Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine is the largest city in ME and is also the county seat of Cumberland County, ME. Portland’s current (2006) estimated U.S. Census population is 63,001.

Portland, ME boasts a 52-square-mile territory, of which 21 square miles is land while the remainder of 31 square miles is water. The city of Portland is actually a peninsula protruding from the Maine coastline between Casco Bay on the beautiful Gulf of Maine and the Atlantic Ocean. Portland is a showcase of the entire state of Maine; a sampling of every type of terrain is available. Urban city life and rural country settings, inland waterways, and ocean coastlines are sprinkled about from mountain vistas to sea level landscape. Portland is far enough north to be a considerably cooler and colder state than average for the U.S. High temperature averages never quite make it to 80 degrees as they top out at 79 degrees in mid July. More than half of the fall and winter months never see 40 degrees and consistent average temperatures of 20 degrees and below fill the calendar during December, January and February. Portland, ME is also known for its rainfall. While it misses being in the top 10, it does come into its own at position 14 with an annual rainfall of 43.52 inches. Directly across from the city is another peninsula-like protrusion from the mainland. While also a port based city, South Portland, across Casco Bay to the south of Portland, has more industrial areas than its northern neighbor, and about one-third of the population situated on half of the land area of the City of Portland.

What is now the City of Portland, began as a 6,000-acre grant from King Charles the 1st of England in 1623. The peninsula of Portland saw its first settlement in 1633 with the establishment of a fishing and trading village named Casco. The name Portland came about in 1786 when a split from the existing settlers formed the new town out of the area known as “the neck.” This area became the port on which the area's prosperity was to build. After two decades of growth, the port area was threatened by the British Embargo Act of 1807 and then the War of 1812. It wasn’t until 1815 that normal port operations resumed and got back on a growth track. Maine became a state in 1820 and Portland remained the capital until 1832.

Portland, ME is a microcosm representation of the entire state but it is also representative of America as a whole. It has the cultural opportunities offered by other large cities in the U.S., but seems to provide it on a more livable scale. The Museum of Art features work from the Masters such as Renoir, Degas, Monet and Picasso. It provides the residents exposure to the entertaining Portland Symphony Orchestra, and is home to the award-winning Children's Museum of Maine. The City of Portland avidly supports an established community of visual and performing artists. There is also an ever-changing array of exhibits, festivals, and concerts, well attended by residents and visitors alike. Portland’s popularity as an antique shopper's dream has become nationally known. Retail shopping has not moved to the suburban malls here in Portland. The Old Port area in the downtown section has been targeted as the place to shop. You’ll eat well downtown as well, with restaurants serving Maine's famous lobster dishes, local specialties, and the latest nouveau cuisine. Summertime sees many restaurants opening their outdoor decks for a fresh-air dining experience. As you relax at one of these sidewalk or dockside respites you may want to sample locally made beer such as Allagash, Shipyard, Gritty's, Geary's, Sebago; or taste Maine's newest entry into the vodka market, Cold River Potato Vodka.

Being the 25th largest port in the U.S. hasn’t stopped Portland from growing to be the largest oil port on the East Coast, as well as the port with the largest foreign inbound tonnage transit port in the United States. Portland has become Maine's economic capital. Over the years the local economy has moved away from reliance on fishing, manufacturing, and agriculture, and has moved towards a more service-based economy. Significant national financial service companies with operations in the state of Maine have set up their home base here. Bank of America, Key Bank, Fidelity Investments, Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, and Aetna are among the better known corporate residents.

Portland has adopted a nine-member elected City Council and a city manager style of municipal government. The council is responsible for making policy, passing ordinances, approving appropriations and overseeing the municipal government and city manager. The council also appoints one of its members to the ceremonial position of Mayor. The City of Portland and State of Maine do not provide for any form of municipal court.