“EXPO” Ready to Accept 270 Asylum Seekers on Monday, February 10 Afternoon


Kristen Dow, Director of Portand’s Health & Human Services Office at the EXPO This Afternoon. Dow Has a Degree in Business from St. Michael’s College, in Vermont.  She Has Been With the City of Portland for 17 Years.

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

The Site of a Past Sturbridge Furniture Factory is Expected to House Immigrants this Summer on Blueberry Road.  The “Workshop” is Directly Behind the Sign.


Cots Are Up and Ready for Use; The Brown Coverings are Blankets.

“We’ve had more time to plan for this shelter for asylum seekers than we did in 2019,” said Kristen Dow, Director of the Health & Human Services office for the City of Portland this afternoon.  And no doubt the department learned a lot from that first experience four years ago that was useful now.

Unlike in 2019, 200 cots were purchased this year using 100 cots left over from four years ago.  The previous cots were provided through FEMA but not this time said Aaron Geyer, a city employee.  Three meals a day will be provided for the immigrants from Preble Street, Wayside and the Maine Immigration Rights Coalition (MIRC).  No food donations are needed now.  The total capacity for the new shelter is 300.  It is expected to reach that capacity quickly.

“We are really stressed on providing shelter for these immigrants,” said Dow.  It is expected to be temporary until more permanent housing can be located within city limits – hopefully in August.

It is hoped but there are no guarantees that a former workshop for Sturbrudge furniture will be rennovted sufficiently to house these immigrants this summer.

The massive building sits on Bluberry Road in a very rural setting.  Neighbors say they understand that is to be the new asylum seekers home, but they have yet to see any rennovation happening on the building. Kevin Bunker, of Developers’ Collaborative, is allegedly involved in the project.  He is the landlord of the new Homeless Shelter, 654 Riverside Street, that opened recently.

According to one neighbor, formerly the massive buiding served as a manufacturer of furniture.  But it closed down during the COVID-19 pandemic.  There is a For Lease sign on the property, but I don’t think anyone is interested except the city, he said.

Monetary donations may be made at city hall.