The 100-acre rectangle known as East Bayside is like no other neighborhood in Maine.

Bound by Franklin Arterial, Congress Street, Washington Avenue and Marginal Way, the neighborhood boasts a commercial district, an industrial zone, open space and a wide variety of housing, including public.

It is also the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in Maine, Vermont or New Hampshire – a place where 20 languages are spoken.

Situated at a highway interchange, it is also a gateway to the city.

Despite all that, East Bayside has not received much attention from city planners – until now.

As a result of a grant from the American Institute of Architects, a team of nationally renowned planning experts will spend three days in Portland, researching East Bayside and talking to the people who live and work there. A preliminary report will be presented at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Portland High School auditorium.

The panel will include experts in urban design, bicycle and pedestrian planning and building a creative economy who come from as far away as Seattle, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.. Any one of them would be too expensive for the city to bring in on their own during this budget cycle, but nine of them are coming together for free.

Thursday’s presentation should provide some real insight into a little-known piece of the city, and a glimpse into Portland’s future.


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