Portland

Elise Amendola / AP Photo

What is happening with the almost 300 asylum seekers who arrived in Portland in June? We will learn about their backgrounds, what is being done to accommodate them and facilitate the work-permitting process, and how people can help.

FILE: A Panhandler on the side of a street in Portland
Patty Wight/Maine Public

The city of Portland has started to use a mobile and online platform to try and raise additional funds for it new panhandling-to-work pilot program. The aim of Portland Opportunity Crew is to offer panhandlers the chance to earn money to clean up public areas while also connecting them to additional services such as job training and housing.

Jennifer Capriola / East Shore Photography

It was less expensive to live in Maine, on average, than in the U.S. as a whole, in 2015.

In the Portland-South Portland area — one of Maine's three metropolitan areas — the cost of goods and services was just above the national average, however. Rent in this area was also almost 10 percent above the national average.

Comparatively, rents in Lewiston-Auburn were only about 80 percent of the national average and about 90 percent in Bangor.

Culley and Watson on top of their new building
Fred Bever/Maine Public

The Portland-area housing market has been on a roll the past several years — or a steamroll for many middle income residents. 

Devastation left behind from the "Great Portland Fire" of 1866.
Arcadia Publishing

One-hundred-fifty years ago today, Portland suffered its third, and arguably worst, great fire. The Maine Sunday Telegram recently confirmed that the fire killed four people, but it left 10,000 citizens homeless and cut a swath across the center of the Portland peninsula, leaving behind little more than charred rubble. To commemorate the anniversary of the 1866 fire, we reached back five years into our archives, when Irwin Gratz visited the Portland Fire Museum, a collection of firefighting artifacts housed in an old fire station just steps from downtown Portland, and filed this report.

Homelessness Vigil in Portland
Nora Flaherty/MPBN

Homeless people and advocates will are sitting out all day today to raise awareness of homelessness — and make the point that even in the warmer months, it’s tough.

Portland city councilors vote tonight on whether to raise the legal age to buy tobacco in the city from 18 to 21.  The measure has already won approval of the council's Health and Human Services Committee on a three to nothing vote.
 
Councilor Ed Suslovic chairs the committee.  He says a lot of research shows that teenagers are particularly susceptible to marketing by tobacco companies and are more likely to become lifelong smokers.

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