Picketers Protest Portland DHHS Move One Last Time

Nov 19, 2014

Ashley Gorczyca, a community organizer for Homeless Voices for Justice, pickets outside the DHHS office in Portland Wednesday morning.
Credit Irwin Gratz / MPBN

PORTLAND, Maine - For one final time, protestors picketed outside the Department of Health and Human Services building in Portland. They object to plans to move the facility to a new structure in South Portland.

John Monahan, an advocate for the group Homeless Voices for Justice, says it's still a bad idea, but given last month's election results, it'll soon be a done deal.

It looks like this is going to be moving forward anyway, so this is our last press conference on the issue at the moment," Monahan says. "We hope to keep these things in people's minds moving forward because LePage is going to be governor for the next four years.  We'll need to think of creative ways of working with him from all sides and coming up with solutions for these types of problems."

The protestors say many DHHS clients who live on the Portland peninsula will lose the ability to walk to the office and combine their visits with visits to other social service agencies nearby.

The LePage administration says moving to the new offices will save the state millions of dollars a year in rent, and says two-thirds of those who visit the department offices come by car and won't be seriously inconvenienced by the move.