News Flash

City News

Posted on: June 8, 2021

City to Host Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for James A. Banks, Sr. Portland Exposition Building

portland news

The City of Portland will host a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, June 12, 2021 at 4:00 PM to officially commemorate the renaming of the Portland Expo as the James A. Banks, Sr. Exposition Building. City officials, members of the Banks family, and Portland Sea Dogs officials will be in attendance.  

On February 3, 2020, the City Council voted to approve the renaming of the Expo in honor of James A. Banks, Sr. after his work to save the facility, which was built in 1914 and is the second oldest arena in continuous operation in the United States. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City was not able to host a dedication ceremony after the Council’s action. 

In 1981, the City was struggling with how to reduce the deficit caused by public operation of The Expo. According to an article printed in the Portland Evening Express (Jan. 29, 1981), then-Portland City Manager Tim Honey had begun to make plans to sell or demolish the cavernous gymnasium after running a deficit of almost $89,000 related to its operations in 1980. The most significant opposition to the proposed sale or demolition came from the Advisory Committee of the Portland Exposition Building, led by James Banks. In this position, Mr. Banks spearheaded the fight to give operational responsibility for The Expo to the School Board and protect the City's primary venue of school sports programs and activities. Mr. Banks, as Chairman of the Portland School Committee during The Expo's rescue and revitalization, was instrumental in its incredible turnaround. By 1986, his work had been deemed a success; over $200,000 in improvements had been made to the once run-down, leaking building, including renovations to the gym floor, concession stands, and locker rooms. The ceiling was lowered to accommodate musicians, and the Expo was showing a $20,000 net operating surplus (Press Herald, June 6, 1986).

Mr. Banks was also a champion of the Portland Sea Dogs, and the Troubh Ice Arena, having served as a member of the committee to build the Ice Arena in 1983, a member of the committee to upgrade the Portland High baseball field, which is now Hadlock Field, and a member of the committee to restore the lights on the Portland High Stadium, which is now Fitzpatrick Stadium in 1986. He also established the Holiday Classic Tournament at the Expo to benefit the Portland High basketball program in 1986. 

He dedicated his life and career to public service by serving in the military and law enforcement, as well as through his personal commitment to ensuring the education of children and to the quality of life of the people in his church, community, and the state as a whole. 

Mr. Banks served for four years in the United States Air Force, four years in the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, and for 31 years as a member of the Maine Department of Public Safety, where he retired in 2000 as a Sergeant in the Bureau of Liquor Enforcement. 

He was elected to serve on the Portland School Board in 1979 and served for five and a half years. He was elected again in 1990, this time serving for a 12 year period in which he held the position of Chairman three times. In 2007, he was appointed by Governor John Baldacci to the State Board of Education where he served until 2013, and was the Chairman for two years. 

Unfortunately, Mr. Banks died on February 18, 2020 at the age of 80 after a hard-fought battle with cancer. 

Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in City News

traffic alert 2021

DPW Sewer Investigation on Free Street

Posted on: January 5, 2022
portland news

Portland Seeks New City Clerk

Posted on: December 16, 2021
ReCode Portland

City Releases Land Use Code Evaluation

Posted on: December 17, 2021
Friday News Round Up

City News Round Up: Friday, December 3

Posted on: December 3, 2021

City News Round Up: Wednesday, November 24

Posted on: November 24, 2021
Friday news round up twitter

City News Round Up for Friday, November 19

Posted on: November 19, 2021
Friday news round up twitter

Friday News Round Up for November 12, 2021

Posted on: November 12, 2021

Reminder from the City’s Parking Division

Posted on: September 28, 2021
portland news

CDBG Funding Process Begins in October

Posted on: September 28, 2021
Friday news round up twitter

Friday News Round Up for September 24, 2021

Posted on: September 24, 2021
portland news

Police Chief Clark Stepping Down November 1

Posted on: September 24, 2021
Friday news round up twitter

Friday News Round Up for September 17, 2021

Posted on: September 17, 2021
portland news

Portland City Clerk Named Clerk of the Year

Posted on: September 14, 2021
Friday news round up twitter

Friday News Round Up for September 10, 2021

Posted on: September 10, 2021
911 Memorial

City to Host 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony

Posted on: September 7, 2021
Friday news round up twitter

Friday News Round Up for September 3, 2021

Posted on: September 3, 2021
portland news

New Youth-Led Mural in Woodfords Corner

Posted on: August 19, 2021
Friday news round up twitter

Friday News Round Up for February 26, 2021

Posted on: February 26, 2021
Friday news round up twitter

Friday News Round Up for February 19, 2021

Posted on: February 19, 2021
Friday news round up twitter

Friday News Round Up for February 12, 2021

Posted on: February 12, 2021

Citywide Parking Ban Declared TONIGHT

Posted on: February 1, 2021