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Old 05-02-2007, 05:04 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
142 posts, read 928,747 times
Reputation: 105

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Hello All. I know there are many people out there relocating or planning to relocate to Portland, Oregon, and I figured I would throw in my 2 cents in an effort to help those people out. Because I did not grow up here, but I didn't just move here yesterday, my views should be fairly well rounded.

I have lived in Portland for about 4 years now; I relocated here from the East Coast, where I lived in several different cities. I have discovered that Portland is a much better place to live than many other popular cities, but definitely has some issues as well. Here are a few positive things about the area, and a few negative things to consider as well.

First, the positive:

In addition to Portland being a beautiful city, almost the entire state, if not THE entire state is absolutely beautiful. It is hard to compete with Oregon in terms of its nature and diverse geography. Even within the city of Portland, there are trees and greenery everywhere. On clear days you can see snow capped volcanoes, rolling green hills and buttes, and a plethora of other breathtaking views from many places within city limits. Also, from Portland, it only takes about 45 mins. to get to the Columbia River Gorge or Mt. Hood, and about 1.5 hours to get to the Oregon Coast, which is arguably the most spectacular coastline in America.

As of now, apartment rental prices are still….reasonable. I wouldn’t say affordable…but reasonable for a city of this quality. My apartment is big enough for two. It is only a few blocks from a dormant volcano that has been turned into a city park. The apartment rents for under $700.00 per month. I have great views from every window. Currently, from one, trees in bloom with flowers of every color, from another, on clear days I can see Mt Hood. From my dining room, at almost any time of day there are several different types of birds hoping around a bamboo grove, and hawks soaring in between tall doug fir trees in the distance. Of course, this is still a city, so there are plenty of rooftops/buildings in my field of vision, but still, for that kind of money, I think one would be very hard pressed to find housing on par with what I just described in LA or SF, or the alike. If anyone out there knows of such a place, please post about it!!

Portland has great parks, great public transportation, & a nice, walk able downtown. In fact, most of Portland is quite walk able / bike able. For about a year I was able to get by just fine in this city using nothing other than a bike and the public transportation system. Some natives will scoff at the thought of anyone wandering around certain NORTH Portland neighborhoods, but in my opinion, North Portland isn't nearly as bad as the bad neighborhoods in many other cities.

Portland is very laid back, and seems to abide by a "live and let live" philosophy. I have found that people generally stay out of your business as long as you are not acting way out of line. People here, even during a work day, even downtown, seem to "stroll" to their next destinations, they don't "power walk" like in NYC and other big cities. Maybe that is in part due to the good bud that is plentiful here. (another plus in my book)

If you are a vegetarian, Portland is currently ranked as the number one vegetarian friendly city in America. You can find good veggie friendly food in any part of town. Even most blue collar places that feature a typical American menu usually have veggie options.

If you are into beer or unique pubs, Portland is hard to beat. Personally, I hate chains. I won't be caught dead in a TGI Fridays type of bar, and Portland caters to people like me. You will find quirky little pubs in every neighborhood. Also, in Portland, even the chain establishments usually carry a couple of local brews on tap. Hell, even gas stations here have a better micro brew selection than many supermarkets in other cities.

Summertime in Portland, and the whole Pacific Northwest for that matter, is awesome. Think Mediterranean. Long, warm, sunny dry days & cool breezy nights. From about mid-June (sometimes early July) until late September (sometimes it extends into mid-October) we have nicer weather here than anywhere on earth, I swear.

Portland is a city that is easy to live in. It might not exactly be brimming with excitement like Las Vegas or Miami, but it does offer easy, peaceful, healthy (both mentally and physically), urban living. Even if you are broke, you can get around easily, you can find plenty of cheap eats and drinks, there is not a whole lot of crime to deter you from whatever you want to do with your day, and the weather is never extreme.

As for the negatives, here we go;

This may not be a negative for some, but I for one hate the winters here. They are not nearly as cold or snowy as many other places, which is a good thing, but here, they are long, cold, wet and dark. I get depressed. Also, those views I spoke of earlier, scratch them off the list of good things about this town when it is winter time. You can't see much further than your own feet when it is overcast and misting out.

The job market here is, well, dismal. It seems that even to get a lousy customer service job you practically need a college degree. I believe that employers here are used to having lots of highly educated young people fighting for crappy jobs, and they love it. I didn't have anything lined up when I moved here...I got lucky. However, I am quite good at adapting my lifestyle to my income, and I suggest you be too if you do something similar. It is not like Atlanta where there are tons of large corporations fighting for decent workers. Here you will have to fight hard to get a decent job, and may have to fight even to get a crappy job.

Portland is not a very diverse city at all, and that really drives me nuts. It is about 75% white, and about 80% of those white people seem angry, over it all, passive aggressive, or depressed. Probably about 50% of that angry white majority are the people who have lived here all their lives…they are usually the most miserable, and the remaining 20% are newcomers who try too hard to fit in. Most of the people I meet who are not origionally from Portland and more friendly and well balanced than the natives however.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am white, and not at all self hating. I just prefer living in a “melting pot” type of community. Portland also has far too many “hipsters”. Hipsters are those who value style over substance. Hipsters all act and dress the same, and honestly don’t seem to have a soul. They hang out at coffee shops smoking cigarettes and looking upset about something. I can’t stand them, and the high concentration of them here makes me long for less plastic, “real” people who are not afraid to be themselves.

Portland does not have much interesting architecture. Some, yes…but nothing like some of the other major cities out there.

Portland as a city is bills itself as a very progressive city, and pretty much, it is. However, the state is not. State law always trumps city law, so in essence, Portland’s progressive ways stop at 162nd & Burnside. Portland was progressive enough to legalize same sex marriage and start issuing licenses, but the large evangelical populous in eastern Oregon pushed through a ballot measure effectively banning it, and the conservative Oregon Supreme Court gave it their stamp of approval. I almost moved out of the state right then and there because that was such a cowardly and pathetic act of social injustice / intolerance.

So there you have it. Portland in a nutshell. I hope this post helped a few of you out. I am sure there are a few more negative aspects, and a few more positive aspects to living here that managed to slip my mind right now, but that was a good start.

Last edited by acs.1979; 05-02-2007 at 05:17 PM..
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Old 05-02-2007, 05:36 PM
 
Location: Oregon Coast
1,849 posts, read 6,109,490 times
Reputation: 1380
Thanks for the good post acs.1979.
It's been hard for me to say too much about Portland since I have never lived there.
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Old 05-02-2007, 06:07 PM
 
Location: Lakewood, CO
353 posts, read 347,950 times
Reputation: 50
I've never been a big Portland fan. I left a few years ago and I haven't really looked back. I just found it WAY too liberal. I'm a Republican and a pretty religious guy and even the Republicans in the surrounding suburbs--and in rural parts of the state--are still considerably more liberal than where I'm from--Denver, CO.

I actually never found the weather to be all that difficult. It's gloomy, it's rainy, it's wet--but it never really gets all that cold and you develop a charm for the rain and the lush green you get year round. And for the kind of summers--and stunning Fall--you get in the northwest, I'd say the wet winters are worth it.

The outdoors opportunities are great. Where else do you get a forest in the middle of a major city (Forest Park)? Amazing!

But, like I said, compared to conservative, evangelical Colorado Oregon was a major culture shock for me. It's a great state and plenty of nice people--but never underestimate the culture shock you get coming from a conservative place to the West Coast.

I have family in Corvallis (where I went to school) and Bend and I would definitely choose Bend if I were to ever live in Oregon again.

I'm wondering, how would you compare Bend and P-Town culturally and politically? Is Bend much like Denver?

I've been to Bend a couple of times but never got a good feel for it.
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Old 05-02-2007, 08:51 PM
 
Location: Chicago
53 posts, read 323,131 times
Reputation: 36
When you say cold, what temperatures do you speak of? 30's?

Is it at least interesting rain like thunderstorms or does that kind of stuff rarely happen because downpours are rare?

So after sharing your thoughts, how do you feel about Portland overall? Do you plan to stay there for another five or ten years? Are you pretty much mediocre to the whole Portland lifestyle?

That seems to be the problem with Portland for a lot of people, balancing the good and the bad. The winters and the summers. The convenience and the stubborn people. At least in a place like New York you might be able to make a clear cut decision.
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Old 05-02-2007, 10:19 PM
 
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley, Oregon
6,732 posts, read 14,445,077 times
Reputation: 8661
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngryTypingGuy View Post
When you say cold, what temperatures do you speak of? 30's?

Is it at least interesting rain like thunderstorms or does that kind of stuff rarely happen because downpours are rare?
This year we actually had a week in the 20s, but that's pretty rare. Generally it's above freezing, and usually it's in the 40s. Torrential rain storms happen, but it's more often just rain or drizzle. That doesn't necessarily mean it clears up in between bouts of rain though - it can stay overcast for weeks. Combine that with northern latitude and short days, and winter can be pretty dark. Thunderstorms are pretty unusual, too.

But it also means that a Goretex jacket with a hood and a polar fleece sweater or vest, jeans and waterproof shoes/boots [that would be the regional uniform in the winter] will get you through the winter, mostly. You learn to just pull on your gear, dress in layers and just... go.
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Old 05-02-2007, 10:22 PM
 
550 posts, read 2,943,495 times
Reputation: 282
Quote:
Originally Posted by AngryTypingGuy View Post
When you say cold, what temperatures do you speak of? 30's?
Depends on the part of town. Toward the east end, you'll have freezing temps because of the cold wind coming from the gorge. Winter temps can vary, but are usually in the 30's-high 40's. Again...that depends on the day, though. Every once in a while you'll have a freakishly warm 50F or 60F day.


Quote:
Originally Posted by AngryTypingGuy View Post
Is it at least interesting rain like thunderstorms or does that kind of stuff rarely happen because downpours are rare?
Nope, not normally "interesting" rain. More often than not, just a drizzle. There are occasional thunderstorms, but they're pretty rare compared to other areas like AZ that has a monsoon season with some really spectacular thunder/lightning storms.
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Old 05-02-2007, 10:44 PM
 
Location: Philippines
1 posts, read 5,191 times
Reputation: 10
I only have great memories about Portland. Ilived in OR during my senior year in highschool for one year. It's a very beautiful state. I do agree that it gets depressing over there when it's winter.
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Old 05-03-2007, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
142 posts, read 928,747 times
Reputation: 105
How do I feel about Portland overall? Well, I guess I have mixed feelings. My partner hates it, mainly because he feels that everyone is so pretentious here. I agree with him to some extent, but I also know that people can be like that in many places. My predicament is this: I want to move somewhere with more sun & less winter. However, I am reluctant to pick up and leave because there are plenty of good things about this city. I do not want to end up somewhere I may hate, because I definitely do not hate Portland. While I tend to like tropical or warmer climates better, generally it seems that the quality of life in southern cities lag far behind that of Portland. I have never been to the southwest. If I were to move, I might want to check that part of the country out.

My ideal city would be a place with lots of sun, lots of nature, clean air, decent people, a strong job market, and a reasonable cost of living. That place may not exist though. Any ideas?
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Old 05-03-2007, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Chicago
53 posts, read 323,131 times
Reputation: 36
Where else have you lived, acs.1979?

30's and 40's isn't bad at all, believe it or not I sometimes sweat in those temperatures.
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Old 05-03-2007, 08:41 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
104 posts, read 410,323 times
Reputation: 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by acs.1979 View Post
How do I feel about Portland overall? Well, I guess I have mixed feelings. My partner hates it, mainly because he feels that everyone is so pretentious here. I agree with him to some extent, but I also know that people can be like that in many places. My predicament is this: I want to move somewhere with more sun & less winter. However, I am reluctant to pick up and leave because there are plenty of good things about this city. I do not want to end up somewhere I may hate, because I definitely do not hate Portland. While I tend to like tropical or warmer climates better, generally it seems that the quality of life in southern cities lag far behind that of Portland. I have never been to the southwest. If I were to move, I might want to check that part of the country out.

My ideal city would be a place with lots of sun, lots of nature, clean air, decent people, a strong job market, and a reasonable cost of living. That place may not exist though. Any ideas?
Austin, TX.
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