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Pro's and Con's of Bend, Oregon as opposed to Portland
Hope all is going well for all of you here in Oregon. I'm currently going to college in Portland but the weather with it's constant rain and grey is driving me crazy. I have thought of transferring out to the Bend, Oregon area b/c I have heard it gets a lot more sunshine and is much more dry in general. What are your thoughts on the pro's and con's of living in Bend as opposed to Portland?
I have only been to Bend once, about 30 years ago, so my opinion should be of absolutely no value to you; but I'm "post" happy so here goes:
I felt like I was in Colorado. The town itself was really gorgeous and there were about a million outdoorsy things to do any day of the week, and people were doing them! I wouldn't mind living there at all if it's still the same today. And, yes, the weather was quite different.
Bend is a city of 80,000 vs. the 2 million in the Portland area. Just keep that in mind. Bend is beautiful but it does not have the hustle and bustle of a larger city because well it isn't large. The biggest complaint I see from young folks is the lack of a young people crowd. People live in Bend because they want to be outdoors. So, they are outdoors, not hanging out at dance clubs. It just depends on what kind of atmosphere you are looking for. Bend is a slower paced city compared to Portland.
The weather is hot and dry in the summer, but it is cold and gray there in the winter. It isn't as rainy as Portland but they get snow, where Portland doesn't. I like to visit Bend, but could never live there. It's too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter for me.
As a Colorado native, who now lives in Bend, it does remind me of home. However, I wouldn't compare the weather to Colorado, as the winters in Bend are still influenced by the PNW weather pattern, unlike Colorado. We do get snow here in Bend, but we also get rainy, overcast days in the winter as well. It's just that it may start out snowing early in the day and warm up enough to turn to rain, which creates a bigger mess, IMO. To many people who move here from the rainy side of the Cascades, Bend is a sunny paradise. I find it to be lacking greatly in the 300 days of sunshine claim the chamber of commerce folks tote! Summers are hot and sunny but winters are cold and cloudy with "sun breaks," a term I recently learned when I moved to Bend. You may be just fine coming from Portland, but for me, coming from Colorado, it has been a big adjustment.
Like Silverfall said, Bend is still a small town. There are some things to do for younger folks because they are here in the town, but by and far the biggest thing to do here is play outside. You should really check into your college program as well. While we do have COCC and extensions of U of O, there are not many 4 year programs here. Most of the time students start out here to get there basic credits in and then transfer to finish their studies. I would also caution you that if you need work, you may have some major trouble finding it in Bend. The job market is extremely tight and well educated people are often taking jobs that pay less than $10/hour (which, I would assume were normally held by college kids) to avoid total unemployment.
As a Colorado native, who now lives in Bend, it does remind me of home. However, I wouldn't compare the weather to Colorado, as the winters in Bend are still influenced by the PNW weather pattern, unlike Colorado.
Wow...I'm just shocked that I was close! I was there when I was 8yo and have never even been to Colorado! Pretty close guess all things considered.
I live in both regions (outside of Bend, and outside of Portland). I am considering permanently ditching the Portland home, because it hasn't stopped raining there since I was born over 50 years ago
Bend is drier, more sunshine, dry air; Portland is wet. Bend has more recreation right out your back door (snow sports, hiking, rock climbing, fishing, camping, etc); Portland has more shopping and other cultural activities. Bend winters are colder and snowy; Portland winters are just more rain. Bend has big swings in day/night temps, say it could be 60's during the day, but drop to 40s or less later that night; Portland temps don't have nearly the big swing potential daily (if you garden, this sucks). Sometimes there will be a frost as late as June.
Big thing that sucks about Central Oregon - lightening and wildfires (can cause bad air quality and be scary if nearby, but the lightening storms are absolutely stunning to watch. Big thing that sucks about Portland - the traffic (much much worse than when I was a kid growing up there. Traffic is a bit higher now than when I first moved here, but nothing compared to Portland). Bend has a few good restuarants; Portland has more than I can count.
Since you are in college in Portland, do you take the summer off? If so, why not rent a place over here in Bend for a bit during the summer and see what you think?
I should also ask what kinds of things you like to do, and maybe we can tell you if you can find that in Bend. For me, all that Portland had to offer meant nothing because I got sick of doing it in the rain.
When I was your age, I was also in college in Portland. It just took me longer than it is taking you to realize that other people really lived in sunshine, and had fun outside nearly every day Even during the winter, I go out and do things even when it is in the high 20s/low 30s, and it doesn't feel as cold as those temps would feel in Portland, with all the moisture in the air. Even with the winter cold, it isn't grey outside, it is still sunny!
You might also consider Southern Oregon here in Ashland. I have classified the climate data for much of Oregon (whew! doesn't get more exciting than that! ) , and Medford and Ashland cluster more with eastside towns like Bend and LaGrande. It is because we are east of the Siskiyou Mtns. We are a bit warmer than Bend, but with more snow than Portland. Not quite the gardening paradise of the Willamette Valley, but a considerably longer growing season than Bend. Bottomline, we are about 40% drier and probably 25-30 sunnier than Portland. Not a dry climate by any means, there are days when it is cold and dry enough that you can venture out at night in a down coat and admire the stars. In short,it's no Colorado or California, but the move worked very well for me with pushing the winter gloom and damp below my personal pain thresholds. I struggled in the Willamette Valley with mild SAD. No problems here. SOU is a nice regional university with caring teachers and beautiful, expansive views from a tidy campus, hiking galore, and a little ski resort a half hour away. Not a bad place to while away your college years. Many of the students here are from Portland, getting as far away from their parent as possible, with skiing and in-state tuition...
The bane of Southern Oregon....poison oak..if you get it. Oh, and those rich liberals...
Curious about Bend ... for a mid-30s professional & artist couple. Would only move if I get a job so that is not the issue. I once thought of moving to Portland, but settled in Colorado instead, so now going to the rainy part of Oregon may be a bit of a shock for me. I looked elsewhere on this forum - Asland seems nice but small, not sure about Medford (seems conservative for me), but I've heard Bend could be really nice. But a few questions:
Is it a good place for a mutli-cultural (white/Asian American), moderate to liberal, professional & artist couple in their 30s? I enjoy the outdoors, some urban amenities (hopefully a nice downtown), meeting people, etc. I like a laid-back life but at the same time enjoy discussing things or being involved in local issues.
Is Bend somewhat liberal or open minded - I mean can I find like-minded people who like to commute by bicycle, can appreciate diverse foods (even vegetarian), etc? I don't mean to say I'm looking for the crazy politics of a college town. We have been living in college towns last 10 years, I enjoyed the more moderate one (sure, liberal by American standards), but got tired of the silly politics, high housing prices and run-down student rentals in the more "lefty" one. I assume there are many former Portlanders in Bend?
Are there people moving to Bend with an entreprenuerial mindset that might get the economy going? It does seem there is a nice McMenamin's hotel ...
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