Portland Regional Chamber, Chair (2012-14) Trustee (2008-16; 2019- present)
Portland Community Chamber of Commerce, President (2019- ) Trustee (2016-present)
Maine State Chamber of Commerce, Trustee (2009 - present)
Project Green Schools, Advisory Trustee (2017-present)
Maine Public Spending Research Group, Trustee (2005 - 2008)
Portland Trails, President (1997-1998), Advisory Trustee (2002 - )
Portland Symphony Orchestra, VP of Budget and Finance (1999-2002)
Communities Putting Prevention to Work (ARRA), Leadership Council (2010-11)
North Deering Neighborhood Assoc., Founding Pres. (2001), Trustee (2002-2013)
Portland Public Library, Trustee (2005-2006)
Sweetser, Corporator (2007-present)
First Tee, Board member (2008-10)
Portland Tomorrow (2010-2019)
Mayor, City of Portland (2005-2006)
Portland City Council (2002-2008)
Portland City Council Transportation Committee, Chair (2002-2005)
Jetport Master Planning Committee, Chair (2005-2007)
Greater Portland Transit District, Trustee (2002-2005)
Narrow Gauge Rail Alignment Committee, Chair (2005)
Maine Turnpike Authority, Public Advisory Committee (2017-18)
Portland Charter Commission, Vice Chair (2009-2010)
U.S. Conference of Mayors, Community and Faith-Based Initiatives Task Force, Vice Chair (2006)
Portland City Council Finance Committee, Chair (2006-2008)
Metro Regional Coalition, Chair (2007-2008)
Cumberland County Budget Advisory Committee, Chair (2005)
Downtown Portland Corporation (2005-2006)
Portland City Council, Community Development Committee (2002-2005; 2007-2008)
Creative Economy Steering Committee, Chair (2007-2008)
Sustainable Portland Task Force (2006-2007)
Portland City Council, Energy and Sustainability Committee (2007-2008)
Riverton School Building Committee, Co-Chair (2005-2006)
Cumberland County Civic Center Joint Task Force (2006-2010)
Mayor's Healthy Portland Task Force (2006-2008)
Portland School Department, Budget and Revenue Task Force, Chair (2013-4)
As a City Councilor, Mayor of Portland and member of the Portland Regional Chamber, Jim Cohen has supported the "Creative Economy" of the Greater Portland area. Jim convened a local summit and multiple stakeholder groups in an effort to strengthen this local, knowledge-based economy.
The entries below highlight Jim's efforts to support Portland's Creative Economy.
About the Creative Economy:
- Jim Cohen discussed the Creative Economy in his "Mayor's Inaugural Address and Recognition of Portland's Growing Creative Economy," December 12, 2005.
- "Summit of Creative Economy Offers Ways to Help Arts Flourish," Portland Press Herald,June 1, 2006.
- Creative Economy Summit Report, May 31, 2006.
- Following the Creative Economy Summit, Jim convened a Creative Economy Steering Committee to develop recommendations based on the direction provided by the summit.
- The Creative Economy Steering Committee recommended the formation of a quasi-public corporation called the Creative Portland Corporation, which, with Jim's participation, was formed by the City of Portland in 2008.
- "Building the Local Creative Economy," Presented at Juice 2.0 Conference, November 13, 2009.
- "What is the Creative Economy: Lessons Learned in Portland," Presented at the Maine Business and Technology Expo, May 12, 2010.
Pro-bono government relations services to state-wide cultural institutions:
Jim delivered presentations about gaining advocacy before the Maine Legislature to the Maine Library Association, Maine Humanities Council and Maine Historical Society.
Healthy Portland Initiative
As a public servant, Jim Cohen established a task force that developed recommendations to improve public health in Portland.
The entries below highlight Jim's and the task force's efforts to promote healthy lifestyles in Portland:
- The task force formalized a bike rack policy that led to a rapid growth in number of bike racks through the city, and a new ordinance requiring bike parking on certain new construction.
- It developed a plan to provide water fountains in each school cafeteria within the City.
- It established a "Walk and Talk with the Mayor' program to promote transparent government and healthy lifestyles.
- The task force developed a plan for a new city ordinance banning smoking in outdoor cafes, which Portland passed, becoming the first community in Maine to adopt such a law. A year later, the State of Maine adopted a similar law statewide.
- In 2008, Jim received the Ruth Shaper Award from the Maine Public Health Association for his efforts related to public health, particularly with regard to the smoking law.
Jim currently serves on the steering committee of the City's Communities Putting Prevention to Work program, which was an ARRA funded public health initiative.
Metro Regional Coalition
Jim led an effort to form a six-community coalition aimed at promoting regional projects. The Metro Regional Coalition is the group that resulted from those efforts.
The entries below highlight the accomplishments of the Metro Regional Coalition.
Creation of Regional Crime Lab in Portland:
- Crime Busting Costs Promote Sharing; Efforts Are Under Way to Have Greater Portland Police Departments Use a Regional Forensics Facility, Portland Press Herald, July 2, 2006.
- Local Police May Get Their Own Crime Lab,Portland Press Herald,November 20, 2007.
- Conclusive Evidence: Lab a Big Help, Portland Press Herald,August 27, 2009.
Formation of a Regional Economic Development Corporation:
After years of planning the Greater Portland Economic Development Corporation was formed.
Portland School Budget
Jim Cohen helped establish a partnership with the Portland Public Schools to improve the school budget process.
The entries below highlight Jim's efforts to improve school budgeting:
- Jim served as a trustee of the Maine Public Spending Research Group, and as part of his service, focused on ways that school systems could become more efficient. Jim delivered a presentation to GrowSmart on this topic.
- He served as the primary drafts person of the Maine Plan in 2004, a citizen initiative aimed at establishing spending limits at all levels of government. Jim helped form a coalition between business leaders and municipal government officials which ultimately led the Maine Legislature in 2005 to adopt many of the elements of the plan as part of LD 1. Jim spoke about the Maine Plan at a 2005 Maine Water Utilities Association Meeting.
- In 2006-7, Jim became the chair of the City's finance committee. During his tenure, he facilitated extensive public discussion regarding the proposed school budget, the largest in the City's history. During the process, Jim worked to improve the relationship between the City Finance Committee and the School Finance Committee to better evaluate the school budget.
-Jim addresses school budget issues, among other topics, in an interview with The League of young Voters.
-Upon deciding to leave the City Council, Jim's accomplishments as a member of the Finance Committee were reviewed by the Portland Press Herald.
- In 2007, the public discovered that the School Budget was inaccurate, leading to the resignation of the Superintendent and Finance Director. Jim worked with the School Finance Committee to develop a memorandum of understanding to improve the meetings , information gathering and relationship between the City Council and School Committee. This led to a collaborative budget in 2008 that helped restore public trust in the school system.
In 2009-10, Jim served on the Portland Charter Commission, and helped draft and get passed changes to the City's charter that formalized the process established by the memorandum of understanding. These changes were approved by the voters in November 2010.
Regional Economic Development
During his time as Mayor of Portland, Jim Cohen facilitated a multi-party stakeholder group of municipalities, colleges, and businesses to form a regional economic development corporation. Jim continues to support regional economic development as vice-chair of the Portland Regional Chamber.
The following entries provide more information about Jim Cohen's regional economic development efforts:
Regional Economic Development Stakeholder Facilitation:
- Resolution Endorsing Metro Regional Coalition.
- Portland Chamber Keys on Growth; The Community Group Sets Economic Development Goals, Including a Task Force with the City, Portland Press Herald,March 2, 2006.
- Mayor's State of the City and Farewell Address, James I. Cohen, December 4, 2006.
- The Greater Portland Economic Development Corporation was formed as a result of years of planning by the Portland Regional Chamber, chaired by Jim Cohen.
Regional Economic Development Initiatives:
- City to Study Prospect of Bigger Airport, Portland Press Herald, March 8, 2005.
- Mayor Wants City to Explore Civic Center Renovations, Portland Press Herald,February 2, 2006.
- Civic Center Face-Lift Revisited, Portland Press Herald,June 27, 2007.
- Bridgton Officials Oppose Civic Center Bond, WCSH 6 News, October 28, 2011.
- Voters to Decide Fate of Civic Center, WMTW News 8, November 7, 2011.
Jim Cohen appeared in a TV ad on behalf of the Civic Center Bond Campaign. The bond initiative was eventually passed by voters with 58% of the vote.
During Jim's time as Mayor and City Councilor in Portland he made sustainability a priority. He spearheaded the City's effort to promote economic, environmental and community sustainability.
The entries below highlight Jim Cohen's sustainability work as a public servant:
- Prior to joining the City Council, Jim was active in forming The North Deering Neighborhood Association, and served as the president of Portland Trails. Based on this background, Jim set out as Mayor to help develop a formal approach to sustainability called Sustainable Portland.
- Jim Cohen discussed his plans to create a Sustainable Portland Task Force in his Mayor's Inaugural Address.
- Jim convened a stakeholder group, and served on it for a year. In 2007, the group developed a report that addresses Portland's environmental, economic and community needs which became part of the City's comprehensive plan in 2010. The group also developed a website and logo for Sustainable Portland.
- In 2006, Jim became the first mayor to sign onto the U.S. Conference of Mayors Climate Action Plan. Jim was recognized by the Sierra Club for this effort.
Sustainable Portland included many recommendations, including a plan for the City to invest in municipal buildings to lower energy costs. In 2008, Jim served on the City Council's energy and Environmental Committee which started this process.