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Old 01-09-2010, 08:57 AM
119 posts, read 246,178 times
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I'm originally from Illinois, and moved to Portland 5 1/2 years ago by way of San Francisco. I loved SF at first, but got tired of the crowding, rude people and insanely high cost of housing. I absolutely love Portland and at this point, I can't imagine wanting to live anywhere else.

The job situation here is tough - I've definitely had to accept a cut in pay and job level in order to be here, but for me it's been worth it. If you are capable of being self-employed, you'd be fine. Even if not, I wouldn't let the job issue scare you off, but be aware of it, and if it at some point you come without a job, have plenty of money saved up.

I have not found that Portlanders or Oregonians don't like outsiders - a lot of us here are transplants. As others have said, I do think people are reticent to embrace newcomers because a lot of people do come here an leave after their first winter or because they can't find work. However, new people are always arriving, and you'd likely find yourself connecting with other newcomers.

I am a musician, and I've met people through that, so it helps if you have an activity or hobby like that that can allow you to meet people naturally.

I live in NE Portland, and our neighbors are really friendly. We've become friends with some of our neighbors and are on friendly terms with many others - our block has a holiday part ever year that most people show up for, and it's hard to walk down the street without bumping into someone that you want to at least say hello to.

There are so many wonderful things about living here that I could go on for hours. If you like the outdoors, you will be in heaven here. It is 90 minutes to the coast, 30 minutes to the Columbia Gorge and 60 minutes to Mt Hood. In Oregon, you can literally visit the ocean, the mountains and the desert in the same day. There are various mountain climbing and hiking groups you can join, which is another good way to meet people.

The main drawbacks as I and others have already said is the job market, and for some, the weather. It is cold, wet and gloomy for long stretches in the winter here. My first year here, I hated it and found it really depressing. Now, I don't always love it, but have gotten used to it, and have even started to appreciate it. The key is to make yourself get outside. This is balanced by a spring and summer that can be indescribably beautiful.

From everything you've said, I think you'd really like it here. If you come, you'll inevitably be disappointed by some things, but I think you'd like it better than where you are now.

If you have not visited, I would highly recommend doing so if you can afford it.

As far as areas to check out for renting in, take a look on Craigslist to see what's available in your price range. For 750-1000, you'd be able to find a decent 1 BR without too much difficulty in all but the most expensive areas.

The primary divide in Portland is between the West side and East side (East or West of the Willamette river). Downtown portland is on the West side. The main residential areas near downtown are the Pearl district and the area around NW 23rd ave. Both are very dense and lively. The Pearl is very pricy and has a lot of condos - not as much for rent, and is a little on the glitzy side. NW 23rd Ave area is expensive too, but not as much as the Pearl and attracts a lot of young singles.

I live on the East side, and personally like it a lot better. The East side encompasses many different neighborhoods, but in general, it's a little more laid back and down to earth than the West side. For renters who want interesting, walkable neighborhoods, the areas I'd suggest would be

1) SE Portland between roughly Burnside and Powell in the SE 20s, 30s and 40s (numbered avenues run north and south in Portland). Hawthorne Blvd. is the "main drag" of this area, but Belmont, Division and Clinton all have nice pockets of restaurants/shops/bars/coffeehouses.

2) North Portland in the area around N. Mississippi Street

3) Northeast Alberta between NE 15th Ave and NE33rd Ave.

4) Irvington/Sullivan's Gulch (centered around NE Broadway and 15th Ave)

5) Hollywood (centered around NE 42nd and Sandy

6) Beaumont/Wilshire (around NE Fremont between NE 42nd Ave and NE 50th Ave)

7) Concordia (around NE 33rd and Killingsworth)

Good luck and hope it works out for you!
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