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Portland is the largest city in the U.S. state of Mainemarker and the county seat of Cumberland Countymarker. The 2007 estimated city population was 62,875. Portland is Maine's cultural, social and economic capital. It is also the principal city of the Portland-South Portland-Biddeford metropolitan area, with a population of 513,102, which includes Cumberland, Yorkmarker, and Sagadahocmarker counties. Tourists are drawn to Portland's historic Old Port district along Portland Harbor, which is at the mouth of the Fore Rivermarker and part of Casco Baymarker, and the Arts District, which runs along Congress Street in the center of the city. Portland Head Lightmarker in nearby Cape Elizabethmarker is also a popular tourist draw.

The city seal depicts a phoenix rising out of ashes, which aligns with its motto, Resurgam, Latin for "I will rise again", in reference to Portland's recoveries from four devastating fires. The city of Portland, Oregonmarker was named for Portland, Maine.

The Portland Public School District is the largest school system in Maine.


Native Americans called it Machigonne. The first European settler was Capt. Christopher Levett, an English naval captain granted by King Charles I of England in 1623 to found a settlement in Casco Baymarker. A member of the Council for New England and agent for Ferdinando Gorges, Levett built a stone house where he left a company of ten men, then returned to Englandmarker and wrote a book about his voyage to drum up support for the settlement. The settlement failed, and the fate of Levett's colonists is unknown. The explorer sailed from England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony to meet John Winthrop in 1630, but never returned to Maine. Fort Levett in the harbor is named for him.

The peninsula was first permanently settled in 1633 as a fishing and trading village named Casco. When the Massachusetts took over Casco Bay in 1658, the town's name changed again to Falmouth. In 1676, the village was destroyed by the Wampanoags during King Philip's War. It was rebuilt, then destroyed again in 1690. On October 18, 1775, Falmouth was bombarded in the Revolution by the Royal Navy under command of Captain Henry Mowat.
Longfellow Square in c.

Following the war, a section of Falmouth called The Neck developed as a commercial port and began to grow rapidly as a shipping center. In 1786, the citizens of Falmouth formed a separate town in Falmouth Neck and named it Portland. Portland's economy was greatly stressed by the Embargo Act of 1807 (prohibition of trade with the British), which ended in 1809, and the War of 1812, which ended in 1815.

In 1820, Mainemarker became a state with Portland its capital. In 1832 the capital was moved to Augustamarker. In 1851, Mainemarker led the nation by passing the first state law to prohibit the sale of alcohol except for "medicinal, mechanical or manufacturing purposes." The law subsequently became known as the Maine law as 18 states quickly followed Maine. On June 2, 1855, the Portland Rum Riot occurred.

Portland became the primary ice-free winter seaport for Canadianmarker exports upon completion of the Grand Trunk Railway to Montrealmarker in 1853. The Portland Company manufactured more than 600 19th century steam locomotives. Portland became a 20th century rail hub as five additional rail lines merged into Portland Terminal Company in 1911. Canadian export traffic was diverted from Portland to Halifax, Nova Scotiamarker following nationalization of the Grand Trunk system in 1923; and 20th century icebreakers later enabled ships to reach Montreal in winter.

The Great Firemarker of July 4, 1866, ignited during the Independence Day celebration, destroyed most of the commercial buildings in the city, half the churches and hundreds of homes. More than 10,000 people were left homeless.

The erection of the Maine Mallmarker, an indoor shopping center established in the suburb of South Portlandmarker during the 1970s, had an economically depressive effect on Portland's downtown. But that trend would reverse, as tourists and new businesses patronized the old seaport. In the 1990s and 2000s, rapid development occurred and continues to occur in the historically industrial Bayside neighborhood, as well as the emerging harborside Ocean Gateway neighborhood at the base of Munjoy Hill.. The Maine College of Artmarker has been a revitalizing force downtown, attracting students from around the country, and restoring as its main facility the historic Porteous building on Congress Street.



Downtown Portland
  • Ranked as Bon Appétit magazine's America's Foodiest Small Town (2009).
  • Ranked #1 on America's Most Livable Cities (2009).
  • Ranked #6 on Relocate America's Top 10 Places to Live in 2007.
  • Ranked #12 in the world by Frommer's in its list of Top Travel Destinations for 2007.
  • Ranked #20 in Inc. Magazine 2006 Boom Town List of Hottest Cities for Entrepreneurs.
  • Ranked #7 on the 2005 list of the 100 Best Art Towns in America. (The Countryman Press, April 2005)
  • Named #15 in medium sized Top U.S. Cities for Doing Business. In the overall category of small, medium and large cities combined, out of 25,000 cities examined, Portland ranked #32. (INC. Magazine, May 2005)
  • Named #1 Top Market in Small Business Vitality. The study suggests that Portland supports the strongest small-business sector of any metropolitan area in the United States and ranked it as the hottest small business market in which to develop a company. (American City Business Journals, January 2005)
  • Named #14 in Best Performing Cities index, for its economic vitality based on measures that include employment and salary growth, with an emphasis on high-tech industries. (Milken Institute, Californiamarker, November 2004).
  • Was one of the cities selected in "50 Fabulous Gay-Friendly Places to Live".

A complete list of honors can be found at the City of Portland Economic Development Center website.

Geography and climate

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 52.6 square miles (136.2 km²), of which, 21.2 square miles (54.9 km²) of it is land and 31.4 square miles (81.2 km²) of it (59.65%) is water. Portland is located on a peninsula beside Casco Bay on the Gulf of Mainemarker and the Atlantic Oceanmarker.

Portland borders South Portlandmarker, Westbrookmarker and Falmouthmarker. The city is located at 43.66713 N, 70.20717 W.


Downtown at Christmas
East End
Old Port

Portland is organized into neighborhoods that are generally recognized by residents, but have no legal or political significance. City signage does, in many cases, name various neighborhoods or intersections (which are often called corners). Some city neighborhoods have a local neighborhood association whose self-appointed responsibility is to maintain on-going relations with the City government on issues affecting the neighborhood.

Several neighborhoods incorporate the name "Deering" in some way. This is a result of the March 8, 1899 merger of Portland with the neighboring city of Deering, which comprised the northern and eastern sections of the city prior to the merger. Portland's Deering High Schoolmarker was formerly the public high school for Deering.


At the 2005-2007 American Community Survey Estimates, the city's population was 88.3% White (86.0% non-Hispanic White alone), 6.6% Black or African American, 0.9% American Indian and Alaska Native, 4.1% Asian, 1.6% from some other race and 1.4% from two or more races. 2.3% of the total population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. [7322]40.7% of the population had a Bachelor's degree or higher. [7323]

As of the census of 2000, there were 64,250 people, 29,714 households, and 13,549 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,029.2 people per square mile (1,169.6/km²). There were 31,862 housing units at an average density of 1,502.2/sq mi (580.0/km²).

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Portland's immediate metropolitan area ranked 147th in the nation in 2000 with a population of 243,537, while the Portland/South Portland/Biddeford metropolitan area included 487,568 total inhabitants. This has increased to an estimated 513,102 inhabitants as of 2007. Much of this increase in population has been due to growth in the city's southern and western suburbs.

The racial makeup of the city was 91.27% White, 3.08% Asian, 2.59% African American, 0.47% Native American, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.67% from other races, and 1.86% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.52% of the population. Portland also has a large Muslim community, with many Somali and Sudanesemarker immigrants. The largest ancestries include: Irish (21.2%), English (19.2%), Italian (10.8%), French (10.5%), and German (6.9%). [7324]

There were 29,714 households out of which 21.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.1% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 54.4% were non-families. 40.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.08 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the city the population was spread out with 18.8% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 36.1% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 91.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,650, and the median income for a family was $48,763. Males had a median income of $31,828 versus $27,173 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,698. About 9.7% of families and 14.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.5% of those under age 18 and 11.9% of those age 65 or over.


Due to being Maine's largest city, its proximity to Bostonmarker (115 miles to the south) and having the state's largest port, Portland has become Maine's economic capital. The local economy has shifted over the years from relying primarily on fishing, manufacturing and agriculture towards a much more service-based economy. Most national financial services organizations with significant operations in the state have their Maine base here, such as Bank of America, Key Bank, Fidelity Investments, Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, and Aetna. Several notable companies headquartered or partially headquartered here include: Unum, TD Commerce Bank, Maine Bank & Trust, ImmuCell Corp, and Pioneer Telephone. Several other notable companies that have an impact on the Greater Portland economy are located in the suburbs of South Portlandmarker, Westbrookmarker and Scarboroughmarker.

Portland has a low unemployment level when compared to national averages and the state average. Portland and surrounding communities also have higher median incomes than most other Maine communities.
Fishing vessels in c.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 2005 Annual Table Report , the Port of Portland ranked as:
  • The largest foreign inbound tonnage transit port in the United States;
  • the largest tonnage port in New England;
  • The 25th largest port in the United States; and
  • The largest oil port on the US East Coast.

The Portland-Montreal Pipe Line, a crude oil pipeline that stretches from South Portland to Montrealmarker, was a major contributing factor in these rankings.


The city has adopted a council-manager style government that is detailed in the city charter. The citizens of Portland are represented by a city council which are charged with the responsibilities of making policy, passing ordinances, approving appropriations, appointing the city manager and overseeing the municipal government. The city council is an elected body of nine members for which the citizens of Portland vote. The city is made up into five voting districts, with each district electing a city councilor to represent their neighborhood interests for a three year term. There are also four members of the city council which are elected at-large. From the nine council members a chairman is elected by a simple majority to serve a one year term presiding over all council meetings. The chairman is popularly known as the Mayor, which is primarily a ceremonial position. The current mayor is Jill Duson.

A city manager is appointed by the city council. The city manager is responsible for the daily operations and workings of the city government. Consulting with the city council the city manager appoints heads of city departments and prepares annual budgets. The city manager directs all city agencies and departments, and is responsible for the executing laws and policies passed by the city council.

Aside from the main city council there is also an elected school committee for the Portland Public School system. The school committee is made up in the same manner of the city council with five district members, four at-large members and one chairman. There are also three students from the local high schools elected to serve on the board. There are many other boards and committees such as the Planning Committee, Board of Appeals, and Harbor Commission, etc. These committees and boards have limited power in their respective areas of expertise. Members of boards and committees are appointed by city council members.

Notable buildings

Custom House, completed 1872
The spire of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception has been a notable feature of the Portland skyline since its completion in 1854. In 1859, Ammi B. Young designed the Marine Hospital, the first of three local works by Supervising Architects of the U.S. Treasury Department. Although the city lost to redevelopment its 1867 Greek Revival post office, which was designed by Alfred B. Mullett of white Vermontmarker marble and featured a Corinthian portico, Portland retains his equally monumental 1872 granite Second Empire-Renaissance Revival custom house.

A more recent building of note is Franklin Towersmarker, a 17-story residential tower completed in 1969. At 204 feet (62.2 meters), it is Portland's (as well as Maine's) tallest building. It is next to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception on the city skyline. During the building boom of the 1980s, several new buildings rose on the peninsula, including the 1983 Charles Shipman Payson Building by Henry N. Cobb of Pei, Cobb, Freed & Partners at the Portland Museum of Artmarker complex (a component of which is the 1801 McLellan-Sweat Mansionmarker), and the Back Bay Tower, a 15-story residential building completed in 1990. Recent development in the Bayside area on Marginal Way is anchored by 84 Marginal Way, or the InterMed Center, which features college student housing and commercial offices, and is the only mostly glass tower in Portland.

477 Congress Street (known locally as the Time and Temperature Buildingmarker) is situated near Monument Square in the Arts District and is a major landmark: the 14-story building features a large electronic sign on its roof that flashes time and temperature data, as well as parking ban information in the winter. The sign can be seen from nearly all of downtown Portland. The building is home to the studio of ABC affiliate WMTW-TV 8marker, as well as several radio stations.


See also

High schools

Colleges and universities


Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad

Sites of interest

Downtown Arts Districtmarker, centered on Congress Street, is home to the Portland Museum of Artmarker, Portland Stage Company, Maine Historical Society & Museum, Maine College of Artmarker, Children's Museum of Maine, SPACE Gallery, Merrill Auditoriummarker, the Kotzschmar Memorial Organmarker, and Portland Symphony Orchestra, as well as many smaller art galleries and studios.

Baxter Boulevardmarker around Back Cove, Deering Oaks Park, the Eastern Promenade, Lincoln Park, Riverton Park and the Western Promenade are all historical parks within the city. Other parks and natural spaces include Payson Park, Post Office Park, Baxter Woodsmarker, Evergreen Cemeterymarker and the Fore River Sanctuary. The non-profit organization Portland Trails also maintains an expansive network of walking and hiking trails throughout the city and neighboring communities.

Other sites of interest include:


Portland is home to a concentration of publishing and broadcast companies, advertising agencies, web designers and commercial photography studios.

The city's primary daily newspaper is The Portland Press Herald, published Monday through Saturday, and The Maine Sunday Telegram, published on Sundays. Both are published by MaineToday Media, Inc., which also operates an entertainment website,, and the Portland entertainment magazine, The Maine Switch. In February 2009 a second daily, the Portland Daily Sun, began operation; it is owned and published by the Conway Daily Sun in New Hampshire. Portland is also the home office of the Exception Magazine, an online newspaper that covers Maine.

Portland is also covered by an alternative weekly newspaper, The Portland Phoenix, published by the Phoenix Media/Communications Group, which also produces a New England-wide news, arts, and entertainment website,, and the quarterly lifestyle magazine, Portland {STYLE}.

There is also a weekly community newspaper, The Portland Forecaster, and The Bollard, a monthly alternative magazine, as well as The West End News, The Munjoy Hill Observer, The Baysider, The Waterfront, Portland Magazine, Port City Life, and The Companion, an LGBT publication.

The Portland broadcast media market is the largest one in Maine in both radio and television. A whole host of radio options are available in Portland, including WFNKmarker (Classic Hits), WJAB (Sports), WTHT (Country), WBQWmarker (Classical), WHXRmarker (Rock), WHOM (Adult Contemporary), WJBQ (Top 40), 98.9 WCLZ (Adult Album Alternative), WBLM (Classic Rock), WYNZ ('60s-'70s Hits), and WCYY (Modern rock). WMPGmarker is a local non-commercial radio station, run by community members and the University of Southern Mainemarker. The Maine Public Broadcasting Network's radio news operations are based in Portland.

The area is served by local television stations representing most of the television networks. These stations include WCSH 6marker (NBC), WMTW 8marker (ABC), WGME 13marker (CBS), WPFO 23marker (Fox), WPME 35marker (MyNetworkTV), and WPXT 51marker (The CW). There is no PBS affiliate licensed to the city of Portland but the market is served by WCBB Channel 10 in Augustamarker and WMEA-TV Channel 26 Biddefordmarker.

Channel Call Sign Network
6 WCSHmarker NBC
8 WMTWmarker ABC
13 WGMEmarker CBS
23 WPFOmarker Fox
35 WPMEmarker MyNetworkTV
51 WPXTmarker The CW

Movies filmed in Portland


Club League Venue Established Championships
Portland Sea Dogs EL, Baseball Hadlock Fieldmarker 1994 1
Portland Pirates AHL, Ice hockey Cumberland County Civic Centermarker 1993 1
Portland Phoenix FC USL PDL, Soccer Fitzpatrick Stadiummarker 2009 0
Maine Red Claws NBA D-League, Basketball Portland Exposition Buildingmarker 2009 0

Portland Sea Dogs in May 2007, with the Portland Exposition Building in the background
The city is home to two minor-league teams. The AA Portland Sea Dogs, a farm team of the Boston Red Sox, play at Hadlock Fieldmarker. Additionally, there are the American Hockey League Portland Pirates. Skating at the Cumberland County Civic Centermarker, they are an affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres. Also expected is a NBA D-League team to play in the Portland Exposition Buildingmarker for the 2009-10 season.

The Portland Sports Complex, located off of Park and Brighton Avenues near I-295 and Deering Oaks park, houses several of the city's stadiums and arenas, including:
  • Hadlock Fieldmarker - baseball (Capacity 7,368)
  • Fitzpatrick Stadiummarker - football, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, and outdoor track (Capacity 6,000+ seated)
  • Portland Exposition Buildingmarker - basketball, indoor track, concerts and trade shows (Capacity 2,000)
  • Portland Ice Arena - hockey and figure skating (Capacity 400)

The Portland area has eleven professional golf courses, 124 tennis courts, and 95 playgrounds. There are also over 100 miles (160 km) of nature trails.

Portland hosts the Maine Marathon each October.

Food and beverage

The downtown and Old Port districts have a high concentration of eating and drinking establishments, with many more to be found throughout the rest of the peninsula, outlying neighborhoods, and neighboring communities. Local lore holds that Portland ranks among the top U.S. cities in restaurants and bars per capita. According to the Maine Restaurant Association, Portland is currently home to about 230 restaurants.

Portland has also developed a national reputation for the quality of its restaurants and eateries. In the spring of 2007, Portland was nominated as one of three finalists for "Delicious Destination of the Year" at the 2007 Food Network Awards. In 2009, Portland was named the "Foodiest Small Town in America" by Bon Appétit magazine, as well as featured in the New York Times as a food destination.[7325] Many local chefs have also gained national attention over the past few years.

The city and outlying region played host to Rachael Ray in an episode of her Food Network Series $40 a Day.

Portland is home to a number of microbreweries and brewpub, including the D. L. Geary Brewing Company, Gritty McDuff's Brewing Company, Shipyard Brewing Company, Casco Bay Brewing Co., Sebago Brewing Company, and Allagash Brewing Company.

Portland is the birthplace of the "Italian sandwich." Southern Maine’s signature sandwich, it is called simply "an Italian" by locals. Italian sandwiches are available at many stores, but most famously at Amato's Italian delicatessens, which claims to have originated the sandwich (hence the name). [7326]

The Portland Farmers' Market takes place every Wednesday in Monument Square and every Saturday in Deering Oaks Park during the warm months and every other Wednesday in Monument Square during the winter. Fresh fish and seafood can be purchased at a number of markets on the wharves along Commercial Street.



Maine Medical Center and a jetBlue airliner, viewed from the South Portland side of the Portland International Jetport, 2009.
Maine Medical Centermarker a Level One Trauma Center is the largest hospital in Maine and is continuing to expand its campus and services. Mercy Hospital, a faith-based hospital, is the fourth-largest hospital in the state and began construction on its new campus along the Fore Rivermarker in late 2006. The project is expected to be constructed in several phases, with completion of the first phase scheduled for 2008. [7327]

Two formerly independent hospitals within the city are now being utilized in a different manner. The former Brighton Medical Center is now owned by Maine Medical Center, housing a minor care center under the name Brighton First Care and New England Rehab. Prior to being Brighton Medical Center, the hospital was the Osteopathic Hospital. The former Portland General Hospital is now home to the Barron Center nursing facility.


Portland is accessible from I-95 (the Maine Turnpike), I-295, and U.S. 1. Also, U.S. Route 302, a major travel route and scenic highway between Maine and Vermontmarker, has its eastern terminus in Portland.

Concord Coach Lines bus service connects Portland to 14 other communities in Maine as well as to Boston's South Station and Logan Airportmarker. Amtrak's Downeaster train service connects the city with Bostonmarker's North Stationmarker. Both Concord Coach Lines and Amtrak's Downeaster can be found at the Portland Transportation Centermarker on Thompsons Point Road. Greyhound Lines on Saint John Street connects to 17 Maine communities and to more than 3,600 US destinations.

A carsharing service provided by U Car Share is available as well.

The city operates several transportation hubs. In addition to the transportation center, commercial air service is available at the Portland International Jetportmarker, which is located west of the city's downtown district. Several car rental agencies are located at the jetport.

The Port of Portland is the second-largest cruise and passenger destination in the state (next to Bar Harbor). Ferry service is available year-round to many destinations in Casco Baymarker. Since May 22, 2006, Bay Ferries has operated a high speed ferry called The Cat which offers summer passenger and car ferry service to Yarmouth, Nova Scotiamarker, making the trip in five hours. Until 2005, Scotia Prince Cruises had offered service that took eleven hours.

There are two public bus systems in Portland. The Portland Explorer is a service that connects various transportation centers within the city and the METRO provides public bus transit throughout Portland and the surrounding area.

Numerous private taxi cab companies operate in and around Portland.

Notable residents

Birthplace of Thomas B.
Reed c.
1915 (since demolished)
Wadsworth-Longfellow House c.

Sister cities

Portland has four sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International (SCI):

See also




External links

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