Where the city could allow new homeless shelters to open

Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight is Mayor Ethan Strimling’s State of the City speech. BDN Portland’s Jake Bleiberg and Troy R. Bennett will be there. Look for the story this evening.

What we’re talking about

Here’s where the city could allow new homeless shelters to open — Jake reports that the the city is looking at several sites around the city where it might allow homeless shelters to set up. “The sites range from large stretches of industrial land on the border with Westbrook to a narrow strip off Washington Avenue in one of the city’s hottest neighborhoods,” Jake reports. “The more than 20 lots being considered are zoned for industrial and commercial use. None are residential.”

As Jake reports, if the change of zoning is adopted, it “would end the longstanding policy that concentrated services for homeless people in an oddly shaped swath of downtown.”

After 20 years gone, a rural tradition has twirled back into town — Troy reports:

After a 20-year hiatus from the city, Portland has a regular contradance again — and this time around, the organizers have thrown out the gender roles.

Callers at the weekly, Thursday night shindig at the State Street Church stay away from gender specific terms like “ladies” and “gents” when explaining the steps. On Thursday, caller Gretchen Carroll used “rubies” and “jets” instead. That way, any person can feel comfortable dancing either role.

“Contradance being as old a tradition as it is, it’s also an evolving tradition,” said Portland Intown Contra Dance co-organizer Dugan Murphy.

‘Wheel it Hard’ — Two independent filmmakers are turning their short about die-hard roller skaters — which won the local 48 Hour Film Project — into a feature length film.

Kay Stephens of the Pen Bay Pilot reports:

Flippy Day happened to win the 48 Hour Film Project, which got Day and [collaborator Michael] Panenka thinking: “Why not make this into a feature?” said Day. “I sent Bob Marley, the comedian, a link to the short film after it was finished and within 10 minutes, he said ‘Holy crap, this is wicked funny.’ Marley declined the role due to scheduling conflicts, but recommended Jake ‘Krazy Jake’ Hodgdon, who signed on immediately.”

Portlanders raised thousands for local fire victims — Kathleen Pierce reports:

Less than a week after a fire raged through Munjoy Hill, affecting more than 40 people, Portlanders raised thousands to help the victims get back on their feet.

Organizers are meeting Monday night to plan how to deliver more than $10,000 to the immigrants and longtime Munjoy Hill residents affected by the Jan. 2 blaze on Merrill Street and Cumberland Avenue, according to Jay Norris, president of the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization.

Tweet of the day

From CNN’s Brian Stelter:

Screenshot 2017-01-09 17.08.53

The Big Idea

‘With Rise of Body Cameras, New Tests of Transparency and Trust’ — With South Portland’s police department joining the growing list of Maine towns and city with officers wearing body cameras, it’s worth checking out this four-part New York Times video story on the practice:

Body-worn cameras are reshaping perceptions of policing. The small devices, typically mounted on officers’ shirts, provide a lens into law enforcement that is meant to build transparency and trust. But their increased use has also raised a host of questions and concerns: Who should have access to recordings? How will the footage be used? What are the privacy rights of people caught on video? And what are the long-term costs to taxpayers?


Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Dan MacLeod at dmacleod@bangordailynews.com, or tweet @dsmacleod.

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Dan MacLeod

About Dan MacLeod

Dan MacLeod is the editor of BDN Portland. He's an Orland native who first moved to Portland in 2002. He's been a journalist since 2008, and previously worked for the New York Post and the Brooklyn Paper.