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Tent occupants given 24 hours to vacate the Bangor waterfront

City says encampments are a health and safety hazard
Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 5:12 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) -Homeless encampments along the Bangor Waterfront are coming down.

The problem of tents popping along the scenic area has been growing in the last few weeks, along with concerns from the community.

"Came down to engage folks today to connect them with resources both public health resources and sheltering options and mental health options and things that they can do to try to improve the situation.” said Bangor Public Works Director Tracy Willette.

Bangor Police, Parks and Rec, and public health workers were on the waterfront Thursday where more than a dozen people have been sleeping in tents.

“I was here to help make them aware of services that we’re available." said Rindy Fogler, Assistant Director of bangor Public Health and Community Services. "I talked to the shelters this morning and knew that there was bed space available at the shelter so I was able to share that with folks.”

The expectation is that all of them will be gone within 24 hours.

“Generally the interaction we had this morning was positive." said Willette. "Folks understood, were receptive to some of the options and offers we were giving them for resources.”

Robert Kearns with The People Streetlight Outreach visited the waterfront to do some cleanup and echo the city’s new order.

“What I did is come down with coffee and compassion and love and caring and talk to these people about what they would like to do and they would like to get housing. They would like to get inside and they do see the problem with being down here.”

After a recent survey, the city estimates there are roughly 140 people living outside.

“I’ve seen the stories in the news and I’ve seen the meetings online and I’ve seen that this is a big problem and I’ve been following this for years and helping the people I call our neighbors without walls.”

Tents and trash can be found all over Bangor, with another high concentration off of Valley Avenue

“There’s a lot of clothing. Abandoned tenting gear. Human waste, signs of drug use, needles." said Sergeant Wade Betters with Bangor Police. "A lot of biohazards and things like that. So it’s not an easy thing to clean up.”

Kearns hopes the city can find a more permanent solution.

“I do want the waterfront beautiful but we need a solution that is bigger than moving them along.”

Copyright 2020 WABI. All rights reserved.

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