Portland officials say traffic around the Portland Exposition Building on Park Avenue and the Parkside neighborhood should calm down tonight once President Obama finishes speaking at a campaign rally for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud.

A dispatcher at Portland’s emergency dispatch center said dispatchers dealt with a “non-stop” barrage of complaints about traffic delays and street closures when the president’s motorcade went from a fundraiser in Cape Elizabeth to Portland during Thursday evening’s rush hour. There were traffic delays not only in Portland, but in South Portland as well.

Park Avenue was closed to vehicles between Deering Avenue and St. John Street, and pedestrian movement through the neighborhood was restricted during the president’s arrival. The presidential motorcade arrived at the Portland Expo around 6:15 p.m.

“Presidential motorcade bringing a Washington gridlock of sorts to South Portland,” Max Riseman, a freelance meteorologist, tweeted around 6:15 p.m.

By 7 p.m. Jessica Grondin, Portland’s spokeswoman, said she checked in with Police Chief Mike Sauschuck, who reported that “everything seems to be flowing smoothly now but there could be more traffic delays when the president leaves.”

Grondin said traffic around the area should return to normal once the president leaves the city. She predicted that would happen sometime between 8 and 8:30 p.m. In the meantime, motorists are being advised to avoid the neighborhood around the Portland Expo.

Obama is headlining the rally for Michaud, who is in a tight race for the Blaine House against Republican Gov. Paul LePage, according to recent polls. Former Maine Sen. George Mitchell, a Democrat who served as U.S. Senate majority leader, also spoke.

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