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Old 07-13-2009, 03:52 PM
 
Location: Worthington, OH
693 posts, read 2,174,133 times
Reputation: 296

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I know there are several threads going about relocation although I didn't find much information regarding public trans in the Portland metro area so I thought I would ask about that among other things. I guess I need someone to make up my mind for me!

We currently live in the Chicago area (from Michigan orig.) and simply cannot stomach the cost of living which is eating most of our income. I'm paying 200/mo to ride a train into town for work coupled with 1500/mo for a smaller apt that is cramped. I would like to utilize the public trans system in Portland if possible to work, although I have found the websites on the trans system confusing. I have some friends that live in Beaverton, and points west so I have been to the area before.

I have a degree in Marketing and have extensive experience in computer related jobs and customer service, my wife works in the hospitality industry. I know that Oregon's unemployment rate isn't much better than some points in the Midwest, although I am concerned about the future of my daughter, and I think the west has a definate advantage over the Midwest economically. As many know job hunting across the country isn't easy, so I would certainly want to have employment lined up before making a monumental move...but would my skills and edu land a decent job in the Portland area at the current time? I also would like to rent for a short time and hopefully purchase a home within a year or two.

I'm your typical mountain biker hiker granola yuppie driving the Subaru, so in that sense I would fit in, but would everyone advise against such a move in the current economic climate? I know people would call me nuts but I love the weather in the NW, I will hike and bike in virtually any weather...that and I don't have SAD. Is there anyone that has been unemployed with a college degree (not a liberal arts degree) that has some experience with the types of openings in Portland? My worst fear is moving somewhere and doing worse than were I was before.

Sorry about the long post... potentially moving across the country is a huge decision so I greatly appreciate any feedback....thanks!
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Old 07-13-2009, 10:14 PM
 
17 posts, read 61,736 times
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Regarding public transportation: it's excellent. One of my favorite parts about the city. There is an extensive bus line (though soon some routes will be cut due to budget issues), a light rail system called the MAX that takes you from downtown to the suburbs in the east or west (and even straight to the doors of the PDX airport), and a streetcar that circulates through the downtown area. Ticket prices went up not too long ago, but you can get an all-zone monthly pass for $86 -- which will let you use the bus, light rail, and street car in any area of the city, for the entire month.

The transit system is set up in "zones" so if you don't need to go too far outside the metro area, you can get that monthly pass for $75. (You can also get weekly, half-month, annual, etc. passes -- I always found the monthly one the most convenient though). At any rate, there are a lot of mass transit options, and I always had good experiences with them. So long as you aren't wayyy out on the outskirts of town, you should have no problem commuting to work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MittenDweller82 View Post
As many know job hunting across the country isn't easy, so I would certainly want to have employment lined up before making a monumental move...but would my skills and edu land a decent job in the Portland area at the current time?
It's impossible to tell, but the answer is probably no. Education and experience don't guarantee a doggone thing in Portland these days. From what I've seen, most of the jobs in the area seem to get filled via networking, people hiring friends of friends, promoting within the company, etc... many, many jobs don't even get listed anywhere before getting filled, and the ones that do get listed are completely flooded with applicants. I'm talking HUNDREDS of applications for even a mediocre job. I don't live in Portland anymore, but when I was there (a month ago) I knew plenty of people with advanced degrees, even PhD's, who had gotten laid off or had been looking for work for months without even landing an interview. People aren't kidding when they say the job market is tough. In Portland/Oregon, unemployment is second highest in the country -- lower only than Michigan. At least those were the last statistics I heard.

So yes, definitely have something lined up before you move. Something solid, and enough money saved up to live off of for a while, just in case things don't go as planned. Cost of living may be generally lower than Chicago, but you'll also lose 10% of your paycheck to income tax (not sure what the numbers are for Chi-town) and wages are generally much, much lower in Portland. In my own case, I came to Portland with about $4,000 in savings, worked the entire time I was there, lived in a tiny studio, bought *nothing* but the essentials for daily life... and left the city with only $200 left in my bank account. And I am one of the most ridiculously frugal people you'll ever meet! A job that would've paid enough for me to make a net gain in most cities was not enough to live on in Portland (I was a K-8 teacher).

It is definitely a lovely city and it sounds like you would adore it -- but the economy really does stink, and until things perk up or until you have a job in your hands, tread carefully!
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Old 07-14-2009, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
7,084 posts, read 11,596,292 times
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Marketing is one of those tough jobs that if no one is buying, it's hard to convince them to buy your product...and one of the more expendable areas of the company in terms of labor. I really would doubt you would be able to find much here without a monstrous amount of experience or very focused experience in the near term, even just survival jobs are swamped with applications.

If you are just picking this area for the weather, I think you should do more research. I know I came out, and I love the rainy cold weather (I always will)...but there are a great number of other factors I know I don't like about the area outside of that. I would certainly say get out of Chicago, but this might not be the best place right now.
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Old 07-14-2009, 09:50 AM
 
Location: Oceanside and Chehalem Mtns.
716 posts, read 2,693,662 times
Reputation: 530
You'll need specialized skills that are in high demand to secure a job in this area. (unemployment exceeds 12%)

The qualifications you list appear tough even when times are good.

I think your best hope is to network, network, network and most of it needs to be FTF vs. remote. You might want to set up some visits to the area to start exploring the future possibilities. (ex: informational interviews) Sending out resumes from Chicago will be a complete waste of time.

Our cost of living is fairly high here and if you secure a position it will likely be at the ground level until you prove yourself. You might end up worse off.

Good luck!
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Old 07-14-2009, 08:10 PM
 
Location: Worthington, OH
693 posts, read 2,174,133 times
Reputation: 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by davefr View Post
You'll need specialized skills that are in high demand to secure a job in this area. (unemployment exceeds 12%)

The qualifications you list appear tough even when times are good.

I think your best hope is to network, network, network and most of it needs to be FTF vs. remote. You might want to set up some visits to the area to start exploring the future possibilities. (ex: informational interviews) Sending out resumes from Chicago will be a complete waste of time.

Our cost of living is fairly high here and if you secure a position it will likely be at the ground level until you prove yourself. You might end up worse off.

Good luck!

Surprisingly most of my interviews have been the result of the major job sites like Monster even with the distance gap it hasn't seemed to affect my job search much. With that said I will be having an interview in a couple weeks where I will look more at the area, if not Portland then the Seattle area for certain where I have netted more responses. I'm not afraid to start off in a bridge job by any means if that is what it takes.


What industries are declining so much that has driven the unemployment rate higher in Portland ..or is the economy there suffering due to the national downturn? Many economists think the NW will actually have a good upswing once the national economy corrects itself...as other areas of the country like the Midwest will stay stagnant for many years to come. What do you see for the future of the Portland area?

Thanks for your input!
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