Tuesday, July 28, 2020

There's more than one Portland!

Portland, Oregon has been stealing all the public activism headlines of late, with now two months in a row of daily rioting, or for the more sensitive out there, peaceful protests.

"Our" Portland had some demonstrations and protests some weeks ago, mostly targeting the Police Dept.  Brunswick has had one or two of its own.

Now comes word that "The Big Little City by the Sea" is trying to climb back up the PR ladder, in hopes of who knows what.  The one thing it is showing in common with its doppelganger on the left coast is a tendency to let protesters take over whatever they want to takeover, and ensure that sworn "Peace Officers" don't do anything to prevent them from interfering in the conduct of city business and property, or in taxpaying residents accessing the services they need.

You can find the entire article here: https://www.pressherald.com/2020/07/25/city-hall-encampment-gathers-donations-persists-into-4th-night/

Additionally, here's a letter issued by Portland City Government to its employees, indicating that it is deferring to the rights of the "encampment" to prevent employee and citizen to City Hall and its services.


City Hall Staff,
As the encampment outside our City Hall workspace continues to grow, we are concerned it has become an unsafe place for us to ask you to come in to work. Given that we continue to be in the midst of a pandemic, we feel the activities and behaviors right outside our offices are not safe from a public health standpoint.
Following our Leadership Conference Call this morning with City Manager Jon Jennings, we have come to the decision that we are going to ask that all City Hall employees please return to working remotely from home, and that you return to City Hall only for absolutely essential work that cannot be completed remotely. This decision is due to our need to make sure we are providing you with a level of workplace safety which you need and deserve as employees.
Each Department Director with offices in City Hall will work with you this afternoon to make a plan on what business must continue to take place here in the building, and who will do it. All other City Hall employees should plan on going home and working remotely, as you were during the initial months of the pandemic. Fortunately, we know most employees are already set up to work remotely from home, so we hope that we will be able to keep our work moving along for as long as this current situation is in place. If you are not set up to work remotely from home, and/or are unable to work from home, we will authorize Paid Administrative Leave. For those of you who must come in due to work that must be done physically here in City Hall, please come in to perform that work only, and leave as soon as you are able. Any and all vacation and other leaves (including unpaid furlough days) that have already been scheduled for this week should continue to be taken.
If you must come in to work, it is imperative that you only use the Chestnut Street entrance. It is also very important that you do not allow anyone in the building who may ask or insist. There will be an increased Police presence to insure the safety of employees who need to enter and exit the building. In addition, if you should be working in City Hall and notice something that makes you concerned for your safety - either inside or outside of the building - please call the non-emergency number at Dispatch which is 874-8575 and report it. If you must come to City Hall for work, you may park on the streets alongside City Hall. John Peverada is notifying his staff to not enforce parking regulations during this period so that you may park close to the building if you must come in.
Public Buildings & Facilities staff will continue to be present working in City Hall, so there will be staff present during regular business hours to make sure that our building is secure, and that anything that needs to be addressed will get attention.
We sincerely appreciate everyone coming in to work during this time, and we look forward to being able to welcome everyone back soon, when we can better insure the safety of all who work here. Please watch your City email for any notices regarding a safe return to work date. 
If you have any questions, please let us know. Be safe everyone.
Director of Human Resources
Human Resources Department
389 Congress Street
Portland, ME 04101
phone: (207)874-8624
fax: (207)874-8937
tty: (207)874-8936 

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