Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. The Noyes Street fire trial verdict is expected tomorrow; we have a kitten/pizza hangover; and a long-dead Portland newsman was really devoted to his job.
What we’re talking about
The judge in the Noyes Street fire trial is expected to issue his verdict tomorrow around 12:30 p.m.
BDN Portland reporter Jake Bleiberg will be in the courtroom, where he’ll be tweeting the verdict and reactions. You can follow him here.
Jake last week laid out the arguments for and against Portland landlord Gregory Nisbet, as well as the potential legal ramifications for landlords, in this explainer. It includes an interactive timeline of the case so far.
Nisbet is charged with six counts of manslaughter in the fire, which claimed the lives of six young adults on Nov. 1, 2014. A conviction for one count of manslaughter can mean as much as 30 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
A guilty verdict also would set new precedent for criminal prosecution of negligent landlords.
In other news
Our debate party was pretty fun last night — Troy Bennett made a fun video of the event, which featured several kittens, a bunch of pizza, and about 100 people who showed up to play with cute animals and watch the major candidates debate.
Here’s what the rest of the state thought about the debate — The BDN had a team of reporters across the state. What we found: “In Maine’s largest cities, college campuses and quiet downtown bars, it was hard to find enthusiasm for either candidate.”
A liberal and a conservative debate what Portland should do to fix its housing crisis — A sample from Lance Dutson and Steven Biel:
Steven: Renters in the city would be shocked to learn that there’s an anti-landlord environment. Right now, landlords can do almost whatever they want, and after a year of discussion, the city council’s weak-kneed Housing Committee is literally offering renters nothing more than a brochure listing their flimsy legal rights. [Mayor Ethan Strimling is] fighting the good fight, but he can’t do anything if the rest of the council doesn’t get their act together.
Lance: Then my advice would be to start focusing on the problem, not the symptoms. We need to elevate the discussion to something productive instead of just playing to the easy “screw the man” sentiment framing the discussion now.
This guy was really devoted to newspapers — In today’s “permanent Portlanders” story, Troy Bennett profiles a city newsman who really loved his job:
Joseph Henry Wish was a newspaperman, through and through.
He began his long, ink-stained career as a printer’s apprentice at the old, daily Eastern Argus around 1872, when he was 14 years old.
He printed the city’s daily news for 43 years.
He was an active member of the International Typographical Union of North America on both the local and national levels. For several years, he was the secretary of the Typographical Relief Association.
Wish finally retired, at the age of 73 in 1931. He died a month later.
His family name is carved backwards, and in relief, on the top of his stone, like a printer’s moveable type block.
Mary Bonauto recognized as a history maker — Jake reports: “The Portland attorney who successfully argued for marriage equality last year before the United States Supreme Court was honored Wednesday night for her role in the historic case.”
The Big Idea
‘Instead of clearing homeless camps, Oakland is spiffing them up’ — The San Franciso Chronicle reports:
“We can’t wait until someone comes with a silver bullet to solve this,” [Mayor Libby] Schaaf said. “It’s starting to look like San Francisco.”
For the past few years, Oakland has taken a catch-as-catch-can approach to homelessness, clearing out camps when neighbors complain, only to see them pop back up, [City Council President Lynette Gibson] McElhaney said.
She said that type of urban triage doesn’t satisfy anyone, and it doesn’t solve the larger sanitation and safety issues.
Here in Portland: Police in August ordered people living in a camp to move on over complaints of nearby thefts and car break-ins. It was the second outdoor homeless camp cleared in Portland over the past year.
Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Dan MacLeod at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet @dsmacleod.
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