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Tim Durbin, 33, called the interconnectedness of the community “a double-edged sword.” Although the singles pool can feel small, he said, when you want to get introduced to someone new, you’re likely to know someone who can help. ALTERNATIVES TO ONLINE DATING Joe Gallant, who’s 27 and single, said he finds it easiest to chat people up at places like music shows or Portland Sea Dogs games – venues that come with conversation topics.And that’s important in Portland, where striking up a conversation with a stranger is harder than it is in other parts of the country, said Durbin, who’s originally from Maryland and now lives single on Munjoy Hill. That’s the idea behind Local Flames, a new Portland-based dating service that organizes events for singles, from paddling trips to mixology classes.Her concept was to take the guessing out of the dating game and get people together who are single and looking.Stefan Apse, 33, who attended the event, said he appreciates the honest approach.Sick of seeing exes and their new love interests around town, she escaped across the country when she was in her early 20s.But the dating scene in Los Angeles, while active, wasn’t the answer.Cleary said it’s a common problem in Portland, where it seems there’s never more than two degrees of separation between you and a suitor. “If I were single and met someone new, there’s going to be 10 people I know that are going to have something to say about that person.” Although Cleary sees that as a downside to dating here, Abbie Mc Gilvery likes the fact that getting insight into a potential new partner is only a phone call away – often to someone who has already dated that person.

Just ask Katie Wasowski, 28, and Marc Mc Donald, 34.

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“I’ve been told many times since I moved here that it’s hard to be single here,” said Devin Green, an unattached 31-year-old woman who has been living in the city for about a year.

Long winters, reserved demeanors and inescapable exes are reasons why people say Portland can be a difficult place to date. With more than 15,000 residents ages 20 to 34 and unmarried – about a quarter of the city’s adult population – the concentration of young, single people is about the same in Portland as it is in New York City, and is twice as high as in Maine as a whole.

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