Port Property’s Bayside Development Master Plan: Overview

Send your comments regarding the development to planningboard@portlandmaine.gov; send questions to zpowell@portlandmaine.gov, and let Bayside’s District Councilor Anna Trevorrow know your thoughts – atrevorrow@portlandmaine.gov

Fast Facts:

• Implementation is proposed to occur in five phases

• Area of development: 13 parcels, 7 blocks, 7 new buildings

• Housing units: 201 affordable and 603 market rate (total 804)*

• New ground floor retail space: 28,500 sf; existing commercial space: 175,000 sf

• Number of units per building: 59 – 201

• Parking space requirements: 39 – 94 per building.

• Number of stories: 5 – 10 (three are 10 stories)

• Heights: 55′ to 105′

• Six of the seven buildings would span the entire length of the block

More Details

• Phase 1A (updated since the below site plan was published) calls for the construction of 201 units of affordable housing (on Elm Street between Oxford and Lancaster). New housing developments must rent 25% of the units as affordable housing. Port Property is proposing to build all 201 affordable units in one large block-long building.

NOTE – On the below map the colors indicating housing type are backward – yellow means affordable housing and orange means market rate (one 201 unit affordable building, 6 market rate) *UPDATE 3/6/2023* Planning and Port Property are aware of the error but it has not yet been corrected.

A woonerf/”linear park” is proposed on a public street (Lancaster Street from Elm to Preble), akin to the area of Lancaster between the restaurants at 82 Hanover Street and Port Property’s new apartment building under construction at 52 Hanover.

No public green space is proposed beyond a small patch on the woonerf. NOTE: None of the areas marked in green on the map are public green spaces or parks, except for a portion of the Bayside Trail. Much of that area is privately owned and comprised of dirt lots intended to eventually be developed. The area northeast of Chestnut Street is owned by the City and is the likely future site of a parking garage.

*UPDATE 3/6/2023* While there is a requirement for “open space” there’s no stipulation that it be “green.”

It’s unclear what would happen to the existing historic structures on lots where buildings are proposed. In the below architectural rendering they do not appear to be integrated into the concept design (the Two Fat Cats building on Lancaster; the north-west side of Oxford Street from Elm to Preble, etc). *UPDATE 3/6/2023* Subsequent documents confirm that the Two Fat Cats building and all of the buildings on the north side of Oxford from Elm to Preble are slated to be demolished.

No development is currently proposed in the area zoned R6 (from Chestnut to the midpoint between Cedar and Elm and from Lancaster to Oxford), which includes the Bayside Community Garden (run by the BNA), Oxford Street Shelter building, and eight private single family and multi-unit homes.* However:

– The Oxford Street Shelter building at 203 Oxford Street could potentially be demolished to create a construction staging area. This building dates to 1900 and was originally a two-family home.

– Port Property has said they intend to eventually build where the community garden now sits. Bayside is the only neighborhood without a permanent community garden supported by the City. There is no other open, accessible green space for blocks.

*UPDATE 3/6/2023* Subsequent documents confirm plans to develop parcels through the R6 zone surrounding existing single family and small multi-family homes.

Neighborhood Meeting Alert

IMPORTANT MEETING ALERT – The neighborhood meeting for Port Property’s master development plan has been scheduled for next Tuesday February 21 at 5:30 PM, in person at 190 Lancaster St. (across from Two Fat Cats Bakery). Please see the attached notice.

This meeting is an important opportunity to speak with the developers, ask questions, and share your initial feedback on this unprecedented and transformative proposal before the master plan goes in front of the planning board. Plan documents may be found on the City site: https://tinyurl.com/2t5v9j3t.

The public is also encouraged to submit feedback and questions to Zach Powell, the planner assigned to this project zpowell@portlandmaine.gov

No photo description available.

BNA Supports Bayside shelter moratorium

On June 7 the City Council will vote on whether to pass a 180-day moratorium on new emergency shelters in Bayside in order to allow shelter licensing to be approved and enacted. This is our letter of support to the Council.

June 2, 2021

To Mayor Snyder and Members of the City Council,

The Bayside Neighborhood Association is in full support of Order 260-20/21 Establishing a 180-Day Moratorium on New Shelters in the Bayside Neighborhood.

We urge you to adopt this targeted, time-bound moratorium in order to ensure that appropriate, sensitive and beneficial shelter licensing may be developed and enacted, free of the pressure or confusion that a new shelter proposal would bring to bear on the process.

The history of Bayside’s poorly integrated social service cluster, developed in the absence of planning, policies, and public process, demonstrates why this moratorium, and licensing, are desperately needed:

• Between 1987 and 2000, the City’s emergency shelter relocated twice and steadily increased capacity from 20 beds to 154 at its present Oxford Street location. All three of the shelter’s locations have been in the Bayside neighborhood.

• The City’s present family and adult emergency shelters, with a combined total of 300 beds, are located within 100′ of each other in a dense R6 neighborhood where emergency shelters are not currently permitted.

• Over the past two decades or so shelters throughout the City closed and to compensate, multiple “temporary” overflow facilities, ultimately comprising over 200 beds, were allowed to open in close proximity to the City shelters and one another without meaningful council involvement, policy development, or community engagement. 

• Instead, these increases were recommended by the Emergency Shelter Assessment Committee, an independent group of social service providers, unaccountable to the City. It should be noted that the ESAC of today has not taken a position on this moratorium, nor did the majority of its member agencies, which suggests that in the opinion of some key stakeholders the proposed moratorium would not create any substantive issues or challenges to their work on behalf of individuals experiencing homelessness.

• During these expansions of services Bayside residents and businesses were not given the benefit of the public planning process that occurred elsewhere when shelters opened in other neighborhoods and the Downtown District.

• The conditional use standards for emergency shelters in effect up until 2017 only required that a shelter comply with the city’s housing assistance plan, and be registered with DHHS.

• Many ancillary services sprouted up in the general vicinity of the shelters. Some operated for years under questionable permitting and in a manner that caused excessive and unmitigated community impacts.
Bayside was one of the poorest and most neglected neighborhoods in the City for well over three quarters of a century. In the 1950s the neighborhood was subjected to “slum clearance” and resident displacement. As recently as the 1990s Bayside was identified by US News and World Reports as, by some measures, one of the worst neighborhoods nationwide.

• Segregating marginalized and vulnerable populations into already socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods is a long-standing, intentional practice that’s now recognized as discriminatory, counterproductive, and inherently inequitable.

• Concurrent with the growth in the number of emergency shelter beds the levels of crime, from “low-level” to violent, increased within the boundaries of the Bayside neighborhood while remaining flat in the rest of the City, rising to and remaining at the current level of roughly 20% of the total police calls and 10% of EMS calls for service despite Bayside being 1% of Portland’s landmass and 5% of its population.

Everyone – neighbors, people seeking shelter, and Portland as a whole – has been shortchanged by this lack of planning, care and due diligence. The present urgent need to hit pause via a moratorium is the inevitable result of decades of deferred attention, not a knee-jerk reaction to current circumstances.

This moratorium will not impede or impose restrictions on the operations of any existing shelter, or on shelter planning, development or execution outside of Bayside. It will not harm people experiencing homelessness or delay their progress toward permanent housing. It will be terminated when appropriate licensing has been enacted to correct the historical and existing governance and planning gaps pertaining to emergency shelters in Portland.
What this moratorium will do is allow the City to move forward mindfully, holistically, and justly. It will solidify Portland’s commitment to equitability as it develops licensing to ensure fair distribution of facilities; effective delivery of services; and balanced and safe neighborhoods for all. It will allow Portland to fulfill its explicit and implicit obligations to constituents in neighborhoods where emergency shelters are serving people in need.

The BNA urges you to pass Order 260-20/21.


Sarah Michniewicz
President, Bayside Neighborhood Association

Bayside Neighborhood Association Board of Directors

Colette Bouchard
Dennis Ferrante
Amy Geren
Jim Hall
Alex Landry
Susan McCloskey
Carolyn Megan
Scott Morrison
Heidi Souerwine
Rob Sylvain
Deborah van Hoewyk

Advocating for trees in Bayside

Did you know – housing development projects in Portland are required to plant one tree for every unit of housing. Sometimes that’s more trees than there’s room for around the development, such as with the recent proposed development of 171 residential units at 52 Hanover Street in Bayside. 

When that happens, the developer pays a fee instead – $400 per unplanted tree – and that money goes into a fund for planting trees all around the City. At 52 Hanover, 29 trees will be planted, and $56,800 will go into the City’s general tree fund. That money won’t necessarily result in any new trees planted in Bayside. 

The BNA is asking the Planning Board to require that all the tree fund money from 52 Hanover Street  be allocated to only plant trees in Bayside. Bayside doesn’t have a lot of green spaces and many streets have few if any trees. We need all the help we can get!

The BNA sent the below letter, to the Planning Board for the March 23, 2021 public hearing on the 52 Hanover Street project. This is in conjunction with a broader effort to protect and enhance Bayside’s green spaces in order to ensure sustainability, equity and livability as the neighborhood changes and develops.

The BNA’s Letter to the Planning Board requesting tree fund allocation to Bayside

To Chair Mazer, Planning Board members, and Planning Department staff,

Regarding the Level III Site Plan, Subdivision and Conditional Use application for 52 Hanover Street, the most recently posted site plan proposes the planting of 21 street trees, and fees in the amount of $60,000 to be paid in lieu of planting the balance of 150 trees.

The Board of Directors of the Bayside Neighborhood Association (BNA) and the undersigned community stakeholders ask that as a condition of any potential approval, the totality of these funds be allocated for use exclusively within the Bayside neighborhood, bounded by Marginal Way, Franklin Street, Congress Street and Forest Ave. The applicant, Tom Watson, has expressed his wholehearted support of this condition.

Such a condition has precedent in a similar Planning Board decision on August 18, 2020 to restrict the street tree funds from Avesta’s 210 Valley Street project for use in the vicinity per staff’s Proposed Motions for the Board to Consider, page 17, XII. C. 2. – “The applicant shall contribute a fee in lieu of approximately $22,000 for the required 55 street trees, to be used for landscape improvements along the lower Western Promenade.”

Without your action the tree funds from 52 Hanover would go into the city-wide tree fund and would not necessarily benefit the neighborhood that would be home to this significant proposed development.

A quick look at the City’s tree map makes it clear that many Bayside streets are severely or completely lacking the greenery that is vital to creating and maintaining a healthy, livable neighborhood and a thriving, sustainable urban ecosystem. Poor and underserved urban neighborhoods with high minority populations, such as Bayside, are particularly likely to have few trees and green spaces, and are especially vulnerable to their absence and loss.

Other prior Bayside development contributions, amounting to tens of thousands of dollars, have gone to the general city tree fund, yet Bayside remains tree-poor. The neighborhood recently experienced the dramatic loss of several healthy, mature trees, removed to make way for a different development. Others were removed due to disease. Young replacement trees have died of post-planting neglect.

The BNA is planning a street tree survey and will work with the City arborist to identify opportunities for tree planting. Should project approval be granted for 52 Hanover Street, we ask that you help ensure the future of Bayside’s trees by allocating the required tree fund fees solely for use in Bayside.

Thank you,

Sarah Michniewicz
President, Bayside Neighborhood Association

Bayside Neighborhood Association Board of Directors
Colette Bouchard
Dennis Ferrante
Amy Geren
Jim Hall
Alex Landry
Susan McCloskey
Carolyn Megan
Scott Morrison
Heidi Souerwine
Rob Sylvain
Deborah van Hoewyk

Community Members & Organizations
Chris Aceto
Herb Adams
Ellen Bailey, President, East Bayside Neighborhood Organization
Marylee Bennison
Andrew Bove
Bayside Bowl
Laura Cannon
Cynthia Cochran, VP, East Bayside Neighborhood Organization
Nathalie Davidson
Deborah Fell
Jonathan Fenton
Fork Food Labs
Michael Gelsanliter
John Herrigal
Adam Hill
Ian Jacob
Avery Kamila
Sean Kerwin
Molly Ladd
Peter Leavitt, Leavitt and Sons Deli
Mary Beth Morrison
Jacqueline Newell
Nomadic Goat
Elizabeth Parsons, past president, West End Neighborhood Association
Ned Payne
Anne Pringle
Andrew Rosenstein
Karen Snyder
Nathan Szanton, The Szanton Company
Hilda Taylor
Steve Thomas
Jason Tropp
Laura Underkuffler

Mission Statement

The Bayside Neighborhood Association (BNA) brings members of the Bayside community together. BNA brings conversations about Bayside to Bayside and to the greater community in a way that organizes, informs, and empowers residents; social service and other organizations; local businesses; and city representatives to form meaningful and long-term partnerships. BNA preserves and promotes safety, multi-cultural diversity, housing, and carefully planned social, economic, and physical development in this unique urban community.

Bayside Community Garden General Policies 2023

Updated April 16, 2023 

Welcome to The Bayside Community Garden

The Bayside Community Garden was established at 78 Chestnut Street in 2001 as a project of the Bayside Neighborhood Association. The BCG is unique in being Portland’s only community garden run by a neighborhood association, receiving no material support or funding from the City. For over twenty years the BNA, its gardeners, and its supporters have poured their heart and souls into keeping this rare Bayside green space going despite a challenging urban environment and the mounting pressure of incoming development.

As a true community garden, all Bayside Community Garden plot holders are required to assist in maintenance, operations and/or management of the garden under direction of the garden coordinator and in accordance with garden policies.

The goal of these policies is to ensure the Bayside Community Garden (BCG) enhances the livability and equality of the Bayside neighborhood and provides a well-managed and inviting green space for all who use and visit it for years to come.  

All gardeners and non-plot holding volunteers are required to fill out this form at the beginning of each season attesting they have read and accept these policies before beginning to work in the garden.  Information on the steering committee structure and roles may be found here.

Plot Assignment

The mission of the BCG includes increased food security for lower income Bayside residents, especially new Mainers; and providing community access to green space, which the neighborhood severely lacks. This policy acknowledges and seeks to address those systemic inequities.

Anyone in the community and other neighborhoods may apply to hold a garden plot or to volunteer without holding a plot. 

Bayside residents are given first refusal of available plots and are put at the top of the waitlist. There are generally enough plots available to accommodate gardeners who wish to work a plot. 

Planting Schedule

June 1 – Plots must be cleared and initial planting completed.
June 15 – Planting for first crops must be complete.
July 1 – A plot must show that it has been consistently maintained.
November 1 – All plots must be cleaned out and shut down for winter.

If a plot appears abandoned by July 1, the fee will be forfeited and the plot will be offered to the next person on the waitlist at ⅔ the fee being charged at the time the plot is forfeited. If there are no takers, the plot will be cleared and/or used by the BNA at its discretion.

Plot Maintenance

All plots must be consistently maintained for the entire gardening season and closed down appropriately for the off-season. 

Trash in and around an individual plot must be removed by the plot holder as soon as possible and disposed of appropriately along with the trash collected from common areas.

All plantings, structures and signage must be kept within assigned plots. Plot perimeters outside of the physical box must be consistently trimmed and maintained by the plot holder or designated volunteer. 

The growing of marijuana and invasive plants is prohibited.

Common Area Maintenance

All common areas outside of individual garden plots must be kept neat, trimmed and maintained and invasive plants must be controlled throughout the growing season according to a schedule developed by the operations manager. 

Paths around and between beds must be kept free of plants, structures, overgrowth, etc. for safe and unobstructed passage and be covered with wood chips to control weed growth.

In order to ensure safe and fair use of common areas, intentional plantings outside of garden plots are only allowed with approval by the BNA Board.  Unauthorized plantings outside of approved areas may be removed. 

The berm between the compost bins and the road (Hall Court) and surrounding vegetation must be consistently maintained to prevent growth of weeds, vines, etc. Plants at the side of the road and the fenceline by the sidewalk must be kept trimmed back.

General trash removal should happen on a daily basis as gardeners tend their own plots; a designated volunteer may be appointed to oversee this task.  

Regular trash bags should be used and may be deposited in either the dumpster behind the former shelter at 203 Oxford Street or the one next to the ramp in the parking lot across from Hall Court on Cedar Street. 

Large or bulky trash items left in the garden such as shopping carts should be brought to the attention of the garden coordinator, who will arrange for their removal. 

Trash must also be regularly monitored and removed during the off season between November and May. 

Graffiti, vandalism, or dumping of trash should be reported immediately to the Garden Coordinator. 


Multilingual signs will be posted indicating that touching or picking plants without permission is discouraged.

Respectful signage may be displayed by gardeners within their own plots if they wish to discourage picking of their plants. 

General garden signage and plantings outside of assigned plots must be approved by the garden coordinator.

“Keep Out” signs will be maintained at either end of the raspberry stand as this area has previously attracted tent encampments.

Community Access 

The garden is open to everyone to visit and enjoy between dawn and dusk. 

Touching or picking of gardeners’ plants without permission is discouraged – however, as the garden is a publicly accessible space, gardeners may experience loss of plantings, structures or items left in the garden. If excessive loss or vandalism of plants or garden structures or fixtures is noted, please alert the Garden Coordinator.

Dogs must be kept on leash and waste picked up. Signage to this effect, or restricting dogs from the garden, will be considered if this becomes a problem.

Illegal or disruptive activity and drug or alcohol use is not allowed by gardeners, volunteers or garden visitors. 

No tenting, camping, or related activities are allowed. If a campsite is discovered, please alert the garden coordinator or call the Police non-emergency dispatch at (207) 874-8575 to request their behavior health team make contact with the campers and connect them with appropriate services. 

Please note – the garden is located on private property; not owned by the BNA; and not subject to the City encampment policy. Reasonable attempts will be made to find the people associated with a campsite, but in no case will an encampment or belongings be allowed to remain indefinitely on garden property.

Health and Safety 

Any found hypodermic syringes or other hazardous or questionable materials should be reported to the Garden Coordinator, who will address them appropriately. 

*Gardeners who choose to deposit syringes in the needle box attached to the garden shed do so at their own risk. Using gloves or using a trash grabber is best practice.

Immediate safety or wellbeing concerns on the property should be addressed by calling Police non-emergency dispatch at (207) 874-8575 or 911 as appropriate. The address to reference is 78 Chestnut Street.

Please know that the Portland Police Department has a robust and experienced civilian behavioral health and alternative response unit which is dispatched when indicated for mental health and substance use concerns. They work closely with social service providers to connect people with needed resources.

End of Season

Garden plots must be closed down by November 1.

Plants that remain for the next season must be trimmed back to 2’ or less and the plot raked clear of plant matter and debris. Remove all loose items and anything that may be taken, blown away, or damaged by winter weather. When possible lay fencing and other structures flat within the bed of the plot.

Make a plan for discarding unwanted plants, fencing, stakes, etc. No items may be left outside the plot or abandoned in the common areas of the garden. Remove all trash and debris from common areas.

A volunteer must be assigned to regularly remove trash over the winter until the following planting season.

An Absence of Equity

On January 5, 2021, Portland’s Planning Board fast-tracked approval of a new permanent emergency shelter in Bayside. At first blush a public good, this fourth shelter in a 515 foot radius only worsens long-standing inequity and doubles down on the immoral practice of segregating Maine’s lowest socio-economic sector into a designated 0.2 square mile area. It reinforces the fact that the only option for many people seeking shelter is the highest-crime section of Maine’s largest city. It confirms that Bayside residents and businesses are expected to selflessly shoulder much of Maine’s responsibility for addressing homelessness, no matter the cost.

The mere fact of density isn’t itself the problem. Bayside has suffered from both a perpetual lack of foresight in shelter planning and an unwillingness to learn from the past or even acknowledge the reality of the present. This reactive, piecemeal, rudderless approach to shelters has allowed massive community impacts to go unexamined for decades, un-ironically excused as the unavoidable collateral damage of compassion.

The below charts and graphs demonstrate the lack of equity in distribution of emergency shelters in Maine, Cumberland County, and Portland.

This document visualizes data at three points in time:

  • Baseline“– Capacity up to the prior year
  • Add PS– Includes Preble Street’s new Bayside shelter
  • ”Move OSS” – Shows the situation if Portland succeeds in relocating its Oxford Street Shelter to a more appropriate modern facility that has been sited off peninsula


Accounting for population density does not hide the yeoman’s work that Bayside is doing for the rest of Maine. Adding a new emergency shelter within 1000” of three others made that situation somewhat worse (see blue bar in middle row). But even assuming the OSS move comes together (bottom row) – it’s visibly obvious that Bayside residents will still be the primary good samaritans supporting the state’s homelessness solutions.

Bayside’s Per Capita share of emergency beds is currently:

  • 105 times the City’s number of shelter beds
  • 687 times the County’s number of shelter beds
  • 196 times the State’s number of shelter beds

The middle bullet above particularly demonstrates how the rest of Cumberland County passively relies on Bayside, since roughly a third of Portland shelter guests arrive from other towns in the region. Portland also cares for another third with no direct ties to Maine, such as federal asylum seekers. Many thriving suburban municipalities could clearly afford to do their part, especially since there is a state-level reimbursement program already in place that is supposed to be used to respond to the emergency of homelessness where and when it happens. Instead a “skid row” continues to overwhelm one tiny residential neighborhood, while surrounding communities refuse to pay in, and in some cases actively ban homeless shelters.


Shifting the lens to density of emergency beds per land area, the contrast is so extreme that only a logarithmic scale with units normalized to “emergency beds per 100 square miles” allows all levels to be plotted visibly on the same chart. The rightmost column illustrates that relocating Oxford Street Shelter’s capacity to Riverton would increase the rest of Portland’s share a bit, but barely makes a dent in the super-concentrated quarter mile shelter cluster in Bayside.

Bayside’s per-square-mile share of emergency beds is:

  • 1,575 times the rest of Portland
  • 49,000 times the rest of Cumberland County
  • 83,000 times the rest of Maine


Here is another view that compares % share of Bayside, Portland, Cumberland County, and Maine.

More exhaustive comparison below:

  • Cumberland County provides 39% of Maine’s emergency shelter facilities
  • Portland provides 35% of Maine’s emergency shelter facilities
  • Bayside provides 29% of Maine’s emergency shelter facilities
  • Portland provides 91% of Cumberland County’s emergency shelter facilities
  • Bayside provides 74% of Cumberland County’s emergency shelter facilities
  • Bayside provides 82% of Portland’s emergency shelter facilities
  • All of these are within a 515′ radius, embedded in a poor residential neighborhood
  • Approximately 23% of all Portland police calls for service are in Bayside, and most of those are in the blocks around the shelters

If Portland does move the Oxford Street Shelter off peninsula, Bayside would still continue to provide 16% of all Maine emergency beds, or 210 within less than 0.0006% of Maine’s land mass, inhabited by 0.0002% of Maine’s people, in a neighborhood whose development is vital to Portland’s future.

At the county level, there was at least a recent attempt to help provide some distancing space on county land (still within Portland city limits), but unfortunately the Greater Portland region has not yet succeeded in stepping up to actively participate. The State has contributed to Covid-related safety by funding hotel blocks as shelter during the state of emergency, but pointedly there has been no indication of willingness to materially support Portland’s well researched service center modernization, or provide alternative options.

So, back to equity…

Portland’s Comprehensive Plan embraces the concept of “Equity” – sharing benefits and responsibilities across all the neighborhoods of the city. But despite initiatives like Bayside Boost and expanding emergency shelter zoning almost four years ago, that equity has not been realized. Adding another 40 emergency beds to the current 329 (not including the previous overflow capacity of roughly 200) continues to kick that can down the road. Relocating the Oxford Street Shelter would be a good step, but only a beginning to actual neighborhood balance.

By any measure, at any level, Bayside is propping up the rest of the city, the rest of the county, the rest of the state, and beyond. None of that would matter in the slightest if this model worked to safely, efficiently, and effectively resolve people’s homelessness with minimal impact on the surrounding community. But it doesn’t. It never has. That’s not right, it’s not sustainable, and it’s definitely not equitable.


Data on location & capacity of emergency beds comes from Portland’s Department of Health and Human Services.

Bayside Emergency SheltersCapacity
• Oxford154
• Family146
• Teen24Previous Baseline324
01/05/21 Approval of new Preble shelter+ 40Bayside Total364
… (If city decommissions Oxford)(– 154)(potential)(210)
Other Portland
• Milestone 41
• Florence House25
• Through These Doors16Other Portland Total 82
… (If city opens Riverton)(+ 200)(potential)(282)
Other Cumberland County
• Tedford (Brunswick)45Other C.C. Total45
Other Maine
(See DHHS list)740Other Maine Total740

Data on population & geography are straight up google-able. Numbers below are from Jan 2021.

Land Area (square miles)PopulationDensity / sq. mi.
• Bayside0.202,68013,400
• Portland7066,600951
• Cumberland County1,200295,000246
• Maine35,0001,344,00038

Bylaws Amendment

A proposed amendment to Section 10, Quorum, of the current Bylaws of the Bayside Neighborhood Association shall be voted on by the Board BNA at the Annual Meeting to be held October 17, 2020.  The proposed amendment is bolded:

10) Quorum 

A majority of the Board of Directors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, but a lesser number may adjourn any meeting from time to time, and the same may be held as adjourned without further notice. When a quorum is present at any meeting a majority of the members of the Board present shall decide any question brought before such meeting. Ex-officio Board members will not be included in the count when determining the number needed for quorum, nor be counted when determining if a quorum is present. 

BNA Opposes New Preble Street Shelters in Bayside

Preble Street hopes to fast-track conversion of Resource Center into new, permanent shelter without notifying neighborhood.

In June 2020 the BNA learned of the plan to convert the Preble Street Resource Center on Portland Street into a new, permanent 40-bed emergency homeless shelter. The goal is to replace a temporary 50-bed shelter set up at the USM Sullivan Gym to allow for social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. For over a year Preble Street has also been attempting to site a shelter at 55 Portland Street, a building they purchased for this purpose despite improper zoning, a variety of incompatible covenants, and community concerns.

The Bayside neighborhood is currently home base for three homeless shelters, three overflow shelter sites, many rehab beds and sober houses, and dozens of other social services. This concentration has had tremendous negative impact and defies current understanding of best practices for serving people experiencing homelessness. For many years the BNA has been told there would be “no new shelters in Bayside,” yet these attempts by Preble Street continue.

The BNA categorically opposes siting any additional homeless shelters in the Bayside neighborhood. Below is our July 17, 2020 letter to the Portland City Council. It was approved by an overwhelming majority of the sixteen member board and eighteen community members signed in support.

June 17, 2020

Mayor Snyder and Members of the City Council,

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced shelter providers to do something no one has tried for over twenty years – disperse the ever-increasing number of people languishing in the streets around Preble Street’s resource center and soup kitchen. Spacing people out at other locations has proven successful in controlling the spread of disease amongst those experiencing homelessness. Physical and mental stress and problematic behaviors have been reduced at the distancing shelters. Apparently this is a revelation. Homeless advocates are wondering “Why didn’t we do this years ago?” That’s a very good question.

But what’s going to happen when the temporary USM Sullivan Gym shelter closes in July? Despite all logic, Preble Street wants to build a new shelter on the ruins they left behind at the resource center, that’s what. Maybe they’ll also try again at 55 Portland Street, despite improper zoning and other restrictions. Either way, the lessons of the pandemic are being ignored if not mocked.

The same people who were beginning to recover, to feel their way forward out of the chaos, will be forced back into the same mess of a neighborhood they left – the same stabbings, the same fights, the same drug deals, the same piles of trash, the same stress, the same despair, the same everything. You all know what goes on here; you know nothing has changed in over twenty years except to get worse. In fact despite over 100 people being sheltered elsewhere, police calls for service doubled in the past month or so. The entrenched idea that this is just what homelessness IS will only be validated by a new shelter.

So I will take this opportunity to remind the Council of a few things in regards to Preble Street’s plan:

• The question of shelter density was raised and ultimately tabled by the Planning Board in 2018. One planning board member referred to small shelter zoning as “a solution in search of a problem.” This indicates an unacceptable lack of familiarity with the extreme impact shelter proliferation has had on the Bayside community. No permits of any kind should be granted by the City without thorough review of Preble Street’s operational impacts and refusal to engage in problem-solving with the neighborhood.

• When shelter zoning was expanded in 2018 new, stringent conditional use standards were crafted for emergency shelters in order to best serve clients and minimize community impact. These requirements are prescriptive and not arbitrary. Any new shelter must be specifically designed to accommodate their implementation. To allow an inadequate shelter to open swiftly and permanently, or even temporarily in a potentially permanent location, is antithetical to the Council’s own intentions, contrary to existing ordinances, and invites legal action.

• Siting homeless shelters now requires extreme care, consideration, deliberation, and process, even more so in Bayside. This neighborhood is living proof of what happens when that care is not taken. Using the pandemic as a reason to expedite permits or deny Bayside complete and thorough process is unacceptable and will be challenged. This situation requires more time and care, not less.

• NO other allowable use in any zone would, in anyone’s wildest dreams, be permitted to create anything close to the impacts of the resource center and soup kitchen. These impacts are real, documented, harmful to the community, and the City apparently has no mechanism to address them. Unless and until a means of mitigating the current situation is found there can be no new shelters in Bayside.

• Preble Street has not proven nor taken any reasonable steps to prove its ability to lessen the impacts of its operations, despite full awareness of community concerns and millions of dollars in annual funding. They do not behave as a responsible community partner despite good faith efforts and even pleas on the part of the neighborhood. It is incumbent upon the city to deny expansion of its services and programs and the addition of any shelters in Bayside for any reason, particularly in an emergency situation whose amelioration depends on safe, sanitary and socially distant conditions.

• The current operations of the Preble Street resource center and soup kitchen, and operations of the City’s Oxford Street Shelter prior to winter 2018, clearly qualify as maintenance of a public nuisance. A proven public nuisance is subject to legal action and potentially an injunction and fines. While the City has instituted effective measures to mitigate, insofar as possible at the current location, the impacts of shelter operations, Preble Street has not. Indeed, Preble Street management has referred to measures such as extended hours, bathroom access, and storage for belongings as “duplicative” in light of the City’s efforts.

And perhaps most important:

• The city has devoted tremendous time and resources to the effort to site a modern homeless services center in Riverton. This process, which involved considerable input from Bayside residents, was specifically aimed at reducing negative neighborhood impacts of shelters. Had this service center moved forward at the original Barron Center site in a timely fashion the need for today’s temporary satellite shelters and hotel rooms may have been reduced if not eliminated. If any shelter deserves to be fast-tracked it is this one; if any shelter doesn’t it’s the one being proposed and operated by Preble Street.

Dan Brennan of Maine State Housing said “We simply can’t go back to the way things were… We need a new shelter system. We need a new approach.” Allowing a new shelter in Bayside is the antithesis of a new system. It’s the same old ineffective approach. It is nothing short of unethical to contemplate sending vulnerable people back to an ill-considered, hastily planned shelter in Bayside, a neighborhood where crime, violence, and despair circulate as easily as any virus.

Maine is a big state. Yet an astounding array of social services and shelters have been gerrymandered into a couple blocks in a poor neighborhood that comprises one percent of Portland’s landmass and five percent of its population. Is it any wonder Bayside commands 21% of Portland’s police calls for service? Nothing about that is even remotely okay, or necessary. Making it worse by allowing an independent nonprofit to increase the shelter capacity of Bayside – a nonprofit that has been quoted as saying that it is not responsible for any impacts outside its doors, and barely responsible for those inside – is indefensible.

Now is the time for other neighborhoods, towns, cities and counties to do their part. For the health and safety of both those people experiencing homelessness and those who live and operate businesses in Bayside, this Council, the City of Portland, and the State of Maine have a duty to ensure that new shelters be sited outside of Bayside. It’s time to stop putting broken people in a broken system into the same broken neighborhood and expect different results.

Thank you,
Sarah Michniewicz
President, Bayside Neighborhood Association

Bayside Neighborhood Association Board of Directors

Laura Cannon, Vice President
Colette Bouchard, Secretary
James Hall, Treasurer
Jonathan Bass
Dennis Ferrante
Amy Geren
Sean Kerwin
Alexander Landry
Susan McCloskey
Scott Morrison
Stephanie Scherer
Heidi Souerwine
Robert Sylvain
Deborah Van Hoewyk
Ex Officio: Preble Street (abstained)

18 Community Members Signed in Support


Bayside Community Garden Policy Updates 2020

The Bayside Community Garden (BCG) is a project of the Bayside Neighborhood Association (BNA), a 501(c)(3) non profit advocating for the Bayside neighborhood, which is bounded by Marginal Way, Forest Ave, Congress Street, and Franklin Street. The BCG is located at 78 Chestnut Street on a privately owned parcel that has been temporarily made available for the BNA’s use as a community garden.

The following policies have been put in place for the 2020 gardening season. Gardeners must establish the required roles and plans outlined below to be submitted to the BNA board by April 30, 2020.



Bayside Community Gardeners will establish amongst themselves a management structure that must provide three roles (any of which may be held by the same person):

•An operations manager
•An accountant
•A liaison to the BNA Board

The policies in each area are as follows:


One goal of the BCG has been to create a community green space in the midst of a distressed urban neighborhood. This requires that the BCG present an orderly, attractive appearance to gardeners, neighbors, and passersby. To this end the following policies have been developed:

1) The operations manager will oversee the condition of individual plots, according to the following schedule:

June 1 – Plots must be cleared and initial planting completed.
June 15 – Planting for first crops must be complete.
July 1 – A plot must show that it has been consistently maintained.

•If a plot appears abandoned by July 1, the fee will be forfeited and the plot will be offered to the next person on the waitlist at a reduced fee of $20. If there are no takers or the new gardener does not begin planting by July 14 the plot will be cleared and used by the BNA to grow short-season crops for The Locker Project.

•All plots must be consistently maintained for the remainder of the season and closed down appropriately for the off-season.

2) In consultation with the BNA Board a plan must be established detailing where, if anywhere, growth outside of garden plots will be allowed, and what that growth may include for plant material.

•Any such areas must be limited, well maintained, clearly demarcated, and agreed to by the Board.

3) A maintenance schedule for all areas outside the garden plots must be developed, shared with the BNA Board, and adhered to.

•If necessary the BNA board will, at its discretion, correct any overgrowth or plantings outside of approved areas without consultation.

4) The operations manager will ensure that all gardeners understand and agree to these policies.

5) The original mission of creating this garden included increased food security for lower income Bayside residents, especially new Americans. As such:

•Bayside residents will be given first refusal of newly available plots each season, and be put at the top of the waiting list.


1) The garden accountant will track the balance of plot fees and expenditures:

•Prior to the end of each calendar month, submit to the BNA Treasurer one itemized request for any reimbursements
•Submit a receipt for each garden expenditure
•Distribute reimbursements to individual gardeners. After review and approval by the board (first Tuesday of each month), a reimbursement check will be cut payable to the garden accountant, who will then be responsible for distributing funds to those who paid for expenditures.
•Attend BNA Board meetings as requested

2) The budget for garden expenditures will be the total of the garden fees collected for the 2020 season.

•Assuming all plots are claimed at full fee the 2020 budget is 28 plots x $30 = $840 •Plot fees are non-refundable •The board recommends a sliding-scale model for collecting fees based on need, potentially to be covered by more affluent gardeners. •Any fees collected from gardeners taking over forfeited plots or decreased by sliding scale adjustments will change the total budget. •It is up to garden management to decide how to best utilize available funds within the parameters of these policies.

3) Insurance for the 2020 garden year will be covered by an existing grant to the Avesta garden, a separate garden/greenspace activity of the BNA.

Board Liaison

The Board liaison will communicate with the BNA Board of directors in matters regarding the garden. The liaison will:

•Maintain and share with the Board an updated contact list including plot number, physical address, email and phone numbers of all gardeners.
•Submit to the Board a written monthly report on operations which will include the maintenance schedule, activities and issues in the garden
•Attend board meetings or communicate in other ways as requested.

The goal of these policies is to ensure that the garden enhances the Bayside neighborhood and provides a well-managed and inviting greenspace for all who utilize it. Please feel free to contact me at bnaportland@gmail.com with any questions.

Sarah Michniewicz
President, Bayside Neighborhood Association

BNA Shelter Policy Resolution Support Letter to the City Council

The 16-member Board of the BNA voted unanimously to approve this letter of support for the Shelter Policy Resolution that paves the way for a new homeless services center to replace the Oxford Street Shelter

To Members of the Portland City Council,

Portland’s current model of aiding the homeless with services strewn haphazardly over several blocks becomes more outmoded, ineffective, inhumane and unsustainable with each passing day. It does not reflect current federally endorsed best practices or what Portland is capable of achieving. For Portland to effectively support those experiencing homelessness the City must immediately begin design and construction of a modern homeless services center at the approved site in Riverton.  

Therefore the Bayside Neighborhood Association supports the Resolution Outlining Policy Goals For The City of Portland’s Single-Adult Shelter Facility as passed unanimously by the Health and Human Services Committee. The resolution reflects years of work, education, dedication and a determination to not repeat mistakes of the past. We ask you to vote passage on this resolution when it comes before you.

We further urge you to reject substantive amendments (such as 5, 8, 9 &12) that have been proposed by Councilor Kim Cook on the basis that they would:

  • Distort the purpose, scope and impact of the original resolution
  • Indefinitely delay the replacement of the Oxford Street Shelter (8)
  • Needlessly perpetuate the ever-worsening community crisis that has been created by operating out of the current failing facility (8)
  • Fail to provide an appropriate number of beds and level of service to achieve the primary goal of adequately sheltering those in need and improving the way Portland addresses homelessness (8 ,9, 12)
  • Result in a facility that is over capacity and ineffective as soon as it opens thereby replicating the same problems it was built to solve (8, 9)
  • Continue to unnecessarily strain the City’s public health and safety resources by failing to adequately support vulnerable populations
  • Shift Portland’s focus from dealing with the immediate crisis to imagining a shelter network for the entire state (5)
  • Distance the city from the daily reality of shelter operations and the impacts they may be having on the surrounding neighborhood (15)
  • Worsen the already unsustainable pressure on the Bayside neighborhood 

The express intention of the resolution is to formalize guidance thus paving the way for Portland to enter the modern era of homeless services. Councilor Cook’s wholesale alteration of Item 8 and elimination of Item 9 eviscerate those intentions and instead propose that forces beyond the City’s control continue to shape Portland’s destiny.  

Efforts to garner statewide support are vitally important but do not excuse the City from taking  immediate and decisive action. Failure to do so will leave the City in the unfortunate position of having to defend its choice to allow an acknowledged community crisis and public nuisance to continue unabated. This is not like the paid sick leave initiative, where the City could reasonably defer action because the state was poised to act. There is no magical solution in the offing, and the stakes are too high to put off this decision any longer.

The original resolution and new homeless services center model, Shelter 2.0, will position Portland as a leader in effective, efficient delivery of services via federally endorsed best practices. It will allow us to become an example to follow instead of a cautionary tale. Most important, this facility will give shelter staff breathing room and resources to do their best work so clients have the dignity and support they need to quickly transition out of homelessness and into permanent housing.

The deficiencies of the existing city shelter were obvious twenty years ago, yet action was not taken. We are now living the consequences of allowing distortions, objections, assumptions and projected fears to drive the narrative about homelessness and prevent progress. This council has the rare opportunity to memorialize its tenure with a truly transformative decision.

 We ask you to respect the expertise, research, and documented history of the process that has brought us to this point. We strenuously urge you to reject any amendment, alteration, or suggestion that delays the design and construction of the Riverton homeless services center, downgrades its capacity or compromises its mission. We ask you to choose a legacy of leadership. 

Building the homeless services center in Riverton, based on policy guidance in the resolution before you, is the next step toward equity for all citizens and neighborhoods in Portland. The Board of the Bayside Neighborhood Association asks you to take that step, and the next, and the next until we enter the future through the doors of the new homeless services center in Riverton.


Sarah Michniewicz
President, Bayside Neighborhood Association