Date of Award


Degree Type

Major Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


In May, 1987, Portland voters approved by a 2-to-1 margin a referendum preventing non-marine development along its waterfront for at least five years. It has become clear that the vote was not just a Portland waterfront issue. To many, the vote was a statement of no confidence in growth regulations and unhappiness with the pace of development throughout the Greater Portland region. The vote illustrated that there is no consensus on Greater Portland's future. For Portland's waterfront, a lack of consensus is nothing new. Portland has debated waterfront policy in fits and starts for most of the 20th century. As will be explained, this is no local phenomenon. But what is clear is that Portland in the 198-s continues to suffer from inconsistent public policies, political infighting and unawareness by the general public of how the Harbor operates. The intent of this paper is to record the impact of public policy on Portland's waterfront and suggest methods for improving local waterfront planning. The methodology used for this book included the review, analysis and evaluation of public records, planning documents, published guidebooks, academic reports and media coverage; interviews; and the documentation of the experiences of other ports.