Portland Landlords, Tenants Face Off Over Ballot Measure To Stem Rent Hikes

After almost a decade of red-hot growth, rents in Portland may have reached a plateau. But it’s a high plateau, and one group is trying to put a lid on it with a proposed ballot item to limit rent hikes and create a tenant-dominated oversight board.

The measure faces opposition from a well-financed campaign by landlords and, perhaps less intuitively, some advocates of affordable housing.

Winston Lumpkins was 21 when he arrived in Portland almost five years ago, with a dream of making it in the city’s charismatic culinary scene. He got an $11-an-hour baking job, and he’s making more now. But he has hopped through a series of rooms rented in city apartments, chased from one to the next, he says, by rent hikes every six months or so of 10 percent and sometimes more.

Fred Bever

Maine Public

South Portland zoning changes set stage for West End development

The South Portland City Council approved new zoning rules that city officials say will reshape two of the city’s neighborhoods.

The council approved combining eight zoning districts in the West End into four, a move that will allow a multi-use building with 130 to 140 apartments and ground-floor retail in the area known as “the triangle,” on Westbrook Street between Brick Hill and Red Bank, The Forecaster reported.

The council also agreed to create the Meeting House Hill Transitional District on Cottage Road between Viking and Pillsbury streets, that allows that business uses at seven properties.


South Portland council sets stage for changes in West End, Meetinghouse Hill

SOUTH PORTLAND — The City Council approved zoning changes Monday that pave the way for new housing and businesses in the West End, and a new coffee shop on Cottage Road in Meetinghouse Hill.

Councilors also approved the first reading of two marijuana ordinances that would spell out city zoning and licensing rules.

With little discussion, the council approved amendments in the West End that combine eight zones into four, three of which will be new. The new zoning will attempt to create a neighborhood core, and allow a proposed multi-use building with 130-140 apartments.

Councilor Brad Fox, who lives in the West End, has been instrumental in the planning process. Prior to the unanimous vote, he said “You’ve read about it,  you’ve heard about it. We’re all excited about it.  Let’s do it.”

Melanie Sochan

The Forecaster

So. Portland measures set to boost business, housing

SOUTH PORTLAND — The city moved forward with first readings on two zoning changes on Monday that could affect the city’s housing stock and bring new businesses to the city.  The measures both require second readings for final approval.

West End

The council unanimously approved a text and zone map change for the West End to pave the way to make changes in line with the West End Master Plan, which council adopted on Aug. 21. Zoning changes are needed to implement the plan.

The plan encompasses Brick Hill and Redbank neighborhoods and parts of Westbrook Street and Western Avenue and includes an earlier public-private proposal to build affordable housing.

Avesta Housing and Quang Nguyen, owner of Le Variety, want to create a mixed-use building that could include apartments for 130-140 residents.

Melanie Sochan

The Forecaster

Apartment complex for chronically homeless people opens in Portland

Avesta Housing and Preble Street have opened Portland’s third “housing first” program, Huston Commons, which is now home to 30 formerly homeless individuals with chronic health challenges.

Located near Morrill’s Corner at 72 Bishop St. in Portland, Huston Commons was named for Steve Huston, a former Preble Street employee who experienced and overcame homelessness and who was an eloquent and forceful advocate for housing first. “We all deserve the dignity of … a home,” he once said.

“The men and women at Huston Commons have not known stability or security for much of their lives,” Mark Swann, executive director of Preble Street, said in a news release. “But in this supported environment tenants no longer have to deal with the stress and danger of the streets and begin to hope, to heal, to work on recovery, and create community. Even just after a month, you can see — often literally — what a difference a home makes.”


Portland unveils new apartment complex to house the homeless

PORTLAND (WGME) – Tuesday in Portland, many people attended the grand opening of a new apartment complex that houses people in the area who are homeless.

The project is the third of its kind in the city.

The companies Avesta Housing and Preble Street combined to create the Huston Commons, which will house 30 homeless people in the Portland area.


Portland Opens Third Apartment Complex for Homeless

Portland, Maine (WMTW) 30 Mainers who were homeless now have a place to live.

The full-furnished efficiency apartments are home to Mainers who had been living on the streets or in shelters for years.Officials with the city of Portland opened Huston Commons Tuesday morning near Morrill’s Corner.

This is the third such complex in Portland, and the city says apartments like these are already providing a major benefit for those who now call them home.


New housing complex offers home to homeless

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER)– Some members of Portland’s homeless population now have a place to call home.

Preble Street officially opened the third complex of its Housing First initiative: Houston Commons, an apartment complex designed to help the chronically homeless by providing a permanent place for them to live. Huston Commons houses 30 people who have been living on the streets of the city for years.

Katharine Bavoso