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Future of 300 Portland Expo residents discussed at city council meeting

The director of Portland Health and Human Services said the Portland Expo will close Aug. 16.

PORTLAND, Maine — City leaders in Portland are trying to figure out how to house hundreds of people because the Portland Expo will no longer be accepting additional residents. 

The expo is serving as a temporary shelter for asylum seekers and has been since April, but at a city council meeting Monday night, leaders said the shelter will close on Aug. 16.

At the meeting, Portland Health and Human Services Director Kristen Dow said closing the expo in mid-August will give the city time to restore the building, as it’s not meant to be a 24/7 shelter. 

Dow said the nine-week window will also allow the city time to find where these 300 people will go next.

A site on Blueberry Road had been planned to become a 280-bed shelter this summer, but the parties involved in that project are deciding not to move forward.

Director Dow wouldn’t give specific names of locations but said there are other potential housing options out there.

"We are hopeful with some housing projects that we know are coming online, as well as with some other shelter availability that might be coming available... that we can work towards getting these individuals all out and in a safe place," Dow told NEWS CENTER Maine.   

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