Why Portland, Maine, like Portland, Ore., is seeing a skilled-worker influx
PORTLAND, Maine — MarketWatch reported that a few years ago, Gwynne Rivers was a born-and-raised New Yorker who’d never owned a car nor given a thought to shoveling her front walkway. But after a divorce and some financial turbulence, “I felt like things were getting complicated,” she said.
A friend who’d also grown up in Manhattan suggested Rivers join him in Portland — the one in Maine.
“I followed my heart and took a little bit of a leap of faith,” Rivers said. In return, she found a vibrant community with a more impressive “foodie” scene than New York’s, she said, plus great coffee shops, excellent schools and “fresh open country air for kids.”
Portland, Oregon, has spawned a hipster television show proclaiming it “the place where young people go to retire” and a slew of national media coverage of its appeal to priced-out Californians and lifestyle-oriented migrants. But across the country, a very different kind of influx is also reshaping the Portland on the eastern seaboard.
There’s little data to directly back up the assertion that Portland, Maine, is drawing highly educated professionals, many from Boston and New York, but in some ways that’s precisely the point. While the Oregon city is booming in part because of its success in luring technology jobs, Portland, Maine, thrives by attracting individuals. And those transplants come with different work arrangements.
They’re entrepreneurs and small-business owners, people who occasionally freelance, like Rivers, and, in a sign of what might be the future for smaller cities around the country, people in well-paying professional jobs that can be done far from company headquarters.