The city of Portland is not allowing press to inspect the conditions at an emergency migrant shelter operating out of the Portland Expo facility, a city spokesperson confirmed on Thursday.
“We are not allowing press inside the Expo for privacy reasons,” Portland Communications Director Jessica Grondin said in an email.
“You are welcome to bring a translator and visit outside to talk to families as they come and go,” she said.
Thousands of migrants have taken shelter in the open air gymnasium typically used for basketball by the Portland Red Claws, raising questions about what level of privacy migrants have even without reporters present.
Portland officials reopened the Expo as a shelter for the first time since 2019 due to an increase of homeless asylum seekers arriving in the city.
Despite public remarks from city officials suggesting that the city’s resources are strained to the breaking point, migrants have continued to arrive in search the same benefits and taxpayer-funded accommodations that have been provided through state and local government since the start of the pandemic.
Last Friday, when the Maine Wire tried to inspect conditions at the facility, a city employee refused access and claimed that journalists were only allowed to access the facility by appointment.
That employee refused to provide her name and her claim turned out to be false.
Similar press bans have not been in effect at various hotels and motels in South Portland, where dozens of migrant families have been staying since early 2020.
The Expo shelter is currently open only to families, not individuals.