By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,658)
The Community Policing Office plans to move its Hill facility to the Cummings Center, 134 Congress Street, sometime later this year. For years, the Office has been located at the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Office, Congress Street. Janine Kaserman has worked out of that location since its inception on the Hill. Kaserman, a popular figure in the community, is currently working out of the East Bayside Community Policing Office until the move is made. She began working there early this month.
The exact reason for the relocation of the office is not clear. Jay Norris, president of the MHNO asked the Police Department for a large increase in its monthly rent for the space it uses – from roughly $67. a month to over $300. That rent increase would have taken place in January of 2016. The move could have been precipitated by that rent increase although Norris denies that is the reason.
That Policing Center is located at 44 Mayo Street. For now, it’s shared with Suna Shaw. the East Bayside Community Policing Coordinator for that area. Her office will be moving to an office space nearby as soon as a 40-unit Portland Housing Authority residential building is constructed.That should be this fall.
The MHNO had hoped to increase the rent that the City paid for the Policing Office it maintained for many years during which there were no rent increases. That was to help pay for utilities at the MHNO headquarters. The non-profit has tried under Norris’ leadership to reverse its downward financial spiral and seriously sagging bottom line. (Part of that included cessation of printing of the “Munjoy Hill Observer” – an expensive project with questionable benefits to the organization overall.) That portion of the office was renovated years ago by volunteer Gary Marcisso, and Hill resident, to accommodate the city as a tenant. It was a great arrangement for both parties.
The move to the Cummings Center depends upon the relocation of the Parks office to the City’s Canco Road facility. In the meantime, Jay Norris, president of the MHNO says the non-profit has made plans for the vacant space, but he is not ready to announce them.