The city is sponsoring a community forum this month to discuss ways to protect Portland’s Bayside neighborhood from the effects of rising seas and climate change.

“Rising sea levels have already begun to affect the city. We saw this very dramatically in September 2015 when heavy rains coincided with a high tide. Many streets in Bayside flooded, causing damage to dozens of vehicles, disrupting travel, and interfering with business activities. This type of event will become more common as we move toward mid century and beyond,” Troy Moon, the city’s Sustainability Coordinator, said in a statement.

“When you stand on the Maine State Pier you are at least 4 feet higher than you would be in many parts of Bayside,” said Bill Needelman, the city’s waterfront coordinator. “It’s the lowest part of the city. Public Works crews block streets on days with astronomic high tides because sea water flows in from the storm drains.”

The Dec. 14 event, which will feature climate change scientist Dr. Cameron Wake from the University of New Hampshire, will be held from 6-8 p.m. at the Mayo Street Arts Center.

A stakeholder’s group made up of property owners, members of the East Bayside and Bayside Neighborhood Organizations, business representatives, Portland Housing Authority officials, Portland Trails and other groups will meet earlier in the day – from 1 to 3 p.m. – at the arts center.

That group, called Bayside Adapts Working Group, will meet with officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to discuss methods that have been used in other parts of the country to combat the effects of climate change.

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