Portland OR has sometimes been called “weird”, but this is a little bit strong. “Eccentric” may be a better term to use. Portland is a large city, 26th largest in the United States, home to 679,000 people, yet it allows you to raise chickens and other animals in your backyard. Its reputation for weirdness may be the result of its thriving arts scene, its cycling culture, and its lack of big chain stores. Instead, you will find a myriad of locally owned and operated businesses, ranging from grocery stores to fashion boutiques. There are quite a few local breweries and local coffee shops, perhaps to help natives tolerate the gray, rainy weather which can last for weeks at a time from October through May. Or get them through the annual snow or ice storm which shuts the city down for days.
Despite the rain, and the gray skies, and even the occasional ice and snow, Portland is one of the most popular cities for relocation in the country. It’s ideally located, one hour from the sea, and one hour from the mountains. The city is renowned for its livability, with a diverse arts scene, lively cultural activities, and an abundance of food and drink venues.
Portland has a stable job market in the trades, government, and marketing. And there are many areas of job growth. Technology is particularly strong, with such giants as Intel and Techtronics in the marketplace, as well as many smaller technology companies. So many, in fact, that Portland is becoming known as part of the “Silicon Forest” of the Pacific Northwest. The health industry is also well represented in Portland’s job market. Oregon Health and Science University employs 15,000, and local hospitals, private companies, and public agencies are all investing in bioscience development. When it comes to sports, Nike has its world headquarters in the Portland area, and, along with other big-name sports and outdoor companies such as Adidas, Under Armor, Columbia, and Keen offers a wide range of jobs for designers and developers, marketers, and customer service employees. True to its progressive vibe, the city is also home to a large number of nonprofits in such fields as health care, environmental issues, and the like.
But be forewarned, the job market in Portland can be rather competitive. There is quite a bit of anecdotal evidence that suggests that hiring may be based more on who you know rather than what you know, so be prepared to work your social network. And, despite the fact that salaries are 9% higher than the national average, many individuals coming from large metropolitan areas feel the pinch.
The housing market is tight in the city, too. Rentals are scarce, although a building campaign to increase apartment availability may be easing the situation. If you wish to buy, beware of the market. Many people have been priced out of the central area, but more affordable homes are available in surrounding areas.
Because of the steady influx of new residents, traffic has suffered. There are certainly more cars, cycles, and pedestrians on the street but that can also add to the city’s diversity and ambiance.
Don’t let a few downsides discourage you. Portland OR is a great city to live and work in. If you like a good cup of coffee or a cold beer, served with a hipster vibe, it may just be the place for you. And who doesn’t like to take a walk in the rain occasionally?