The mother of a young woman who died in a fast-moving fire on Noyes Street four years ago is petitioning Portland officials to create a memorial to the victims on public property.

Lisa LeConte Mazziotti presented city councilors Monday night with an online petition containing 221 signatures that asks the city to build a memorial to remember the six young adults who died in the 2014 blaze. Mazziotti’s daughter Nicole “Nikki” Finlay was among those who perished in the early morning fire, which quickly spread throughout the house where people were sleeping.

“I have gotten a lot of pushback, so I thought this would be the next step,” Mazziotti said. “We think it will be healing for the victims and their families and the communities.”

The Noyes Street fire was the state’s deadliest in 40 years. The landlord, Gregory Nisbet, was acquitted by a judge on six counts of manslaughter but sentenced to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine for a misdemeanor code violation. Nisbet was released on Oct. 31 – a day before the fourth anniversary of the fire – after serving 70 days.

The fire prompted city officials to beef up Portland’s housing inspection program, including hiring more inspectors and requiring landlords to register their properties with the city.

Nisbet has since sold the property, which continues to be a place visited by family and friends of the victims, to a couple who are planning to build another duplex on the site. They have expressed an interest in finding some way to remember the six lives that were lost.

But Mazziotti thinks a modest memorial should be created on public property.

“We’re not looking for anything elaborate. Maybe a bench or a stone with a plaque,” Mazziotti said after the meeting. “I want it to be closure and healing for family and the many friends they had. I didn’t realize they had so many friends.”

City Councilor Brian Batson, who represents the neighborhood, said he’s interested in pursuing the idea.

“I think it’s incredibly thoughtful and I am interested in speaking with the Parks Department and family members of the victims,” Batson said.

Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: randybillings

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