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Old 04-18-2009, 01:53 AM
 
857 posts, read 628,848 times
Reputation: 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom63376 View Post
I lived in Seattle for 8 years.. The gloom WILL affect you in ways you never could image
until you live there. There is no perfect place to live, but the PNW I would never return
to for the rest of my life. It is very pretty there but the gloom depresses every one and
you will find yourself working and watching TV for 10 months out of the year... Never again for me
I lived in Seattle for over 20 years and completely agree. It would be hard to go back but I wouldn't rule it out completely. I've been in the SW US continuously for 2yrs. Although the cause of SAD has never been proven, Seasonal affective symptoms are likely acquired with likely permanent alterations of NE, DA, and HA NT's (monoaminergic neurotransmitter = norepinephrine,dopamine,histamine). Whenever it is cloudy for 3 or more days in a row, I start feeling down even in the Southwest due to these permanent changes probably in receptor sensitivity? Nobody really knows and light boxes now are somewhat of a disproven treatment!

And, Smart growth in portland vs. denver: (Smart Growth Online)

Quote:
Originally Posted by the3Ds View Post
5. Sprawl. Depending on where you live now, neither Denver or Portland are really huge. Traffic is bad or light depending on your previous experiences. But, Denver is starting to sprawl. There is a lot of space around the city where people can move and developers are building. Portland is absolutely militant about land use. I recall seeing an article about how the city was putting a moratorium on building a few years ago because they were starting to feel like they were "losing control" of the city. While Denver absolutely pales in comparison to places like Phoenix, it doesn't seem to be getting smaller or reigning in the building and development.
The exceptionally strong Smart Growth restrictions in Portland and all of Oregon (by way of State Law) caused a severe housing and unemployment crisis. When you block off large areas to development, supply diminishes yet demand stays the same so house values increase.
Smart growth was the sole cause of the mortgage crisis and wall street collapse of Sept. 2009, and subsequent escalating national unemployment.
However, cities that are pro-business such as Denver and Boulder have survived with low unemployment. States w/o smart growth such as TX and OK do not have housing price escalation, mortage crisis, or high unemployment.

Both Denver and especially Boulder have smart growth, but are also very pro-business. As a result there are less foreclosures. This is especially true in Boulder where there are virtually no foreclosures.
March nationwide unemployment just came out today from the BLS -
colorado -7.5% with Boulder at 6.1% (Feb) and Denver 7.9% (Feb)
Oregon-12.1% in March, the second highest in the US second only to Michigan. Michigan has no smart growth but has faced unemployment because of the auto industry decline.
I could never figure out how Boulder survived w/ very strong nearly Socialistic Smart Growth restrictions -- until realizing that its pro-business policies have kept unemployment in check. Boulder is the ONLY market I know of where Smart Growth has not created massive unemployment. Nobody seems to be complaining there, whereas in other parts of the US people are shouting against impact fees and smart growth perhaps at their tea parties. Boulder's unemployment, cost of living, and rents are less than other mountain towns w/ smart growth that are very anti-business such as Flagstaff and Santa Fe, NM.

Does anyone have a comment on how significant the Denver metro growth restrictions and housing crisis are relative to Portland???
(More information http://tiny.cc/23YxO)

Last edited by CCCVDUR; 04-18-2009 at 02:12 AM..
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Old 04-18-2009, 07:27 AM
Status: "Fall is in the air-too soon!" (set 27 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
68,647 posts, read 57,303,932 times
Reputation: 19434
Boulder survived b/c its growth restrictions were only within the city limits. The areas around Boulder grew exponentially in the 80s and 90s, e.g. Louisville, Lafayette, Niwot, Longmont, etc.

I was under the impression the situation was similar in Oregon, that it was mostly Portland, and that growth moved out to the burbs.
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Old 04-18-2009, 04:11 PM
 
92 posts, read 235,306 times
Reputation: 90
I've only visited Portland, though on numerous occasions. I like Portland a great deal and actually considered moving there from Denver in the early 90s, principally because of the strong land use restrictions and environmental mindset there. From my perspective, at least, both seem pretty lacking in Denver in comparison to Portland, though the environmental mindset has gotten much stronger here in the past decade.

I'm leaving out comments about weather, political leanings, outdoor opportunities and such because your post sounds like you've done your homework and have a pretty good feel for Denver and Portland with regard to these factors.

I think both Portlanders and Denverites treat decent people of all kinds decently. So, from what I've seen, I think both cities are about equal in that respect. That pretty much covers tolerance and acceptance. (I don't mean to be flippant here; I just mean that treating people decently when they behave correctly pretty much covers all I'd ask of anyone.)

As for local culture, one of the things I noticed about Portlanders is how proud they are of their city and culture. Because I was a tourist, I took several walking tours of the central area and a couple of the inner neighborhoods, notably Sherwood (for antique shops) and Alberta (for the plastic arts)--at least i think those were the neighborhood names. Most of the tour-takers were Portlanders, interestingly enough. One of the tours was about eating establishments and their focus on local, sustainable materials in their food preparation. The Portlanders were (to my mind, at least) enthralled by the tour. I don't think Denverites would have been as enthusiastic. For us, the environmental aspect is more a part of the whole, rather than the whole itself. And, then, of course, even Denverites have a hard time articulating a Denver "culture." You need only look at some of the archives in City-Data to see that. Portlanders, it seems to me, have a very clear vision of their local culture and the direction they want it to take. (But I may have a narrow view of this, since it came mostly from those tours. The people taking them were self-selected and probably much more interested in Portland than the average Portlander. I don't know any Portlanders personally, so can't verify one way or the other.)

Since i know Denver much better, I think I can say that we don't have a clear vision of what we want to be or even what we don't want to be. (Portlanders I've talked to have said they don't want to be like Seattle, but maybe that's just city rivalry.) Some Denverites want us to be the NY, Chicago, or San Francisco of the Rockies--some kind of major international 24-hour city. Others (I'll admit to being one of these) want us to be a town with city amenities but a small-town feel, the kind of place most people overlook on their way to somewhere else. So we get the tall glittery apartment buildings near and in downtown while we fight the scrapeoffs and bloated additions in our older (and originally humble) neighborhoods. Kinda schizophrenic, I think. To be fair, Portland is also building similar glitzy apartment buildings in the Pearl district adjacent to its downtown. But Portland has more severe height restrictions than Denver for downtown proper to avoid a certain (shall we say, Seattle-ish?) look.

I can't comment on theatre or art (painting, sculpture, glassworks, ceramics, and such) because i know too little about them. I can say that both Denver and Portland have interesting arts districts and several theatre troupes. I've seen theatre productions in both towns over the years and see them as comparable. I'd give Denver the edge in production values, but Portland the edge in fringiness. But theatre in both towns has gotten less adventurous, but that seems to be true everywhere. Both towns also have arts districts and special Fridays when the galleries stay open late and often host the artists. You will have to judge the quality for yourself, of course.

I do give Denver the edge for the liveliness of its downtown. I don't know what's happened in Portland, but the last couple of times I've visited, their downtown seemed pretty devoid of people. In the 90s, it was much livelier. Maybe it's because Denver funnels people onto the 16th Street Mall and so makes it look like there are a lot more people than there are. (The cross streets to the Mall are pretty empty until you get to Larimer and LoDo.) otoh, downtown Portland has much more retail than Denver, so i'm at a loss to say why there seem to be so many fewer people in downtown Portland. Even in the Pearl District (Portland's equivalent to Denver's LoDo), people seem a bit sparse on the sidewalk. (A well-peopled downtown is pretty important to me.)

I give Portland the edge for its Northwest neighborhood, however. To me, it's great combo of Denver's Capitol Hill and Cherry Creek. The housing stock is a bit shabby and there are some grand old houses (like Denver's Capitol Hill), but there are also pockets of very upscale townhomes (like Denver's Cherry Creek)--so something for everybody. And the shopping/restaurant district has everything from shabby tea houses and new age shops to some of the luxe national chains--again something for everybody.

Personally, I found the Denver/Portland choice a hard one, so i sympathize with your dilemma. I ended up staying in Denver because I realized I had somehow become a local with lots of connections to this town--and that, for good or ill, I'd fallen in love with the town and the landscape.

Good luck in your decision!
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Old 04-18-2009, 05:52 PM
 
Location: The Sunshine City
244 posts, read 551,031 times
Reputation: 141
Thanks caphillboy, what neighborhoods in or near downtown Denver would I like? I'm interested in dense, mixed use, mixed income, neighborhoods near transit (especially light rail) lines. I prefer older housing stock if possible but that's not a necessity. A small yard or easy access to a community garden would be much appreciated. Any ideas? I've heard that the Highlands, Captiol Hill, Riverside, LoDo (or some area near LoDo that I can't remember the name of), are like this. Are those accurate assumptions?
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Old 04-18-2009, 09:05 PM
 
162 posts, read 329,316 times
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Listen, I can name so many upsides about Portland, I could spend the whole day writing about them. The mass transit system is wonderful, a car is not necessary at all to live in this city. Alot of cities could take an example from Portland regarding this. The downtown is one of the more vibrant and interesting downtowns I have seen in the country with great restaurants, gorgeous parks and the countrys biggest bookstore which has the best selection of books I have ever seen. The city is the greenest in the nation according to some publications and I believe it, this is the most lush urban environment I have ever seen, even moreso than Seattle. There is a great arts scene, which I am not into, but people rave about it. The outdoors here are second to none with great hiking, biking, rock climbing, skiing etc..

Ok, so here is what my experience is, and please keep in mind this is my experience and doesnt have to be yours. For me, as wonderful as this city is and all the things i just listed above, the weather has made alot of this irrelevant for me. For about 8 months of the year, maybe a little less, maybe a little more, you are stuck under clouds 75 percent of the time which never seem to part and the seeing the sun is a rare occurence. In my experience, all the beautiful outdoor activities and even alot of the cities attractions become unenjoyable for me during the grey season. I have gone out and hiked in the grey and rain, ive tried and it doesnt work for me. For some this weather is okay, they are completely unaffected and you may be one of them, but I am not. Even a person such as me, who was eagerly ready to leave the sunny climate I was living in has found myself affected by the weather, which saddens me, because I thought i would handle it better.

From May to September it is absolutely divine in the northwest, I question if there is a more beautiful place in all America during this time when the sun is out and temperatures are in the 70s and 80s. However, you will spend 8 months, more or less under the clouds 75 percent of the time waiting for this divinity to arrive. For me, that is not worth it, but for some it is perfectly fine. You can never know how you will react.

For this reason, I am considering Denver. I know Denver is not perfect and that it certainly is not as green as Portland. Even the mass transit system apparently is lacking compared to Portland, I have heard. But having sun makes me willing to give up some of the luxuries that Portland and the NW provides. If I ever get rich enough though, I will definetly be spending my summers in the northwest and running like hell once October comes.
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Old 05-25-2009, 05:13 PM
 
43 posts, read 90,866 times
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I think the cloudy weather has stopped Portland from becoming as large as it could be. It is such a beautiful city it only requires one visit to see that. May to September you don't want to live anywhere else. October through April... pretty much anywhere else. What a shame. Oh well, Portlanders don't want it to grow any more than it already has in the last ten years.
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Old 05-25-2009, 05:31 PM
Status: "Fall is in the air-too soon!" (set 27 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
68,647 posts, read 57,303,932 times
Reputation: 19434
Quote:
Originally Posted by looopson View Post
I think the cloudy weather has stopped Portland from becoming as large as it could be. It is such a beautiful city it only requires one visit to see that. May to September you don't want to live anywhere else. October through April... pretty much anywhere else. What a shame. Oh well, Portlanders don't want it to grow any more than it already has in the last ten years.
Just as the snow/winter stops Denver from growing even larger. I don't think the winter is bad, but I grew up in one northern climate (Pittsburgh), and lived in another (Champaign, IL) immediately before we came here. Some Californians and Floridians have a hard time with winter here.
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Old 05-26-2009, 05:13 AM
 
Location: South Carolina
1,991 posts, read 2,228,556 times
Reputation: 866
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Lane View Post
Smart growth was the sole cause of the mortgage crisis and wall street collapse of Sept. 2009, and subsequent escalating national unemployment.
Not true. Many cities participated in housing growth, period, and it wasn't particularly according to the "smart" model, and some of those places were the leaders in the collapse of the housing market. Las Vegas, Miami, various inland cities in California, and Phoenix weren't particularly built on the smart model, but led the bursting of the bubble nonetheless. Easy ARM credit extended to people who really couldn't afford the homes on a post-reset basis coupled with people believing they could flip a home in a few short years is what was the cause of the mortgage crisis and wall street collapse.

Meanwhile, cities which embraced smart growth such as Denver and Austin haven't seen the extent of housing price collapse that those other cities have.


Quote:
Originally Posted by looopson View Post
I think the cloudy weather has stopped Portland from becoming as large as it could be. It is such a beautiful city it only requires one visit to see that. May to September you don't want to live anywhere else. October through April... pretty much anywhere else. What a shame. Oh well, Portlanders don't want it to grow any more than it already has in the last ten years.
Cloudy/dreary/wet weather has single handedly kept Portland off my Places To Retire list, and sunny drier weather has helped Denver get a top 3 spot.

Last edited by Mike from back east; 05-26-2009 at 10:03 AM.. Reason: Merged 2:1
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Aurora, Colorado
2,212 posts, read 3,032,761 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CapHillboy View Post
I just mean that treating people decently when they behave correctly pretty much covers all I'd ask of anyone.
Well said. There are a lot of people looking to move to Denver who are looking for a specific area where they think they'll fit in. I think Denverites are very open to almost anyone until you give them a reason not to be. Someone who moves to Stapleton (for example) because they want to live in a gay friendly community aren't going to find any more friends there if they are loud obnoxious neighbors who don't take care of their yard. There are so many factors that go into a good neighborhood and I think everyone (no matter where you live) just want someone to take the same kind of pride in their home that their neighbors take in theirs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CapHillboy View Post
Since i know Denver much better, I think I can say that we don't have a clear vision of what we want to be or even what we don't want to be. (Portlanders I've talked to have said they don't want to be like Seattle, but maybe that's just city rivalry.) Some Denverites want us to be the NY, Chicago, or San Francisco of the Rockies--some kind of major international 24-hour city. Others (I'll admit to being one of these) want us to be a town with city amenities but a small-town feel, the kind of place most people overlook on their way to somewhere else.
I don't pretend to be an expert on Portland but I am not unfamiliar with the city either. I have family and many friends from college who have landed there so I have visited quite often. I know many people who say they wished Portland was more like Seattle. My relatives used to go to Seattle to go school clothes shopping because they said Portland was too limited. Incidentally, we used to go to Portland for school clothes since it was sales tax free!

I haven't found that Denver has any less clue as to what they want to be than Portland does. I hate to jump on the "Californians suck" bandwagon, but the massive migration of people out of that state to cities like Denver, Portland and Seattle have given it more of an identity complex. None of those cities are LA, San Francisco or San Diego. There seems to be a lot of head butting over those who are trying to change their new hometowns into their old ones. I don't believe Denver has fewer issues with people moving here and saying, "well, back in my old city, we used to do (fill in the blank)."
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Old 05-26-2009, 12:24 PM
 
33 posts, read 38,357 times
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I don't live in either Denver or Portland, but have visited both many times, and we may be moving to one or the other depending on my ability to transfer within my company that has offices in both cities.

Here are my thoughts/comparisons on the two:

Portland has an excellent public transportation system. Denver is improving it's light rail, but it will be quite a few years before it approaches what Portland has.

Both cities are pro-environment and conscious of the green movement, but Portland is definately more progressive in that respect.

I like the housing better in Portland, and I think the neighborhoods are a little more attractive. Denver's neighborhoods are okay, but the times we've driven around and looked at housing, the houses that are affordable and in better proximity to downtown were mediocre and most seem to be the 1960's/1970's houses with no curb appeal and low ceilings, etc. The nicer houses near downtown with some character are unaffordable, and a lot of them don't have garages which is asking for trouble in the winter.

I love local beer and non-chain bar/restaurants. Both Portland and Denver have good local brewing scenes, and both have interesting bars/restaurants littered throughout the downtown area. However, Portland had a bit more than Denver from what I've seen. But both are very good, so not a knock against Denver at all.

Professional sports. Here is where Denver has a huge advantage in my opinion. I love the sense of community and bonding that local sports can have on a city. Denver has every major sport, and the stadiums/arenas are all impressive. Portland only has the NBA, and will be getting a pro soccer team next year.

Finally, the people. I come from a somewhat conservative background and work in finance/accounting. However, I'm socially liberal and can get along with just about anybody no matter what their background. I'm all for helping the environment and don't have any problem with most people. My experiences with people have been fine in both cities. However, I noticed a lot more homeless/drifter types in downtown Portland, and a lot of obvious drug users wandering about. There was also a lot of teenagers and groups of drifter types just hanging around not really contributing anything. It kind of seems like Portland has a higher tolerance for people just hanging around panhandling, etc. Whereas even on the 16th Street Mall I never was approached for money.

The counter-culture/grunge thing is also prevelant in Portland, which I actually like, but I feel like I fit in a little more with the Denver scene, which has some of that, but being 30, I felt like downtown Denver was a bit more grown-up in my opinion, and while I think I'd look good with green hair and nose piercings (j/k), it's just not a viable thing to do at this point.

Anyway, that's just my two cents. I will be happy if we get a chance to live in either place as they both have their qualities that make them unique and good places to live.
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