We are a group of social service and health care organizations in Portland, including Catholic Charities; Crossroads; Day One; Group Main Stream, Inc.; KFI Maine; Maine Immigrant Rights Coalition; Maine Behavioral Healthcare; Maine Medical Center; Seventy-Five State Street; Spurwink; St. Joseph’s Manor; Sweetser; The Cedars; The Opportunity Alliance, and Youth and Family Outreach.

We want to thank members of the Portland City Council for ending the city’s state of emergency and enacting a mask mandate via ordinance. Dozens of residents shared their stories on the unintended effects that the continuation of the state of emergency would have by continuing the highest minimum wage in the country, as well as the importance of protecting the safety of the public.

As human service providers, we rely upon governmental payers and are reimbursed set fees to provide critical services, including those to some of Portland’s most underserved and vulnerable residents. We do not have the flexibility to raise prices to offset additional costs.

It has been made clear that many businesses, as well as the people they employ and the communities they serve, would ultimately be negatively affected by remaining in a state of emergency. We are grateful that the majority of the council was able to distinguish the nuances of this issue, recognizing that public health measures are not reliant upon a state of emergency. In doing so, they showed true leadership in making hard decisions by engaging in a transparent and robust public process.

Thank you to the Portland City Council and mayor for their openness and leadership.

Laura Cordes
executive director, Maine Association for Community Service Providers
Hallowell

Malory Otteson Shaughnessy, MPPM
executive director, Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services
Augusta

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