Blueberry Road Building Funded as Shelter for Asylum Seekers. is Now Questionable


A “For Lease” sign Remains on the 90 Blueberry Road Property With no Sign of Activity Thereon.

Some of the Cots Set Up and Ready for Use at The EXPO for Asylum Seekers.

The Massive Building on Blueberry Road Which Could Become a 280 Bed Shelter for Asylum Seekers This Summer.

Kevin Bunker, of Developers Collaborative, Has So Far Been Unable to Obtain a Lease at 90 Blueberry Road for Shelter for Asylum Seekers.. The “For Lease” Sign Remains on the Property. (See Above Left Photo).

“So, for the time being it remains up for grabs,” emailed Matt Grondin, communications director for Ecomaine, this morning. Matt was referring to the former furniture warehouse at 90 Blueberry Road that has been anticipated to accommodate asylum seekers currently sheltered at Portland’s EXPO – starting sometime this summer.

Matt said that as far as he knows the 90 Blueberry Road property is still for lease “as Kevin Bunker’s group hasn’t been able to lease it yet, as I understand it.” He also confirmed that Ecomaine has made an offer on the property as well, “but we were also unsuccessful.”

Last month, Bill Shane, Chair of the Board for Ecomaine, wrote a letter to City Manager West expressing the Board’s commitment and concern for housing those who need it at the rural Blueberry Road location.  “However, we do not share the view that the property at issue is a viable or safe solution.”

The Shane letter went on to cite two reasons that the city should not plan on a shelter for “new Mainers” in that location.  The first is safety.  The second is the impact of noise, odors and vectors from trash trucks on this population.  In response, Shane was told to contact Kevin Bunker, the developer directly, rather than the city.  This blogger has called Bunker on several occasions, but he has not returned the phone call.

Bunker was the developer for hedge fund owner David Sussman on the east end of Portland years ago.  Well into the plans of a modern development on Hampshire Street,  Sussman changed his mind and backed out of the project.  Bunker had to go to court to recover funds owed to him for work performed that Sussman had declined to pay..

Matt Grondin, of Ecomaine, said in an emal yesterday:  “There are more than 300 trucks coming down Blueberry Road to our facilities every day……..the diesel exhaust fumes, trash odors and sheer volume of traffic make this an incompatible setting for residences – ………” Matt emphasized it was not a good residential setting for any population – new Mainers or otherwise.

Earlier in the month Governor Janet T. Mills (D) office announced her intention to add $12 million to a “change package” to the budget that would provide funding for a 280 bed shelter at the 90 Blueberry Road shelter along with other housing projects across the state. (The 280-bed facility number is in alignment with the number of beds at the EXPO, where these asylum seekers are currently housed).

Meanwhile a city “Encampment Removal Task Force” has been meeting privately to address homeless issues in Portland – with no details on the specific topic under discussion made public.  “The city of Portland has been deralict in its duty.  This Task Force should have started work long ago, because this is not a new problem in Portland,” said ths blogger. In one email, Matt said the matter could go before the Planning Board soon.  Matt Grondin of Ecomane is married to Jessica Grondin, spokeswoman for Portland. .”

“It makes no sense for anyone to attempt to live outside in Maine; we mut insist that everyone be housed or sheltered when housing is not available. Finding temporary places for single adult asylum seekers seems to be the best path to opening up shelter beds for people outside.  Any and all options ought to be pursued as alternative locations for single adult asylum seekers while they await their ability to work,” wrote Cullen Ryan, Execuiive Director at Community Housing of Maine, in an email to

For more background information on Governor Mills (D) proposed “change package”, please visit post herein dated May 9, 2023.