A man was arrested Thursday near Portland’s largest homeless encampment at the Marginal Way Park and Ride after reportedly entering a local business and threatening employees and customers with a knife.
In an email to city and state officials, local business owner Sanford Fogg described the incident, and demanded that city officials do more to protect businesses and innocent bystanders near the encampment.
“It is only a matter of time, and it almost happened a half hour ago, when one of these pitiful yet extremely dangerous addicts kill an innocent bystander,” Fogg wrote in his Thursday email. “And all of you who condone the illegal drug trafficking that has been going on for months, unchecked and un-prosecuted are going to be responsible.”
Fogg requested that the city provide full time armed police protection for the businesses on Marginal Way.
“We did not create this situation, but now we are asked to endure it. That time is over,” he wrote. “We are completely fed up and scared for our lives.”
Brad Nadeau, Media and Community Relations Liaison for the Portland Police, told the Maine Wire Thursday that the suspect “came into a business while under the influence and was waving a knife around.”
“He was taken into custody by police, before being treated by MEDCU [Portland’s ambulance service] and taken to the hospital,” Nadeau said.
“In the end, unfortunately, this is a mental health issue,” he added — not mentioning any charges that will be brought against the suspect.
Marginal Way business owners have been pleading with the city for months to do more to combat the danger the encampment poses to their — and their customer’s — safety.
In recent months business owners have reported finding weapons, including a “zombie slasher” machete and a loaded shotgun, on their property near the encampment.
Retail workers at local businesses recently described in a video put out by the organization “Enough is Enough” scenes of homeless individuals waving needles around wildly in their stores and parking lots.
Previous encampment sweeps at the Fore River Parkway encampment in September and at the Bayside trail in the spring has drawn ire from local socialist organizations and the Maine ACLU, which have been urging the ECRT to stop clearing out encampments until more permanent housing solutions are in place.