Monday, November 01, 2010

Vote YES on Question 1 on November 2nd for the Elected Mayor and increase our representation in City Hall. It is time to change our extremely bureaucratic system of government and make our Mayor directly chosen by the people. The new Charter, when passed by voters, will give Portlanders our only full-time representative in City Hall, more influence at all levels of government, and votes to choose our Mayor.

The old Portland City Charter says that the Mayor is the head of the City and is a City Councilor selected yearly by the Council and is only the Chair of the Council. The current Mayor position only has the power to run meetings and holds a part-time position with an annual stipend around $10,000 plus benefits. Our system of government is the most bureaucratic, the complete opposite from the strong Mayor forms of government seen in Boston and Westbrook.

The new Charter proposal says the Mayor is the head of the City and will be elected by the people with and a mandate for a four year-term, limited at two terms. The Mayor will be our first and only full-time representative in City Hall, will have veto power over the budget, and will play a central role in hiring the City Manager, Clerk, and Attorney.

Opponents say that the new Charter proposal has no more power and is too expensive. The naysayer’s propaganda says that the Mayor proposal will cost voters $87,000 more annually and $400,000 for a four-year term and the position is still ceremonial and adds another layer of bureaucracy. They say the Ranked Choice Voting system is too expensive to implement.

The naysayers are wrong for trying to scare us into believing that we cannot afford having a single full-time representative to be a witness for the people in City Hall. The extra expense is actually around $48,000 after subtracting the Mayor’s stipend and benefits under the old Charter. That is less than $200,000 for a four-year term, not over $400,000 as the naysayers suggest. Including the cost of the new voting machines to implement Rank Choice Voting, the added annual expense is less than 1% of the City Budget and will be worth every penny to have a full-time Mayor. The Mayor will be able to use veto power, or the threat of it, to save money in the budget. Additionally, the Mayor will have a popular mandate and four-year terms to lobby representatives in Augusta and Washington DC and get us the funding for our infrastructure and schools that we deserve.

Vote YES on 1 for the Elected Mayor on Tuesday November 2nd to increase our representation in City Hall. Vote YES on 1 for a full-time representative in City Hall. Vote YES on 1 to increase our influence at all levels of government. Vote YES on 1 to have our Mayor directly chosen by the people!
Portland Magazine
March 2009


There’s a big, dirty secret why Portland doesn’t have an elected mayor,
and it goes back to the Ku Klux Klan. Will a new charter commission finally put this behind us?

by Donna Stuart

Out in left field: August 28, 1926: The Klan gathers in Portland at what is now Hadlock Field. The Portland Expo building is to the right rear.

A national concern about traitors, spies, and subversive agitators led to immigrants being closely watched. This sentiment carried into Klan activities. The Klan sought to influence politics and promote its ideas of ‘nativism’ and ‘Americanism,’ explosively protesting against non-Anglo immigrants, particularly Franco-Americans, Italians, and Irish Catholics.

In 1923, over 7,000 Klansmen rallied to change city government structure from having an elected mayor to hiring a city manager. The Klan had a huge headquarters on Forest Avenue. Klan influence reached an all-time high here in 1924, when Maine had 50,000 members–6.2 percent of the state’s total population.

"Klan Wins Victory At Portland Polls,” trumpeted The New York Times on September 11, 1923. “Vote Breaks All Records, Disorder Marks Election.”

The headlines marked the dark day when Portlanders surrendered the right to have their own elected mayor.

Led by F. Eugene Farnsworth, “King Kleagle of The Imperial Satrapy of Maine,” the Ku Klux Klan, headquartered in Portland at an expansive klavern on eight acres at the corner of Forest Avenue and Coyle Street, had succeeded in lobbying for this change. Formerly the Ricker Estate, the enclave included a mansion, a huge auditorium, and a 60-foot electric cross whose incandescent light was designed to be seen from miles away. More than 7,000 klansmen rallied to promote the move from an elected mayor form of government–which had invigorated Portland since 1823–to the present city manager charter plan.

Fast forward to 2009. This spring, Portland voters will select nine new members of the charter commission to join three city-council appointees to review the city charter. One of the most anticipated and most watched debates will be over whether Portlanders will be able to choose a mayor by popular vote.

“People are really excited about this,” says Portland city councilor Dave Marshall of the November 2008 vote that created the charter commission. “We have a chance to shape our government [in a way] that suits us for the 21st century.

“Just as we elect our state governor and our nation’s president as chief executives of those branches of government, the largest city in Maine should be able to elect its mayor. Currently, all the executive power is in the hands of the city manager, who is hired by the city council. He’s good as a manager, but because he isn’t elected, he doesn’t have a citywide mandate so he can’t take a leadership position.” Marshall feels the result across the years has been a leadership vacuum at the very top. “The council has nine members. If you have a diverse group on the council–which is very healthy–you’re not able to speak with one voice clearly.”

Under the current system, the mayor is elected for a one-year term from and by the council, and is essentially the council chair. According to councilor-at-large John Anton, “If not changing things is what’s needed, our system serves that well. If what’s needed is strong leadership and policy-setting, our current system seems to be failing us there.”

The origins of the present form of city government lie in a dark chapter in the state’s history–when crosses burned all over the state, and white-robed members of the Ku Klux Klan marched down Main Streets all over the state. It was the early 1920s, and Maine had the largest, most active KKK outside the south.

When the Klan first darkened Maine’s doorstep–in about 1921–the state was in a post-World War I economic slump. To get a foothold here, the “Invisible Empire” fanned the flames of economy uncertainty and fears that Catholics–especially French-Canadians and other immigrants–as well as Jews and blacks were taking jobs away from native-born Protestants. By 1923, the Klan had an estimated 20,000 members, many of whom were doctors, ministers, politicians, and other prominent members of the community. The KKK’s agenda spilled out from pulpits, newspapers, well-publicized meetings, and in The Maine Klansman Weekly, published in Portland.

While Maine saw no lynchings, the Klan threatened a Cumberland County sheriff, a Jewish doctor, and African-American women in Portland. When Republican Gov. Percival P. Baxter blasted the KKK as “an insult and an affront to all Maine and American citizens,” ‘KKK’ was stamped in the snow on the Blaine House lawn.

“Certain parts of the city–generally the eastern wards–were largely Democratic. That was primarily where the immigrant populations lived,” explains Earle Shettleworth, Jr., director of Maine Historic Preservation Commission. The fewer positions these wards elected, the more power would lie with the Republicans. “Diffusing the power of the Democrats was a way of getting at the immigrant political base.”

Still, Shettleworth cautions, “There were some very ‘high-minded’ and prominent people involved in the charter change who weren’t doing it for the same motives as the Klan. In Portland politics in the early 1900s, things had gotten partisan to the extreme. I think there was a desire to remove a lot of the graft that was part of the partisan system.”

In the end, the voters had their say. The Klan-backed change was adopted by a vote of 9,928 to 6,859. The new government without an elected mayor went into effect January 1, 1924.

The Klan was also credited with the election of Ralph Owen Brewster as Maine’s governor. While Brewster stated emphatically that he wasn’t a member of the KKK, Shettleworth maintains, “I think it can be said that he actively sought their support.” Although his association with the KKK cost him support with liberal Republicans, Brewster went on serve in the U.S. House and Senate, and became a close confidant of Sen. Joseph McCarthy. As chairman of a special Senate committee investigating defense procurement during World War II, Brewster came out in opposition to Howard Hughes. In the Martin Scorsese film, The Aviator, Brewster (played by Alan Alda) is portrayed–by many accounts accurately–as corrupt and in the pocket of Pan Am, the rival of Hughes’s TWA.

Councilor Anton says that, while the history of the KKK in Portland is troubling, “Sometimes it distracts people in terms of the current dialogue.” He hails the creation of the charter commission as a positive move. “It’s good practice to look at the structure and how you do business. We may as a community decide to make extensive changes, or we may make changes on the margins, or we may make no changes, but the dialogue is healthy. The act of having the discussion challenges everyone to think about how we do things, which I believe is always to the good.”

What does the current [non-elected] mayor, Jill Duson, a woman of color, think of all this? “It’s weird, because I’m sure, if not for this system, I wouldn’t have been mayor [the first time] as soon as I was. But with the turn-taking every year, it was set up that the longest-serving councilor who hasn’t been mayor assumes the position.” While Duson leaves it up to the voters to decide if they want an elected mayor, she admits, “ If there ever were an elected mayor, where it was a strong [full-time] position, I’d probably consider running for it, because I love what I do and I love serving Portland.”

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


How green is the ‘other’ Portland?

By Melanie D.G. Kaplan | Oct 27, 2010 |

When I talk to people about sustainable cities, Portland, Ore., is often mentioned as the gold standard. But what’s going on in the other Portland–as in Portland, Maine?

Yesterday I caught up by phone with Dave Marshall, a Portland city councilor and chair of the Energy and Environmental Sustainability Committee. Marshall, who is also a fine artist, is going on year 12 in Portland without a car and says Portland, Ore., is certainly a model for sustainability, but in his mind, “there’s only one Portland.”

I have to ask: When you’re talking about sustainability and cities, do people confuse you with the other Portland?

Almost all my conversations happen with people locally, so it’s not really an issue. And as far as I’m concerned, there’s only one Portland.

Have you been to the Portland in Oregon?

I was there in February, and they’re doing a lot of great things. They’re certainly a model. Their bike network is unparalleled in the country. It’s an amazing infrastructure. You can see their commitment to getting people to where they need to go without the automobile. They’re doing really well. They’ve also incorporated sustainability into every aspect of people’s lives, down to chickens and beehives in people’s backyards.

What’s the population of your Portland?

The region is 500,000, and the city of Portland is about 65,000.

What would you say the city already has going for it, in terms of sustainability?

Just last week the city council approved an $11 million investment package to make our 50-some odd municipal buildings energy efficient. Then when that is complete, the municipality will reduce greenhouse gas by about 30 percent with an annual savings of $880,000 before the financing is paid off, and $1.5 million a year after it’s repaid.

I understand you have a lot of support for “buy local.”

There’s a very strong buy local movement [Portland Buy Local]. The organization is very well led. There’s over 100 different businesses, including Constellation Gallery, which is the business I run. It’s an artists collective, and we share the responsibly and run the gallery together.

What kind of artist are you?

I’m a fine art painter. I paint lot of landscapes and use bold colors.

What food is grown locally there?

When people think of Maine, they think of blueberries and lobster, which are our signature foods, but there’s really a wide variety of foods that are grown in the region here. You get everything from kale and melon to eggs and dairy. We just have a short growing season. We have farmers markets that are now open year round.

Can shoppers use food stamps at the farmers market?


Speaking of lobster, how’s your water quality?

We happen to have some of the cleanest drinking water in the country. One of the things the city is doing is CSO [combined sewer overflow] separation. We have a sewer system that was installed just after the Civil War and needs massive updates. The old system puts the sewage and storm water in the same pipes, and when it overflows it eventually ends up in the bay. So we’re creating two separate systems. The process is going to have dramatic results in cleaning up the water in Casco Bay.

As an elected official, what do you hear from constituents about what they want in terms of a sustainable city?

People can be really active. We’ve seen the strongest movements around transportation. The Portland region–Cumberland County—has one of the highest rates of single-occupancy vehicle use. So there’s a movement to get the region to grow its public transit network.

In 2008 there was part of a study the Department of Transportation did to widen 295 through the peninsula, which borders on downtown. There was a lot of protest against that. Eventually that activism led to a conversation that turned into the expansion of the [Downeaster] Amtrak service from Portland to Brunswick. We got some stimulus funds to upgrade the rail. The activism we saw from the public was critical in that movement.

We have one of the best-rated Amtrak systems in country. It’s one of the only Amtrak services where you can get WiFi and lobster rolls. The numbers this has grown by have exceeded expectations.

Did 295 ever expand?

No, 295 still hasn’t been widened. Since then, the conversations have been on which alternatives we’re doing to expand on—express bus service or commuter rail.

What else is happening in Portland?

We’re going to be looking to expand our green building codes. Right now we require that any new city building or renovation comply with our green building code. They also have to meet the Architecture 2030 challenge. The goal is to be building everything more efficiently by the time we reach 2030, so every five years the energy performance will have to increase by 10 percent.

Do you have a bike share program, or bike lanes?

We’ve been expanding our network with bike lanes. We have a new trail that was a rail line. Portland Trails was one of the lead groups. The Bayside trail goes through what was once an industrial neighborhood, where we’re developing a mixed use district. We already have a pretty important trail network that people use here. One is the Baxter Boulevard trail, which is the most used trail in the state.

We haven’t really gotten all that much into bike share. We have some private companies that rent out bicycles. We have a car share program through U Car Share.

Do people bike year-round, in the snow?

Yep, I’m one of them. I’ve been car-free for most of the time I’ve been in Portland the last 12 years. I haul everything around in a trailer behind my bike.

What are your personal green goals?

I’ve been fixing up an 1840s house for the last 10 years, and my goal is to make this house as energy efficient as possible. One of the goals I had was to get the house off heating fuel (it was an old cast iron steam system with an oil burner, and it was really inefficient) and get it on high efficiency natural gas heating system before George Bush got out of office. And I was able to meet that goal. So now it’s that constant process of trying rid my life of petroleum. And getting a good understating of my own carbon footprint.

The state of Maine is more dependent on home heating fuel than any other state. More than 85 percent of homes are heated with oil. So part of our struggle is to get ourselves off fuel, and that’s part of the $11 million bond: All the buildings will be converted to natural gas, so that’ll really help reduce the greenhouse gas load. Most municipal buildings are running on oil. Natural gas is not only cleaner but it’s cheaper. You can see the parallels between what I’m doing in my own life and what’s going on the city.

Harvard praises city's arts TIF innovation

Supporting cultural development in Portland’s arts district using property tax revenues seemed like a good idea already, but it never hurts to gain some reassurance from the likes of Harvard University.

The Ivy League school's Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government recently recognized Portland’s first-in-the-nation Creative Economy Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district as part of a program designed to share creative initiatives from around the country with other government agencies.

Established in 2008, the TIF district sets aside a portion of property tax revenues from the downtown zone between Longfellow Square and City Hall to be dedicated to arts and culture in Portland, allowing the city to finance the arts with the future tax revenues that the enhanced Arts District will generate. Developers must come up with $18 for every TIF dollar.

“With millions of dollars in renovations, the creation of Live/Work Portland, and the continued growth of entertainment venues, restaurants, and galleries within the Arts District, it’s pretty clear that the policies we created to support the city’s creative economy are bright ideas,” stated City Councilor David Marshall, an artist and Creative Portland Board Member who originated the concept of the Creative Economy TIF district.

The initiative was created by the City Council last year along with Creative Portland, a "creative economy" non-profit group charged with promoting and investing in Portland's creative industries.

In its first year, the TIF district program has helped restore multiple historic properties within the Arts District including the Baxter Library as well as the renovations at 645 Congress Street.

Marshall had to appeal to the Maine legislature to enact a change in state law that allows a TIF district to be established for the purpose of arts and cultural advancement — a first of a kind program according to Marshall.

“I think we're the first city to enact a TIF zone for the purposes of investing in arts and culture, and we are the only state that allows it at this point,” he said. “Now any municipality in Maine can now take advantage of this mechanism to fund arts and culture."

Creative Portland said Portland has long been identified as a community that is attractive to creative enterprises such as architectural firms, marketing firms, specialty products designers and manufactures, engineers and graphic designers, with nearly $30 million generated annually by arts and cultural organizations in the city.
The TIF District has also provided funding to support Creative Portland and its merger with the Portland Arts and Cultural Alliance.

Marshall said he came up with the idea for extending the use of TIF to the creative economy during his campaign for city council in 2006.

“After researching the use of TIF in the city's recent history, I found that most TIF revenues were invested in development deals or to construct parking garages. I started to see TIF as a good means of investing in arts and culture since the purpose of TIF is to invest in projects for the public good,” he said. Eventually, he said, it gained bipartisan support.

“Democrats saw it as investing in arts and culture, Republicans saw it as economic development,” he said.

The program was passed by the Portland City Council in Nov 2008, who established the creative economy TIF district for 10 years. “Each year the council has to vote on all TIFs, and each year has the option to fund the TIF,” said Marshall.

“The city's commitment to the arts district and creative economy in the city has really led to some substantial investment in the Arts District,” he said.

October 19
Portland to borrow for energy projects
The City Council agrees to seek up to $11 million for 45 buildings, saying now is a good time.

By Dennis Hoey
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — The City Council agreed Monday night to borrow as much as $11 million for energy improvement projects in 30 municipal and 15 school buildings throughout Portland.

The Barron Center will receive the largest share of money, $2.4 million, including $1.4 million for new boilers.

Other allotments for energy improvements include $450,000 for the Portland Exposition Building; $392,000 for City Hall and Merrill Auditorium; $423,000 for the public safety building; $1.2 million for the Lyseth Elementary School and $694,000 for Deering High School.

Although most of the projects are expected to pay for themselves over time through energy savings, councilors defended their decision after several residents questioned why the council didn't put the borrowing issue out to public referendum.

"We are spending money to save money," Councilor John M. Anton told critics. "And we are borrowing at historically low interest rates. This is good fiscal management on the city's part."

The projects come in response to an energy audit done earlier this year by Ameresco, a Massachusetts-based consulting firm.

Ameresco has said that the projects will save about $700,000 a year in utility costs, and by the end of the 20-year bond period will pay back the cost of the work and interest on the bond.

Councilor David Marshall said the energy conservation measures will enable the city to reduce its carbon footprint by more than 30 percent -- the equivalent of taking 900 cars off the road.

"I can't see how this could be seen as a negative," he said.

Steven Scharf, president of the Portland Taxpayers Association, Robert Haines and Charles Bragden each urged the council to put the borrowing measure out to voters.

Portland's bond counsel, James Saffian, wrote in an e-mail to city attorney Gary Wood on Friday that the council did not need voters' approval to borrow $11 million because no single capital improvement would exceed the city charter limit of $4 million.

"We are issuing bonds for 20 years for some things we won't see a payback for 50 years," Haines said. "It's not a threat or even a challenge, but there may be a group in the city that will challenge this in court."

"The public has no sense of what you are planning to do with this money," Scharf said. "We're spending this money without having a public conversation. Folks have no choice. You are going to spend $11 million of their money."

Bragden said he could see the value in some of the energy projects, but he questioned the wisdom of authorizing such a large expenditure without getting public approval.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

An Old Aircraft Carrier Needs a Final Resting Place, but Not Everyone Wants It
Published: September 18, 2010

PORTLAND, Me. — Apparently it is not so easy to find a permanent home for a resident that weighs tens of thousands of tons and is more than 1,000 feet long.
Enlarge This Image
The JFK CV-67 Memorial Foundation, Inc., Roland Camilleri

The aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy may end up in Portland, Me. Some residents are concerned that it might block the view.

The John F. Kennedy, an aircraft carrier christened by a 9-year-old Caroline Kennedy in 1967 and decommissioned three years ago, needs a place to retire. The Navy wants to donate it. If no viable host can be found, the carrier that aided United States military operations in Beirut and Operation Desert Storm will be turned into scrap.

The Navy accepted proposals from Portland and Rhode Island, but not everyone here wants the battle-tested carrier parked in the harbor.

“It’s not a good fit,” said David Marshall, a City Council member. “It would block a good portion of our view corridors, and it ends up being a potential liability for the city.”

But Richard Fitzgerald, who is leading a nonprofit group’s effort to bring the John F. Kennedy to Portland, said the carrier would set this harbor filled with barges, ferries and fishing boats apart from others in New England.

“It would be the best thing that ever happened to the state of Maine,” Mr. Fizgerald said.

Last year the City Council gave the group permission to apply for the ship. The last of three selection rounds begins in February.

Last week, after the Portland group presented plans at a workshop on the project, some said an aircraft carrier just would not blend in amid a backdrop of lobster boats and repurposed warehouses and could block views of harbor islands. Half of the counselors present at the workshop expressed concern about the project. The group would have to agree to the ship’s location.

A hearing and vote on the carrier has not been scheduled.

Mr. Fitzgerald, a sports referee and retired accountant, said he was not surprised by the opposition given the economic climate and was confident that he could persuade the council to support the project.

Mr. Fitzgerald sees the John F. Kennedy as a museum in the style of New York’s Intrepid or San Diego’s Midway, as well as a function space. The ship would be a fitting tribute to Maine’s rich maritime and military past and would attract ample tourist traffic, he said.

Many of the visitors, Mr. Fitzgerald said, will come from cruise ships that dock in a terminal directly next to where he hopes the carrier will be berthed. The 1,052-foot-long aircraft carrier is not much larger than the cruise ships that the city is courting or the barges that move cargo into the port, Mr. Fitzgerald said.

“The Kennedy has a very sleek silhouette compared to cruise ships that have several upper decks,” he said. “Some of them are longer than the carrier and side by side overwhelm the carrier.”

But Mr. Marshall does not want to see a ship that large become a permanent resident.

“The difference between the cruise ships and the J.F.K. is that the cruise ships are temporary guests,” Mr. Marshall said. “The J.F.K. would basically be an aircraft carrier sitting on our waterfront forever.”

Mr. Marshall also worries about how the museum will be financed. Mr. Fizgerald said the project would cost $71 million over 10 years, which would be raised through a combination of donations, grants and loans. No city money will be used, he said.

Based on models from other museums, he expects the Kennedy to pull in about $36 million in five years from visitors.

The ship, nicknamed Big John, was the last non-nuclear-powered aircraft carrier built by the Navy, and it received so many modifications during construction that it became its own class.

The Rhode Island Aviation Hall of Fame has been marshaling support from Representative Patrick J. Kennedy, President Kennedy’s nephew, and other public figures. They plan to turn the ship into a museum, job-training center and disaster-relief staging ground, and have identified $10 million in commitments after a previous attempt to get an aircraft carrier fell through.

“I think they’re grasping at straws,” Frank Lennon, president of the hall of fame, said of the Portland effort. “Here you have J.F.K. PT boat training in Melville, you have his marriage to Jackie at St. Mary’s in Newport, and Hammersmith Farm was the summer White House. You have all sorts of Kennedy connections here.”

But Mr. Fitzgerald, who fills with emotion when he speaks about the carrier, is determined.

“It will happen in Portland,” he said.

36 Hours in Portland, Me.
Craig Dilger for The New York Times

PORTLAND, Me., is known for three L’s: lobster, lighthouses and L. L. Bean (O.K., make that four L’s). Here’s another: local. In recent years, this city on the coast of Maine has welcomed a wave of locavore restaurants, urban farms and galleries that feature local artists. Abandoned brick warehouses are being repurposed as eco-friendly boutiques. In the main square, a 19th-century building has been refashioned into a farmers’ market. And everywhere you look, this once-sleepy industrial town is showing signs of rejuvenation — usually by keeping things local.


4 p.m.

To see bohemian Portland, stroll down Congress Street, where at least a dozen galleries, studios and cafes have opened in recent years. David Marshall, a beret-wearing painter who moonlights as a city councilman, is among the artists who exhibit at Constellation Gallery (511 Congress Street; 207-409-6617;, which opened last year. His artsy friends can be found at Local Sprouts (649 Congress Street; 207-899-3529;, an earthy, community-supported cafe as crunchy as it sounds. Down the street is the Portland Public Library (5 Monument Square; 207-871-1700;, which recently revamped its gallery and added an atrium.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


PETA gives pet oxygen masks to Portland fire dept.

The Associated Press

PORTLAND — The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is lending a hand to the largest fire department in Maine.
click image to enlarge

A pet oxygen mask is placed on a dog during a demonstration by a member of the Portland Fire Department recently.


Portland City Councilor David Marshall
By News 13

Story Created: Aug 18, 2010 at 8:25 AM EDT

Story Updated: Aug 18, 2010 at 8:28 AM EDT
Portland City Councilor David Marshall visits "Good Day Maine" this morning to talk about the Portland Fire Department's effort to raise $3,000 to equip every fire truck in the city with specially made pet oxygen masks.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010


From muzzles to masks: Fire crew seeks pet safety

(NECN: Amy Sinclair, Maine) - Helping pets breathe a little easier -- that's the goal of a new fundraising effort in Portland, Maine. The fire department is trying to raise money to equip trucks with pet oxygen masks.

It is a softer side of rescue work that the public doesn't usually get to see -- firefighters and paramedics at a fire scene, working to revive the family dog that's been overcome by smoke and heat.

The problem is that those oxygen masks are made for people and do not work well on animals.

With pet ownership on the rise in Maine's largest city, Portland officials hope to equip all eight fire stations with $40 pet oxygen masks that will fit large, medium and small animals.

$40 may not seem like a lot of money, but in an era of shrinking budgets, it is not an expense that most city fire departments can justify. That's where the Planet Dog Foundation comes in.

In partnership with pet owners, Planet Dog hopes to quickly raise $3,000 that will make these masks standard equipment on all rescue calls in Portland.


Portland Fire Department Raising Money for Pet Oxygen Masks
By News 13

Story Created: Aug 17, 2010 at 7:00 AM EDT

Story Updated: Aug 17, 2010 at 7:00 AM EDT
The Portland Fire Department, with help from the Portland Downtown District and the Planet Dog Foundation, is trying to raise $3,000 to equip every fire truck in the city with specially made pet oxygen masks.

The masks cost about $40 each and are designed to fit cats and dogs and come in various sizes. The goal is to have every size on every truck.

Fire Chief Fred LaMontagne says the first goal of every firefighter is human safety. But he also says some of the first words out of almost every homeowner's mouth is a plea to save a beloved family pet.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Press Herald

Skaters' quarter-pipe dream coming true

A city committee gives final approval for the design of a skate park at Dougherty Field in Portland.

By Tom Bell
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — Work crews will begin construction late this summer on a $250,000 skate park at Dougherty Field, which will give bikers and skaters something they haven't had since a half-pipe was removed from a city lot on Marginal Way five years ago -- a place of their own.

click image to enlarge
This rendering shows a skate park planned for Dougherty Field in Portland. The design is suitable for all skill levels of skateboarders and bikers, the builder says.
Courtesy Hardcore Shotcore Skateparks Inc.

Jeff Woodbury/Staff Graphic Artist
Select images available for purchase in the
Maine Today Photo Store
A city committee gave final approval Monday for the design of the skate park, which will be built by Hardcore Shotcrete Skateparks Inc.

The park will have a "crop circles" design, chosen in an online poll of skateboarders. The layout will resemble the formations that occasionally pop up in wheat fields.

Construction was scheduled to begin this spring but was delayed to give the Skatepark Planning Committee time to work on design issues with Hardcore Shotcrete, which won in competitive bidding to design and build the park.

The company offered suggestions for improving the design, and the committee worked to include the changes while keeping the original crop circle concept.

The additional time was well-spent, said City Councilor David Marshall, who chairs the committee. "Ultimately, the park will be a better product," he said.

Rocco Didonato, 17, a recent Portland High School graduate who served on the committee, said the new design provides a better "flow," a term that skaters and bikers use to describe the transition between features.

"This is the best design I've seen," said DiDonato, who rides a BMX bike. "It has the most flow. It will be the best for both skaters and bikers."

The main skate park plaza incorporates street elements, such as stairs, ledges and rails, along with more fluid terrain, such as embankments, rollers and quarter-pipes, said Mark Leone, vice president of design for Hardcore Shotcrete Skateparks.

The design is suitable for all skill levels, he said.

Although the new park will not have a half-pipe, that's not big issue because people will be able to use the half-pipe in the skate park in Westbrook, Didonato said.

Portland's new park is expected to take six weeks to build. No date has been set for the start of construction, but work is expected to begin before the end of summer.

The city contributed $150,000 to the project, plus the land, which is valued at $75,000. The remaining $100,000 was raised from private contributions including:

• $50,000 from the Ollie Fund of the Maine Community Foundation

• $25,000 from the Quimby Family Foundation

• $10,000 from the In-Body Calm Foundation

• $5,775 from MENSK

• $1,200 from students of South Portland High School

• $400 from a fundraiser at Flatbread Co.

• $220 from Hall School fifth-graders.

A pathway to the entrance of the park and surrounding the perimeter will be made of bricks purchased through the "Buy A Brick" program. Residents, businesses and supporters of the skate park have purchased bricks for $50 each.

For more information on how to buy a brick, go to:

Staff Writer Tom Bell can be contacted at 791-6369 or at:
Portland Daily Sun

Greens gain cred in dispensary effort

You have to hand it to Portland City Attorney Gary Wood. It's not part of his job description to build consensus among the often raucous councilors or convince residents to participate in municipal policy decisions, yet he managed to accomplish those goals with his recent suggestion for a six-month moratorium on marijuana dispensaries.

Granted, it was in opposition to his proposal ... but still.

To be fair at the risk of abandoning consistency, even city councilors who were most in opposition to Wood's proposal offered near-praise, or at least olive branches, for the poor guy. Other communities have more or less agreed with his assessment and approved similar measures, and he was pretty much honor-bound to bring it up.

He was, well, doing his job.

As the dust settled and the city's marijuana activists exhaled a sigh of relief, The Green Party was noting its role in defeating the moratorium. In a press release, they noted that "The Green Party is claiming victory today over a moratorium that would have prohibited the siting of any medical marijuana dispensaries in Portland for six months and possibly longer. Thankfully, the council ended up defeating the moratorium unanimously and then adopting a proposal by Green City Councilor David Marshall to open up Portland’s downtown district to future dispensaries."

Hey, the Green Party pushing a pro-marijuana agenda is naturally greeted with the shock! shock! usually reserved for discovering gambling in Casablanca nightclubs. But this effort comes in the context of a general push to energize the party through the Summer of Politics.

And why not? Politically relevance can be hard to come by locally, what with multiple rallies every week, ranging from veteran anti-war activists dating back to Vietnam to the latest public affairs effort with "rally" on their deliverables checklist. The Green Party has a built-in credibility; the satellite TV trucks and headlines proved it.

When a group doth perhaps protest too much for an issue supported by 75 percent of voters (in Portland) and clearly headed to victory, something else is up. There's always the chance that they're following that old political strategy that says "find a parade, get in front, pretend to lead." But remember that The Greens helped form this particular parade, working hard to get Question 5, the marijuana dispensary law, passed. Say what you want, but they are not new to this issue.

The new Green Party Chairman, John Elder, offered some perspective “It’s a victory for common sense but it’s a pale victory. We never should have had to fight it. Almost 75% of Portlanders voted in favor of the dispensaries and six months later sick and dying people are still waiting to buy their medicine legally as the law provides."

What's most likely here is that the Green Party, having only recently installed Elder, has done some math. They are strongly associated with an issue that 75 percent of voters in the city, and a healthy majority statewide, agree with. Yet "traditional politicans" are going to shy away, fearing they might ruffle feathers in that elusive "center."

This is political branding at its best.

So you can add "helped energized a political party!" to the city attorney's accomplishments. Although, again, not his likely goal.

(Curtis Robinson is editor of The Portland Daily Sun. Contact him at

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Press Herald

Portland rejects temporary ban on medical marijuana dispensary

City councilors reject a moratorium after critics say a delay would be inhumane.

By John Richardson
Staff Writer

PORTLAND – The City Council voted Monday to open the city's downtown to a medical marijuana dispensary without delay.

Demonstrators opposing a proposed moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries in Portland march down Congress Street to Portland City Hall on Monday. Critics urged councilors not to stand in the way of helping patients who need access to the drug.

Portland City Councilor David Marshall speaks at a rally Monday to oppose an effort to place a six-month moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries in Portland. "Patients want this now," Marshall said in urging other councilors to reject the temporary ban. The council voted 9-0 against the moratorium.

"Patients want this now," said Councilor David Marshall, who urged other members to reject a six-month moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

The city's attorney had recommended the temporary ban to give officials time to write new zoning and operating rules. His proposal also would have temporarily banned some small-scale cultivation and use of medical marijuana that has been legal in Maine for 11 years.

The council voted 9-0 to reject the moratorium after a public hearing in which advocates and patients said it would keep needed medication away from suffering, seriously ill people. No one spoke in favor of a moratorium.

"It was a good, strong showing of support from the council," said Ben Chipman, who led the referendum campaign last fall to legalize nonprofit dispensaries for patients who have cancer, HIV and a list of other illnesses. Since 1999, patients and caregivers have had to grow their own marijuana. "We've been waiting 10 years to really have access for patients," Chipman said.

Critics of the moratorium, who staged a small rally in Congress Square before the meeting, urged councilors not to stand in the way of helping patients who need access to the drug.

Chris Kenoyer of Portland told councilors that he has a spinal cord disease that doctors can't cure, and marijuana is the way he manages the pain. "There is nothing they can do for me except make me a pill junkie. No thank you," he said. "We want the dispensary here in Portland."

Bob Hobbs of Raymond said he wants to be able to buy marijuana to control his daily pain.

"Let me tell you that it is hell, and to delay this relief for those of us who are patients seems to me an inhumane response," Hobbs said. "I hope that I will finally have a period of time where I am free of pain."

Several people pointed out that 75 percent of Portland voters supported the legalization of dispensaries at the polls in November.

John Eder, a former state legislator from Portland, said a moratorium "is completely out of step with the mood in Portland."

City councilors voted against the moratorium with little discussion. "This has always been something that I thought should move forward and I'm just happy to see it," said Councilor Dory Waxman.

After rejecting the moratorium, councilors voted in favor of allowing marijuana dispensaries in three downtown business districts, chosen for their access to public transportation and other medical and social services. The council's recommendation will now go to the Planning Board before coming back for final approval as soon as next month.

Maine's Department of Health and Human Services plans to award operating licenses to Maine's first medical marijuana dispensaries by July 9.

The dispensaries will be spread around the state in eight regions, with one each in Cumberland and York counties. Portland is widely expected to be the home of the state's busiest dispensary.

Dozens of Maine cities and towns adopted temporary moratoriums months ago while setting up zoning and operating guidelines, including Westbrook, South Portland and Biddeford.

Portland's city attorney, Gary Wood, said he proposed the moratorium in Portland to give the city time to consider its own rules. Some councilors thanked Wood for raising the issue of dispensaries, but said they didn't agree that the city needed to add any delays to medical-marijuana access.

Staff Writer John Richardson can be contacted at 791-6324 or at:
Portland Daily Sun

City nixes pot dispensary moratorium

By Curtis Robinson
The city's marijuana dispensary debate echoed through City Hall last night, achieving a unanimous vote of confidence as councilors voted 9-0 against a six-month moratorium being advocated by the city's attorney.

Next stop: The planning commission.

Green Independent Councilor Dave Marshall led opposition to the moratorium, which had been suggested by the city attorney who cited vague state laws as a potential problem.

Instead, Marshall introduced a plan to clarify city zoning to expressly include the dispensaries.

"We've been waiting seven months for action," Marshall argued against the moratorium. "My hope is that the planning board will get a recommendation out to allow zoning changes by July 17," he said.

Since the 1990s, Mainers suffering from certain conditions have been able to purchase medical marijuana from "caregivers," who are licensed by the state to cultivate the herb for medical use. The law legalized the drug for medical use, but did not allow for any type of distribution system.

Last year, voters returned to the polls and directed the state to form a dispensary system. Maine, already one of 13 states legalizing medical marijuana, became only the third to mandate a dispensary system. About 75 percent of Portland voters supported "Question 5" that created dispensaries.

"We didn't imagine it would take 10 years ... when we passed a law without access," said Charles Wynott from Westbrook, who is a marijuana-growing caregiver as well as a patient.

Under last November's voter directive, Maine's Department of Health and Human Services is scheduled to select the operators of the state's first eight dispensaries by July 9.

The not-for-profit suppliers could open shop within weeks of licensing, depending on how quickly they could grow and process the drug and set up the security and tracking systems required by the state. But some communities, including South Portland, have imposed moratoriums, arguing they need time to create appropriate regulations for the facilities.

The eight dispensaries will be in different regions throughout the state. Cumberland and York counties will be limited to a dispensary each in the program's first year.

While some law enforcement officials and groups have opposed medical marijuana, Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion has emerged as a supporter of dispensing medical marijuana, saying a dispensary system would make his own job easier.

"It's done in the light of day, so a dispensary gives us the opportunity to publicly regulate this," said Dion. "Anything that brings it into the mainstream medical practice will make it easier to regulate," he said.

Dion said there is little evidence that dispensary systems foster criminal behavior, citing California's dispensary system, enacted in 2003 after the passing of Senate Bill 420. "The data from California suggests that the risk of crime outside a dispensary is no greater than what we'd experience at a bank. So I think we should just move forward and exercise the common sense that the voters have demonstrated in repeated votes on this measure," said Dion.
WGME News 13


UPDATE: Council rejects moratorium on medical marijuana

UPDATE: The city council voted unanimously to reject a six month moratorium on a medical marijuana dispensary in Portland.
That came after more than a dozen people, including medical marijuana users, spoke up asking to allow a dispensary sooner rather than later.
The patients claim that marijuana is the only thing that eases their pain.
The council also sent a proposal to the planning board suggesting where the dispensary should be located.
It blocked out three different sections of the city that could be rezoned for the dispensary, including downtown, Bayside and certain major streets and avenues, including Washington, Brighton and Forest.
The city's attorney had suggested the city needed a moratorium saying it needed to look at zoning regulations before it approved a location.

This afternoon:
A protest is planned against a proposal that would delay a medical marijuana dispensary to be set up in Portland.
Monday night at 7:00, the city council will take up the six month moratorium on any dispensaries within city limits. An hour before that, a group of medical marijuana supporters plan to march from Congress Square to city hall, to protest against the proposal. People against the plan say the voters have spoken, and it's time to get moving. City councilor Dave Marshal will be marching with them, and has sponsored an order that would overrule the moratorium.
Posted: Monday, June 21 2010, 08:53 AM EDT
WMTW Channel 8 News

Portland Rejects Dispensary Moratorium

Nonprofits Can Now Apply For Permit

POSTED: 10:01 pm EDT June 21, 2010
UPDATED: 11:42 pm EDT June 21, 2010


PORTLAND, Maine --

The Portland City Council Monday unanimously rejected a proposed 6-month moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.
The decision means that nonprofits can start applying for permits to open a dispensary.
Monday's vote was welcome news to a lot of people.
"This is absolutely what we needed to have," said Chris Kenoyer.
City Attorney Gary Wood proposed the moratorium on caregiving and growing facilities in the city earlier this month to allow Portland more time to review the new state law.
"The purpose and intent of this moratorium," said Wood, "is to take time out and let the planning process move through its recommendation to the council for final action."
Some members of the council spoke in favor of the proposal during Monday's public hearing, but nearly every resident who spoke opposed the plan.
"I think for us to implement a moratorium as implied by Gary Wood would be a significant step backwards and a slap in the face," said Charles Bragdon.
Dan Jenkins agreed with Bragdon. He said "Folks that are currently growing their medicine on their property would be forced to probably cut it down and throw it away. I don't think people should be throwing their medicine away on an ill-advised moratorium."
After voting on the moratorium, city councilors discussed where the dispensary should be allowed, and approved a zoning change to allow a dispensary in the downtown area.
Other areas being considered include parts of outer Congress Street and Forest Avenue
That issue now goes to the City Planning Board. Its recommendations are expected by mid-July.
Copyright 2010 by WMTW. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Press Herald

Opponents of marijuana moratorium plan rally in Portland
Dennis Hoey

PORTLAND — Opponents of a proposed six-month moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries in Portland are planning to hold a rally and march Monday night to protest the ban.

The Portland Green Party announced tonight it will host a rally for people who support medical marijuana patients’ rights starting at 6 p.m. in Congress Square - near the Eastland Park Hotel.

Green Party members believe it is wrong to prevent caregivers from providing medicine to patients with chronic illnesses such as cancer and AIDS.

City Councilor Dave Marshall, who opposes the moratorium, will offer an amendment at Monday's City Council meeting that allows dispensaries in downtown Portland. The ban has been proposed by City Attorney Gary Wood.

After the rally, protesters will march down Congress Street – most likely on the sidewalks – before entering City Hall. The council meeting is set to start at 7 p.m.

Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion, Ben Chipman of the Medical Marijuana Campaign, and John Eder of the Portland Green Party are expected to participate.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fox News 23

Group Protests Proposed Marijuana Dispensary Moratorium
By News 13

Story Created: Jun 18, 2010 at 7:07 AM EDT

Story Updated: Jun 18, 2010 at 7:07 AM EDT

On Thursday morning, a group of medical marijuana advocates called for the rejection of a recently proposed six-month moratorium on opening a marijuana dispensary within city limits.


The group, consisting of Portland city councilor Dave Marshall, Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion, representatives from the Maine Civil Liberties Union, and medical marijuana patients, called for a dispensary to be set up as soon as possible.

Proponents of the moratorium say they're not opposed to a dispensary; they just want to find the right place for one.

A public hearing on the issue will take place on June 21.
Press Herald

Portland city councilor pans moratorium on medical pot
A planned six-month hold on medical marijuana dispensaries 'is wrong,' says David Marshall.

By John Richardson
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — A Portland city councilor hopes to derail a proposed six-month moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.
click image to enlarge

Portland City Councilor David Marshall

Staff photo
Select images available for purchase in the
Maine Today Photo Store

David Marshall said Thursday he will introduce a council order at Monday's meeting to allow state-licensed dispensaries in two downtown business zones. There is no need to delay access to the drug for those who need it, he said.

"Cutting off the supply of medication to patients with debilitating illnesses such as AIDS and cancer is wrong," Marshall said during a news conference on the steps of City Hall.

And, if Marshall doesn't prevail, the city could be facing a legal challenge.

Maine Civil Liberties Union Attorney Alysia Melnick said the moratorium would violate state law because it also restricts the kind of informal medical marijuana use that has been legal in Maine for a decade. "This is a time when Portland should be expanding access, not erecting barriers," she said.

The council is scheduled to hold a public hearing Monday on the proposed six-month ban, which is intended to allow time for officials to write local siting and operating rules for a medical marijuana supplier. The proposal is facing strong opposition because it could delay the opening of a dispensary in the state's largest city and busiest public transportation hub.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services is expected to grant the state's first-ever licenses to eight regional, not-for-profit medical marijuana dispensaries on July 9.

The Cumberland County dispensary is widely expected to be in Portland because of its population size, existing medical and social services and access to public transportation. Westbrook and South Portland, two other potential host cities, put temporary moratoriums in place months ago and have already been working on zoning guidelines.

Gary Wood, Portland's attorney, said he waited for draft state rules to be posted last month before recommending that councilors take action and create local rules. Those proposed state rules, which are now being finalized, include standards for security, employee background checks and 500-foot setbacks from schools, among other things.

Marshall's zoning proposal would resolve perhaps the biggest local issue surrounding the dispensary -- where it might be located. He wants to add dispensaries to the list of permitted land uses in two peninsula business zones that include the downtown district and the Bayside neighborhood, where much of the city's social services are based.

Three other city councilors -- Dory Waxman, Jill Duson and Kevin Donahue -- have already signed on as cosponsors of the zoning order, he said. If Marshall's zoning proposal passes on Monday, it would go to the Planning Board for review before final enactment by the council, perhaps in mid July.

But support for Marshall's zoning order does not necessarily mean the council will reject a moratorium.

Wood, the city's attorney, said he also supports Marshall's zoning proposal but that the city may still need a moratorium to deal with other potential issues created by the new medical marijuana law.

Wood's draft moratorium, for example, also would apply to the growing and selling of marijuana by some individual caregivers.

Under an 11-year-old state law, patients have been allowed to grow their own marijuana or get it from a caregiver who is permitted to grow marijuana for no more than five people. The new state law allows caregivers to continue supplying marijuana to patients, including those who are too ill to leave home and go to a dispensary.

Wood said the city needs to consider additional rules for caregivers because nothing in state laws or rules would prevent them from banding together and essentially creating unlicensed dispensaries to compete with the licensed ones.

"I think there are some holes in the state law," he said. "I just felt like I had to put this on the table."

The moratorium would not apply to those caregivers who are growing marijuana only for members of their family or household, he said. "I didn't want to unnecessarily disrupt what was existing, because it hasn't created any problems for us," Wood said.

State officials also are discussing how to close the loophole in the law. "What we don't want to see are caregivers getting together and basically creating a non-licensed dispensary," said Kathy Bubar, deputy commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services.

However, Bubar also said Portland does not have legal authority to pass such a broad moratorium. "The statute's clear that towns can regulate dispensaries. But there is nothing in the statute that says that towns can have any effect on caregivers and patients and their ability to grow marijuana," she said.

For Marshall and medical marijuana advocates, the idea that the state may interfere with established caregivers and patients is one more reason to defeat the moratorium.

Charles Whynott, who uses medical marijuana to treat the symptoms of AIDS, said the moratorium could mean he would no longer be allowed to grow marijuana for two elderly, disabled patients in Portland who need the medicine.

"Please do not do this to patients and make it illegal now," Whynott said.

Staff Writer John Richardson can be contacted at 791-6324 or at:
Portland Daily Sun

Councilor, sheriff back marijuana dispensaries

Joined by medical marijuana advocates including licensed growers, patients and the Cumberland County Sheriff, Portland City Councilor Dave Marshall yesterday introduced his proposal to allow registered marijuana dispensaries in the downtown business zones.

At a City Hall press conference, he said the time was right.

"We've been waiting seven months for action," said Marshall. "My hope is that the planning board will get a recommendation out to allow zoning changes by July 17," he said.

The order is "a proactive way to deal with the zoning issues regarding the only dispensary for Cumberland County," Marshall said in a Wednesday press release.

Marshall's proposed council order is scheduled for discussion at Monday night's city council meeting.

The order comes in response to the City Attorney's proposed six-month moratorium on dispensaries within Portland, and would change zoning laws to allow dispensaries in the downtown business area. Marshall and others at the press conference said the moratorium would not only be another postponement in enacting the law passed by voters in November legalizing such dispensaries, but would also prevent growers from dispensing the drug in Portland, even to those already holding prescriptions.

Under a law passed in 1996, Mainers suffering from certain conditions can purchase the drug from "caregivers," who are licensed by the state to cultivate the herb for medical use. The 1996 law legalized the drug for medical use, but did not allow for any type of distribution system.
Advocates say the state has been dragging its heels in setting up a distribution network, necessitating a networking of caregivers to provide the drug to patients."We didn't imagine it would take ten years in 1996 when we passed a law without access," said Charles Wynott from Westbrook, who is a marijuana-growing caregiver as well as a patient.

"I wish we could get it into a pharmacy. It's all about the patients, and they need secured access in a business type atmosphere," Wynott said.

"We should be expanding, not erecting barriers. Patients lives are at stake," said Alysia Melnick, an attorney with the Maine Civil Liberties Union, at the press conference.

Ben Chipman, the statewide coordinator for last year's Yes on 5 campaign that promoted access, and a former legislative aide, called the proposed moratorium, "one of the most restrictive in the state."

"It's going to disrupt the delivery of medicine that has been going on for eleven years," said Chipman, who hopes that the city council will recognize the potential harm of the moratorium on patients."The council seems progressive, I think they will err on the side of what's right," Chipman said.

Maine's Department of Health and Human Services is scheduled to select the operators of the state's first eight dispensaries by July 9. The not-for-profit suppliers could open shop within weeks of licensing, depending on how quickly they could grow and process the drug and set up the security and tracking systems required by the state, barring any locally imposed moratoriums, like the ones enacted by Brewer and South Portland.

The eight dispensaries will be in different regions throughout the state. Cumberland and York Counties will each have one.

The moratorium was proposed by City Attorney Gary Wood, who cited ambiguities in state rule regarding appropriate sites for medical marijuana cultivation and rules governing primary caregivers. "My job, I thought, was to get the issue in front of the council and they would review it and amend it," said Wood.
"I think they should pass the moratorium, but it's up to them. They may not agree with the concerns that I'm expressing," Wood said.

Marshall's proposed council order is the city councilor's way of trying to allay Wood's apprehension about such ambiguities in state law as they apply to a dispensary here in Portland.

Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion gave some perspective on the issue from a law enforcement point of view, and said a dispensary system would make his own job easier."It's done in the light of day, so dispensary gives us the opportunity to publicly regulate this," said Dion. "Anything that brings it into the mainstream medical practice will make it easier to regulate," he said.

Dion said there is little evidence that dispensary systems foster criminal behavior, citing California's dispensary system, enacted in 2003 after the passing of Senate Bill 420. "The data from California suggests that the risk of crime outside a dispensary is no greater than what we'd experience at a bank. So I think we should just move forward and exercise the common sense that the voters have demonstrated in repeated votes on this measure," said Dion.
Comparing such dispensaries to the ubiquitos corner pharmacy, Dion said "We wouldn't be here today if this was a national pharmacy chain, we never stand back and go, 'CVS, now they are bad,'" Dion said.

"I live on Allen's Corner, where we have a Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid in a few blocks, I don't remember any meeting about that," he said, adding that such pharmacy chains sell perscriptions drugs that can actually be harmful to people in the community, including opiates like Oxycontin.
The downtown business zones are most appropriate for the dispensary due to the advantages of public transit and close proximity to social services, Marshall said at Thursday's press conference. "No other town has better access to public transportation and social services than Portland," he said.

Thursday, June 17, 2010



Officials call for fast tracking a medical marijuana dispensary in Portland
It's a conflict over medical marijuana in the city of Portland.
Some city officials have recently called for a six month moratorium on opening a dispensary within city limits. But Thursday morning, one city councilor, along with the Maine Civil Liberties Union and Cumberland County sheriff Mark Dion called for the proposed delay to be dropped. At a city hall news conference, they urged the city council to defeat the moratorium and get a dispensary up and running as soon as possible. City councilor Dave Marshall is sponsoring an order that would allow for any dispensary to be set up in the downtown area. Meanwhile, a hearing on the proposed moratorium is scheduled for June 21st.
Posted: Thursday, June 17 2010, 12:41 PM EDT

Portland Considers Ban On Marijuana Dispensaries


PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A proposed moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries in Maine's largest city is drawing more oppostiion.

Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion and the Maine Civil Liberties Union are among those calling on the city to scrap the proposal altogether.

Sheriff Dion, activists, medical marijuana patients and attorneys for MCLU gathered on the front steps of city hall Thursday morning.

They say the moratorium sends a bad message after voters last November approved a statewide referendum that expanded Maine's medical marijuana law. It allows patients with certain conditions to buy marijuana from dispensaries with a doctor's recommendation.

Portland's moratroium no only prohibits dispensaries for six months, it also prevents patients and caregivers from receiving or growing medical marijuana. Sheriff Dion says the council needs to follow the will of the voters.

'Medical marijuana is a public health issue, it's not a law enforcement issue. The data from California suggests that the risk of crime outside a dsipensary is no greater than what we'd experience at a bank.

The city will take up the issue following a public hearing. That is schedueld for seven o'clock Monday night at Portland City Hall.
Maine Public Broadcasting Network

Portland City Council Urged to Reject Pot Dispensary Moratorium

06/17/2010 Reported By: Susan Sharon

Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion joined the Maine Civil Liberties Union and supporters of Maine's medical marijuana law on the steps of Portland City Hall this morning to call on city council members to reject a six-month moratorium on dispensaries. The groups say the proposal also includes a provision that would prohibit caregivers from distributing medical marijuana to patients, something they've been permitted to do for 11 years. That could serve as the basis for a legal challenge if a moratorium is adopted. But passage of the moratorium now appears unlikely.


Maine voters authorized the use of medical marijuana for qualified patients more than a decade ago. Last fall, they also gave their approval for a non-profit dispensary system, and did so in large numbers. Portland residents were some of the most supportive. Portland city councilor Dave Marshall says they endorsed the measure by a margin of 75 percent. And he says they've waited long enough to implement the law without another six-month delay that a proposed moratorium would bring.

"That's why I'm sponsoring an amendment to city code to permit medicinal marijuana dispensaries in Portland's downtown business zones. The city of Portland must respect the patients' rights and the will of the voters," Marshall said at a news conference this morning.

Marshall says he has three co-sponsors of his amendment: Councilor Jill Duson, Councilor Dory Waxman and Councilor Kevin Donoghue. Councilor Dan Skolnik says he also supports the zoning amendment.

"We don't need a moratorium," Skolnik says. "We can identify and cure any zoning problems that we have in this city with regard to opening up a dispensary without a six-month process."

Portland Mayor Nick Mavodones agrees that a six-month moratorium would take too long. And he says he's leaning toward support of Marshall's amendment, which would appear to have enough votes to pass.

"Certainly we want to ensure that our local zoning in Portland meets the requirements or allows a dispensary, and we'll have to deal with that," Mavodones says. "But I think by sending this directly over to the planning board, I think we can solve that and by doing so we can meet the medical needs of the many people in Cumberland County should the dispensary be located here."

State law permits up to eight dispensaries in eight regions of the state. Several communities have passed moratoriums on medical marijuana dispensaries. Portland's moratorium would also prevent caregivers from growing medical marijuana for authorized patients, and patients from growing it for themselves. This is something they've been legally allowed to do under state law for 11 years.

Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion says patients shouldn't be burdened by geography when it comes to accessing their medicine. "Your ability to provide care to someone else or to stay healthy shouldn't be a consequence of what community you live in," he says. "I think if care providers or dispensary clinic organizations want to provide those services here in the city we should exercise some leadership and make it happen."

Alysia Melnik, an attorney with the Maine Civil Liberties Union, says there may be another reason for councilors to reject the moratorium. She says it may be more restrictive than state law. "We certainly see that as a problem. The law that was passed by the Legislature permits appropriate regulations by localities around dispensaries. It says nothing in there about allowing regulation or prohibition of growing by patients or their caregivers, which this moratorium does."

Melnik says this could be used as the basis for a legal challenge if the moratorium moves forward. According to a city of Portland spokeswoman, the moratorium was drafted at the request of Councilor John Anton, who was unable to be reached for comment for this story.

Meanwhile, at least one city councilor says she's on the fence about the moratorium and the zoning amendment. "I....It depends. It depends on what's in Dave's proposal," says Councilor Cheryl Leeman.

As a breast cancer survivor herself, Leeman says she supports the use of medical marijuana to treat patients. Her only question is: where to treat them in the city of Portland. "If I'm not happy with the details of what he's presenting, than maybe the only other option will be the six months."

Mayor Nick Mavodones says in the event that the zoning amendment fails to pass, he'll ask that the proposed moratorium be shorter than six months and will move to strip out language that prevents patients and caregivers from growing medical marijuana. The council will take up the issue Monday night.

11:34 AM
Portland councilor opposes medical marijuana delay
By John Richardson
Staff Writer

A Portland City Councilor hopes to derail a proposed six-month moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

David Marshall plans to introduce a council order at Monday’s meeting to allow state-licensed dispensaries in the downtown business zones. He is scheduled to formally announce the proposal at a news conference at City hall this morning.

The council's already scheduled to hold a public hearing Monday on a six-month ban that would allow planning officials to create siting and operating rules. The proposal is facing strong opposition because it could delay the opening of the state’s largest dispensary.

The Maine Department of Health and Human Services is expected to grant the state’s first-ever licenses to eight medical marijuana dispensaries on July 9. The dispensaries would be spread out in eight regions around the state, and the Cumberland County site is widely expected to be somewhere in Portland because of the population size and public transportation network.

Marshall sponsors zoning change with dispensaries in mind

Saying a proposed six-month moratorium "isn't necessary," Portland City Councilor Dave Marshall will introduce a plan this morning that would allow registered marijuana dispensaries in downtown business zones.
The order comes in response to a six-month moratorium being proposed by the city attorney, and would change zoning laws to allow the dispensaries.
"The moratorium isn't necessary, as an overwhelming number of voters supported the referendum that led to this," said Marshall, mentioning that "75 percent of people in Portland said having these dispensaries was the right way to go."
The order will be introduced and discussed at a press conference this morning at 10 a.m. at City Hall, and is scheduled for discussion at Monday night's city council meeting.
"I feel it's a more proactive way to define dispensary within zoning code, and to say which zone it's permitted in," said Marshall.

"I think downtown is the most appropriate because of the convenience of public transportation and social services," he added.
Maine's Department of Health and Human Services will select the operators of the state's first eight dispensaries by July 9. The not-for-profit suppliers could open shop within weeks of licensing, depending on how quickly they could grow and process the drug and set up the security and tracking systems required by the state. The eight dispensaries will be in different regions throughout the state, Cumberland and York Counties will each only have one.
The downtown business zones are most appropriate for the dispensary due to the advantages of public transit and close proximity to social services, said Marshall in a Wednesday press release. The order is "a proactive way to deal with the zoning issues regarding the only dispensary for Cumberland County," Marshall said.
Alysia Melnick of the Maine Civil Liberties Union will also be on hand at the press conference to address the legal issues regarding the proposed moratorium.

"Portland is really a service center. It's a place where people have access to public transportation in a state with very little public transportation," Melnick told the Kennebec Journal newspaper earlier this week. "That makes it even more important that Portland not put up barriers to access."
Marshall said he is also going to encourage the council to defeat the proposed moratorium, a measure that he said will not only delay the voter-supported dispensary system, but also the caregivers who have been growing and supplying medical marijuana to Mainers with serious health conditions for over a decade.

"The state has allowed caregivers to grow and provide to patients for the last 11 years, and you haven't seen any negative implications from that," Marshall said.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June 16, 2010
For Immediate Release:

Councilor Dave Marshall sponsors zoning changes to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in Portland’s Downtown Business Zones and urges the City Council to defeat the City Attorney’s proposed moratorium.

WHO: Councilor Dave Marshall, Alysia Melnick of the Maine Civil Liberties Union, Sheriff Mark Dion, and Medical Marijuana advocates

+ WHAT: Press Conference

+ WHERE: Portland City Hall, 389 Congress Street, Portland Maine
+ WHEN: Thursday, June 17, 2010 10:00 am

Portland, ME - Portland City Councilor Dave Marshall will introduce a Council Order to allow Registered Dispensaries in the downtown business zones (B3 Zones and the B7 Zone). The downtown business zones are most appropriate for the dispensary due to the advantages of public transit and close proximity to social services. The Order is a proactive way to deal with the zoning issues regarding the only dispensary for Cumberland County.

Alysia Melnick of the Maine Civil Liberties Union will address the legal issues regarding the proposed moratorium. Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion will provide his perspective on the medical marijuana patients and caregivers for the past eleven years in Maine.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

WGME Channel 13

Live, Work, Portland:

A new marketing plan to bring creative business back
Fresh off passing a budget with a tax increase, cuts to serivices and jobs, the City of Portland launches a new effort to bring in more business, which ultimately means more money. The program is called, "Live, Work, Portland." The goal is to bring back creative business to the city through a new marketing strategy. City Councilor Dave Marshall says
"" is intended to show those from away that this city is re-inventing itself, and the arts district and beyond are ready for even more creative minds, with tax revenue in tow. Marshall says that section of the city has seen an $11 million appreciation in tax revenue over the last few years. And, those are the kinds of numbers businesses like
Portland Color look forward to hearing, saying more business in the city means a potential for more customers.
Posted: Friday, May 28 2010, 08:01 PM EDT

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Property Owners Attach Housing Development for Artists

"When you add people who can't do anything to the economic development of the community, you take up space," said Penelope Carson, who owns a nearby commercial building on Congress Street in a partnership with her brother, Harold Pachios.

"I don't want my property's value driven down, and I don't want the crime rate going up." - Susan Fitzpatrick, who bought a one-bedroom condo in Winslow Lofts for $260,000 in 2006, said she is worried that Avesta Housing's project would increase crime.

A Call to Artists, Restaurant and Retail Workers, and anyone else that earns $20,000 to $30,000 per year!

It is time to deliver a strong message to some of the property owners in Portland's Arts District that artists and service workers are a vital part of the economy and deserve to have housing close to our workplace. It is clear from the quotes above that some property owners do not understand that affordable housing for people that earn $20,000 to $30,000 will support the same people that feed them. We make their food, we serve them drinks, we sell them cloths, we clean their offices, and we entertain them with art! We are the economic development of the community!

What? Neighborhood Meeting
Oak Street Housing Development - Ideal for Artists
You are invited to a neighborhood meeting to discuss our plans for the development of 37 efficiency apartments at 72 Oak Street.

When? Thursday, May 20, 6pm

Where? Maine College of Art (Osher Hall), 522 Congress Street

The City Code requires that property owners within 500 feet of the proposed development and residents on an "interested parties list", be invited to participate in a neighborhood meeting. A sign-in sheet will be circulated and minutes of the meeting will be taken. Both the sign-in sheet and minutes will be submitted to the Planning Board.
If you have questions, please call Greg Payne at 553-7780 x211.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

"The city's Public Safety Committee will begin debate next week on an ordinance that would regulate where persons convicted of serious sex offenses against persons under 14 can live. As proposed, these offenders would be banned from living within 750-feet of city-owned parks and all schools. Although current offenders would be grandfathered, this map shows in red areas of the city that where sex offenders could not move to if the rule is adopted."

- Portland Daily Sun
Dear Neighborhoods,

Please pay attention to the proposed Sex Offender Residency Restrictions Ordinance (SORRO). The map seen at is of particular concern to me. The map illustrates the effect of a SORRO with a restriction of 750 feet from schools and playgrounds, which is the maximum distance allowed by Maine State Law.

Please note the areas that are not in the restricted areas in District 2: All of St. John Valley, part of Parkside, and the West Prom and West End areas near Maine Medical Center. These areas have high percentages of multi-unit housing and are coupled with lower priced rents.

If the SORRO passed the Public Safety Committee and the City Council, then the ordinance will restrict sex offenders from living in some areas and focus them on others. Most of the Portland Peninsula would be restricted under the SORRO at 750 feet, leaving only a few areas of the Peninsula unrestricted.

Please see the article in the Daily Sun and the City Website for further information. The issue will be discussed at the Public Safety Committee on Tuesday, February 9th at 5:30 in the City Council Chambers at City Hall.

Feel free to share this info with our neighbors.

Best Wishes,
Dave Marshall

David A. Marshall
Portland City Council Fine Artist

Friday, January 22, 2010

City adopts revised Waynflete zoning plan

By Casey Conley

New zoning rules adopted by the city council this week give Waynflete School more flexibility for future on-campus expansion but prohibits the West End private school from converting four on-campus homes into school uses.

Last month, the planning board recommended passage of a Waynflete "overlay zone." Within that zone are four single-family homes, only two of which are currently owned by the school. The version of the plan that passed the planning board would have allowed the school to subdivide the homes to include up to 60 percent school or office space while retaining 40 percent of the structures for housing purposes.

An amendment proposed by Councilor Dave Marshall banning such conversions passed the council 8-1 Wednesday night, with only Councilor Dan Skolnik voting against it. A companion amendment stripping a planning board provision requiring any construction over 5,000-square-feet within the overlay zone to receive city approval also passed. Under that rule, the school will have to seek city approval for any projects 10,000-square-feet or greater -- which aligns it with the current city standard.

With the two amendments, the 20-year overlay zone was adopted, establishing as campus boundaries its existing "footprint" between Spring, Danforth, Emery and Fletcher streets.

Reached Thursday, Marshall said the amendments mirrored a compromise he first offered last spring to resolve tensions among neighborhood groups worried about further "encroachment" by the school into the surrounding area.

He added that because the new rules treat the entire campus as a single lot, instead of more than a dozen individual lots, the school can "do some creative infill" to maximize on-campus development.

Wednesday's vote marks the end of a two-year process aimed at setting boundaries for Waynflete's future growth and development. The issue divided West End residents, with some arguing Waynflete has already expanded too far into the neighborhood and others who say the school should be allowed to expand on its own terms.

A phone call to Mark Seger, Waynflete's headmaster, wasn't returned by press time.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Waynflete Overlay Zone Amendments

On Friday I made public language of the amendments to the Waynflete Overlay zone I am sponsoring, which are consistent with the compromise I asked for nine months ago after the neighborhood forums at Williston West and Reiche School. The amendments will be considered by the City Council during our meeting next Wednesday.

The decision to bring the amendments forward was very challenging, and one that I have made after rereading the City's Comprehensive Plan. The first amendment is to remove the 5,000 foot trigger for Major Site Plan Review, and the second is to restrict residential conversion within the zone. With respect for all interested parties, I have brought forward these amendments to make the public aware of two amendments the Council will consider. This approach makes the amendment process more transparent.

Earlier this week, I asked the City's Corporation Counsel Office to prepare the amendments, put them on the agenda, and send them to interested parties. In addition to my meeting with Alan Holt on behalf of Waynflete, I also met with representatives of the Western Promenade Neighborhood Association (WPNA), the two parties that I have been asking to compromise for over nine months.

The amendments, if passed, will achieve the compromise I asked WPNA and Waynflete to accept following two neighborhood forums at Williston West and Reiche Elementary School. I hosted the forums after fourteen months of consultation work facilitated by Alan Holt on behalf of Waynflete. Last spring, I suggested a compromise for the Overlay Zone to encompass the existing campus plus two residential properties that could not be converted to school use. The compromise was accepted WPNA reluctantly and followed by the West End Neighborhood Association.

Waynflete did not agree to the compromise of two residential properties at the time and submitted a proposal to the Planning Board that would have included five residences in addition to the existing campus for the Overlay Zone. During the Planning Board process,Waynflete changed its proposal to compromise plan I suggested. The difference here is Waynflete asked the planning board to allow the homes to be converteds to be 60% school use and 40% residential. The compromise I first proposed nine months ago did not allow for residential conversion.

After reviewing the City's Comprehensive Plan and considering the context of the neighborhood, I believe that converting the four existing residential single family homes into offices and apartments would have a significant impact on the residential nature of the neighborhood in particular on Danforth Street. By preventing the conversion of these residential properties to school use, the single family homes will be preserved, which will allow for larger families to to live on the Waynflete campus and maintain the residential character of the neighborhood.

By publicizing the language of the amendments on Friday, all members of the public will now of know two amendments that will be offered at next Wednesday's meeting. It is possible for any Councilor to move an amendment from the floor at any Council meeting without any prior notice and without any time for interested parties to respond. Publicizing the text language of the amendments early - that have been well known to stakeholders for nine months - makes the amendment process as transparent as possible.

Please see the agenda description and memo to the Planning Board below and the find the Waynflete Overlay Zone on the



Members of the Planning Board

FROM: David A. Marshall, City Councilor, District 2
DATE: September 22, 2009

RE: Waynflete Overlay Zone

The purpose of this memo is to provide history of the process that I have participated in to date.

After months of meetings with representatives from Waynflete School, the Western Promenade Neighborhood Association, the West End Neighborhood Association, and City Planning Staff it is clear that we can all agree on one thing: that an overlay zone for theWaynflete campus is a critical policy tool needed to provide long-term predictability for campus development.

While the months of meetings through the CCC and two neighborhood forums have brought us to our common support of utilizing an overlay zone, there are still very different perspectives regarding the additional number of residences that should be included within the overlay zone. Throughout the process I maintained the position of protecting the housing stock and the tax base, as consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

Early in CCC process, all parties embraced the overlay zone concept, however, it was apparent that Waynflete and the WPNA had vastly different perspectives on acceptability of campus expansion into residences in the neighborhood. Waynflete was considering all of the buildings within the boundaries of Spring, Danforth, Emery, and Fletcher Streets.

WPNA was considering all residential expansion off the table and insisted that the campus not expand beyond its current footprint.

As the CCC proceeded in discussion, Waynflete introduced a couple of draft scenarios for the campus. The first was to expand the campus footprint to include seven residences and one institutional building (St. Louis Cathedral), while constructing additions and structures to the campus. The second scenario was working within the existing footprint of the campus and building additions and structures, which Waynflete did not see as acceptable and was using the scenario to illustrate its point. WPNA objected to the first scenario of campus expansion and continued to insist on maintaining the existing footprint.

In the spirit of compromise, I suggested to both sides a middle ground proposal to incorporate an additional four properties into a possible overlay zone, two residences and two institutional properties. Although I did not name the residential properties - which I intentionally left undesignated to allow Waynflete flexibility - I did suggest including Williston West Church in the overlay zone in addition to St. Louis Cathedral. The rationale for suggesting the inclusion of Williston West is due the proximity to the campus, the established relationship between the Waynflete and Williston West, and the availability of space at Williston West. Also with the proposal was the intent to maintain the current level of housing units and property taxes.

In addition to the middle ground proposal I asked the members of the CCC to participate in a neighborhood forum to bring the discussion to a wider audience. All parties agreed to participate in the forum that I would host at Williston West.

Over one hundred people participated in the Waynflete Overlay Zone Neighborhood Forum I hosted at Williston West. Waynfletepresented the two overlay zone drafts and presented future space needs. Then, WPNA announced its support of the middle ground proposal that I had suggested. WENA expressed concern with including St. Louis in the overlay zone, however, did not take a position of the various scenarios at the time. Public comment was taken and recorded at the event and residents were encouraged to provide written feedback at the forum or through email. The forum at Williston West was successful in widening the discussion and made it clear that support existed for both sides of the debate with a desire to see compromise.

After the forum at Williston West, it became clear that WENA desired a greater participation in the discussion and requested a forum be held at Reiche Community Center. All parties agreed to participate in an additional forum with a similar format and the event was scheduled.

At the Waynflete Overlay Zone Neighborhood Forum I hosted at Reiche, over thirty people participated. Waynflete made its presentation again. Next, WPNA announced its plan for an overlay zone, largely based on the middle ground proposal. WPNA’s overlay zone proposal included a map of the campus, which designated two residential properties along with the inclusion of St. Louis and Williston West. Then, WENA reiterated its concern of the inclusion of St. Louis in the overlay zone. During the public comment portion, it was clear that opposition to the inclusion of St. Louis in the overlay zone was growing. Residents were encouraged to provide written feedback through email as well. The forum at Reiche was successful in further engaging the residents within the West End Neighborhood Association.

At the next CCC meeting, the group discussed the feedback received from the forums. During the meeting WENA announced its support for WPNA’s overlay zone proposal. All the parties agreed that it was not necessary to include St. Louis and Williston West in the overlay zone. Instead, the overlay zone would not restrict the ability of Waynflete from utilizing institutional properties outside of the zone. Finally, at the end of the meeting I requested that parties join for one final meeting of the CCC and the parties agreed.

During the final meeting of the CCC, Waynflete presented its final proposal for an overlay zone. The overlay zone would include five additional residences and the back yard of another residential property. Under the proposal, Waynflete School would consist of a campus core and sub districts with a couple buildings to remain completely residential. Additionally, the overlay zone would provide flexibility to add residential units in some buildings while removing them from others with the intent of preserving the same number of residential units and to maintain a similar tax base.

The CCC meetings and neighborhood forums helped to bring the conversation regarding Waynflete expansion from two-city-blocks to five residences. While WPNA and WENA oppose the overlay zone application brought forth by Waynflete, we have narrowed the debate to four residences, the two on Grayhurst Street and the two on Storer Street. Currently, these four residences are separated from the campus by a brick wall and a row of trees, which create a solid barrier between the neighborhood and Waynflete. Even though Waynflete did not embrace the my middle ground proposal and the neighborhood associations are still in opposition, I feel the work done to date had placed the Planning Board in a better position to provide a well-informed recommendation to the City Council.

In Service,
David A. Marshall
City Councilor, District 2

View District Two: A Work in Progress in a larger map