More and more cities and towns in Maine are celebrating pride by painting a number of their crosswalks in rainbow colors. The Portland Downtown organization has been grabbing paint and rollers and going through the downtown Portland area to create these works of art that recognize and celebrate the LGBT community.

Portland Downtown is a nonprofit Downtown Improvement District formed in 1992 to stimulate a vibrant, thriving, and sustainable downtown community. They are funded through a tax assessment paid by property owners within the downtown district and other supporters.

Members of Portland Downtown were out on Market Street at the intersection with Commercial Street with their Portland Downtown safety vests on to paint the Market Street crosswalk in red, yellow, orange, green, blue and purple, alternating between the existing white.

This is the third of 10 planned pride rainbow crosswalks: Here's where they will all eventually be found:

  • Park and Congress Streets
  • Park and Gray Streets
  • Oak and Congress Streets
  • Center  and Congress Streets
  • Center and Spring Streets
  • Center and Commercial Streets
  • Exchange and Spring Streets
  • Market and Commercial Streets
  • Pearl and Congress Streets
  • York and High Streets

As great as these crosswalks are, there are a small number of people who don't appreciate them, including a motorcyclist in Brunswick who vandalized the town's pride rainbow sidewalk back in May by laying rubber across it shortly after it had been painted. The entire incident was caught on video.

Others have complained in comments on social media that it's a waste of taxpayers' money. In Portland's case, the work was done by Downtown Portland so the only taxes used to pay for the paint and supplies came from property owners in the downtown district.

Actions and comments like this still show we have more work to do to ensure that the LGBT community in Maine gets the same respect all humans deserve. Hopefully, these colorful crosswalks can help bring people together in understanding.

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