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Old 01-18-2009, 08:13 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis, MN
89 posts, read 238,034 times
Reputation: 71

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Hello,

I have been researching Portland for a while now and following the forum anonymously .

To start off I am a west coast native (Las Vegas, NV). My parents moved to a farm in NW Minnesota to retire when I was 16 and then @ 18 I moved to Minneapolis where I ave been for the last 5 years.
I have researched city after city for the last 3 years as I hate MN and I think Portland, ME might be the place for me.

First-
I hate Minnesota "nice" what crap - lol - here is my view about it "we'll be nice to your face and jerks behind your back". Now being from the west a person is either nice or not - how say what you feel. My family is originally from Brooklyn, NY and Pennsylvania. I am hoping that people in Portland are kind but not "minnesota nice"

Second-
The Winters - I like snow; being from Las Vegas it still amazes me. However I do not like the ridiculous cold as well as the never ending winter season. And the road conditions in Mpls are horrid, especially in winter.

Third-
Economy, I am a Customer Service Manager / Fine Dining Server (which ever is available at the time, lol). And my partner is a Casual Dining/Bar/ Bowling Alley Manager. Now I realize that Portland's economy is on the decline however will it really be that hard for me to find a restaurant job (especially during the tourist season) if necessary until I can find a more career oriented position? I have broke here for the last five years so I'm sure I can make Portland work.

Fourth-
This is what worries me most but how accepting is the city to GLBT persons? I saw some stats that show alot of gay couples and that's what we are (we have been together for 5 years). I also saw a few "gay" bars downtown so that gives me some comfort but what about gay coffee shops and other hangouts? Also someone asked this question on the forum before but are there any "gay" neighborhoods (I imagine that the east end, west end, and the back bay would be fine)?

Fifth
Love the idea of the ocean - but how are the beaches? Can you take weekend trips out in the islands easily?



Thank You,

Chandler

(btw I will be moving without visiting first)

Last edited by 7th generation; 01-21-2009 at 08:19 AM.. Reason: watch your language
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Old 01-18-2009, 08:55 AM
 
Location: Maryland not Murlin
8,249 posts, read 23,121,081 times
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Ok, as someone who was born on the West Coast, lived in Minneapolis, and now in Portland, I will do my best to answer your questions.

1- Minnesota Nice does not exist out here. And I do not mean because this is Maine and not Minnesota. There are actually many similarities between a Minnesotan and a Mainer, but Mainers are either genuinely nice or the couldn't give a rat's a$$. If someone is talking to you here it is because they actually want to talk to you and they are not doing such 'just to be pleasant even though they could care less' as you often run into in Minnesota'. People are more straight-forward here. If someone thinks that you are being a jerk they will just tell you instead of saying nice things to your face and than turning around and talking shiv behind your back.

2-Portland receives twice as much snow, but Minneapolis averages about twenty degrees colder in the winter. Portland has tons of pot holes that never seem to be properly filled in and they are worse than Minneapolis and Portland seems to sometimes lag when it comes time to plow the roads. Minneapolis will be out in force and can clear the entire city within a few hours. Both cities have parking bans when it comes time to plow, but Portland's ban is only for one evening as opposed to the three days in Minneapolis and you do not need to remember which side of the street to park on and on which day. The city of Portland clears the sidewalks in most residential neighborhoods. The quality of work leaves some room for improvement, but at least they do not leave it up to the residents like they do in Minneapolis (you know, you got fifty feet of cleared sidewalk and then you run into fifty feet of snow because the owners didn't feel like shoveling. By the way, that is illegal in Minneapolis, but the city does not seem to enforce it).

People around here complain about the humidity in the summer, but it is no where near as bad as in Minneapolis. Not even close.

3-A typical restaurant job during the tourist season might not be that hard to find, but a managerial position might be easier to come by as I see more ads for manager positions (in all fields) than anything else.

Bowling alleys....people around here do this weird 20-pin candle stick bowling thing. I think that it is Canadian. I dunno, it is strange and not as fun (in my opinion). There is only one real bowling ally in town (and maybe the state?).

Yes, the economy sucks right now, but there are still many jobs available here in Portland. Most of them, like I mentioned, are managerial and administrative support. If you send in a well written resume and cover letter you could probably land a decent job.

4-Portland seems pretty gay friendly. Of course you will run into people who will have a problem with it, but this city is fairly liberal and it seems that the majority could care less. I dunno about gay coffee shops but there is at least one bar and there seems to be enough in the GLBT scene around here to give a sense of community.

There are no 'gay neighborhoods', but it seems as though the peninsula would be the place to live. Both the East and West End would be okay, but I would gather that the West End might be a little more friendly as the East End is more working class and old school in some regards.

5-The beaches are nice, except there aren't any really within the vicinity of Portland, but there are plenty close by. You can visit most islands, but some are private and some would rather not have 'visitors' even if they are a 'public' island. The island folk are a different breed and it seems to me, based on the ones that I have met, that they are a little bit more fun than the mainlanders.
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Old 01-18-2009, 09:41 AM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
9,289 posts, read 17,331,821 times
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^That's an excellent description.

I feel Mainers are, "Genuine" too. "Genuine" can mean openly nice, or openly apathetic... either way, they tend to be honest about how they feel. I feel that the majority of Mainers fall into the, "nice" category; but you won't have trouble telling who is on the "apathetic" side of things as they simply won't care.

Portland's roads aren't wonderful by any stretch but they're not terrible either. K-Luv would probably know a bit more about Minnesota roads as I've only been in Minneapolis during the months of October and Novermber. We've had ice and snow lingering on the roads (even primary ones) for over 2 weeks now and with another 8-12 inches today, it's going to be interesting to see how well they're cleared after this. The clearing and maintenance in the winter has some room for improvement, but I really can't complain TOO much. They do clear residential sidewalks and if they're not on schedule, I have no problem clearing my own bit of sidewalk and enjoy the fact that I won't get ticketed if I don't do it. Bottom line- the roads aren't TERRIBLE but there's certainly room for improvement.

Summers and Fall here are great. It's really nice, especially on the coast (inland, the humidity can get bothersome but the seabreeze and salty air make for a wonderful summer environment). In my opinion, spring is the worst time of year in Maine. All of the melting snow creates a muddy mess which is breeding grounds for biting flies and mosquitos... not to mention the ground stays soggy for a good month or so. I hadn't heard of, "mud-season" until I came to Maine.

Seasonal restaurant jobs tend to be easy enough to find and as long as you have experience, you should be able to find something if you time it right (many places are already looking for seasonal employees).

One thing worth noting is that "fine-dining" seems to be absent from Portland Maine. Now, I'm not trying to start another debate about food in Portland (I have been open about how I feel the food scene here is overrated), but even the places that serve GREAT food in Portland are still more casual in nature (both in terms of pricing and atmosphere). Portland is laid back, as a result, the nicest restaurants here are still very casual... you won't find a hint of a dress code at any establishment here (let alone a jacket policy). The nicest restaurants are very casual and sometimes rustic (I'm thinking of Five Fifty-Five and Fore Street) in appearance and prices are really only moderate at even the best places. Don't expect very ritzy, elite establishments because that just isn't how Portland works.

Portland is pretty progressive and gay friendly. There is a strong gay community and the non-gay community is pretty accepting (I hate the word, "tolerant" it has a real negative connotation) and comfortable with the gay community.

There are a couple of gay bars, but it's not a good representation of the gay community in Portland (which is much larger than what the number of bars would let on to). Nightlife, given how Portland is really a quiet, laid back place, is relatively limited and that includes the gay community. There are some nice little venues, including live music, but don't expect any real nightclubs. The friendly dive bar is sort of Portland's thing... every bar is really a variation of that mold. It's either a dive bar with a DJ and small dance floor -(see Old Port Tavern, Oasis, and 51 Wharf, White Heart, and a gay bar- Styxx), a live band -see Bulfeeny's, and sometimes Gritty's and places like the Asylum (many places with bands still don't charge a cover which is nice), or no music at all (see Foreplay, Rivalries, Ri-Ra etc). Everyone there seems to enjoy themselves, but it's by no means outrageous or diverse.

The beaches are BEAUTIFUL. While Portland proper may not have any beaches, neighborhing towns do. Falmouth, Scarborough, South Portland (Willard Beach), and Cape Elizabeth have the best beaches right nearby. Old Orchard is popular in the summer, but tends to attract a sold mix of Quebecois and a good amount of the Harley Davidson, Budweiser, "All-American" Car- types (I can think of some other words for them, but I'll leave it to the imagination) who can be abrasive, annoying and careless. Keep in mind, the water here is frigid, even in August. Many people don't swim (many French Canadians do, though) in the ocean due to the water temperature even during the hottest times of year. The Lakes (Sebago and Long Lake are nearby) tend to warm up better and are nicer for swimming.

The Islands are beautiful. Peak's seems to be the popular one, but Great Diamond and some others are frequented by many as well. They are pretty easy to get to from Portland.

While there are no "GAY" neighborhoods, Munjoy Hill and the West End tend to be the most popular among the gay community. They're both beautiful neighborhoods and close to downtown. I wouldn't rule out Deering, Oakdale, Parkside, or Bayside as they are nice as well (Bayside's a bit of a "work in progress" but not dangerous by any means).

Good luck, and welcome to Portland.

Last edited by lrfox; 01-18-2009 at 09:51 AM..
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Old 01-18-2009, 05:34 PM
 
Location: Maryland not Murlin
8,249 posts, read 23,121,081 times
Reputation: 6276
Quote:
Originally Posted by lrfox View Post
Portland's roads aren't wonderful by any stretch but they're not terrible either. K-Luv would probably know a bit more about Minnesota roads as I've only been in Minneapolis during the months of October and Novermber. We've had ice and snow lingering on the roads (even primary ones) for over 2 weeks now and with another 8-12 inches today, it's going to be interesting to see how well they're cleared after this. The clearing and maintenance in the winter has some room for improvement, but I really can't complain TOO much. They do clear residential sidewalks and if they're not on schedule, I have no problem clearing my own bit of sidewalk and enjoy the fact that I won't get ticketed if I don't do it. Bottom line- the roads aren't TERRIBLE but there's certainly room for improvement.
Coming from California, I thought that the roads in Minneapolis -and Minnesota in general- were absolutely horrid. Then I moved to Portland. For all of the great things that this city has going for it the roads are not one of them. Some of the potholes are large enough to swallow a small car.

The road conditions, aside form the potholes, are the same. You can only plow a road so well. Minnesota just has a larger operating budget and hit the roads in force. They are also quicker to tow your car in Minnie. Here you have until 10pm to get your car off the road if a snow emergency (parking ban) has been declared. In Minneapolis you have to get your car off the road by 6 or 7am which sucks because sometimes they won't announce the snow emergency until the 11 o'clock news. If you missed it, then your car will be gone ASAP.
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Old 01-18-2009, 09:29 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis, MN
89 posts, read 238,034 times
Reputation: 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by K-Luv View Post
In Minneapolis you have to get your car off the road by 6 or 7am which sucks because sometimes they won't announce the snow emergency until the 11 o'clock news. If you missed it, then your car will be gone ASAP.
Yep over the last 5 winters i have been here I have my car towed 4 times and thats only because I do not have a car this winter LOL. :P

Thank you K-Luv for your detailed response.

I am sending out letters to about 20 companies around Portland so we shall see what comes of it!
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Old 01-19-2009, 04:41 AM
 
Location: Florida (SW)
40,171 posts, read 19,589,055 times
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Good Luck to you and your partner, Chandler.
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Old 01-19-2009, 09:30 AM
 
Location: East Boston, MA
9,289 posts, read 17,331,821 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K-Luv View Post
Coming from California, I thought that the roads in Minneapolis -and Minnesota in general- were absolutely horrid. Then I moved to Portland. For all of the great things that this city has going for it the roads are not one of them. Some of the potholes are large enough to swallow a small car.

The road conditions, aside form the potholes, are the same. You can only plow a road so well. Minnesota just has a larger operating budget and hit the roads in force. They are also quicker to tow your car in Minnie. Here you have until 10pm to get your car off the road if a snow emergency (parking ban) has been declared. In Minneapolis you have to get your car off the road by 6 or 7am which sucks because sometimes they won't announce the snow emergency until the 11 o'clock news. If you missed it, then your car will be gone ASAP.
OK... after last night's storm and some more thought and comparison, I'm going to go ahead and side with you completely on this one. I drove on some TERRIBLE roads in Mass (The worst were mainly in Fall River and Taunton ) and Portland's seem to be, at least structurally, a bit better but not great at all. There is a lot of room for improvement. Yes, there are huge pot holes, lack of lines and lanes in certain areas and all over bumps.

The maintenance during snow storms (even during parking bans) is ****-poor here. I'm really frustrated. After the parking ban, from 10pm-6am, (which we DO have plenty of notice about), the street I park on looks no different than it did at about 6 or 7 pm last night. there's at least 3 inches of snow that's going to be packed down and turned into ice (on top of the layer of ice that's already there) within a few days.
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:04 PM
 
Location: Maryland not Murlin
8,249 posts, read 23,121,081 times
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Funny; after some consideration I was going to give Portland the upper-hand, but we can just call it a draw.

The traffic lines are a problem around here, though. A good amount are too faded and can barely be seen, and when the road turns wet you can't see them at all.
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Old 01-20-2009, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Boston
1,125 posts, read 4,221,471 times
Reputation: 500
check out ogunquit maine. just south of portland. Gay coastal town.
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Old 01-21-2009, 04:47 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis, MN
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Road lines? We don't have those here either - the burbs do but not in the heart of the city.

And Ogunquit does look lovely but also spendy. I could only afford that if I were independently wealthy - which, sadly, i am not.
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