NPR tackles the issue of gentrification in Portland

It’s First Friday Art Walk night in downtown Portland and the start of the weekend.

In just a little bit, we learn about why a popular, nationally broadcast radio show set up shop here earlier today.

But first, let’s talk about our neighboring state of New Hampshire, which President Donald Trump now famously called a “drug-infested den” in a conversation with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

That caused CNN Editor Chris Cillizza to take to Twitter asking followers for creative ideas for what Trump might be calling the rest of the 50 states, and he got some colorful responses.

The apparent winning Pretend Trump Insult suggestion for Maine was “Basically Canada — except Paul LePage.”

The Washington Post generated its own state-by-state map of Trumpisms in the aftermath of the “drug-infested den” news, but the Post went out and found actual Trump quotes referring to each of the states. This is the quotation the Post pulled up about Maine:

“What (campaigning) does do is it gets you out to see states that you’ll never see otherwise. It’s very interesting. Like Maine. I went to Maine four times.”

A little boring, if you ask me.

What we’re talking about

The National Public Radio program “On Point” was broadcast live this morning from Portland, where host Tom Ashbrook moderated a discussion about gentrification in Maine’s largest city. “If you’ve got money, it’s a dream. If you don’t, you’re almost exiled,” wrote Ashbrook of Portland. Among the local figures joining the show to discuss the issue was Rising Tide Brewing Co. and Democratic State Rep. Heather Sanborn, as well as former Cumberland County Republican Committee Chairman Eric Lusk.

The tall ships are here. WGME, CBS 13, has been covering the U.S. Coast Guard schooner Eagle and the SSV Oliver Hazard Perry during the week as they’ve made their way over the ocean waves to Portland, and now they’ve arrived. The two tall ships will be available for tours starting at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. The Eagle closes at 7 p.m. both nights and the Oliver Hazard Perry closes at 5 p.m. both nights.

The Political Action Committee campaigning for the passage of a local bond to renovate four schools got a shot in the arm in the form a $20,000 donation from the nonprofit advocacy group Progressive Portland, the Portland Press Herald reports. Prior to that, the PAC had only raised about $1,600. No PAC has formed in opposition to the $64 million bond to renovate Reiche, Lyseth, Longfellow and Presumpscot elementary schools. A competing bond referendum on the November ballot will ask voters if they’d rather borrow $32 million to renovate just two of the schools.

Local baseball hero Ryan Flaherty is back playing in Portland, at least for a couple nights. Flaherty, a Deering High School graduate who has played for the big league Baltimore Orioles for six years, is playing for the Orioles’ minor league Bowie Baysox while working his way back from an injury that has bothered him since May. Flaherty is expected to play when his Baysox play the local Portland Sea Dogs tonight and tomorrow.

Maine cops are on alert after police SUVs in other states reportedly had carbon monoxide leaks, the Journal Tribune reports. After an officer in Auburn, Massachusetts, tested positive for carbon monoxide poisoning after passing out behind the wheel and crashing, several southern Maine departments have taken the initiative to begin testing the cabs of their vehicles for the toxic gas.

Tweet of the day

From city Finance Director Brendan O’Connell:

By the way, congratulations to Brendan on the city being awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada. That news came out this afternoon. Basically, this means the city of Portland does a very thorough job with its annual financial reports. Nice work!

The Big Idea

The U.S. has for decades been a top destination for asylum seekers.Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free,” etc. But now, the Washington Post reports that asylum seekers are fleeing the United States for Canada, worried that Trump’s administration will send them back to the dangerous places they fled in the first place.

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email us at or or tweet @JZBleiberg or @SethKoenig.

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