And then I found out about all the smaller galleries. Dozens of them! Everywhere you turn is a testament to the creativity and soul of the city. Add to that the First Friday Art Walk and you not only have incredible access to prolific talents, but you have a community that rallies in support of culture.

The thrumming engine of Portland has been — for me, anyway — the impeccable music scene. I've heard music I haven't liked here, but it was few and far between and even then it wasn't for the lack of talent but my own distaste for the genre. A weekend night on the Peninsula is a veritable festival of sound. Inside of a 20-minute walk you can hear thrashing punk, screaming hard core, cool jazz, blistering bluegrass, soul-rending blues, fist-pounding rock, and quiet singer-songwriters. You can hear them live. You can hear their music pumped from bar speakers, storefronts, and coffee shops.

Portland's music scene is a captivating wonder. It is filled with talent, hope and diversity. It has devoted fanatics at SPACE, 'CYY, Empire, the Port City Music Hall, the coffee shops, the record shops, the bars, and (shameless self-promotional plug, here) at [dog] and [pony] (that'swww.dogandponymusic.net— you should really visit it. It's totally awesome).

Why do I live here?

I live here because of the People. Portland is a beautiful and vibrant city with a beautiful and vibrant population. You can see them in the coffee shops — of which there are enough to make me jittery just walking by all of them. You can see the people walking the streets, just out strolling in spring finery after long winters. You can see them in the winters, too, hitting the streets on cross-country skis and snowshoes. You can see them in the summer, busking, peddling wares, enjoying the parks and promenades. You can see the impact they make in the changing cultural landscape. Shops cater to the Irish, the Scandinavian, the hispanohablantes, the African. I just read in the Portland Daily Sun that Portland has the largest Fur population of any US city. Portland's relative cheapness has made it a haven for the war-torn. Starting a new life here is changing plenty and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Why do I live here?

I live here because Portland is an affordable, walkable city. I can get my grocery shopping done locally within walking distance of my house. I can bike to work. It's relatively cheap! It's safe. It's a convenient gateway to the rest of Maine's treasures, from coasts to mountains to lakes and streams.

Why do I live here?

I live here because I love Portland. The sun rises on it every day, the first city in the nation. In my father's house is a wrought iron sign that says "Portland: The Sunrise City." With a motto of "Resurgam," vowing to rise again, with the first light of the day and with a lively and unique people, Portland has made itself a wonderful center of humanity.

There's also a lot of good beer here.

Krister Rollins
Portland

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