Rick Porto was one of the good guys: a funny, caring, provocative personality. He served admirably for several years as the city’s director of parks. He was the Republican candidate for mayor in 1987 and likely would have become mayor had he sought the office again in 1989, the year Republican Mary Moran defeated Democratic incumbent Tom Bucci. Porto bled Bridgeport. “Hey, I’m Rick Bridgeporto!”
Porto also served as the 2006 ringmaster of the Barnum Festival. Porto’s painting business was located on Brewster Street in Black Rock. He was the kind of guy that welcomed you enthusiastically if you just dropped in to banter about politics, arms waving, pontificating about this or that. Rick was never short on opinions. He often leveraged words into action quietly helping folks in need. He was a combination of combustion and compassion.
During the 1987 mayoral election, developers shoe-horning condo complexes into all corners of the city had voters grouchy and candidates calling for a moratorium on condo building permits. One of those units was built next to St. Margaret’s Shrine, the sanctuary of peace on Park Avenue. Porto captured the sentiment when he highlighted the condo intrusiveness on the cherished statuary: “Christ’s hand is in someone’s bedroom!”
Porto passed away early on Wednesday after a courageous fight against cancer. He is now in the right hands.