A vandal spray-painted the words “Rent Strike Now” and “Shelter? Where?” on the stone plaza in front of the Jacob Cousins Memorial in Portland, but the damage was cleaned up by the city Monday, according to city spokeswoman Jessica Grondin.

Rent Strike Now is a reference to a national movement in which some tenants are vowing to go on a rent strike until the coronavirus pandemic subsides. With millions of people suddenly without jobs, some cities have banned evictions, but advocates for a strike are demanding that rent payments be waived for those in need, not merely delayed.

Portland Mayor Kate Snyder has called on landlords to halt evictions and suspend rent increases for at least 90 days while the city and state come to grips with the crisis. Maine’s court system stopped taking up new eviction cases March 13.

The granite monument with a bronze plaque overlooks Casco Bay from Portland’s Eastern Promenade and is dedicated to Cpl. Jacob Cousins, the first Jewish soldier from Portland killed in World War I, according to a history of the marker posted on the Friends of the Eastern Promenade’s website.

Unveiled in 1935, the memorial was part of an ongoing national effort to highlight the patriotism of Jewish Americans and their contribution during times of conflict.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: