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Old 09-08-2012, 01:21 AM
 
Location: Lille, France
97 posts, read 122,607 times
Reputation: 59

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May I chime in here with a question, too?

I'm also from California (living in France now) but my wife (who is Fr) and I are thinking of moving our young-ish family back to the US in next year or so.

Portland sounds like a great little city: culture, colleges (I teach uni), nature, etc.. However, it's not so much the cold that scares me as;

1) The grey (which is why I could never live in PNW)

and

2) the wind (which is why I could never live in Boston)


Are either of those a real issue in Portland, ME?
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:24 AM
 
Location: Maine
40 posts, read 54,819 times
Reputation: 59
We just moved to Portland ME. I lived in Seattle with family in 1999 and loved it. I'm from NH. I think ME sounds like what you're after! Portland is a vibrant little city, lots of unique culture (and perhaps inspiration for your blog!). There are a ridiculous amount of great restaurants & coffee shops. There are numerous colleges, which keep the scene youthful. I'm in my early 30s and just love it here. Lots of art/design firms, shops, etc. There are A LOT of homeless for such a small city, but I have never been approached. The support local scene here is huge, there are tons of Maine farms to support if you're into that. Really cool bar scene, many pubs and well established spots to have a beer or wine. Rents are reasonable in and around the city and cost of living seems to be on the lower end of things. Absolutely beautiful scenery, and backdrop for everyday life . People are straightforward and nice, if you're not an idiot. Maybe check out South Portland, near the ocean and very close to old Port, but more quiet & residential than in town.
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Old 09-08-2012, 09:47 AM
 
Location: Lille, France
97 posts, read 122,607 times
Reputation: 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by sfchick View Post
We just moved to Portland ME. I lived in Seattle with family in 1999 and loved it. I'm from NH. I think ME sounds like what you're after! Portland is a vibrant little city...
Great description, sfchick, thank you.

Can you do a brief compare/contrast (i.e. size, vibe, weather, cultural life, etc) between Seattle and Portland, ME?
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Old 09-10-2012, 04:42 AM
 
398 posts, read 435,523 times
Reputation: 355
Quote:
Originally Posted by ejlorge View Post
Great description, sfchick, thank you.

Can you do a brief compare/contrast (i.e. size, vibe, weather, cultural life, etc) between Seattle and Portland, ME?
Seattle is a major metro with over 3 million residents. Portland, ME and it's surrounding area is a little over 500,000.

Vibe: Some similarities including the cyclists, bohemian, and the crunchy granola/tree hugging types, but Seattle is more urban plus more white collar types and high-tech industry. Companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing, and others have a large presence there. Seattle has Starbucks and Portland has Dunkin Donuts.

Weather:

Portland:




Seattle:




Portland is more of a real four-season climate while Seattle usually gets cool-mild, gray skied, and misty-drizzly weather during Winter, the earlier half of Spring, and the later half of Fall. Summer in Portland is much more humid with a nice balance of sun and rain. Seattle is warm and dry usually from the end of June to early September (the grass will actually go dormant by Mid-July-August unless you water it!), but can feel more chilly at night. Seattle gets a cool and lighter rain while Portland can get a warmer and heavier rain.

Culture -





Portland has more of an English and Irish influence while Seattle has more of a Scandinavian and German influence.

Hope that helps.
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Old 09-10-2012, 10:56 AM
 
Location: Lille, France
97 posts, read 122,607 times
Reputation: 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arushan View Post
Seattle is a major metro with over 3 million residents. Portland, ME and it's surrounding area is a little over 500,000.

Vibe: Some similarities including the cyclists, bohemian, and the crunchy granola/tree hugging types, but Seattle is more urban plus more white collar types and high-tech industry. Companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing, and others have a large presence there. Seattle has Starbucks and Portland has Dunkin Donuts.


Portland is more of a real four-season climate while Seattle usually gets cool-mild, gray skied, and misty-drizzly weather during Winter, the earlier half of Spring, and the later half of Fall. Summer in Portland is much more humid with a nice balance of sun and rain. Seattle is warm and dry usually from the end of June to early September (the grass will actually go dormant by Mid-July-August unless you water it!), but can feel more chilly at night. Seattle gets a cool and lighter rain while Portland can get a warmer and heavier rain.


Portland has more of an English and Irish influence while Seattle has more of a Scandinavian and German influence.

Hope that helps.
Yes, that does help, Arushan, thank you.

Portland really sounds special. But there are basically three concerns of mine re Portland:

1. The Wind. (As bad as Boston?)

2. The Overcast. (As bad as Seattle?) I can handle cold, but not weeks of no sunshine.

3. The Size. I realize Portland is a small city I'm good with that. But is it so small that you run into the same people –friends or strangers– several times a day? I'm a college professor so I like a little anonymity, too.

Any thoughts are welcomed...
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Old 09-10-2012, 09:05 PM
 
398 posts, read 435,523 times
Reputation: 355
Quote:
Originally Posted by ejlorge View Post
Yes, that does help, Arushan, thank you.

Portland really sounds special. But there are basically three concerns of mine re Portland:

1. The Wind. (As bad as Boston?)

2. The Overcast. (As bad as Seattle?) I can handle cold, but not weeks of no sunshine.

3. The Size. I realize Portland is a small city I'm good with that. But is it so small that you run into the same people –friends or strangers– several times a day? I'm a college professor so I like a little anonymity, too.

Any thoughts are welcomed...
1. The winds in Portland are not as bad as Boston.

2. Portland gets much more sun than Seattle, except for maybe July and August. In Seattle, you'll often go several weeks without seeing any sun. The weather forecasters there use the term "sunbreak" often. Heh. You'll probably prefer Portland's weather. Seattle is quite a bit further North, so that makes it even rougher due to less daylight hours in the winter.

3. I guess it depends on which area of town you live in and what areas you will frequent. You should have plenty of anonymity I would imagine.
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Old 09-12-2012, 01:30 PM
 
Location: Lille, France
97 posts, read 122,607 times
Reputation: 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arushan View Post
1. The winds in Portland are not as bad as Boston.

2. Portland gets much more sun than Seattle, except for maybe July and August. In Seattle, you'll often go several weeks without seeing any sun. The weather forecasters there use the term "sunbreak" often. Heh. You'll probably prefer Portland's weather. Seattle is quite a bit further North, so that makes it even rougher due to less daylight hours in the winter.

3. I guess it depends on which area of town you live in and what areas you will frequent. You should have plenty of anonymity I would imagine.
Thank you Arushan, that was super helpful. It sounds like Portland is exactly as I hoped.

Now... to find a teaching job!

Thanks again!
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:28 PM
 
72 posts, read 87,764 times
Reputation: 51
Hello, I have lived in Washington in Seattle and now live North of Seattle. So, hopefully I can give you some help from the perspective of an outgoing Midwest girl who has lived all over the country (with the exception of the Northeast although I have traveled to visit). I responded immediately after each of your bullet points.

Things I care about:
- a scene! niche restaurants and bars (not clubs), cozy bookstore and coffee shops, sunday dinners and outdoor movie nights/game nights Yes, Seattle has all of this
- housing costs: i am on a very limited budget and will be getting a studio to start out with - I am okay with living 20 mins outside of downtown (I have a truck) if it means I can get a studio for less than $750/mo You will never find a studio for this amount in a safe area. 20 minutes from Seattle via driving is basically still in Seattle.
- friendly people Seattle Freeze, it's the real thing. Google it. Snohomish County people are much more open. But....no one wants to make friends outside of chatting for a few seconds in line at the store. Be prepared for really lonely days and nights.

- hiking! Oh yes, for sure. Everywhere.
- easy drive to nearby sites/day trips Yep. It's beautiful here.
- not a drug-heavy or dangerous homeless population (I do not like Portland, OR or Philly for these reasons) Seattle has the SECOND largest homeless population in the country.
- relatively uncrowded city...or has small neighborhood pockets (love people, hate annoying late-night crowds) You would not like it in Seattle then.
- coastal or on a picturesque waterway (not huge on rivers) Then you need to live on the Olympic Peninsula....and there is nothing around, no clubs, hardly any coffee shops....only TWO Walmarts in the entire peninsula and I HATE Walmart but it was literally the ONLY two places to shop. Whidbey Island is nice. You might like that but then you have to rule the first item off the list.

Things I don't care about:
- traffic Good, because I-5 is the ONLY main highway from Canada to California. Which means there is a LOT of traffic....all of the time. Day or night.
- schools/family-friendly stuff In areas like Bothell Mill Creek (Snohomish county), Bellevue, Issaquah (King County)....all high rent areas.
- weather (love weather extremes) Here it's not extreme. 4 months of sunshine and 8 months of clouds and rain. That's about it :-)

- high-paying employment prospects (I have a college degree, but am not interested in using it at this point) Ok, you have a college degree but not interested in using it. Then, you will not make money here. Trust me, I have a degree, am not using it (who hires history majors? ha) and I am not getting rich, either. You would have to have a roommate but oh....I forgot.....people don't have roommates here because they aren't very sociable.

Ok, now before anyone takes me wrong, I LOVE it here. But, I knew ahead of time what I was getting into and although I moved out of state at one point for work, I could not wait to get back here. I am ok with being by myself at times and also with my family member who lives with me or a very small group of people but the latter rarely ever happens. I am ok with rain. There is more than one breadwinner in our home. I am cynical and cynicism is in abundance here. I deal with people in my line of work so after work I love the solitude. Yes, I do get lonely sometimes and if you are a social person, you WILL get lonely here. It takes years sometimes to make friends and even after that, they still keep you at arms length. Even visiting isn't the same as living here. It helps but it will not give you a clear, long-term depiction. I talk loud, I laugh loud, my family has a lot of Italian roots. And sometimes I ask myself why did I pick the NW instead of the NE? I love NYC and CT and we all laugh a lot, are loud and obnoxious (not in our eyes but in the eyes of other people). I use a lot of arm language (lol) and frankly, it scares the hell out of people here. So, I've had to learn to just not say a lot in order to get by. There were a lot of other factors that came into play where our decision to move here was concerned but you get the idea. Good luck!

Last edited by lotr1967; 09-16-2012 at 07:36 PM..
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Old 09-21-2012, 12:49 PM
 
Location: Scarborough, ME
167 posts, read 248,726 times
Reputation: 145
Wow. People are really down on Seattle around here. I grew up in Seattle and lived there until i was 30. And now i've been in Portland ME for 4 years. I LOVE Maine - there is a great community feel to it. Moreso than I experienced in Seattle. There is tons of outdoorsy stuff to do around Portland. Great restaurants. There is homelessness in Portland, but that is in every city. Seattle has some, but not nearly as much as other cities. Whoever said that Seattle has the 2nd most homelessness in the country is flat wrong about that. Actually, there are some very false perceptions of Seattle floating around here:

1. you don't need to be rich in Seattle. It's more expensive to live there and you probably can't get a decent place for $750, but certainly one doesn't need to be rich. Seattle is beautiful (it does rain a lot though). I take offense to the 'soggy hellhole' comment.

2. Crime is not nearly the problem that it is in other large cities. However, it is a large city and there is some crime. But it's nothing like Philly, DC, Chicago, LA, NY, Baltimore, St. Louis, Miami, and many other cities.

3. Summer weather is the furthest thing from 'hot and dry'. That is laughable. Summer starts late (July) and is absolutely gorgeous (comfortably warm, not humid) through September. I love summer in Maine, but the weather just can't compete with summer in Seattle by any means.

There were more, but those rubbed me the wrong way because they're just sooooo wrong. Either way, it looks like you're looking for a smaller-town feel and you wouldn't get that in Seattle. Portland/Camden/Rockland are all very nice. Portland has a lot to offer for being such a small city. We love it here. I miss Seattle, but I wouldn't move back. I just love Portland that much more.

good luck
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Old 09-22-2012, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Oregon
56 posts, read 54,677 times
Reputation: 48
I have to agree summer in the Northwest is as close to perfect as you can get. But from mid fall until early summer. it sucks, unless you enjoy cloudy days and lots of rain. On the upside everything is very green which is why Seattle is nicknamed the Emerald City.

I lived in Seattle for a few years and now live in the other Portland :-) I had a chance to move to Maine but I didn't take it and I am now regretting it. I miss having 4 seasons, the beautiful leaves in the fall and even snow in the winter.

Seattle has a lot of good things but it is a pretty big city and with that comes the crime, traffic, drugs and gang problems. I lived on Capitol Hill which was an experience to say the least. I'm glad I had a chance to do but I wouldn't want to live there again. I also lived in Edmonds and Everett. I liked Edmonds the best but on weekends it can get ultra crowded because of the ferry Terminal.

Seattle has professional sports, lots of venues for concerts (all types), a great zoo and Pacific Science Center. All the neighborhoods are unique in their own way. If I were going to live in the greater Seattle area I would choose one of the suburban towns, but with so much urban sprawl it is hard to tell when you leave one city and enter the next.

I have not lived in Maine but visited a few times which was quite a few years ago. If there is any way possible that is where I want to move to. The idea of living in a small community is so appealing to me.
The idea of no traffic, and a slower paced life style sound just about right for me. The thought of my daughter going to a school that isn't over crowded is also a huge plus. I know if we did ever move she would adapt quite well with her easy going and out going personality.

Still mostly a dream for me, but who knows.

Go to Maine over Seattle!!
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