Stories from Portland Harbor's Working Waterfront
In 2016, Casco Bay Estuary Partnership and the Waterfront Alliance cooperatively supported a series of audio/visual stories that illuminate the many facets of Portland Harbor’s working waterfront.
Stories are produced by Galen Koch
Photography: Justin Levesque / Jenny Rebecca Nelson
Funded by Waterfront Alliance + Casco Bay Estuary Partnership
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In the late 1980s, the Waterfront Alliance began drafting recommendations for Portland's waterfront zones. Those recommendations laid the groundwork for the waterfront's future, and established the West Port Development Zone as an industrial working port.
In the past four years there's been a lot of activity under the Casco Bay Bridge. The International Marine Terminal is now a fully operational freight facility, connecting Maine with the rest of North America and the North Atlantic.
There's a lot of silt between Portland Harbor's wharves and piers, and some of it is very, very dirty. For decades, pier owners have worked to incite a collective effort to remove and dispose of this material. But once we remove it, where do we put it?
Jim Buxton keeps his boat, Nomad, on a berth at Merrill's Wharf. In this story he shares his thoughts on Portland's changing waterfront and the importance of maritime work in Portland Harbor.
On the end of Merrill's Wharf on Portland's waterfront there's an empty lot. This is The Desert, where ground fishermen stretch out and mend their trawl nets.
Gretchen Frank is the first mate senior designating deckhand on Machigonne II. Five days a week, seven runs a day, Gretchen directs cars and passengers onto the Casco Bay Lines ferry to Peaks Island, Maine.
Ships come in-and-out of Portland Harbor daily carrying precious, and sometimes even hazardous, freight. This is the story of one ship's passage through the port and the tugboats, and crew, who make that trip possible.
Between Chandler's Wharf, to the east, and Union Wharf, to the west, there stands a narrow wooden pier, flanked by fish houses and lobster boats. It is here that Leland Merrill, a 92 year-old resident of Portland, worked for the past 66 years.