Online series captures voices and views from Portland’s working waterfront

By Kelley Bouchard for Portland Press Herald

Jim Buxton has been working on Portland’s waterfront since the 1980s, and running his own lobster boat from Merrill’s Wharf since the 1990s.

His experience has given him a view from the bow of the bubbling conflict between marine and nonmarine uses along the city’s piers, and he had an unusual opportunity to share his perspective in a new online documentary series, “Wharfside: Stories From Portland Harbor’s Working Waterfront.”

Buxton, 49, says he participated in the series to advocate for preserving the working waterfront, where lobstermen and others who toil on the harbor and on Casco Bay increasingly rub up against restaurants, white-collar offices and recreational attractions.

“The appeal of the water to tourists and to regular people, I can understand because that’s what draws me to the water,” Buxton says in his segment of the documentary project. “But that should not smother the use of the harbor in a way because it cannot be replicated anywhere else. You can put a restaurant anywhere; you can put a law office anywhere; you can put a bike path anywhere; but there is only a handful of true harbors in Maine.”

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