Raleigh vs. Portland (Beaverton, Tigard, Dallas: apartments, to rent, lofts)
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I posted this for Raleigh, in the Raleigh forum, but I wanted to post it here to see the flip side.
(I'm sure you guys get annoying posts like this a lot, but I need some help. Sorry!)
So I live about 45 min outside Boston, I'm 25, and engaged. My fiancee and I are looking to move in spring 2009. I work in biotech, and she's almost done with an MBA, hoping for marketing or HR jobs. The main reasons for moving are the crappy weather here from late October --> early May, the fact that a 600k house is 1200 sq ft with no yard, and just for something different. Maybe more outdoor opportunities, less crowded (MA isn't so big, you see...), etc. Anyways, we had been focused on Portland, OR for awhile now. They seem to have low housing costs, compared to here, and a lot of nature stuff, good microbrews, wine, local food, etc. We're both liberal, but mainstream, and Portland seems good for that if you don't mind the freaks (and i use that term in jest)
Anyways, the obvious problems I see presented are the fact that it rains there a lot Nov-April, and this is preferable to dirty snowpiles, but might get depressing, compared to clear winter days of fresh snow. Also, I guess the job market is quite bad there. We're worried we're going to wind up working at a bookstore or something, stuck in gloomy weather. How does Raleigh compare to this? Is it reasonable for 2 college-educated late-20-somethings to make a combined 90k there? Or enough to buy a normal house? What is the shopping like (malls, little shops, etc)? What are the people like, friendly, conservative, liberal, diverse, straight-laced, weirdos, dressy, casual?? What kind of cars do people drive? Are there cool lofts or apartments downtown? Do people in my demographic typically live in suburbs, downtown, or certain sections? Are there earthquakes? Is the weather nice? I'd really love some thoughts on the good, the bad, and any suggestions....on Raleigh or Portland...
Sorry this was so long and rambling. Thanks very much for anyone who responds!
Edit: I do know a decent amount about Portland, but I want an honest answer if I'm going to be able to find a job in biotech that pays 40k if I am looking for 6 months. I can survive the weather, and everything else seems perfect. But I can't move across the country to go work as a temp. I don't want a 700k Pearl loft, but I do want a nice enough place to rent, and the ability to buy a house some day, even if it's in the suburbs...
If you are making a combined income of 90K a year, you will not have a problem finding a nice place to rent. It does rain a lot here, and it DOES get depressing. Of course, some people love it. I personally get tired of the rain after a few months. If you like the snow, don't expect to get much over here. You are close to the mountains and can visit the snow there, but we don't get very much snow at all. Sometimes we don't get any.
The economy is not great here, but it is improving. I would imagine that your fiance would be able to find work, but I can't say for sure. What exactly do you do in biotech? I'm not really familier with the industry. You could easily make that kind of income, especially because of your work fields.
I would definately start looking for work before you move over. Work is available here, but because of our economy it can take a while to find work.
I also work in biotech and visited Portland last week to invest some quality time in a place I might like to live. As far as biotech jobs in Oregon, it looks to be slim. I am under the impression that Genentech has recently opened (or will open) a fill/finish plant around the area. I did manage to see a small Pfizer site in this business park in Tigard (or Beaverton, not sure) but I'm pretty sure it's not some grande-scale manufacturing plant. Nor do I think that if there is anything available, minus the Genentech plant, that it will be anything regarding device or drug manufacture... more like geological science plants and stuff related to that. Just a guess, though.
I'm not sure what you do in the industry, but from my research, there isn't much at all. Seattle would probably have a few though.
well they just cloned a monkey in portland, it was all over the news, so they must have something
there's also this: Oregon Bioscience Online (http://www.oregon-bioscience.com/industry/directory?lac=1 - broken link)
and the universities, i guess.... I'm looking for tissue culture or molecular bio ideally, but I wouldn't really be picky
let me know how it goes for you
I'm sure they do have some opportunity. However, based on an article pulled from your same site (link below), it would sound awfully difficult to land a Researcher/Scientist position in a start-up. From my understanding, they are among the pioneers of those companies (perhaps owning a patent to the technology or something similar).
I'm not trying to be a nay-sayer, rather trying to be realistic about the possibility of actually landing one of the few biotech's out there. Luckily, you can look into some of the universities, as well.
Below, I performed a quick search on available biotech jobs through some of the available resources. Not much going on, imo. Of course, if you're willing to take a job as an assistant or other position, I'm sure you might be able to at least get in. Of course, you probably know as well as I do that in this industry, you better have some damn good references (most preferrably a connection).
Again, I don't want to be a nay-sayer, but I did talk to a few people on my trip that mentioned to be careful, because it can be hard to leave once you come over (at least in my California case). I've got a few contacts already in the area and some totally sound references, but I'm not sure that's enough to take the chance. I have no doubt I could land a good job in So Cal, Boston, RTP... Portland would be taking a chance.
Anyway, just my opinion. But I should tell you that during my trip I had a blast and really love the city. It was sunny and 30 degrees the whole time. Not sure if the holidays had anything to do with it, but I didn't see more than 3 panhandlers downtown and traffic is not nearly as bad as San Diego (some of the main complaints I've seen here). Nice size city and the scenery was outstanding!
well i wouldnt be looking to be a research scientist, as i only have a bachelor's. im looking for a 30-50k research associate or lab tech kind of thing. boston sucks, and so does so cal. so it's either portland or the south, and the south scares me... i fell like it's worth trying. but i guess if i start looking for jobs in january and don't find anything by the time i want to move in june, i will know i should head for raleigh...
Okay, I'm curious now. Why does the South scare you? You do realize there are many different cultures within the South. Raleigh is different from New Orleans, which is different from Birmingham, which is different from Dallas... etc. The urban areas differ from the rural ones. The mid-South differs from the deep-South, and so on.
Lets be honest and upfront. The South scares everyone because its over-populated, dirty, environmentally less consicious and low in awareness of world affairs. These are what I've heard people say during the times I've lived in Houston and Portland.
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