full Recreation program guide here, and read all the Parks updates via their April newsletter.
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.
Hiring now: Health and Human Services Department
Apply today for these open positions: Social Services: Senior Human Services Counselor, Prevention & Diversion; Human Services Counselors-Prevention & Diversion; Senior Human Services Counselor, Oxford Street Shelter; Shelter Attendants, Full, Part time and Per Diem positions available at both the Family Shelter and Oxford Street Shelter; Shelter Security Guards, On call and Full time; Program Coordinator - Resettlement Program; Human Services Counselor-Family Shelter; Human Services Specialist - Family Shelter. Public Health: Program Coordinator, Maine Cities Readiness Initiative; Public Health Nurse, Portland Community Free Clinic. Barron Center: Direct Nursing Staff, CNAs, LPNs, RNs, Principal RN; Unit Assistants, Food Service Workers, Full and Part time; Cook I. Administrative: Financial Manager.
New Update: Fore Street Project
The contractor continues to make progress towards project completion. At this stage all main line storm drain and combined sewer replacement on Fore St. and Eastern Prom have been completed and the majority of storm drain and sewer connections to each Munjoy Hill side street have been made. As of 4/29/22, the final phase of PWD water main renewal has begun at Waterville St.; water main will be installed from Waterville St. to Morning St. over the next six weeks. Questions relating to the water main work can be directed to the Portland Water District. Read the full Fore Street project update here.
Construction Update for Mackworth, Ocean, Walton and Sawyer Streets
Gorham Sand & Gravel has returned to this project site to complete work over the next few months. They will first work on curbing, ADA ramps, and raising manhole structures on Walton St. then move to Sawyer St. In late June, and into July, the contractor will start to prep Ocean Ave, Walton St. and Sawyer St. for surface paving and lane stripping. The majority of the work will be completed by the end of July. Read the full details.
Brighton Avenue Road Work Resumed Monday, April 18
Construction work will resume on Brighton Avenue between Rand Road and Capisic Street next week as part of the Brighton Avenue Sewer Separation Project. This final project work is anticipated to last approximately two months. Motorists should expect delays when driving through the work zone and are encouraged to seek alternate routes around the project area. Full details on Brighton Ave work.
Congress Square Redesign 4/28 Update
The work of the major overhaul of Congress Square continues with work at the corner of Free Street and Congress, in front of the Portland Museum of Art. This is the most complex portion of the work, providing a new alignment of Free Street and making the intersection much more pedestrian-friendly. This work should be complete in early Summer of 2022, followed by work on the remaining three corners of the intersection. All work should be completed by June 30, 2023.
Learn more about the Congress Sq redesign project.
Congress Street Gas Main Work: April 18 to May 27
Unitil will be working on Congress St from High St to State St starting April 18 to approximately May 27. Parking will be disrupted in short sections and follow the crew excavations.