Portland Neighborhood “Kind of Sketchy”

Saco Woman Has Apparently Never Been to Philadelphia

PORTLAND – Kate Plourde, 26, found it difficult last night to convince her friend from Philadelphia that a certain part of Portland was “sketchy.”

Yesterday evening, after dark, Plourde and companion Kyla Hobart exited the Merrill Auditorium as Plourde casually commented that the neighborhood to their east was generally to be avoided.

Hobart, who grew up in urban Philadelphia, immediately expressed doubt.

“Where are all the porn shops?” she asked.

Plourde said the area known as “Bayside” and was generally regarded as a dangerous part of town. She suggested the pair proceed immediately to Plourde’s parked car as quickly as possible. As they walked to the parking spot, Hobart distinctly remembers the lack of any gunshot noises, cars trolling for prostitutes, or high-rise tenements where it appeared even the police would not go.

“I was thinking, as I tried to keep up with Kate who was walking really quickly to the car, that it just didn’t look that bad,” said Hobart. “And then I saw some big high rise, well, big for Maine, and I asked her if that was the projects. And she said yes, it was Franklin Towers, and just keep my head down. I tried but I couldn’t help but say hello when we passed a friendly old woman hanging around near the door.”

Upon reaching the car the pair drove north on the Franklin Arterial towards safety and I-295. Hobart distinctly remembers noticing that Bayside had fewer broken windows and more Whole Foods than the blighted neighborhoods she remembers from her native Philadelphia.

“After we got back to what I like to call ‘the Green Zone,’ but what you might call Scarborough, I called my old college friend from Trenton. We had a big laugh,” says Hobart. “I couldn’t believe we were running for cover past the UPS Store. But Kate still thinks we should have gone to the matinee.”

Plourde is currently trying to convince her friend to avoid shopping at the Biddeford Wal-Mart because it just isn’t worth the risk.

-30-

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