“We, year-round residents of Peaks Island, received an eviction notice by email from Unified Parking Partners, “UPP,” on Thursday at 8:15 pm wrote Sharoan Cohen earlier today to city manager Jon Jennings with a copy to her city councilor Belinda Ray. The email recounted to them that tenants were informed by email this past Thursday they would have to vacate the Ocean Gateway Parking Garage by midnight Sunday, April 14, 2019.
Tenants were offered parking spaces in two other garages in Portland by UPP. One location is on Cumberland Avenue and another on Lancaster Street. “Neither is realistic when considering the portage of daly basics for island life. One garage is a mile away and the other is just over a mile away, both up Congress Street and the other is just over a mile away, both up and over the Congress Street hill with no public transportation back to Baylines,” wrote Cohen in her email to the city manager. She went on to cite the hardship it would be for those with groceries, kids, strollers, the old and sick to make this journey on foot. “This eviction is another way island life is threatened – by creating further hardships for year round residents,” she wrote.
Cohen believes it’s the city’s responsibility. “It has gone back on its word and thrown Portland residents under the bus by not making good on the promise that islanders would always have available parking by the boat. The city quietly chose to discontinue the contract with the garage that was to subsidize islanders parking when negotiations for the sale of Ocean Gateway in a deal that sold nearly all available city owned property.”
She concluded by stating her disappointment that no city official has reached out to islanders to express their support or possible solution before the close of the weekend.
A spokesperson at the Casco Bay Lines parking garage said that it had received about a dozen or so calls from the public wanting to know if there were any parking spaces available. The answer was “no” and there is a long waiting list.
Meanwhile, city manager Jennings sent a message saying that the city had “no role in this and to blame us is cowardly,” as UPP has done..