Ecomaine Cautions City Against Planned Immigrant Shelter at 90 Blueberry Road

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The Site of a Past Industrial Warehouse, 90 Blueberry Road, is the Subject of a Cautionary Letter to the City’s Interim City Manager Danielle West by Ecomaine, a Neighbor.

The Massive Building at 90 Blueberry Road Which Could Become a Home for Asylum Seekers This Summer.

In a thoughtfully crafted letter dated April 11, 2023, William Shane, Chair of the Ecomaine Board of Directors, wrote to Portland’s Interim City Manager Danielle West of  concerns about the development of a new shelter for immigrants on Blueberry Road. These immigrants are currently and temporarily housed at the EXPO, in Portland and the plan is to relocate them to a new shelter some time this summer.

Mr. Shane, writing on behalf of Ecomaine’s Board of Directors, emphasized the Board’s commitment and concern for housing those who need it.  “However, we do not share the view that the property at issue is a viable or sound solution,” he wrote.

The letter outlined two concerns of the Board’s.  First, is the issue of safety.  It is  unsafe to house a vulnerable popultion in an industrial zone with trash and recycling trucks using Blueberry Road all day long.  Second, the impact of the undesirable nosie, odors and vectors from trash trucks on a population of new Mainers runs counter to the city’s “desires for greater environmental justice for its underserved populations.”

Finally, Mr. Shane states that he understands that a second location that he does not name is under consideration for develoment for housing for immigrants currently housed at the EXPO.  He urges West, the city council and city staff to strongly consider that option over the 90 Blueberry Road site.

“The city of Portland likes to put the trash where the trash is,” said Doug Anderson, a resident of Munjoy HIll in Portland.  “Out of sight, out of mind.”

Kevin Bunker, of Developers’ Collaborative, the developer of the 90 Blueberry Road site, did not respond to an inquiry from this blogger asking for his response to Mr. Shane’s letter..