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#OnPointListens: Listening To A Changing Portland, And Country

We are in Portland, Maine on our national listening tour talking about the president now, our divided U.S. economy, and how gentrification is playing out in Portland and beyond.

All this year we’ve been out around the country, listening to Americans work through what they think of this political moment. Where the country stands now. The challenges it’s facing. Where it needs to go. Latest stop: Portland, Maine. It’s a beautiful little coastal city that is booming. And struggling with gentrification. If you’ve got money, it’s a dream. If you don’t, you’re almost exiled. And Portland is by no means the only city facing this struggle. This hour, in our On Point National Listening Tour: we’re looking at gentrification, from Portland, Maine. — Tom Ashbrook


Bre Chamberlain, member of Fair Rent Portland. Resident of Portland from 1999 to 2014.

Richard Barringer, founding director and professor emeritus at the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine. Principal author of, “Growing Portland: Not Whether, But How.” Resident of Portland for the past 22 years.

Heather Sanborn, Democrat in Maine’s House of Representatives. Co-owner of Rising Tide Brewing in Portland. Resident of Portland since 1986. (@risingtide_hbs)

Eric Lusk, former chair of the Cumberland County Republican Committee, which represents Portland. Financial adviser. Resident of Portland from 2007 to 2009.

From Tom’s Reading List

Portland Press Herald: Super-tight apartment market torments renters, redefines parts of city — “Portland’s rise in popularity has coincided with a national shift away from homeownership in the suburbs and toward urban living and monthly rent payments. Both trends follow a long period of little to no development of new housing in the city, combining to turn that demand into a vacancy rate of near zero and a market that is pushing the cost of apartments well above what is considered affordable to the typical Portland renter.”

University of Southern Maine: Growing Portland: Not Whether, But How — “Portland finds itself today at a singular moment in its long and distinguished history. It possesses many of the needed ingredients of a successful city, including the potential to grow thanks to the job-creating spread effects of a resurgent Boston, the workforce demands of a post-industrial economy, the new attractiveness of cities to the young and old alike, the global migration of displaced persons, and the warming effects of climate change. The question before us is not whether Portland will grow, but how.”

National Review: In Maine, Trump Exposes Cultural Fissures Among Whites — “The looming political break reflects broader cultural cleavages among America’s white population that this election has brought to the fore. Those cleavages are particularly visible in Maine. The state is overwhelmingly white — 95 percent — but residents in its two congressional districts, one affluent and urban, the other poor and rural, have become increasingly alienated from one another.”

Wall Street Journal: Maine’s Two Senators Let Us Down — “When it comes to providing affordable health care to the people of Maine, Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King are worse than out of touch—they are downright dangerous. After Maine expanded Medicaid to childless adults in 2002 under then-Gov. King, the program nearly bankrupted our state. But now Ms. Collins and Mr. King are pushing to do it again by refusing to reform ObamaCare and prevent the future expansion of Medicaid.”

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Tom Ashbrook moderates a discussion at the #OnPointLive show in Portland, Maine. (Brian Bechard/Maine Public)
Tom Ashbrook moderates a discussion at the #OnPointLive show in Portland, Maine. (Brian Bechard/Maine Public)