Welcome to Washington Ave. 3.0

Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight Portland’s Washington Avenue oyster, spirits and mystery restaurant are closer to reality; Crash Barry lashes back at Portland mayor re: weed giveaway; and the Portland Museum of Art has gained a Wyeth.

What we’re talking about

Inside Portland’s new food and drink emporium —  Construction crews are hard at work transforming the former wholesale florist emporium into Portland’s next gustatory nerve center. Under one roof, Maine Craft Distilling is quadrupling its space and adding a lounge; Boston’s beloved bivalve joint Island Creek Oysters is building a bar with garage doors opening onto a deck and a local restaurateur has leased a sprawling 4,000-square-foot space with wrap-around windows and high ceilings for the next 10 years. Welcome to Washington Ave. 3.0.— Kathleen Pierce

Mayhem at the Nickelodeon — Six films produced by Southern Maine Community College students will grace the silver screen at the seventh annual Maine Mayhem Film Festival at Nickelodeon Cinemas on May 10. This year’s lineup includes science-fiction, documentary, fantasy, comedy and horror films that range in length from 12 to 25 minutes each. Question-and-answer sessions with the student filmmakers will follow the screenings. — Troy R. Bennett

The 137th year in a row — The University of Southern Maine is celebrating its 137th Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 13 at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland. This year’s keynote speaker is Maine’s own David Brancaccio. You may know the award-winning journalist from American Public Media’s Marketplace Morning Report. Brancaccio has appeared on CBS, CNBC, MSNBC, and BBC World Service Television; his newspaper work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Baltimore Sun, and Britain’s The Guardian. — Troy R. Bennett

30 chronically homeless Portlanders are getting a place of their own — Preble Street, Avesta Housing and the Portland Housing Authority opened the city’s third “housing first” apartment building yesterday. The new facility, called Houston Commons, is already housing three veterans, eight women and 12 people who were recently living and sleeping outside, according to Preble Street’s Mark Swann. — Troy R. Bennett

Crash Barry, the high priest of pot defends his 4/20 giveaway — Facebook has become the new town common, AKA, speaker’s corner. And medical caregiver, author and weed enthusiast Crash Barry took to his page to vent on the backlash he received last weekend from Portland’s mayor:

“Portland mayor Ethan Strimling, though, a longtime fan of beer and booze-fests, was reportedly bothered by the crowd’s communal enjoyment of an eight gram joint. Meanwhile his fair city, littered with empty syringes, has addicts ovedosing daily. Every night, scores of drunks drive away from the Old Port, ignored by the cops, too busy with brawling bros. … if Strimling wants to cite me for a “smoking in public” offense, so be it. The hundred dollar fine would be a small price to pay for such a great time.”

The Big Idea

Another case for crafting a will  — A painting by Andrew Wyeth titled “River Cove” was bequeathed to the Portland Museum of Art thanks to the generous will of David Rockefeller. And that is far from all as Bill Trotter reports: “The billionaire philanthropist who died last month at the age of 101, made sure in his will that some of his vast fortune and possessions will remain in Maine, where several generations of his family have summered for more than a century. At the time of his death, according to Forbes, Rockefeller was the oldest living billionaire in the world and had an estimated net worth of $3.3 billion.”

 Kathleen Pierce

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Jake Bleiberg at jbleiberg@bangordailynews.com, or tweet @JZBleiberg.

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Kathleen Pierce

About Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.