New Communications Tower Installed Today on Hill Firehouse Roof; Replaces Unsafe Tower

Climbing the Monopole to Place the "Crown" on the Top

A Rooftop View That Shows the Four Steel Prongs Holding the Monopole in Place (Photo Not Taken By MHN.com)

The Base of the Old Tower After It Was Removed From the Rooftop Today

By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,179)

Early this morning a large truck arrived on the Hill carrying a new communications tower to be anchored to the roof of the firehouse on the Hill. That was accomplished by the end of the day, although the monopole is not operational. It’s expected that by the end of tomorrow, it will be somewhat functional, although not completely functional.

The need for this new tower was discovered about eight years ago when a firefighter sleeping near the base of the old tower during a storm, told a city official that he had been unable to sleep because of the noise. After extensive research, the city determined that the tower was inadequately secured to the roof and the matter needed to be taken seriously, according to a source close to the situation who did not want to be identified.

The first step involved using a plumb line looking from North Street and determining that the tower was leaning to the left. Eventually, after much more research, the city determined that the ideal location for the monopole was on top of the firehouse roof. That determination was made largely (if not wholly) because of the necessity of securing the new monopole to a very large amount of ballast, which the firehouse structure provides. Important to keeping the monopole attached to the roof are four steel prongs on the roof top supporting it, which are secured into the rebuilt portions of the walls in the firehouse. The tower currently has two cameras on it looking out over Portland harbor and two more are expected later – all to provide port security. While some members of the firehouse consider it an inconvenience they could do without, others maintain this was the only way to insure the communications tower will be operational during a serious weather situation.

The cost of the project is $403,000: $173,000 coming from a grant from a Port Security grant; $100,000 from CIP funds; and $130,000 from operating budget funds according to city spokesperson, Nicole Clegg.

For more background information on this subject, please see Post # 1,160, dated 6/19/12.