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let's hear the "honest" answers. and "because it's so pretty" doesn't count, I just don't buy that. I would never uproot my family for that reason and there has to be good honest answers to that question. maybe just to help me understand since I've lived here my whole life and just don't see the attraction. It is nice here, but not THAT nice. I've been throughout the US in big cities and small towns and have family who live in different parts of the country and there are a lot of equally nice places, and nicer other than here, I'm just not getting it.
pre 1990, if you told someone you moved here and said "because it's pretty" or "people are nice here" then it was always because they were running from something, or hiding from something or someone. that was always the case every time. so maybe someone can shed some light on this subject since I think there are many people on here who still think that. (I won't lie, including myself)
I am in Portland pretty often but live just north of Vancouver. I wanted to live in a place with no hard winters and no hard summers... that gets me to the west coast. I also wanted to pass on income tax... that put me in Washington. And needed to have easy access to a major airport... that means close to PDX or SEA. I really wanted to avoid heavy traffic and serious congestion... so we wound up in Clark County. It is a beautiful area with many advantages, only lacking abundant job opportunities.
I moved here in '78 as a compromise. I grew up in Calif, met and married a Texan there who decided that he just HAD to move back to Texas. I hated it, hated it, hated it, and 3 years later I hit the end of my rope. Since he didn't want to return to Calif, Oregon was the next choice.
That marriage eventually dissolved, and I know I would have returned to Calif eventually. But then I hooked up with a native Oregonian. Still, when ~ IF! ~ I can retire, I would like to live somewhere with longer stretches of sunshine.
Everything about the beauty is true. I have been driving around picking up leaves and twigs and all the color. (If you have seen me in your yard, please don't call the cops.)
I am leaving my hometown of Portland today, after returning for a six month test.
For me, Portland (visually) looks like a midwest style city, built with California money and I think it is overpriced and oversold.
Healthwise, if you have allergies, asthma or arthritis, this is a terrible climate.
Often, it is easy to get distracted by the ugliness of the dispropotional numbers of homeless, free wheeling sex trade and unchecked illegal immigration. I have been asking myself the question, why do citizens allow this to continue? Expect this all to get worse, until the economy comes back.
Personally, I like the pro-active energy in some parts of California and the entrepeneurial spirit and international spirit that better defines me.
Portland is very young energy in fashion, art, music and the outdoors. That is very good for young families, if the jobs are paying well enough. Personally, I would wait to buy a home in Portland because as a financial type, I think Portland real estate is going down hard within six months. It has been lagging behind the times but not for long.
I have hated to see corporations remodel and nearly rebuild apartments around exisiting tenants, disrupting their quality of life and then raising the rents. This is all coming to a screeching halt, by the way. If you are coming to this town now, for the first time and you see a basic, nothing apartment (no pool, no dishwasher, no garbage disposal, no outdoor seating area, etc) for $635., offer them $500. because that would be closer to reality.
Oregon has terrible tenant laws that do not protect it's citizens very well and renters are easily exploited. If you read the apartment ratings websites, you might be surprized at all the negative comments about bad management, overpriced rents, failure to provide timely repairs, etc.
The good thing about this kind of economy is the buyers get back in control.
I am hoping that as the newcomers settle down, Portland will evolve into a pro-active city of citizens who refuse to tolerate the sleeziness. Other cities have found ways to fix these problems. I use Oceanside California as an example. Their city police are seen EVERYWHERE and it has made a huge difference.
I gues the truth is, I have never liked the place.
We came out because OHSU has a great Ph.D. program for my wife, unfortunately they cut the program because it's not a real profit generator. By the time we got here though I had a good job with a hefty raise, and since I am still learning a ton I decided to stay for a bit to get good leverage to my next position.
We chose it because we had loved it in the past, and the weather is pretty mild compared to the recent blizzards we experianced in Denver (you just get more of it out of the way at one time). Great food and great things to see also helped.
I moved here because, coming from a big city on the east coast, I was stressed out and burned out from working and commuting and the hard winters and humid summers, and, just going through a breakup, I wanted to "start anew" and find a nice place to live that was smaller and more friendly. I came to Portland twice on "vacation" before I moved, the first time to basically do some sightseeing and try to get a feel for the area to see if this was actually something I really wanted to do (I lived my whole life on the east coast, never even been on the west coast before). I was very impressed on my first visit, and then went home and took a few more months to think about it. I came back later that year, after sending some 'test' resumes to see if I would be able to find a comparable job (I work in the legal field) out here. I went on some interviews, found a nice law firm, and pretty much had a job waiting for me if I decided to move. I came back to the east coast and started making arrangements to make the move. My husband and I were split up, and with no kids and us not owning a home together it made it very easy to make this move. I moved out here 2 weeks after September 11, 2001 (coincidence) and felt it was the right thing for me. I felt immediately at home here, it was smaller, cleaner, people were friendlier, the pace was slower, everything I was looking for. I had no idea at the time that I was part of this big "movement" out here, I honestly thought it was just me - people I knew out east were looking at me like I had 3 heads when I told them I was moving to Ore-gone . I met a wonderful guy after living here for several years, and now we're married and very happy. Luckily he was born and raised in this area so now I don't feel like a "transplant" so much. If only they had a football and baseball team..... GO PHILLIES!!!!
I think you underestimate the "beauty" factor-- maybe because you have lived here so long. For me, several years in the desert with no green, dust and grit in my face all the time, heat and sand-- it was all too much. When you have to water the trees or they'll die, and you can't grow a garden or a lawn because of water restrictions, it starts to feel like you're living in the Sahara. Not for me.
And did I mention the 1 1/2 hour commute, one way?
I moved here solely and only because it (real estate) is cheaper than Seattle. My rent up there was $1200/month. My mortgage here is $711/month. I do like it here, though, and I'm glad I made the effort.
My parents moved to Portland with me a week after I graduated from high school. After graduating from college with wayyy too much student loan debt, I stayed in Portland with the folks for the financial security. I met my wife (a lifelong Portlander), was married in '90, and have stayed here ever since.
Portland IS oversold for the beauty and outdoors. There are many other areas of the nation that I consider equally beautiful. The Northeast, The North Shore of MN, The UP of Michigan, The Sierras, to name a few. Heck, if you want to live somewhere truly gorgeous, move to British Columbia! All these areas have the added benefit of four distinctly beautiful seasons. Don't try to sell Portland as having that. To me: no snow = no winter, plain and simple. Portland is far too gray and damp in the prolonged fall and spring that passes for winter here. The only outdoor rec opportunity I'd miss in some of the other areas I've mentioned is climbing, but I've generally taken road trips to do that anyway.
Portland does have benefits. As large cities go (yes, it is one to me), it is clean, has a variety of architecture, and a variety of distinct neighborhoods. It has great public transportation and is amazingly bike friendly. Unfortunately it is also becoming increasingly trendy/hipster/overpriced. It is "shallower" than it used to be. Yes, there are a huge number of liberals, greenies, etc. But while I tend to have those views myself, many of the PDX's I talk to these days don't think deeply on these things and aren't willing to have serious conversations with someone with a differing view.
Ultimately I'd like to move to someplace smaller, with a more relaxed pace (I grew up in small towns). I'll NEVER convince my wife to move, but I can dream!
In my culture there is an expression: "havie havie nuh wantie, wantie wantie nuh havie". That is Jamaican patois for "people never appreciate what they have". I think that charge could be leveled at the o.p. Seriously failing to comprehend why so many would uproot their families, (and in reality, I suspect relatively few inflict their wanderlust on their families, most do their relocating prior or post family) is not 'our' fault, or our problem. But I will humor him (or her). For us the 'beauty' is irrelevant as far as it goes. My partner is completely blind and I do not have full sight though I can appreciate foliage and sunsets (when the trees aren't in the way). The really friendly people? Well try being African American in a mostly white suburb and see how friendly people are. I won't say they aren't friendly still but there is a definite drop-off in 'how friendly and it ends up being no more or less so than any other part of the country I've lived in. Here's why, then, we are here: it may not be cheap here but it is cheaper than NYC where we called home before. As cheapskates we have decided that saving $6,000+/yr on a car and related expenses appealled to us. Portland is rated by a number of independent rankings as America's most bicycle friendly city. It also happens to rate highly with pedestrians as well. These are huge plusses for us and the reality has borne out the legends and so far (5+ months... already) we are happy with our decision.
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