City Council Works Through Long Agenda at Monthly Meeting; Mark Rees Hired as City Manager


By Carol McCracken  (Post # 799)

The first order of business at last night’s monthly city council meeting was the appointment of Bruce P. Spang, Falmouth, as Portland’s third poet laureate. 

 An order appointing Mark H. Rees as the City Manager, effective September 1, 2011, was approved unanimously by the City Council.  The contract is for three years and has a base annual salary of $143,000  and provides for a monthly vehicle allowance of  $450. per month.  In his acceptance remarks, Rees said:  “I am very excited about coming to Portland….I view this responsibility as a capstone of 36 years in government.”  For more background information, please see post # 788, dated 5/27 herein.

Figa restaurant had its request for outdoor seating approved unanimously.

The Council approved a sales agreement with Federated Companies, LLC. for a mixed use development.  The contract calls for the sale of 3.5 acres or $2,275,000 minus a 8% commercial broker commision and cost for environmental liability insurance – the cost of which has not been determined. The property is located in Bayside.  A garage over a former scrap yard will be the first to be built.  The city will assume responsibility for the clean-up of that property and has received $9m from the federal government, a portion of that could go toward  the clean-up of the former scrap-yard.   David Marshall said:  “Since we are starting to see a very low vacancy rate, we need the rental housing units that are available in this Federated Contract.”  For more background information herein, please see Post # 786, dated 5/26.

The  City Council approved an order appropriating $967,000 for payment to the Portland Company.  On May 26th, the jury in the case of  Portland Company v. City of Portland returned a judgment in the amount of $715,000.  The case centered on the value of an easement for track connection rights held by the Portland Company on city-owned property that the City took by eminent domain in 2005.   The Portland Company sued the City over the taking for $1.4 million, which was their appraised value of the easement.   An attorney for the city’s outside legal representative, Jensen & Baird, said the cost of the litigation was$184,000.  Part of the  expense came from defending numerous challenges from Portland Company to including a claim that the taking was unconstitutional.  City attorney Gary Woods said the final tally might be less because the interest rate was incorrectly figured.   The Council voted to waive the normal second reading of the order due to the emergency nature of the order and to expedite the matter.