A former barber shop, Lovejoy’s, at 15 Washington Avenue, has been an eye sore for a few years now. Recently it has become a “bum squat” - a place where transients in the area can live briefly – that is until a neighbor calls the police who show up and escort him and his beer or whatever from the small, hexagonal structure at the corner of Washington and Cumberland Avenues at the bottom of Munjoy Hill.
An example of this was earlier this week when mhn.com was walking past what remains of the structure and saw a body sitting upright inside the structure. “This has been my home for the last two days. I live on my sailboat off the Eastern Promenade,” said Brandon Carpenter, the temporary resident of the structure. Carpenter was sitting in the midst of a pile of Budweiser beer cans with his guitar to his right side. He said he’d drunk all the beer from the cans beside him during the night. He was preoccupied with looking, unsuccessfully, for matches to light-up. (See above photo.) He said he was getting ready to sail his small boat, solo, to Key West, FL in several days. “But, I’ve got a great view here. And no one has bothered me for two days. I’m in no hurry. And I’ve got a pocket full of money. What more could I want?” he asked. Neighbors said that police officers stopped by several days later, escorted him from his squat and confiscated his new supply of Bud.
On July 22nd, the city’s neighborhood prosecutor Trish McAllister, wrote to the property’s owner, Alec Altman, d/b/a Greg’s Properties Washave LLC, stating his property is in violation of two provisions of the City Code having to do with an “unsecured structure” and “rodent harborage.” The letter pointed out that Altman was sent notices of violations twice in June of this year. There has been no response from him to date. In the July 22, letter McAllister warned that if Altman does not respond by August 12, legal action will be initiated by the city. While the city has no authority over beghavior problems within a commercial property, it does have authority over structural issues.
In March of 2012, “The Bollard” did an in-depth story – “That’s My Dump” detailing the conflict that has existed between the city of Portland and the owner of the property Alec Altman. According to the article, Bingas Wingas bought the former dry cleaning building at 6 Washington Avenue. Altman had fancy plans to convert the building into another Bingas Wingas with parking spaces at the 15 Washington Avenue location for his patrons. It did not come together as Altman planned. The former dry cleaning business was fenced in and the fence is now decorated in blue thanks to a recent neighborhood art project. Altman did try to have the 15 Washington Avenue structure demolished several years, but the city prevented that from happening.
Altman owns the Yarmouth Bingas Wingas on Route 1.
Where does this go next? To court?
Altman could not be reached by telephone to answer those questions.