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

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.