PORTLAND — A section of one of the city’s busiest streets will be shut down Sunday night and during the Monday morning commute, according to city officials.

Portland Deputy Fire Chief Robert Wassick said a one-block section of High Street between Congress and Deering streets will remain closed until at least noon Monday.

Wassick said High Street was shut down around 10 a.m. Sunday after the brick facade on the fifth and sixth floors of a building at 142 High St. — called the Congress Building — began to bow out and separate from the wall.

A pile of bricks, which had been stripped from the facade of the two floors, was lying on the sidewalk Sunday night.

“We’re being very cautious,” Wassick said Sunday evening. “I would say the street definitely won’t be open for the morning commute.”

Wassick said the closure could last beyond noon Monday, depending on what city inspectors and owners of the building find. He said motorists should plan to avoid the area during the morning commute.


No debris, except for a few small pieces of mortar, appears to have fallen and Wassick said no one was hurt. The structural deficiency was noticed by a passer-by, who alerted a police officer. The building does not contain residential apartments, Wassick said.

The building’s management was alerted and an engineer was called. Wassick said the contractor will eventually have to remove the section of brick that has bowed from the structural members underneath.

The building houses the State Theatre on the side that faces Congress Street. On the side facing High Street, it has several businesses, which were closed after the incident.

The first two floors have a concrete facade, while the upper four floors are brick and have dozens of windows. The area of brick appears to have bubbled at the center of four windows.

City spokeswoman Nicole Clegg said city inspectors have determined that the building is structurally stable.

The city’s website lists Stone Coast Properties LLC as the building’s owner. Drew A. Anderson, listed in state corporate records as a principal at Stone Coast Properties, could not be reached for comment.


The bricks had been repointed about three years ago, Clegg said.

Mary Morton, 46, was having coffee in Congress Square Plaza with a friend when she heard a “crumbling sound.”

“We looked up and saw (bricks) puff out,” she said. “We told people, ‘Don’t walk over there.’ “

She and her friend then called police, who arrived minutes later with fire department personnel.

“I’ve had an interesting day today,” Morton said.

Wassick said the State Theatre will be allowed to hold Sunday night’s sold-out concert by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Extra security will be used to keep people away from the High Street block, he said.


Lauren Wayne, the State Theatre’s general manager, said the doors to the show will open one hour later — 8 p.m. — than originally scheduled to allow concertgoers the time to find parking.

Wayne said the show is sold out, which means about 1,700 people will be attending.

“We’ve been assured that the theater is safe,” Wayne said.

Wayne said the State Theatre is technically part of the Congress Building, but is separated from the building by a fire wall. All of the venue’s entryways and exits are also separated from the building where the bricks fell.

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