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Portland Oregon: Top Ten Reasons to Live (or not live) There?

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May 2nd, 2005, 08:32 AM
  #1
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Portland Oregon: Top Ten Reasons to Live (or not live) There?

Heaven help me, I'm thinking of moving to Portland, OR! I have already begun to research the area; however, having never been there before I have several questions.

1. What do you love most about living (or visiting) there?
2. What do you like least about the Portland area?
3. What kind of a feel/vibe does Portland have?
4. What are the current best job markets?
5. What "sealed" your decision to move there? (Scarlett?)
6. Does the NW Film Center have a good reputation?
7. What are the best moderately priced/middle-class suburbs to live in near Portland?
8. What would you like to share that I haven't asked about?

Obviously, I will be spending time in the area before making a final decision. In the meantime, I welcome any and all information you're willing to impart about this fantastic sounding region.

Thanks to all for your help and support during this difficult decision.

AL

PS Have already researched info on demographics, population, etc.

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May 2nd, 2005, 08:56 AM
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Are children a part of this equation?
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May 2nd, 2005, 09:02 AM
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Orcas,

No, child is grown and on his own.

AL
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May 2nd, 2005, 09:39 AM
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Has all my gushing and exclaiming about how great Portland is, had anything to do with this decision?
Is this because we are moving there too? LOL

What do you love most about living (or visiting) there?
Our visit was for 10 days, with not one day of rain. We walked everywhere, the people are friendly, the city is "manageable" and we were charmed by the way it is so "useable" .. they planned this city for people to enjoy and get around in.
2. What do you like least about the Portland area?
I am too ignorant of the city yet to have an opinion. (except it is damned far to drive to from Florida!)
3. What kind of a feel/vibe does Portland have?
Young, people seem interested in making their city work for them and for people to visit and like it. They have a good start on having a good museum, concert and dance venues, night life is good, artists like it there..
4. What are the current best job markets?
NA
5. What "sealed" your decision to move there? (Scarlett?)
We loved it when we visited in Sept, but after getting back to Fl, we sort of forgot about moving there, we started thinking of moving back North. But for this and that reason, Portland kept popping back up. Finally we decided on Portland for all the reasons I am stating here
Also, I have friends there and I think we might make more.
6. Does the NW Film Center have a good reputation?
Can't wait to find out.
7. What are the best moderately priced/middle-class suburbs to live in near Portland?
Still checking that out but we are looking in the NW part of town. Prices are amazingly good compared to where we came from (NY)
8. What would you like to share that I haven't asked about?
They seem to like dogs ((&)) lol

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May 2nd, 2005, 09:43 AM
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I don't live in Oregon, but my Mother-in-Law, best friend and favorite neice all do, as well as my daughter who goes to college there.

My top 12 reasons to live there:

1. The people- very 'green', relaxed, tolerant. Recycling is big here.

2. The city- beautiful! Lots of old buildings that are appreciated for their beauty.

3. The food- wonderful eating town with fancy places, casual places, and wonderful little hole in the wall eateries everywhere! And prices are very reasonable compared to other cities.

4. The size- Portland is very compact. You can bicycle everywhere if you are so inclined.

5. The activities- Lots of walking, hiking and outdoor sports. Plus, youre an hour to the mountains or an hour or so to the coast.

6. The arts- lots and lots of both traditional and alternative stuff going on. Also lots of colleges and universities with their attractions

8. The neighborhoods- There are so many cute neighborhoods. Each one is a fully contained vllage, unlike many cities where you need to "go" places in your car to survive.

8. The crime rate- low for a city this size.

9. The transportation- good bus and rail system. Free in the downtown area.

10. The shopping- lots of it, and no sales tax on anything!

11. The flora- absolutely beautiful in the spring, summer, and fall.

12. The homes- I just love the big old houses! And the modern condos in the Pearl district! and the old brick apartments around NW 23rd!

Top 2 reasons agalinst living there:

1. The rain (drizzle, really) and dark skies of winter seem to go on forever!

2. Their economy is having some problems since a lot of the high tech companies left. Taxes, services, and schools may take a big adjustment.

I would seriously consider living there if I didn't live in Hawaii and have a husband who loves surfing all year! So, I visit a lot instead!

Oh, moderately price neighborhoods: I like the areas around SE 26th & Clinton and the area surrounding SE35th and Hawthorne. I love Ladd's Addition, Laurelhurst, & West Hills but are a bit more pricey.

Good luck in your search!
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May 2nd, 2005, 09:45 AM
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Okay, I'll take a stab at it. I love living in Portland because:

1. It's a beautiful city, with lots of trees, water, Mt. Hood on clear days.
2. It's a manageable size - not too big, not too small.
3. The climate is mild - the summers are fabulous and the winters are actually not too bad.
4. It's close to other natural wonders - the Columbia Gorge, skiing on Mt. Hood, the beach.
5. Lots of great restaurants.
6. Lots of movie theatres, including some that serve beer and pizza.
7. Great beer.

What do I like least? Well, probably the fact that PDX is not a major hub for any airline so it's hard to get great discount airfares (but JetBlue recently started limited service from PDX to NYC, so maybe that will change!)

Vibe? Liberal, outdoorsy, a bit offbeat.

Why did I move here? I'm a native Oregonian, grew up in Salem, college in Monmouth and Eugene. Portland was the logical choice.

Can't really answer your question about the 'burbs, except to say housing prices are ridiculously high throughout the Portland metro area.

Good luck with your decision!
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May 2nd, 2005, 09:46 AM
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And they cna probably count better than me there...I see I put two #8s and no #7!
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May 2nd, 2005, 09:56 AM
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My friend who now lives in Beaverton (just outside town) was visiting back in NYC recently. He said the most difficult thing to get used to was "the gray" not so much the rain. He likes it now very much.
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May 2nd, 2005, 10:25 AM
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I love Portland! We've visited twice in the summer and seriously considered moving there as well.

I read a book called Greater Portland that describes the city well - it's attitude, philosophy, etc. I do think I'd fit right in. And the surrounding areas are totally beautiful; plus there's such diversity - mountains, waterfalls, rugged coastline, forests.

Someone suggested to me that we spend a week there - not in the summer, but in the middle of the winter. They told me the summers are glorious, but it's not like that for most of the year. They said the constant grey, drizzle, and going for days without seeing the sun can be very trying. I truly do not know if I could deal with that.

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May 2nd, 2005, 10:33 AM
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Previous occasional resident, frequent visitor, wife a Portlander by birth.

Like best - nice user-friendly downtown - very walkable, affordable.

Like least - more extreme weather than Seattle. Free advice: Anyone planning to move to the Pacific NW should make a point of coming for at least two weeks in January or February. Also, in the case of Portland (more than Seattle or some other areas) it can get hot as h3ll in summer; plus in winter the wind coming down the Gorge can deliver dandy ice storms in Portland that pretty much paralyze the place for several days at a time.

Feel/vibe: Loose, tending to smug.

Job markets: Service sector, real estate broker.

Sealed my decision - had the chance to move to PDX with work in the 70s. Picked Seattle instead, so NA.

NW Film Center - All 3 big PNW cities - PDX, SEA, Vancouver, have flourishing cinema/film production cultures. Not personally familiar with the NWFC.

Moderately priced suburbs? You must be joking. Look east, north. Note no sales tax in Oregon, no income tax in Washington, so many people live in WA and commute. There are some nice areas in Vancouver (WA) and points east. But lots of nice neighborhoods in the city, albeit some becoming less affordable as the days pass. Consider the price of fuel and car costs v. in-city living when you do the budgets.

Happy planning.
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May 2nd, 2005, 10:42 AM
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Gardyloo brings up points that my friend in Seattle has told me as well.

I think us east coasters think that the weather in Seattle and Portland is the same. (Or at least I did). She also mentioned that Portland gets ice storms which Seattle does not.

In her opinion, Seattle has better weather than Portland.
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May 2nd, 2005, 10:54 AM
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I would live in Portland in a heartbeat- but live south in Eugene- and stay here because feel locked into job - and dont want to start over- but visit Portland often and love it because of all the previously mentioned reasons.

The grey and gloomy weather doesnt really start getting to me until about May June- when frequently we are still wearing our winter clothes while the rest of the country is enjoying summer.

However, once summer hits - its fabulous and so much to do in the whole area.

Also remember - when it is grey and gloomy in the valley - if you just hop in the car and drive to the mountains- its is frequently sunnier over there-
so thats what I do for a quick fix of sun in the winter -

And as soon as I retire- I will look for a condo in Portland - I hear real estate has increased 20% in the last year-
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May 2nd, 2005, 10:57 AM
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We lived in Portland 13 years and moved to the Seattle area about 3 year ago. We loved living in Portland, so here goes:
1. Scenic beauty. I loved the quality of the light. I loved the green hills and flowers. I loved living in the clouds (when it was sunny!). I loved seeing Mt. Hood pink in the morning light. I loved the pride people took in the city and state and the care taken to preserve its beauty and liveability.
2. The economy was very limited and dependent on only a few industries. The tax structure is inadequate and education is not sufficiently supported. Other services have taken a beating also since the high tech bust. The State's ballot measure process is open to manipulation by a few individuals who care only about their personal wealth. Traffic is becoming a serious problem.
3. Warm and friendly. Funky. Individualistic. Outdoorsy. Not materialistic.
4. Have no idea. We moved because of limited work opportunities.
5. Moved there for work. Left there for work.
6. Have no idea.
7. We lived in Raleigh Hills and loved it. It's just west of the city with great access. There are lots of nice neighborhoods in the city, too.
8. The grey skies and seemingly endless dark mist can get dreary in winter and many people look forward to leaving for sunnier climes one day.
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May 2nd, 2005, 11:48 AM
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I forgot one!!
It is only 9 hours to Japan from PDX instead of 17 from Fl

Gloom....you don't have to shovel gloom, gloom does not blow the roof off of your house or a tree on top of it. They do not have Gloom Warnings or Watches.
My husband will not be late getting to an appt because of the severe gloom falling.

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May 2nd, 2005, 12:07 PM
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In spite of having lived in the area most of my life, I have trouble answering questions 1 & 2. But, others here have captured most of what I probably would say.

As usual, Gardyloo hits the nail on the head with 3. with "smug". Portland used to have an inferiority issue with Seattle. Today it feels like we're San Francisco wannabes.

4. Back in the days, it was The Silicon Forest. It's still Intel today, but except for residential real estate, there isn't much robustness in any economic sector. Go figure!

7. What do you consider suburban? The "Homes" section of yesterday's Oregonian featured a new upper-middle-class 18 home development in Wilsonville, south of the city. 3400 - 4500 sf homes, 9000 - 23000 sf lots, $600K - $830K prices. Annual property taxes for the least expensive are probably about $7000. I'm still trying to figure out who's buying those places.

8. The flip side of the loose, liberal vibe is an unfriendly business climate. Companies small in size to Columbia Sportswear are moving out of the city in droves. The result is lots of nice buildings downtown with nobody in them.

Decisions, decisions.....
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May 2nd, 2005, 12:43 PM
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Wow! Talk about food for thought.

Thanks to all for your well thought out responses. I greatly appreciate you taking the time to be so informative.

Scarlett: I wish I could say all your "gushing" was responsible for my giving this serious consideration; however, it was actually a friend of mine who is interested in the "movie" scene there who started me thinking about it. Keep on gushing though, it's definitely swaying me! (Loved the "gloom" comments, too.)

ICUY: Thanks for the in-depth picture you've painted.

pdxgirl: Thanks for the info on travel to and from. I love to travel and what you've said makes a difference.

karens: Thanks for the book info and weather warning.

Gardyloo: Thanks for the "free advice" (since I wouldn't be moving for almost a year, I think I will take it and visit next Jan/Feb), interesting "vibe" comments (smug is one hell of a description!), and the reality check on real estate. Thanks also for the info on the film scene in the PNW.

Sunbum1944: Thanks for the "take" by someone who lives close by and covets the thought of living there. Also for the detailed "length of winter" description. It's snowing here today in Colorado, so I believe I can deal with that aspect of it.

Orcas: Thanks for the detailed economic info as well as providing a feel for the area.

Beachbum: Thanks for further info on the economy and business climate. I don't really know what I mean by "surburban" other than I wasn't sure how close to Portland I'd actually be able to afford to live.

Thanks again everybody! Anything else?

AL
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May 2nd, 2005, 12:56 PM
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Just this, from a Portland fan: If Portland is smug, it has a reason to be. Rarely have I been in a city that has such an atmosphere of having done things the right way for its inhabitants, while not being afraid to think outside the box. Portland's civic spaces, its public art, its vibrant downtown, its interesting neighborhoods -- all strike me as an impressive package. If I didn't have roots sunk halfway to China where I now live, Portland would certainly be on my short list of places to live.
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May 2nd, 2005, 12:59 PM
  #18
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We live in a SW Suburb, so I will chime in. The responses so far though have described the area pretty well. I was born and raised in OR, then after college dh and I moved all over the country with the military. He retired last year and were thrilled to move back here. We were in Seattle (where dh was raised) before that.

1--Family nearby and mountains for hiking and climbing.

2--Portland is very liberal, and we are fairly conservative. It has never been an issue though. We respect other points of view and other people seem to do the same. Believe it or not, the only other negative for us is that it rains less than Seattle. Yes, I LOVE the rain. Wierd, I know.

3--Funky is how I have always described Portland.

4--Jobs is a tough one to answer. My dh is an engineer and we moved from Seattle to here for the job. Agree with Beachbum about businesses leaving in droves.

5--Not sure how to answer this one. Basically we love the area so much that dh took a first job that was not quite right just to get us moved here, then he found a job that was a much better fit. For us it was the right thing to do.

6--I have no idea, but a filmmaker friend from Seattle comes down often and stays with us while he shoots here.

7--Moderately priced...hmmm, not sure there is anything, lol!

After living in so many other places, dh and I wanted to stay in the PNW. Since he was based in Seattle, he retired when he did, before taking new orders, just so we could stay in the general area. We did not want to risk being stationed somewhere far away since it would have been harder for him to explore his job hunt here.




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May 2nd, 2005, 01:44 PM
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Scarlett, you wrote...
"My husband will not be late getting to an appt because of the severe gloom falling."

Well put!

You know my feelings, however, about the gray gloom in the Pacific NW, but you do make a very good point!

It's the same point my Canadian husband makes when we talk about the severe heat/humdidity combo here in Houston! Heat and humidity cannot be shoveled, hooray.
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May 2nd, 2005, 02:04 PM
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Proximity to city center is only one housing-cost driver, Al. Metro area counties have created urban growth boundaries to contain development, promote density, planning, and prevent sprawl. Good idea, but one result is pockets of new homes popping up wherever land's available, sometimes in the middle of, or abutting long established neighborhoods.

The median home price is around $225K, but I'd guess most activity is between $325K and $450K. You can find decent middle-class homes in that range within a couple miles of city center or 20+ miles west, in Hillsboro. Hillsboro is the west side terminus of mass transit. I'd call anything further out rural.
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