Portland Issues COVID-19 Related Updates on City Services

Drew Sigfridson, SIOR  /   March 27, 2020


On Behalf Of Portland Downtown:


The City of Portland is issuing the following updates related to its COVID-19 response and resources.

City Hall & City Buildings Closed to External Visitors Until April 13

City Hall and all City buildings will now remain closed to external visitors until April 13 instead of March 30. All non-essential staff who can work remotely are doing so during this time.

Update on City Services

  • 2020 Revaluation Process:The City is delaying the timeline for the revaluation notices, which were scheduled to be sent in May. The notices will be sent at a time to be determined in the future. Information regarding the new timeline will be shared as it becomes available. For more information on this process and to keep up to date, visit revalueportland.me.
  • Taxes:The deadline for real estate and personal property tax payments has been delayed until June 1 with no interest.
  • Water & Sewer:The Portland Water District will waive any late fees on both Water and Sewer charges incurred during the State of Emergency.
  • Vital Records:The City Clerk’s office is handling birth, death and marriage certificates via mail. Please email them at cityclerk@portlandmaine.gov or call 207-874-8610.
  • Vehicle Registrations:All registrations including vehicle, trailer, boat, watercraft, snowmobile and ATV, as well as vehicle inspections, including temporary registrations issued by a dealer that expire during the State of Emergency are by law extended an additional 30 days following the termination of the State of Emergency. New and private sale registrations are currently on hold until further notice. Renewals of many registrations can be completed using the State of Maine Rapid Renewal System. Information on Rapid Renewal can be found online. For more information, email veh-reg@portlandmaine.gov.
  • General Assistance: The GA offices at 196 Lancaster Street will be closed to the public. Assistance will be provided Monday through Friday 8:00am-4:30pm by calling 207-482-5122. The window at the front of the building will be available for clients to drop off documents and to pick up vouchers as needed.
  • India Street Health Clinic:The Clinics at India Street are expected to open on Monday, March 30 with limited services now that clinic staff have completed their quarantine period. For more information, click here.
  • Emergency Shelters:The City’s Oxford Street Shelter for adults and Family Shelter for families are operating normally. Read more here.
  • Parking: The City is not currently enforcing expired meters or time zones. The overnight and daytime street maintenance parking regulations have also been suspended. Enforcement will continue for illegal parking, which includes blocking the roadway, parking in handicap spaces, blocking fire hydrants, parking in no parking zones, blocking driveways or sidewalks/crosswalks, and double parking.
  • Garages:The City owned and operated Elm St and Spring St parking garages will be closed, access will only be granted to monthly card holders accessing the Spring St. Garage from the Free St entrance. For the most part, other private garages are also closed.
  • Permitting & Inspections: Permitting and plan review functions are  operating virtually during this time. Emergency Housing Safety inspections are taking place. Other inspection operations are operating virtually as well. Questions about services should be directed topermitting@portlandmaine.gov.
  • Five-Cent Single-Use Carry-Out Bag Fee: The City has suspended the five cent bag fee for single-use carry out shopping bags until April 30. The public is encouraged to not use reusable bags during this time. Retailers are encouraged to make single-use carry out bags readily available. Single-use plastic shopping bags are not recyclable in curbside recycling collection. Bags should be put in the trash or brought to retailers who have special collections for these bags.
  • Purple Pay-As-You-Throw Trash Bags:The City has confirmed that the PAYT bags are in stock with all major retailers and many have added them to their online shopping offerings. While the City encourages everyone to use the purple PAYT bags they have on hand, DPW will collect trash in any bag on a temporary basis. Items must be in a bag that weighs less than 30 pounds. Bulky items will not be picked up.

Parks & Trails

City parks and trails remain open at this time as outdoor exercise is permitted during the Emergency Stay at Home Order, but you must maintain 6 feet of space between anyone not from within your household while doing so. Playgrounds, ballfields, and basketball courts are closed and should not be used by the public. 

The CDC has flagged mental health as a top concern associated with COVID-19 as social distancing may take a toll on mental health. Parks provide a connection to the outdoors and green space as well as opportunities for physical activity, which reduces stress and improves mental health. The City’s Parks & Recreation Department recently signed a joint statement from the National Recreation & Parks Association, along with more than 800 local park and recreation agencies, that encourages keeping parks, trails, and open spaces accessible as long as it is safe to do so, while following local, state, and national ordinances and guidelines regarding the use of these spaces.

The City encourages people follow these guidelines when using parks, beaches and trails:

  • Do not use parks, trails, or beaches if you are not feeling well or experiencing any symptoms.
  • Follow the CDC’s guidance on proper personal hygiene before visiting these spaces.
  • Be prepared for limited access to restrooms or water fountains.
  • Share the trail and warn other trail users of your presence and as you pass.
  • Observe CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing guidance of 6 feet from other persons at all times.