City to Withdraw Support for Islanders’ Parking Says City Official; Contrary to its 12 Year Commitment

The Ocean Gateway Parking Garage That Has Been the Center of a Controversy for Islanders Who Were Initially “Evicted” From it. It is Owned by Portland Developer Jonathan Cohen.

John Peverada, Portland’s parking manager, has informed some residents of Peaks Island who are tenants of the Ocean Gateway Garage on Fore Street, that the city sees no obligation to them for their parking at this point. Peverada went on to say that the 150 spots reserved for Islanders, no more than 30 were used while the city subsidized the lot to accommodate 150 for Islanders. The city’s parking manager said islanders didn’t fill them and the garage is privately owned and managed and is no longer a responsibility of the city. (See above photo of the Ocean Gateway Garage on Fore Street).

This change in policy is a reversal from the long-time commitment of the City to support Islanders on this issue. City manager Jon Jennings is making too many of the decisions for the city council – sometimes based on the budget and sometimes not. Where is District 1 City Councilor Belinda Ray on this change in policy for many of her constituents? Deferring to the city manager?

Ara Aftandilian, of Essex North Point, LLC, Is Developing Much of the East End Waterfront, Including the Seven Story Building at 170 Fore Street, Across from the Ocean Gateway Garage. He Developed the Adjoining AC Hotel.

Peverada said that there have been meetings and there would be more meetings with a voice for islanders at future meetings. He believes that there should be more parking available in the area. But,where? The more construction the city approves, the less space there is for parking. Furthermore, Casco Bay Lines parking garage has closed its waiting list because there are 300 on it and it will take 15 years to get through it. For example, there are plans to build a seven-story office/retail building at 170 Fore Street, directly across from the Ocean Gateway Parking Building. (See above photo of Ara Aftandilian, of Massachusetts, developer of 170 Fore Street).

Who Knew? Jessica Grondin, has not responded to an earlier request for information on the subject, although she did respond to the “Portland Press Herald” on the subject.

Back in 2007, the City Council passed a resolution committing to support the Peaks Island Elementary School, create a Peaks Island Council and to provide “meaningful assistance” to islanders with respect to “parking challenges on the mainland.” Media Mavadones was the mayor at the time. That followed an unsuccessful effort by Peaks to secede from the city of Portland. Apparently city manager Jon Jennings has decided to break that commitment to the residents of Peaks Island.

Please see previous post dated April 17, 2019 for more background information on this controversy.

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