Study Calls Portland’s Crowded Waterfront An ‘Existential Threat’ To Marine Industries

Jul 13, 2018

Anxiety is growing in Portland’s lobstering community over the city's increasingly crowded waterfront. A traffic study that is in the works is calling the situation an "existential threat" to the city's marine industries, and lobstermen seem to agree.

Willis Spear fishes 800 traps from a Commercial Street wharf that also houses two restaurants, the Harbor fish market, and a major bait fish dealer. He says city officials are approving new developments too quickly, adding more and more cars to the downtown mix.

"The waterfront is the crown jewels that have to be sold off in order to pay for the tax base,” says Spear. “Everybody wants to be here, everybody wants to be — hotels, condominiums."

Portland and the Greater Portland Council of Governments are financing a new traffic study of the busy district. Their request for proposals says that worsening congestion threatens the loss of Commercial Street as a functional industrial corridor.

This story was originally published July 12, 2018 at 5:24 p.m. ET.