Portland mayor responds to concerns on proposed closing of health clinic

There’s been a lot of understandable outrage over the proposed closing of the India Street Health Clinic in Portland, and Mayor Ethan Strimling wants the public to know that their concerns are being heard.

Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling. Photo- Troy R. Bennett, BDN.

Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling. Photo- Troy R. Bennett, BDN.

He also wants people to know about the opportunities that will be available for them to make themselves heard and speak in front of the city council directly.

On Tuesday, he released this statement on his Facebook page:

“Recently I have received a number of inquiries and concerns related to the proposed closing of the India Street Health Clinic and the shifting of services to the Portland Community Health Center (PCHC) as a part of the City Manager’s proposed budget. Your engagement and activism is exactly what I and my colleagues on the Council need to hear as we move through the review process on the proposed budget. I know that this is a deeply personal issue and it takes courage to reach out – for that I’m very appreciative.

As I review this proposal, I will be looking to ensure that if any changes are made in serving those in need through our public health system, we must not experience even a slight reduction in service – including outcomes, wait times and comprehensive care. I firmly believe that a city can and should be judged by the way we treat the most vulnerable among us, and it is incumbent upon the council as we review the City Manager’s proposed budget to keep that in clear focus.

There are a number of upcoming opportunities to voice your feelings and concerns in a public forum before the Council. The first being at the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee meeting on Tuesday, April 12th at 5pm in Room 24 of City Hall. The second will be Thursday, April 14, at 2pm in room 209. I’ll be there, and I hope to see you there too. In the meantime, please continue to reach out to me as well as the rest of the city council to be sure your voice is heard.

Thank you again.”

Chris Shorr

About Chris Shorr

Chris is a sixth generation Portlander who loves all things Maine. He has worked with mentally ill and marginalized adults at a Portland non-profit, on a lobster boat in Casco Bay, at several high-end Portland restaurants, and at a local meat packing plant. He also ran for Portland City Council in 2013, wrote a weekly column in the now defunct Portland Daily Sun, and currently writes a weekly column in The Portland Phoenix.