By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,602)
Art vendors who sell their creativity to large cruise ships visiting the port of Portland have been told they are being relocated to a new waterfront site. The new location – The Waterfront Marketplace – is the green space between Ocean Gateway and the Portland Ocean Terminal. The new policy takes effect on Wednesday, June 1, 2016. (See photo to right.)
Whenever a cruise ship with over 1,000 passengers on board arrives in Portland Harbor, the new Waterfront Marketplace becomes effective according to a press release from the city.
There were sidewalk safety issues in the vendors current location said sources familiar with the situation. It’s also been observed that the new location moves vendors further away from the “brick and mortar” restaurants closer to the Old Port area.
In the past, the rights of the vendors has been a controversial subject resulting in a law suit by the ACLU. In addition, in-fighting for favorite slots among the vendors has caused some to vacate the venue altogether.
The announcement of this change in venue presumably came from the city manager’s office, Jon Jennings, although the press release did not state that. He has initiated numerous policies since assuming his post as city manager. Meanwhile, Figurehead Mayor Ethan Strimling, appears to continue to struggle to find his niche in the city structure. He has been criticized for not being a leader and deferring his responsibilities to his newly hired Special Assistant. The Figurehead has served predominately as a one-person greeting committee to ships entering the harbor – when he isn’t annoying the public as well as the city council for his actions.
As one city councilor recently said – Jon Jennings convinces us that his policy proposals are good ones so we do support him. This in response to an op-ed in the “Portland Press Herald,” suggesting that Jennings was not abiding by the charter and infringing on the Figurehead’s role as policy maker. (The “Portland Press Herald” endorsed Figurehead for Mayor last fall over the incumbent.) As one city employee recently told mhn.com: the voting public was “dazzled” by the Figurehead so they voted him into office. “Look what we have!”
Meanwhile, RiRa, a popular Irish Pub on Commercial Street, has constructed a fence around its out door cafe, to separate it from the sidewalk space and any complaints that might come its way.