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Portland

Portland. 1 City (1990 pop. 64,358), seat of Cumberland co., SW Maine, situated on a small peninsula and adjacent land, with a large, deepwater harbor on Casco Bay; settled c.1632, set off from Falmouth and inc. 1786. The largest city in Maine, it is a port of entry, the commercial center of the state, and the rail, highway, shipping, and processing center for a vast farming, lumbering, and resort area. It is the eastern terminus of the Portland-Montreal oil pipeline and a major receiving port for goods destined for Montreal. Portland has shipyards, canneries (especially for fish), printing and publishing firms, foundries, and important lumbering, paper-milling, computer-chip, fishing, chemical, and textile industries. There is an international airport and ferry service to Yarmouth, N.S. The Univ. of Southern Maine and the Westbrook College campus of the Univ. of New England are in the city, as are numerous museums and a planetarium. The restored Old Port district is a tourist center.

George Cleeve settled in what is now the Portland area to trade c.1632. His post grew in importance, and the settlement known as Falmouth developed; in the late 17th cent. it became a commercial center. It was almost completely destroyed by the British in 1775. Maine's first newspaper, the Falmouth Gazette, was issued in Portland in 1785, and the old lighthouse, established in 1791, is still in use. The city served as state capital from 1820 to 1832. In 1866 a great fire destroyed much of Portland. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (whose house is a landmark) and Robert E. Peary lived here.

2 City (1990 pop. 437,319), seat of Multnomah co., NW Oreg., on the Willamette River near its junction with the Columbia; inc. 1851. The state's largest city, it is a port of entry, a leading financial and industrial center, and an important deepwater port, with shipyards and international trade. Manufactures include lumber, wood products, paper, metals, machinery, computer hardware and software, food items, textiles, clothing, and furniture. Near the city are an international airport and a U.S. air force base.

Portland is the seat of Concordia Univ., Lewis and Clark College, the Oregon Health & Science Univ., Portland State Univ., Reed College, the Univ. of Portland, Warner Pacific College, and several theological schools. Portland has museums of art, science and industry, and advertising, a planetarium, a forestry center, a zoo, Japanese and classical Chinese gardens, a symphony orchestra, and a ballet company. The state historical society is there, and the city's rose festival is an important annual event. The city is home to the Trail Blazers (National Basketball Association). The area is noted for its beautiful scenery, and the Columbia River Gorge, Mt. Hood, and Mt. St. Helens are nearby.

Founded in 1845, it was named for Portland, Maine. Its growth was rapid after 1850, when it served as a supply point for the California gold fields, and continued with the coming of the railroad (1883), the Alaska gold rush (1897–1900), and the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition (1905). Unlike many growing western U.S. cities, Portland sharply resisted urban sprawl by drawing a line around the metropolitan area and preserving open space outside it.

See C. Abbott, Portland: Planning, Politics, and Growth in a 20th-Century City (1983).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. Political Geography


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