Portland is a rejuvenated city that combines modern and historic buildings and districts with a thoughtful sense of what makes the city unique and lends it character. Walking tour brochures, available at the convention and visitors bureau, guide the visitor to Portland landmarks, the historic sites and buildings in downtown Portland, and the Old Port Exchange, reconstructed after the fire in 1866 and given a facelift in the early 1990s. This charming Victorian-style area of shops, galleries, and restaurants features cobblestone streets and old-fashioned gas street lamps, all contained in about a twelve-block area.
Northeast of Monument Square along Congress Street, interesting sights include the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, and the Neal Dow Memorial. The Wadsworth-Longfellow House, the first brick house in Portland, was built in 1786 by General Peleg Wadsworth, grandfather of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Longfellow lived there during his childhood, and the house, which contains personal possessions of the Wadsworth and Longfellow families, has been restored to the 1850s period. The Neal Dow Memorial, a mansion built in 1829 for a prominent Maine politician, prohibitionist, and abolitionist, contains the Dow family's furniture, paintings, and china. Victoria Mansion, southeast of Monument Square, is an Italianate structure notable for its elaborate woodcarvings, trompe l'oeil walls and ceilings, stained glass, furnishings designed by noted interior designer Gustave Herter, and imported marble mantels. East of Monument Square is Portland Observatory, where flags were once flown to announce the return of ships; an excellent view of the harbor is available from its 86-foot tower. The beautifully landscaped Eastern and Western promenades at either end of the city offer views of Casco Bay's Calendar Islands and the mountains to the west. The actual number of Calendar Islands is disputed; they are so-called because an early explorer declared that the bay "had as many islands as there are days in the year."
Stroudwater Village, one of Portland's oldest neighborhoods, houses the remains of mills, canals, and homes dating back 250 years. In the center of the village is Tate House, built in 1755 by George Tate, ships' mast agent for the English navy and later for the Czar of Russia. The house retains many of its eighteenth-century furnishings and resembles a London townhouse. Boat tours of the harbor and its islands, historic lighthouses, and forts are also available.
Arts and Culture
Portland is the state's cultural showplace. Portland Performing Arts Center showcases the Portland Stage Company, whose seven-production season extends from September through May. Considered Maine's premier professional theatre, their productions range from classic to new. Theatrical performances are also presented by the Mad Horse Theatre Company, which offers cutting-edge works at the Portland Performing Arts Center; Maine Children's Theatre; and Portland Lyric Theatre, which brings Broadway musicals to South Portland in a September to May season. Summer visitors are entertained by a variety of professional theatrical performances as well as musical and other entertainment.
Dance performances are scheduled by the Portland Ballet Company, which has a repertoire of more than 30 ballets ranging from classic to contemporary. Maine State Ballet, based in nearby Falmouth, also presents ballet in Portland.
The nationally acclaimed Portland Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Toshiyuki Shimada, performs at Merrill Auditorium. The orchestra offers classical and pops concerts from October through April, plus "Independence Pops" concerts in July and "Magic of Christmas" concerts in December. The Portland Opera Repertory Theatre (PORT) performs grand opera in the city's Merrill Auditorium during summer and winter. The Portland Concert Association presents dance, opera, musical theater, jazz, and classical music throughout the year. The 1929 State Theatre offers a variety of music performances.
The Portland Museum of Art displays fine and decorative arts dating from the eighteenth century to the present. Featured are works by American artists such as Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Rockwell Kent, Marsden Hartley, Andrew Wyeth, and Hiram Powers, and by such European artists as Auguste Renoir, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Edgar Degas, and Mary Cassatt. An extensive glass collection features the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany. The museum's primary building, designed by I. M. Pei and Partners, strives to capture the quality of "portland light" for the benefit of the art displayed there. Its neighboring buildings are the McLellan House, which dates from 1801, and the L.D.M. Sweat Galleries, a 1911 Beaux Arts structure; both of these buildings display American paintings and decorative arts.
The Museum of African Culture, formerly the Museum of African Tribal Art, is the only museum in New England devoted exclusively to Sub-Saharan African tribal arts. The art and artifacts of its permanent collection total more than 1,500 items. The Institute of Contemporary Art, located on the campus of the Maine College of Art, showcases new trends in contemporary art. The Salt Gallery exhibit features student and professional work in documentary studies/photography. The Children's Museum of Maine offers participatory exhibits for children up to 10 years of age, including a farm, a grocery store, a car repair shop, and a vet clinic. Portland's smaller museums include the Fire Museum, showcasing antique fire-fighting equipment; Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Company & Museum, which exhibits a parlor car, coaches, and locomotives, also offers 30-minute train rides along Casco Bay; the Portland Harbor Museum (formerly the Spring Point Museum) featuring local history and views of Portland Harbor; and the exhibits of the Maine Historical Society.
Festivals and Holidays
The Portland Flower Show, a four-day event held in March offering a taste of spring, is the largest flower show in northern New England. The show features landscaping displays, lectures, floral auctions, and food. Portland's visitors and residents enjoy summer sidewalk art shows, street festivals, and outdoor performances by puppeteers, clowns, comics, and musicians. The Old Port Festival, held in June, is Maine's largest one-day event. Held throughout the Port-land's waterfront district, it features performance and visual artists, concerts, food vendors, crafts, parades, and more. Other June celebrations include the Greek Heritage Festival and the L. L. Bean Paddle Sports Festival. Independence Day is celebrated during a Fourth of July Festival featuring a fireworks display. The Portland Festival of Nations, also in July, celebrates the city's ethnic diversity and features an international bazaar. Maine's largest gathering of performance and visual artists, writers, circus performers, crafts experts, and chefs occurs in mid-August during the Maine Festival in nearby Brunswick. Art on the Porch presents works by more than 30 artisans. The MS Regatta Harborfest, also held in August, is Maine's largest sailing race. A fundraiser for Multiple Sclerosis, events include a Gala Charity Auction, and a weekend of activities that include sailboat, tugboat, and powerboat parades, a sailboat regatta, and a shore-side festival at the Maine State Pier in Portland. A variety of agricultural fairs are held in the region during the fall. The Christmas season is heralded by the Light Up Your Holidays tree-lighting ceremony in late November, featuring hayrides and caroling. The year culminates with Maine's official New Year's Eve celebration. Known as New Year's Portland, festivities include theatrical and musical performances of all kinds, plus indoor fireworks and special programs for children.
Sports for the Spectator
The American Hockey League's Portland Pirates entertain hockey fans at the 8,798-seat Cumberland County Civic Center from fall to spring. Hadlock Field is home to the Eastern League Double A baseball team, the Sea Dogs, an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. Cruise lines and helicopter charter services in Portland offer whale watching expeditions.
Sports for the Participant
The Portland region is blessed with an abundance of coastline offering sandy beaches and opportunities for swimming, sailing, camping, whitewater rafting, fishing, and lobstering. The city boasts more than 100 miles of nature and walking trails, including a network of 10 miles of trails that line the bay. The Portland area has 11 professional golf courses and 124 tennis courts. The Portland Parks and Recreation Department maintains an extensive park system, including the Riverside Golf Course, Eastern Promenade, and Deering Oaks Park, designed by Olmsted. Many state parks and ski areas are located nearby.
Shopping and Dining
Portland and its environs offer shopping opportunities of all descriptions. The centerpiece of Portland is the Old Port Exchange, where nineteenth-century buildings and warehouses have been restored and converted to a wide variety of specialty stores. The downtown area is a colorful mix of shops and restaurants in a Victorian setting; side streets leading to the bay contain small shops offering the interesting and unusual. The Maine Mall, located in South Portland, is the largest indoor shopping center in the state, with more than 140 stores. Freeport, 12 miles north of Portland, is home to L. L. Bean, the famous outdoor outfitter. Open 24 hours a day all year round, the store has been so successful that it has attracted more than 125 outlet stores to the area. The 30,000 square-foot Portland Public Market features more than 30 locally-owned businesses selling a wide range of fresh or preserved foods grown or produced in Maine. The city's Arts District, located a few blocks from the waterfront, is home to more than 50 galleries and spotlights Maine's premier artists.
As a tourist center and the home of a sophisticated populace, Portland boasts a wide variety of dining opportunities. The city purportedly has more restaurants per capita than any other city except San Francisco. Hundreds of Portland's restaurants offer traditional "Downeast" fare such as the famed Maine lobster, clams, mussels, and other fresh seafood, as well as ethnic and international specialties. Sidewalk cafes, where diners may enjoy the fresh sea air in a casual setting, are very popular in the city.
Visitor Information: Convention and Visitors Bureau of Greater Portland, 245 Commercial Street, Portland, ME 04101; telephone (207)772-5800. State Visitor Information; telephone (800)533-9595
Major Industries and Commercial Activity
The Portland MSA is the strongest economic region in the state. Maine companies have a higher survival rate than the national average, as well as above-average rates of sales growth. The Portland area's concentration of population (the Portland MSA includes 25 percent of the state's population) and accessibility to other markets in New England have made the city a focal point for development. A study released by American City Business Journals in January 2005 found that the Portland metropolitan area has the strongest small-business sector (defined as companies with 100 or fewer employees) of any large metropolitan area in the United States. Portland's ratio of 3,301 such companies per 100,000 residents substantially exceeds that of all other major markets. About one third of all Portland businesses are service related, while 20 percent are retail, 10 percent government, and less than 10 percent manufacturing; the remaining few are miscellaneous businesses.
Portland is a leading wholesale distribution point for northern New England as well as an important retail center, catering mostly to pedestrian shoppers. These industries, as well as tourism, received a boost after outdoor outfitter L. L. Bean opened in nearby Freeport in 1917; since 1951, the phenomenally popular store has been open 24 hours a day. L. L. Bean's headquarters are located down the street from this flagship store, which has grown to 160,000 square feet and draws nearly three million visitors annually. Many businesses have opened stores in the area in recent decades, from independent boutiques in the Old Port and Arts District areas to the shops at South Portland's Maine Mall—the largest indoor mall in the state—to more than 125 outlet stores anchored by L. L. Bean.
Services, especially health services, play a very important part in the Portland area's economy; the Maine Medical Center, the largest hospital in the state, is one of the city's largest employers. In recent years, the city has seen growth in its service industries without significant erosion in other sectors of the economy.
The finance industry has a long tradition in Portland, and the third-largest banking and financial services company in New England—Bank North Group—is headquartered there. UnumProvident, a holding company headquartered in Tennessee, has a significant presence in Portland; its subsidiary Unum Life Insurance Company of America is based in Portland.
Portland's port is the largest in New England in terms of tonnage. Portland is one of the chief trading ports on the Atlantic coast and plays a major role in Maine's paper and pulp trade. The state's annual lobster catch is the largest in the country; Portland is a major center for this activity, having benefited from efforts begun by environmentalists in the 1960s to clean up rivers and harbors.
Items and goods produced: food and paper products, leather goods, metals and machinery, lumber and wood
Incentive Programs—New and Existing Companies
Portland's Economic Development Center (EDC) serves as the city's one-stop shop for starting, expanding, or relocating a business. EDC serves as an information clearinghouse and offers assistance with permits and regulations; financial incentives; site selection; marketing and public relations; and business technical assistance and development. The Resource Hub is a one-stop business assistance center for entrepreneurs and small businesses. The Downtown Portland Corporation (DPC), an arm of the city's Economic Development Department, seeks to combine the resources and initiative of the public and private sectors to promote downtown growth.
The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME,) assists economic development by providing capital for businesses through a wide variety of programs. FAME offers direct loans; credit enhancement through risk reduction and rate reduction programs; equity capital assistance for early-stage businesses; and cooperative programs with local agencies. Maine's Office of Business Development provides comprehensive financial, management, production, marketing, and other technical assistance to Maine businesses.
Job training programs
The Career Center at Portland, part of the state of Maine government, assists businesses seeking employees and individuals seeking jobs. Networking and workshops are part of the center's programming. Through the Career Center, the Maine Apprenticeship Program (MAP) offers on-the-job training in a variety of occupations. Maine's community colleges partake in the Maine Career Advantage program that combines academics with internships.
Transportation to and within Portland has been enhanced in recent years with Amtrak's new Downeaster line, running between Boston and Portland, and the new Portland Explorer Express Bus Service, which runs between major downtown locations, the Maine Mall, the airport, and the bus-rail station.
Portland's Planning and Development Department reported in 2004, "We are excited to see renewed interest in the rehabilitation of buildings on Congress Street for both residential and office development." The Congress Street area lining a ridge above Old Port has gradually seen renewed life since the mid-1990s, when the Maine College of Art moved into the vacant Proteous department store building there; the area is now referred to as the Arts District. In 1999, the federal Environmental Protection Agency awarded a $500,000 grant to the city to help clean up the Bayside area, a once-bustling industrial area the city aims to revitalize. City officials created a number of short- and long-term strategies to kick-start development in Bayside, including acquiring land, making Portland's regulatory process more business-friendly, and building new housing. Completed developments in Bayside as of 2004 include new housing, two new office buildings, two new retail outlets, and a new natural food store, located in a formerly vacant warehouse.
In September 2004 Portland's city council voted to amend the city's historic preservation ordinance to grant additional decision-making authority to the Historic Preservation Committee, now renamed the Historic Preservation Board; following the amendment, the board now makes the final decision as to whether major projects meet preservation ordinance standards.
Economic Development Information: Downtown Portland Corporation, 389 Congress St., Portland, ME 04101; telephone (207)874-8683. Economic Development Department, City of Portland, 389 Congress St., Portland, ME 04101. Finance Authority of Maine (FAME), 5 Community Drive, PO Box 949, Augusta, ME 04332; telephone (207)623-3263
The deepwater Port of Portland is the largest in New England based on volume of tonnage handled, with more than 21 million tons of cargo landing annually. Pulpwood, fish, and other food products are among the items routinely shipped through the port. Among all U.S. transatlantic ports, it is the closest to Europe. The port has a dredged deepwater channel and provides excellent berthing for all sizes of vessels. The city has two major marine terminals: Portland International Marine Terminal and Merrill's Marine Terminal.
Portland International Jetport, one of the largest such facilities in the Northeast, is served by Airborne Express and Federal Express. Air cargo totals at the airport in 2004 were 33,622,563 pounds. Freight rail service is provided by Springfield Terminal Railway and the St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad Company. More than 30 interstate truck carriers have local terminals and main or branch offices there.
Labor Force and Employment Outlook
Portland's labor force is young and well educated; 83 percent of registered job seekers hold secondary or post secondary degrees. The city is said to support more lawyers per capita than anywhere else in the country except Washington, D.C. Portland is the employment center for Cumberland County, with 42.1 percent of all jobs located within the city. Analysts predict that in-migration of people from large urban areas will continue. An unemployment rate tending to be below the national average reflects the city's sturdy economy. Employment projections to 2012 call for faster than average growth in Portland.
The following is a summary of data regarding the Portland metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.
Size of nonagricultural labor force: 193,900
Number of workers employed in . . .
construction and mining: 10,600
trade, transportation and utilities: 42,000
financial activities: 15,900
professional and business services: 21,600
educational and health services: 32,900
leisure and hospitality: 19,500
other services: 6,000
Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $13.88
Unemployment rate: 4.0% (February 2005)
|Largest employers (Greater Portland area)||Number of employees|
|L.L. Bean, Inc.||5,400-5,600|
|Maine Medical Center||4,600-4,800|
|Bank North Group||1,900-2,100|
Cost of Living
Many people have been attracted to Portland because of its relative affordability; however, overall costs, including home costs, have risen. State and local spending has tended to increase at a rate below the national average.
The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors for the Portland area.
2004 ACCRA Cost of Living Index: Not reported
2004 ACCRA Average House Price: Not reported
State sales tax rate: 5.0%
Local income tax rate: None
Local sales tax rate: None
Property tax rate: $26.53 per $1,000 of actual value (2005)
Economic Information: Portland Regional Chamber, 60 Pearl Street, Portland, ME 04101; telephone (207)772-2811
Major Industries and Commercial Activity
Early in its history, Portland's economy was based on the Columbia and Willamette rivers and their access to the Pacific Ocean. The town was a supply hub for area farming communities and a regional shipping center. The deep, fresh-water port helped the city grow into an important part of the growing lumber industry, and a number of manufacturing concerns settled there because of the ease of transportation.
Today, Portland is the third largest export tonnage port on the West Coast, with import and export shipments of $11.8 billion in 2003. Easy access to the north/south and east/west interstate freeway system, international air service, and both west coast intercontinental railroads make Portland an important distribution center.
Portland enjoys a long history of association with high-technology industries, beginning with Tektronix in 1946. There are now more than 1,200 technology companies currently operating in Portland. In 2004, Portland's largest employer was microcomputer components manufacturer Intel Corporation. Well-established support industries and farsighted commercial planning continue to draw electronics, computer, and other high-technology companies to the area.
Items and goods produced: electronics, machinery, food products, transportation equipment
Incentive Programs—New and Existing Companies
World Trade Center Portland assists businesses involved in international trade. Business in Portland allows area businesses to access valuable information to help them succeed, including site location assistance, store-front improvement grants, contract opportunities, and economic and demographic data. The Port of Portland, working with other local and state departments, offers a variety of businesses development and incentive programs, including a Small Business Development Program, a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program, and a Mentor Program. The Portland Development Commission administers a variety of programs to assist new, existing, and expanding businesses, such as the new Economic Opportunity Fund and the Enterprise Zone, E-Commerce Zone, Storefront Improvement Program, Quality Jobs Program, Employee Investment Program, and other assistance programs.
Among the incentives available to businesses in Portland are several financial programs offered at the state level, together with tax incentives, new construction exemptions, and tax credits. These include the Brownfield Redevelopment Fund, Business Development Fund, Capital Access Program, Entrepreneurial Development Loan Fund, and several others. The State's Department of Energy administers a Small Scale Energy Loan, which offers low-interest loans to businesses that save energy or produce energy from renewable resources.
Job training programs
The state of Oregon administers an educational program, the first in the nation, that establishes a statewide apprenticeship program and allows students to choose between job training or a college preparatory program after the tenth grade. The state's JOBS Plus program allows employers who hire a JOBS Plus-eligible worker to receive benefits that include reimbursements, the opportunity to train and evaluate the worker during the contract period, and the opportunity to treat the employee as a temporary employee.
Worksystems, Inc., funds providers of career placement and training services. A network of One Stop Centers offers job-seekers assistance with their career planning and job search activities. Due to an increase in the non-native English speaking population, services are also provided in Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, and Chinese.
In 1999 the North Macadam Urban Renewal Plan was adopted by the City Council. The plan seeks to develop vacant and underdeveloped land in the North Macadam area. Technical, environmental, and transportation difficulties had prevented previous efforts to develop the land. Redevelopment efforts have focused on providing transportation connections, space for housing and businesses, and greenway and open space connections. In 2005, development efforts were still ongoing.
In 2004 the Portland Development Commission, Metropolitan Exposition Recreation Commission, and Portland Oregon Visitors Association began to solicit proposals from vendors to construct a Headquarters Hotel adjacent to the Oregon Convention Center. It is hoped that the hotel, when completed in 2008, will attract larger conventions and trade shows to the Convention Center, add jobs to the Portland workforce, and increase tax revenues.
In 2005 construction began to make improvements on NW Third and Fourth Avenues between Burnside and Glisan Streets, which encompasses the Old Town/Chinatown area. The project is a partnership between the Portland Development Commission and the Portland Office of Transportation. The $5.35 million project will include improvements to streets and sidewalks, installation of trees and streetlights, and public art.
Economic Development Information: Portland Business Alliance, 520 SW Yamhill Street, Portland, OR 97204; telephone (503)224-8684; fax (503)323-9186; email info @portlandalliance.com
Portland's comprehensive transportation system comprises ocean shipping, transcontinental railways and highways, river barging, and a major international airport. The shipping industry is keyed to a lifeline of ship, rail, air, and truck service. Both West Coast transcontinental railroads and 110 trucking lines provide shippers with options for moving cargo. At the Port of Portland's five marine terminals, container ships, grain ships, bulk and breakbulk carriers, and auto carriers work around the clock. The Port of Portland leads the nation in wheat exports and is ranked fourth in the nation for auto imports. In addition, barges ply the Columbia/Snake river system, the second largest waterway in the nation, feeding the Port's Terminal 6 from as far upriver as Lewiston, Idaho, more than 300 river miles away. Foreign Trade Zone #45, administered by the Port of Portland, provides an additional incentive for international trade activity.
Labor Force and Employment Outlook
The work force in Portland is well-educated and very stable. The job turnover rate is low and productivity is high, compared to other metropolitan areas. The unemployment rate has remained below the national average for several years.
The following is a summary of data regarding the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.
Size of non-agricultural labor force: 946,100
Number of workers employed in . . .
construction and mining: 55,000
trade, transportation and utilities: 193,500
financial activities: 65,600
professional and business services: 121,200
educational and health services: 115,300
leisure and hospitality: 87,599
other services: 34,600
Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $15.84
Unemployment rate: 6.6% (January 2005)
|Largest employers||Number of employees|
|Providence Health System||13,496|
|Oregon Health and Science University||11,400|
|Fred Meyer Stores||10,500|
|Legacy Health System||7,972|
|Albertson's Food Centers||5,600|
Cost of Living
The following is a summary of data regarding key cost of living factors for the Portland area.
2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $292,952
2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 113.2 (U.S. average = 100.0)
State income tax rate: Ranges from 5.0% to 9.0%
State sales tax rate: None
Local income tax rate: None
Local sales tax rate: None
Property tax rate: ranges from $14.00 to $20.30 per $1,000 assessed value (Multnomah County, 2004–2005)
Economic Information: Portland Business Alliance, 520 S.W. Yamhill Street, Portland, OR 97204; telephone (503)224-8604; fax (503)323-9186. Oregon Employment Department, 875 Union Street N.E., Salem, OR 97301; telephone (800)237-3710; email [email protected]
Portland offers sightseeing attractions both in the city itself and in the surrounding area. A walking tour of downtown encompasses two separate national historical districts, including the largest preserved example of nineteenth-century cast iron architecture in the West, and a number of other nineteenth-century landmarks intermixed with distinctive modern buildings. The controversial Portland Building is the first major post-modern architectural structure in the country. The award-winning Pioneer Courthouse Square bustles with activity from outdoor art exhibits, concerts, and sidewalk vendors.
Portland is proud of its outdoor public art and fountains, including Portlandia, a 35-foot tall hammered copper sculpture of a kneeling woman, and Ira's Fountain, a cascading water sculpture dotted with islands and terraces across from the Civic Auditorium. Other attractions include The Grotto, a 60-acre shrine; the Japanese Garden, the most authentic example of Japanese gardens outside of Japan; the International Rose Test Garden; and the Classical Chinese Garden in the Old Town/Chinatown district.
Many other attractions can be found just outside of the city. Vineyards in the Willamette Valley are open to the public for tours and wine tastings. Some of the nation's most beautiful natural scenery can be found around nearby Mount Hood and the Columbia Gorge. Portland is 110 miles away from the Pacific Ocean.
Arts and Culture
The Portland Center for the Performing Arts is the center of art activity in the city presenting more than 900 annual events and featuring the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Newmark Theatre, Dolores Winningstad Theatre, and Keller Auditorium. Portland's performing arts groups include Oregon Symphony, Portland Opera, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Portland Center State, Portland Youth Philharmonic, Portland Gay Men's Chorus, and Chamber Music Northwest.
The Oregon Historical Society's History Center houses exhibits tracing the history of the Pacific Northwest from prehistoric times to the present. The Oregon Maritime Center and Museum features ship models, navigational instruments, hardware, and historical exhibits. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), one of the nation's largest, offers hands-on displays pertaining to science, including a walk-in replica of a space station, a planetarium, and a computer center.
Displaying exhibits of commercial memorabilia, the American Advertising Museum specializes in the history of American marketing since 1683. The World Forestry Center has recreational and educational exhibits relating to the forestry industry; a special attraction is a 70-foot talking tree.
The Portland Art Museum, one of the 25 largest museums in the country, houses collections of 35 centuries of world art, including European works from the Renaissance to the present, nineteenth- and twentieth-century American art, and Native American, Asian, and West African art. In 2000 the museum unveiled three new centers in its Millennium Project expansion: the Center for Native American Art, Center for Northwest Art, and the outdoor public sculpture gardens. The most recent project in the expansion program began in February 2004 as renovation and restoration started on the museum's "North Building," a former Masonic Temple acquired in 1991.
The Northwest Film and Video Center features traditional, historical, and experimental exhibits in the media of film and video. One of the oldest nonprofit art galleries in the nation, the Contemporary Crafts Gallery displays artworks in clay, fiber, glass, wood, and metal.
Washington Park is home to many children's attractions, including the Portland Children's Museum. It features hands-on exhibits for children through 10 years of age. The Oregon Zoo, which opened in 1887, houses animals from around the world. The zoo's latest project is a Great Northwest exhibit, which features animals and ecosystems of the Pacific Northwest region. Also of interest to children and book-lovers alike is the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden in Grant Park, which showcases bronze statues of Ramona Quimby and Henry Huggins and his dog Ribsy—characters made famous in the Portland author's classic children's books.
Festivals and Holidays
The centerpiece of Portland's special events schedule is the annual Portland Rose Festival, which lasts for 25 days each June. The festival features more than 70 events, including the Grand Floral Parade (second largest all-floral parade in the nation), a waterfront carnival, a juried fine arts festival, and an Indycar race.
Spring and summer bring several area jazz festivals, including the Mt. Hood Jazz Festival in August, which brings renowned jazz musicians from all over the country to the Portland area. In August, "The Bite: A Taste of Portland" presents a three-day extravaganza of music while Portland's finest restaurants and cafes demonstrate their specialties. The Portland Arts Festival is held in June, followed by the Oregon Brewers Festival in July. The Christmas holidays are highlighted by the spectacular Holiday Parade of Christmas Ships. A variety of festivals and events throughout the year celebrate the region's microbreweries and wineries.
Sports for the Spectator
Professional sports in Portland are led by the National Basketball Association's Portland Trail Blazers, frequent playoff contenders, who play at the Rose Garden arena. Professional minor league baseball is represented by the Portland Beavers, a Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres. The Portland Timbers are Portland's professional soccer franchise and members of the First Division of United Soccer Leagues. Both the Beavers, and the Timbers play their home games at Portland's PGE Park. Hockey action is brought to fans by the Portland Winter Hawks of the Western Hockey League, which is a major source of talent for the National Hockey League. A wide range of other sports activities can be viewed at several of the area's universities.
Portland Meadows features quarterhorse and thoroughbred racing from October through April, and nearby Multnomah Kennel Club provides greyhound racing in an enclosed facility. Stock and Indycar racing take place at the Portland International Raceway. Portland also hosts the Wrangler Rodeo Classic.
Sports for the Participant
Portland offers a variety of ways to satisfy the sporting urge. The mountains provide opportunities for outdoor sports such as rock climbing and hiking. Timberline Lodge, a National Historic Landmark, serves one of Mt. Hood's five ski areas and offers the only lift-serviced summer skiing in the country. Local rivers feature all water sports; the Portland area is a fishing paradise, offering everything from fly fishing for trout in mountain streams and salmon-fishing in the rivers to all-day deep-sea excursions on charter boats. Hood River, Oregon, is a windsurfing mecca on the Columbia Gorge. The Portland Marathon, held in early October, has been ranked as one of the premier marathon events in the country; its 26.2-mile course is open to walkers as well as runners.
The Portland Parks & Recreation department maintains 10,510 acres which include 102 neighborhood parks; more than 160 urban, regional, community and habitat parks and gardens; 4 golf courses; and 50 recreation facilities. Parks range in size from the 4,700-acre Forest Park to Mill Ends Park, the world's smallest park at 36 inches by 36 inches in diameter. Facilities include two amphitheaters; a skateboard park; tennis courts; sports fields; playgrounds; arts, music, and dance centers; and sports, fitness, and arts programming.
Shopping and Dining
Lloyd Center, Portland's first and largest shopping center, is located in the downtown core in the city's northeast section. Here, more than 200 stores surround an indoor ice rink. Washington Square, Jantzen Beach Super Center, and Clackamas Town Center are all located within a 20-minute drive of downtown. The Galleria includes several floors of unique urban shopping and dining. Pioneer Place in the heart of downtown features four city blocks of dining, shopping, entertainment, and the first-ever Sundance Film Center for Independent Film. Powell's City of Books, the world's largest new and used independent bookstore, is located in downtown Portland and stocks more than a million books.
The Skidmore/Old Town National Historic District at the north end of downtown offers many shopping possibilities. The New Market Theatre also houses shops and restaurants. Saturday Market, the largest open-air crafts market in continuous operation in the country, is open Saturday and Sunday, March through December, and features more than 300 vendors. The Water Tower at John's Landing is the home of a unique blend of shops and restaurants. The Sellwood and Hawthorne Boulevard Districts in southeast Portland and the Multnomah District in southwest Portland are favorites of antique hunters.
Portland features a number of restaurants specializing in fresh, grown-in-Oregon foods, as well as spots to sample famous Pacific seafood. The Chinatown district offers regional Chinese cuisine; a large number of other restaurants specialize in many ethnic foods. More than a dozen nationally ranked restaurants emphasize elegance and formal dining, and there are many informal bistros and other places to mix dining with nightlife.
Visitor Information: Portland Oregon Visitors Association, 1000 SW Broadway, Suite 2300, Portland, OR 97205; telephone (503)275-9750; toll-free (800)962-3700; email info @pova.com
Portland: Education and Research
Portland: Education and Research
Elementary and Secondary Schools
The Portland Public School System (PPS) enjoys a reputation for excellence and has been ranked among the top 10 education systems in the nation. Maine's largest and most diverse school district, PPS offers a challenging academic curriculum with a wide array of educational choices, including expeditionary learning and vocational training. The district's learning facilities range from a one-room schoolhouse on Cliff Island, to the second-oldest public high school in the nation, to a state-of-the-art elementary school under construction as of 2005.
The following is a summary of data regarding the Portland Public School District as of the 2004–2005 school year.
Total enrollment: 7,500
Number of facilities elementary schools: 10
junior high/middle schools: 4
senior high schools: 3
Student/teacher ratio: 11.2:1 (2002-2003)
Teacher salaries median: $47,682 (elementary school); $49,719 (high school)
Funding per pupil: $10,302
Approximately 3,000 Portland area students attend the city's 19 parochial and private schools.
Public Schools Information: Portland Public Schools, 331 Veranda St., Portland, ME 04103; telephone (207)874-8111
Colleges and Universities
The University of Southern Maine (USM) is the largest campus of the University of Maine system's seven campuses. USM has three campuses, in Portland, Gorham, and Lewiston, with a total enrollment of 11,007. USM offers more than 40 academic programs in its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Human Development, and Nursing and Health Professions; and its schools of Business, Public Service, Law, and Applied Sciences, Engineering, and Technology. The Maine College of Art is an independent school of art and design offering Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts degrees. The University of New England, a highly-ranked regional university, offers degree programs in health sciences, natural sciences, human services, management, education, and the liberal arts, and has the only medical school—the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine—in the state of Maine. The university is comprised of two campuses; the primary one is located in nearby Biddeford, while the secondary one, known as Westbrook College, is in Portland. Renowned Bowdoin College, founded in 1794, is located in Brunswick, about 25 miles northeast of Portland. Bowdoin graduated some of New England's most famous nineteenth-century writers, including Harriet Beecher Stowe, and was a home base for Arctic exploration, having graduated Robert E. Peary. Two-year institutions in the Portland area include Andover, with campuses in Portland and Lewiston; and South Portland's Southern Maine Community College. The Salt Institute for Documentary Studies offers semester-long programs in documentary studies.
Libraries and Research Centers
The Portland Public Library serves as the major resource library for the Southern Maine Library District, part of the Maine Regional Library System. It has five branches and one bookmobile. The main building, located in the heart of downtown Portland, maintains a collection of 315,603 volumes, 1,880 periodical subscriptions, 2,450 compact discs, 2,870 video cassettes, 6,990 audio cassettes, and 400 phonograph records. Special services include an Art Department, a HealthShare Program, a children's art series, and a collection of resources on Maine history, genealogy, and fine printing. The Maine Historical Society Research Library holds more than one million books, manuscripts, and maps related to Maine and New England history. Area colleges and universities also maintain libraries; among these are the Donald L. Garbrecht Law Library at the University of Southern Maine, which has 371,000 volumes and 3,328 periodical subscriptions; undergraduate libraries at the university house more than 400,000 items plus a special collection of antique maps, globes, and atlases.
Research facilities located in Portland include the Maine Medical Center Research Institute, which specializes in biology, genetics, outcomes and health services research, and clinical research; the University of Maine Marine Law Institute, the only law school-affiliated marine policy research program in the Northeast; the University of Southern Maine Center for Business and Economic Research; and its Small Business Development Center.
Public Library Information: Portland Public Library, 5 Monument Square, Portland, ME 04101; telephone (207)871-1700; fax (207)871-1715
Portland: Education and Research
Portland: Education and Research
Elementary and Secondary Schools
Portland is served by five school districts. The Portland Public School District, the largest in the state of Oregon, is governed by a nonpartisan, seven-member board that appoints a superintendent. Special programs offered by the district include a gifted and talented program, summer school remedial and enrichment classes, special education, and career education. Magnet schools in the district offer dual language immersion programs in Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese; a living history curriculum; schools for the performing arts; and early intervention programs.
The following is a summary of data regarding Portland's public schools as of the 2004–2005 school year.
Total enrollment: 53,000
Number of facilities
elementary schools: 60
middle schools: 18
senior high schools: 16
other: 4 (plus many contract education programs)
Student/staff ratio: 30:1
Funding per pupil: $7,242 (2002-2003, state of Oregon)
A variety of private education options exist in the Portland metro area, including the well-known Oregon Episcopal School and The Catlin Gabel School. Three Catholic high schools, several Montessori and Waldorf schools, and arts-centered schools serve the area's students.
Public Schools Information: Portland Public Schools, 501 North Dixon, Portland, OR 97227; telephone (503)916-2000; email [email protected]
Colleges and Universities
Portland is home to several accredited institutions of higher education. Concordia College is a private four-year college affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod offering bachelor's degrees in business administration, education, health and social sciences, liberal arts, theological studies, and environmental remediation. Lewis & Clark College, founded by Presbyterian pioneers, offers 26 majors and 23 minor programs. Marylhurst University is a private institution offering coursework leading to master's and bachelor's degrees to students of all ages. Oregon Health Sciences University houses schools of medicine, nursing, and dentistry, and is Oregon's only academic health center.
Portland State University offers strong liberal arts and sciences programs to augment its concentration on engineering, computer science, international trade, and business. Reed College is an independent liberal arts and sciences college. The University of Portland, a Catholic university, offers 60 majors and 12 graduate degrees in its College of Arts and Sciences and four professional schools (Business, Education, Engineering, and Nursing). Based in the Portland metropolitan area is the Oregon Graduate Institute of Science and Technology.
Libraries and Research Centers
The Multnomah County Library, the oldest public library west of the Mississippi, maintains a Central Library and 16 other branches throughout the metropolitan area. Total holdings include more than 2 million items including books, periodicals, videos, audio cassettes, compact discs, films, records, and maps. The County Library and its branches together host more than 450 computer work stations. The Multnomah County Library is Oregon's largest public library system.
Area universities also offer extensive library services, and there are a number of special interest and research libraries in the area, serving science, industry, and business interests. Oregon Health Sciences University is where both the artificial heart valve and cardiac angioplasty were developed; research there continues to be the catalyst for clinical and educational advancements in heart treatment. Cancer research in the areas of cancer biology, hematologic malignancies, solid tumors, and cancer prevention and control is also performed at Oregon Health Sciences University. The Vollum Institute for Advanced Biomedical Research studies brain function at the molecular level. At Oregon Medical Laser Center, researchers study the use of lasers in medicine. Other areas of medical research include cancer research at the Robert W. Franz Cancer Research Center and multidisciplinary research at the Earl A. Chiles Research Institute. Research activities in such fields as public health, computing and information systems, nuclear science, urban studies, population and census, sociology, psychology, aging, human services, and the Middle East are conducted at other centers in the Portland area.
Public Library Information: Multnomah County Library, 801 SW Tenth Avenue, Portland, OR 97205; telephone (503)988-5123
PORTLAND , Oregon's largest city with a population of approximately 1.5 million, situated at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers on the west coast of the United States; Jewish population (2005) approximately 25,000. The earliest Jewish settlers arrived from Central Europe in the early 1850s. The first Jewish woman, Mrs. Weinshank, opened a boarding house in 1854. Early occupations included peddling and storekeeping. Pioneer Jews, mostly concerned with making a living, recognized that the community would grow only if religious needs could be met. On May 2, 1858, eight men gathered in Portland's National Hotel to establish Beth Israel. The congregation officially organized with 21 male members. Reverend Samuel M. Laski conducted services above a livery stable and blacksmith shop. Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco loaned the torah and shofar, which were eventually purchased. In a town that sported five churches, one school and 55 saloons, Portland's first synagogue emerged. Portland quickly became Oregon's major Jewish community. Prussian and Polish Jews founded Ahavai Shalom in 1869. In 1883 a group of Russian Jews, formerly of North Dakota, established what is now the Conservative congregation Talmud Torah. Neveh Zedek, Portland's Orthodox congregation, was established in 1900, merging with Talmud Torah two years later. Ahavai Shalom and Neveh Zedek Talmud Torah merged in 1962 to form Congregation Neveh Shalom, Portland's major Conservative synagogue. Russian Jews established the Orthodox Congregation Shaarie Torah in 1905. In 1911 a group of Sephardi Jews from the island of Rhodes founded Congregation Ahavat Achim, and in 1912 Eastern European immigrants founded Kesser Israel, the only Portland synagogue still in its original location. Reconstructionist Havurah Shalom was founded in 1979. P'nai Or, founded in 1992, is an egalitarian, Jewish Renewal congregation.
Eastern European immigrants had begun arriving around 1900 and became the core of the Portland Jewish community. Settling at the southern end of the center of Portland's downtown, they formed a nearly self- sufficient community lasting more than 50 years. Everything – a kosher shopping district, five synagogues and a community center – contributed to a lively Jewish culture that intermixed with other immigrant groups who also lived in South Portland. The neighborhood changed radically in the late 1950s with an urban renewal project designed to replace residences with a business and commercial district. By this time, many of the second and third generation had moved to the suburbs. Most remaining residents were forced to move. Shops closed or relocated, buildings were razed and a unique part of Portland's history ended.
By the time the immigration from Eastern Europe halted in 1924, Portland Jews worked mostly as merchants and storekeepers or in family networks. Although Portland Jews faced discriminatory practices in country clubs and certain residential areas, for the most part acceptance came easily. Following World War ii, as shifts in economic mobility provided more occupational choices, Jews gained access to the middle class and positions in the non-Jewish world in professions such as doctors, lawyers, and upper level managers.
In the early 21st century Portland's vibrant Jewish community supported numerous communal institutions including a Jewish community center, established in 1914 by the local B'nai B'rith Lodge (founded 1879), the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, two elementary day schools, Cedar Sinai Park (a Jewish facility for the elderly), the Oregon Jewish Community Foundation, Jewish Family and Child Service, Northwest Campus of Jewish Life/Chabad Lubavitch of Oregon, the Institute for Judaic Studies and the Oregon Jewish Museum. Reed College and Portland State University both have Jewish Studies faculty positions. Portland has had many distinguished rabbis, including Stephen S. *Wise and Jonah B. *Wise (Beth Israel) and in recent years, Emanuel Rose (Beth Israel), Joshua Stampfer (Neveh Shalom), and Yonah Geller (Shaarei Torah) each of whom served their communities for more than 40 years. In 2005, Portland sustained 17 congregations. Prominent Jewish civic, business, and cultural leaders have made Portland their home (see *Oregon). The city has seen five Jewish mayors – the first was Bernard Goldsmith (1869–1871) and the most recent was Vera Katz (1992–2004).
[Judith Margles (2nd ed.)]
The first settlement on the site of Portland was built by Christopher Levett in 1623. The next year Levett returned to England, apparently to attempt to arouse interest in forming a city on the site, to be called York. He never returned, and nothing is known of the fate of the 10 men he left behind. In the ensuing years, the city was known by a succession of names and was the object of a confused flurry of land claims and counter-claims, until Massachusetts assumed control in 1652. By 1675 Falmouth, as it was then called, had achieved some prosperity, with a population of more than 400 settlers. That same year Indian wars broke out, and in 1676 the entire town was destroyed.
No permanent settlement was attempted after this until Samuel Moody was granted permission by the Massachusetts government to build a fort at Falmouth. Over the next fifty years the area grew as an important export and shipbuilding center, and by 1770 Falmouth was one of the most prosperous of the Colonial cities. At this time tensions against the British were rising and Falmouth was the scene of anti-British protests. In 1775 a British naval captain was seized by a party of Colonials and accused of spying; the captain was released on parole on condition that he return when requested. He did return a few months later, uninvited and in command of four warships. When the citizens of Falmouth refused his orders to evacuate the city or surrender their arms, the British opened fire and destroyed more than four hundred buildings. The town was not abandoned, however; during the Revolutionary War it served as an assembly ground for the military. By July 4, 1786, when the city took the name of Portland, the economy was thriving; forts and bridges were being constructed, the state's first bank and newspaper were established, and trade with the English and French was restored. Prosperity was checked by a depression from 1807 to 1809; the War of 1812 brought recovery, and Portland's industries and shipyards flourished once again. From 1820 to 1831 Portland served as the capital of Maine. Expansion continued with the development of steamboats and railroads.
City Survives War and Destruction by Fire
Portland was actively involved in the Civil War of 1861 to 1865, contributing about a fifth of its total population to the effort. Following the war the city quickly resumed its usual activity but was jolted by what was perhaps the worst in its series of disasters when, on July 4, 1866, fire destroyed most of the city. Rebuilding began immediately and many improvements were made.
Portland continued to thrive through the twentieth century's two world wars as a center of commerce, shipping, and industry. During World War II, Portland was the base for the North Atlantic Fleet of the U.S. Navy. After World War II, the city emerged as a major oil port. Following a period of decline, with the introduction of Japanese technology, the city became known once again as a major shipbuilding center.
Portland has benefitted from the spread of the Massachusetts high-technology boom and has become a national leader in technical infrastructure. During the 1980s and 1990s, Portland enjoyed increasing tourism and developed a national reputation as a highly livable city. In 2003, Portland was ranked One of America's Dozen Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The city has been named One of the 10 Great Adventure Towns, by National Geographic Adventure Magazine August 2004, and the #1 Top Market for Small Business Vitality by American City Business Journals, January 2005.
Historical Information: Center for Maine History, 485 Congress St., Portland, ME 04101; telephone (207)774-1822
The area surrounding present-day Portland was originally inhabited by the Multnomah and Clackamas tribes, who had established several villages by the 1830s. Most of these people died from smallpox epidemics and other diseases. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were the first settlers of European descent to travel through the Portland area during their 1806 expedition. Clark named the Willamette River after the Multnomah village he found on Sauvie Island.
The future site of Portland was originally a clearing in the woods, appropriately known as "The Clearing," where Native Americans and traders stopped to rest on trips between Oregon City and Fort Vancouver. The land underwent a series of ownerships until Amos Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove bought it and mapped out a town called "Stump-town" in 1845. Four years later the two men, Lovejoy from Boston and Pettygrove from Portland, Maine, decided to flip a coin to determine the town's new name. Pettygrove won and the town became Portland.
Portland grew steadily through the California gold rush, reporting a population of 821 residents, a post office, and a newspaper—the Weekly Oregonian — in the 1850 census. Portland was incorporated in 1851 and became the seat of newly created Washington County (later renamed Multnomah County) in 1854. That same year the town advanced toward becoming a major trade center when its harbor was selected as the West Coast terminal for The Petonia, the U.S. mail steamer. Prior to the Civil War the salmon industry began to grow, enhancing Portland's economic status. The city experienced catastrophe when, in 1872 and 1873, the downtown area was heavily damaged by fire; civic leaders subsequently decided to rebuild only with cast iron, brick, and stone. The construction of the first transcontinental railroad in 1883, linking Portland with the East Coast, brought renewed prosperity. By the turn of the century the population had grown to 90,000 people.
Portland continued to expand steadily through the early decades of the twentieth century; the Alaska gold rush, the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition, and the construction of the Bonneville Dam in the 1930s were important factors in its growth. During World War II the city was a ship-building and manufacturing center.
In the 1960s and 1970s Portland's city leaders were able to avoid problems experienced by other large metropolitan areas through economic diversification, controlled growth, and environmental planning. A precedent had already been set by early planners who had integrated parks and green spaces into the city's lay-out; later, city planners instituted an ordinance to protect scenic views. Local government continues to work on the Region 2040 growth plan to manage all aspects of growth in the metropolitan area to the year 2040. In 2005, Mayor Tom Potter took office with the goal of continuing to move Portland forward.
Historical Information: Oregon Historical Society Regional Research Library, 1200 SW Park Avenue, Portland, OR 97204; telephone (503)222-1741
Portland: Population Profile
Portland: Population Profile
Metropolitan Area Residents (PMSA)
Percent change, 1990–2000: 23.7%
U.S. rank in 1980: 26th (CMSA)
U.S. rank in 1990: 27th (CMSA)
U.S. rank in 2000: 23rd (CMSA)
2003 estimate: 538,544
Percent change, 1990–2000: 8.9%
U.S. rank in 1980: 35th
U.S. rank in 1990: 30th (State rank: 1st)
U.S. rank in 2000: 35th
Density: 3,932.2 people per square mile (2000)
Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)
Black or African American: 35,115
American Indian and Alaska Native: 5,587
Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 1,993
Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 36,058
Percent of residents born in state: 44.0% (2000)
Age characteristics (2000)
Population under 5 years old: 32,300
Population 5 to 9 years old: 31,184
Population 10 to 14 years old: 30,031
Population 15 to 19 years old: 32,046
Population 20 to 24 years old: 40,454
Population 25 to 34 years old: 97,000
Population 35 to 44 years old: 86,604
Population 45 to 54 years old: 78,367
Population 55 to 59 years old: 23,195
Population 60 to 64 years old: 16,777
Population 65 to 74 years old: 28,215
Population 75 to 84 years old: 23,829
Population 85 years and over: 9,119
Median age: 35.2 years
Total number: 9,340
Total number: 6,859 (of which, 42 were infants under the age of 1 year)
Money income (1999)
Per capita income: $22,643
Median household income: $40,146
Total households: 223,987
Number of households with income of . . .
less than $10,000: 22,245
$10,000 to $14,999: 14,023
$15,000 to $24,999: 29,823
$25,000 to $34,999: 31,186
$35,000 to $49,999: 38,638
$50,000 to $74,999: 44,516
$75,000 to $99,999: 20,667
$100,000 to $149,999: 14,735
$150,000 to $199,999: 3,761
$200,000 or more: 4,393
Percent of families below poverty level: 8.5% (43.6% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)
2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 43,327