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Old 08-03-2007, 02:53 PM
Location: Albany, NY
17 posts, read 73,255 times
Reputation: 13


Hello all. I have recently graduated with my Masters degree and am now looking for places to relocate (from Albany NY). Portland, OR is at the top of my list for many reasons. I have also discovered Vancouver WA, apparently right across the river from Portland.

If it helps, my reasons for moving away from Albany are...

- Hate the weather. You can have its four seasons. Humid summers/ICY winters. Ugh.
- Did I mention that even in the icy winters with 3ft of snow it's also humid and you can sweat to death?
- It's quite ghetto here, in a bad way, not a cosmopolitan way. Depressed.
- High taxes. Related to previous reason.
- Friends have pretty much all moved away, so no emotional ties to the area anymore.
- Tired of the east coast snobbery.
- Seemingly saturated with cookie cutter, uneducated IT workers. Tough to find real work.

As someone who...

- Is 25, single male (French-Canadian descent)
- Has no intentions of having kids
- Prefers renting/apartment living over the Real Estate game
- Has a car but perfectly content with public transit
- Socially liberal but Live-and-Let-Live attitude
- Prefers dry, cool weather that doesn't change (much) throughout the year
- Has a work background in Information Technology (educated and certified, certainly not unqualified).
- MS degree in Library Science (would work either library or tech jobs)

.. which would be a better fit for someone like me? Vancouver or Portland?

Either way I plan on Portland being my home for culture, shopping, nightlife (EVERYTHING) but for the homebase? Washington state has that added bonus of no state income tax... but which has cheaper rent, better apartments, better jobs (for my fields), etc? Is it worth it to live/work in WA or should I just not bother and go 100% Portland?

I'm not a suburb or small town guy. It's either Vancouver or living right in Portland for me. Not gonna bother living and commuting anywhere except in a city environment.

Would love to hear from both sides of the river.
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Old 08-03-2007, 04:12 PM
14 posts, read 64,616 times
Reputation: 13
I have lived in Vancouver since 2000. My girlfriend (now wife) and I moved from Portland. We moved because I got a job in Washington, and wanted to avoid the 9% Oregon income tax. At the time, homes were significantly cheaper in Vancouver than Portland. (Note - if you work in Oregon and live in WA, you'll still have pay the Oregon income tax).

If you're going to use Portland for all of your nightlife / shopping / social stuff, I think you would be much better off living in Portland. The public transportation is GREAT (MAX light rail, street car and public buses)! If you live in Downtown Portland, you truly don't need a car on a daily basis (obviously, weekend trips to get out of the city are much easier with a car). The commute from Vancouver to Portland is not fun. The primary bridge (Interstate 5) backs up from 3pm on.

Vancouver's downtown is much much smaller (though growing), and closes its doors at 5pm. The condos that are being built in downtown seem to be inhabited by empty-nesters, rather than young singles.

Honestly, both my wife and I miss living in Portland. There's a vibrancy and feeling that Vancouver just does not have. There are a few things that keep us on this side of the river:
-Although not important to you, now that we have children, public school quality is important to us. That is one area that Vancouver trumps Portland, (but I don't think the Portland public schools are as bad as they are made out to be).
-Since I work here, it makes little sense to pay OR income tax.
-Home / condo prices for the areas of Portland we love have surpassed our middle class incomes.

There are many more jobs in Portland, due to it being a larger city, however there are decent IT opportunities in Vancouver. HP has a large presence, Sharp Labs has a research unit, and there are a few chip manufacturers (SEH, WaferTech).

On the plus side, there are definite tax advantages to living and working in WA (no income tax), and doing all of your shopping (no sales tax) in Oregon.

I'm sounding more anti-Vancouver than I am. Vancouver is a good place to raise a family, downtown (or close-in) Portland is a great place to be young and urban.

Good luck, and let me know if you have any specific questions I can answer for you.

Last edited by beatnik28; 08-03-2007 at 04:25 PM..
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Old 08-03-2007, 05:08 PM
550 posts, read 2,919,915 times
Reputation: 280
Originally Posted by elranzer View Post

I'm not a suburb or small town guy.

I wouldn't recommend Vancouver for you then. It feels more like a loose association of suburbs than it does a real honest-to-goodness "city".
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Old 08-03-2007, 08:47 PM
Location: Las Vegas, NV
700 posts, read 2,249,769 times
Reputation: 391
They call it Van-tucky for a reason...kidding!!!
Its not bad though, very strip-mall-suburban. I did the live in "da couv" doing the 205 commute thing for quite awhile.
This positive swing as mentioned would be live/work in WA....shop in OR,
If that cant happen....scratch it!

If you are single/apartment dwelling/ public transpo friendly/ extrovert/ etc...
Dont think twice...live in PDX, S.E area is good...or of course the NW area if you have savings. As far as the need for Librarians or Librarian-ish work (sorry if I dont know what that my be) You may want to secure a position before the move....maybe a little tight on that job scene. Portland may be the anti-Albany. Enjoy!!

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Old 08-03-2007, 08:48 PM
Location: Las Vegas, NV
700 posts, read 2,249,769 times
Reputation: 391
And with all those typos and poor use of commas...I should have spent more time in the Library...ha!!!
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Old 08-03-2007, 10:00 PM
2 posts, read 24,135 times
Reputation: 10
The commuter traffic crossing the Columbia is horrible. There is only two bridges, I-5 and I-205 and the traffic is at a standstill everyday.
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Old 08-04-2007, 10:25 AM
550 posts, read 2,919,915 times
Reputation: 280
I don't know if I'd called the traffic between Vancouver and Portland as "horrible", but it is definitely something to consider. If you're coming from a significantly larger city such as LA, Phoenix, or NY, the traffic in Portland likely won't even be a blip on your radar. It's all relative to what you're accustomed to dealing with.
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Old 08-14-2007, 02:21 AM
Location: Albany, NY
17 posts, read 73,255 times
Reputation: 13
Thanks all, you've confirmed my doubts. Looks like Portland it is. It's just a measly 9% income tax anyway... I'm coming from NY afterall. Anything except California/Hawaii is cheaper than here.

I can't stand stand-still traffic... much more content with the bus.

Sounds like I would have to make the trip to Vancouver for any Wal-mart needs, however ;-)
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Old 08-14-2007, 06:15 AM
Location: Raleigh, NC
1,553 posts, read 3,808,964 times
Reputation: 1156
Just wanted to say hi, as I grew up in Latham, NY (grandparents in Albany). I've been in the Worcester, MA area since 2000 for college, but my fiancee and I are also looking to move to Portland, probably in Spring 2009 since we're getting married next summer and it'd be too much. We also looked into Vancouver, but while it might be nice, it seems to lack most of the cool/fun factor that attracted us to Portland to begin with. As someone who has lived for 7 years just a bit too far from a fun city (Boston) to make it convenient, I'd much rather be right there. As far as the taxes, yeah... MA has 5% sales and 5.3% income, so it's about even I guess, but it's a lot better than NY with it's sales tax.
Also, I know exactly what you mean about Albany. As someone who has been to Portland once (and to Albany hundreds of times), it is safe to say that Portland is indeed the anti-Albany. Good luck on your relocation!
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Old 08-15-2007, 08:39 PM
Location: Concrete jungle where dreams are made of.
8,900 posts, read 12,375,110 times
Reputation: 1819
I have a question that's a little off-topic...

I have a friend living in Vancouver who I'm convincing to move to NYC (not Manhattan, I mean Queens). She's worried about NYC being too expensive. Would it be really difficult for someone living in Vancouver moving to NYC? I have no idea what the cost of living is out there. If it helps, she's finishing up her certification to be an MA.
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