Portland, Oregon Comments



"Portland: All Hype and No Substance"


Portland: All Hype and No Substance - 10/31/2011
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Ottoline
Ottoline

After having lived in Seattle, Berlin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Cork, my husband and I moved to Portland six years ago. Although we had looked at houses on both coasts of the US, and I had wanted to return to Seattle (where we both grew up), my husband was enthusiatic about Portland's much vaunted arts scene and ostensibly green sensibilities, as well as its purported gloomy weather (we both love rain and storms). I reluctantly went along with the move, and it remains the worst mistake I have ever made. Having spent every summer of my childhood at a cabin near Mt Hood, I knew that, in spite of its reputation for gloom, Portland really doesn't have a comparatively high percentage of rainfall. The sky is almost always a uniformly glaring, migraine-inducing white, and summers are bone dry and can be hellishly hot - often over 100 degrees. Our first summer here, we experienced a high temperature of 107. We began making plans then to sell our house and leave - just as housing prices began to plummet.

Whoever is responsible for PR in this city is an absolute genius, albeit shamefully deceptive. The so-called 'hip arts scene' we had heard so much about is non-existent. Somehow, Portlanders seem to confuse the term 'hip' with what would be called 'white trash' in most other cities. We had visions of spending weekends gallery and museum hopping, as we had done when we lived elsewhere, but there are no actual museums in Portland, and what galleries there are are almost entirely full of nothing but local unoriginal and derivative rubbish. Portland's Last Thursday Arts Walk is indistinguishable from a giant frat party - it has little to do with art, and everything to do with getting guttered on PBR and ralphing up in the street. Frame that.

Our first two years in Portland, wanting to support the smudge of culture that did exist here, we secured a box at the opera, and subscribed to the symphony and the ballet as well. After two years of lacklustre performances, 1970s-style lighting and staging, and increasing dumbing-down of content in order to appeal to the majority hick demographic, we gave up and have not subscribed since. We now arrange our work schedules so that we can travel to Seattle or San Francisco for music and dance, though White Bird does bring many excellent dance performances to Portland from around the world. And there is a reason why house concerts, organized and booked by neighbors who have abandoned Portland's 'offical' cultural establishment, are increasingly popular here.

As for the business environment, we have a small international repair business and work out of a workshop in our home. When we first moved to Portland, we had decided that, as we had always done, we would allow local customers to come to our house to obtain repairs by appointment rather than having to mail their items in. After enduring two years of time wasting no-shows, locals doorstepping us at 7.00 am, extreme rudeness, and customers reeking of alcohol or in mid-tweak, we'd had enough. We no longer take in work from locals. But even a large notice on our website, as well as a huge sign on our front door, has not stopped them, zombie-like, from trying to get in. We can never leave our front door open, and have had to install a panic button in addition to alarming the entire house. Maybe it is this lack of consideration or even a shred of intelligence that has contributed to the fact that Portland's shop clerks are so notoriously rude. Having dealt with the public here, I can only sympathize, and wonder if some mass scale lobotomizing chemical experiment hasn't at some time in the recent past been undertaken here.

And as for Portland's celebrated green credentials - pure hubristic hype. Portland is a long way behind San Francisco, Seattle, Berlin, Copenhaven, and many, many other cities in recycling, environmental education, and transportation. From all that we had read before moving here, we thought that we would be able to do without a car in Portland. Instead, we had to buy a car after moving here. The entire SE part of the city is served by only a very small handful of filthy, poorly maintained buses on a scatter-shot schedule. The first thing I did when moving here was to call Metro and ask for a transit or bus map - but they do not even have such a thing. There are no schedules, time-wise or fare-wise, posted at bus stops. And there is no way of getting cross-town, from North to South, on East side public transport - one must go all the way downtown to transfer to another route, then travel back across the open sewer, er, Willamette River. We live in inner South East, and have to take three buses just to get to our 'local' Post Office. Neither the highly publicized Max nor the tram venture anywhere near SE Portland - a huge area of the city with almost no public transportation at all.

In summation, I am trying to think of one nice thing to say about Portland, just one. But not a thing comes to mind. I only wish that we could have spent more time visiting Portland and researching the truth of what we read prior to moving here. Now we are stuck here until housing prices begin to ascend again. It can't happen soon enough for us.

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dean

re: Portland: All Hype and No Substance - 10/31/20 - 12/3/2011
Were planning a relocation, i have lived in the Portland area growing up for about a year, not too long, and this was 32 years ago. In your opinion and experience, you like Seattle over Portland? We like the Pacific northwest...looking for a nice place, we have 2 children 4 and 6. Thanks


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Patrick

re: Portland: All Hype and No Substance - 10/31/20 - 1/7/2012
Reply to Dean: Education is much better funded in Seattle than in Portland, as are the arts. The public schools are far superior, and there are more educational opportunities for children, including the Museum of History and Industry, the Burke Museum, and the Science Center. Quite simply, there is more money in Seattle, and therefore more funding for the arts. Seattle is a cleaner, lovelier city, and theatre and the symphony are world class. The cost of purchasing a house in Seattle can be three times what it is in Portland for a comparable property, but if you can afford it, and your childrens' educational opportunities are important to you, Seattle is the better choice. It is also a stunning city, surrounded on all sides by mountains and water. And I also feel that it is a safer city, and a great one for walking. One of my favorite things to do a weekend there as a kid was to trek through the arboretum and spy on the abundance of wildlife.


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Ann

re: Portland: All Hype and No Substance - 10/31/20 - 3/16/2012
"Having dealt with the public here, I can only sympathize, and wonder if some mass scale lobotomizing chemical experiment hasn't at some time in the recent past been undertaken here." That is very funny. Yes, Portland, OR has no culture, no intelligence, no education and the food scene is actually rather boring and definitely uninspired. Portlanders are pretty vile and I would not trust one to work for me or with me (tried that, never again) as larceny and lying are the cultural ethos here. Portland is generally hell on earth and the suburbs are actually worse although somewhat less dirty than the city. Portland is intensely BORING. There is virtually nothing to do. I did spend a day being bored at what passes for the art museum and have attended the symphony (boring), plays, etc. Everything is a shadow of what you can find in other cities - non of which are in Oregon of course. There is something seriously mentally defective about Portlanders and Oregonians in general. Maybe they all get dropped on their heads early in life and end up without a civil thought in their heads.


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Charles

re: Portland: All Hype and No Substance - 10/31/20 - 10/5/2014
I agree, the PR Hype around Portland is incredibly inaccurate yet powerful and persistent. I keep thinking the editors of the New York Times are large investors and land owners in Portland. They push the place over and over, weekly it seems. And when you get here and buy in it takes a few months or a year to realize it's a con-game. There's nothing here! The only good part is that for the moment there is still a line of greater fools ready to pay 50% more for your house than you did. So I wasted a few years and just made money dumping my house on the next poor sucker.


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More Portland, Oregon Comments

Co Co
Portland, OR

The kids' table - 6/6/2016

But now I'm done. Have lived here for over a decade and am leaving, finally. Portland is a wonderful city with great potential. Problem is, there's a wide streak of ineptitude and arrogance that makes accomplishing things more difficult than it has to be. Yes, on the surface, the customer service is friendly, but if you require one iota of effort beyond what's normally offered, that smile turns into a snarl real quick. Portland is ruled by the Peter Principle (people are promoted to the level of their incompetence). You will find here that you use the phrase "You had one job" way more than you thought humanly possible. And there are several realities that I have come to just accept: Never try doing business on a Monday (too close to the weekend), don't expect cheerful service in a restaurant on a Sunday (staff hung over). Forget doing business on a Friday (almost the weekend) or having anyone here conduct any commercial transaction with anything resembling "hustle" (needing things quickly and efficiently is perceived as you being "pushy"). And to those who say "it doesn't rain as much as they say," you must have come here in an off year, because it was November through June for all 11 years I was here, with a few exceptions. And actually, that's kind of good, because it explains the demeanor of the people. They aren't intentionally slow and cranky, it's just physiologically impossible to maintain a good mood without sunlight, and that's a scientifically proven fact. As for the overall vibe, I'm the rare older person (40s) who's not scornful of hipster culture. I can appreciate what the kids of Portland are doing with their artisanal food and their beards. I also realize with youth comes a certain amount of trial an error on things like service and other person-to-person skills. Problem is, the desire to be young forever bleeds into all age groups, and what you get are 55-year old business owners acting like they're 25 too. I've heard grey haired shop owners talk disparagingly about their customers in front of me, I've had middle aged store keepers ignore me as they gossiped with other middle-aged workers, and I've endured all sorts of inept f*ckery from people who had outgrown the spacy-is-cute phase of their lives like 20 years ago. And don't ever expect anyone to be contrite about their lame service, because that requires admitting a mistake, which seems physically impossible to some folks here. Bottom line: at some point, you have to be a grownup, but it seems like no one really wants to here, because it involves taking risk and being exposed to challenge. That's fine, not everyone needs to be a type-A high powered shark, but there is a benefit to everyone doing whatever job they have really well. That's how cities become great, not simply by saying they are like Portland does. Over all, if you want to act like a kid forever and avoid taking risks and live in a little protected bubble of groovy unreality, this is the place for you. And PS, it's not like I'm a Republican or anything. My politics actually veer toward the radical. I just have a work ethic that says even if you are scrubbing a toilet, you try to be the best toilet scrubber there is even if your ego tells you are really a rockstar.

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Laya
Portland, OR

over it - 3/22/2016

Lived here for over a decade. This city ous not what it used to be. This place is too liberal for its own good. Mayor has a hand off policy regarding crime and homeless.The cost of living has sky rocketed making property taxes obscenely high. i do, however, enjoy the climate and many options of things to do. I miss you old portland.

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Jacquie
Portland, OR

Portland pros and cons - 1/10/2016

I moved to Portland in 2012, so I'm still a relative newcomer. Before coming to Portland, I lived in Santa Cruz, Mt. View, Gilroy, and Palo Alto -- all cities in California. Weather It doesn't rain as much as everyone says it does. When it does rain, it's more of a drizzle. Summers are hot -- over 90 degrees every day for several weeks -- and the sunshine is intense. Spring and Fall are gorgeous. Winter is dreary, but it doesn't get very cold (45 degrees during the day) and snow is rare. Housing Prices have escalated during the past three years, especially in close-in neighborhoods that used to be very affordable. Lower income people are being priced out. Affordable housing and homelessness are the top two issues here. Small affordable homes are being demolished to make way for larger more expensive homes, condos, and apartments. Houses have appreciated by more than 20 percent in some areas since 2012. Restaurants If you're into good food, Portland is the place to be. Lots of variety, quality ingredients, and low prices are the norm here. The neighborhood farrmers markets are great if you like to cook. Culture Lots of small independent theatres, book stores, and galleries. Last year I saw 2001 a Space Odyssey in 70mm at the Holywood Theatre And attended several plays at a converted church within walking distance of my house (Portland Playhouse).

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Joe
Portland, OR

Beautiful Region - 10/7/2015

If your a hiker this is an amazing place to live. The Coast, Columbia Gorge and Mt Hood will keep you busy for years. Portland, as a city is average at best, but the outdoor life truly makes up for it. The only thing that- I'm tired of is the endless decades long, immature and ignorant bashing of Californian's by a rather large contingency of under-achieving hippy dips. Most everyone else living here has a connection to California in some manner and welcomes them and everyone else with open arms.

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Keith
Portland, OR

Portland quick overview. - 2/20/2015

Portland is a great town, but real estate is very expensive. Urban growth boundary prevents suburban sprawl, but there are some nice nearby towns if PDX is out of your price range. Portland is split mainly East-West by the Willamette river and North-South by Burnside street creating four main areas: NE, NW, SE, and SW. Downtown Portland is in SW, but the rest of SW is not really in a gridded format but more windy with street layout. NW has a mix of grid and chaotic street layout as it's built into the hills of the city. SE and NE is highly urbanized and gridded. Mass transportation options connect all these areas very well.

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Ted
Fairview, OR

decline - 2/9/2015

See: Kitzaber

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Kelsi
Bend, OR

In response to "A Place Where People Don't Shower - 12/23/2014

Your experience is interesting, considering Portland is one of the least religious cities in America. (Researchers found the greater area of Portland, OR-WA to be the least religious city with about 32 percent identifying as a religious adherent according to Huffington Post and a 2012 Gallup Poll still finds Oregon to be one of the most un-churched states in the country.) I could reach for the low hanging fruit and simply point out that you misspelled laughable as laffable. But instead, I will point out that perhaps you shouldn't rely on a NY Times article and "short visits" to be your primary motivation to relocate. Did you actually interact with folks during these short visits? Did you visit more than one neighborhood, as they are all very dynamic and different, offering some sub cultures who like to smile and some who don't? I know this world can be a cold place, but believe it or not, not everybody's soul has grown so cold that they do not care to make pleasant, humane small talk with customers who they rely on for their business. Some people still actually like people, and see them as such. So I'm sorry, that must have been very rough for you to have people look you in the eye and treat you like a real person as you supported their business. And I'm wondering, were you wearing a t-shirt to let people know that you were in fact NOT a "proud Oregonian" so they knew to give you those icy cold stares that you attribute to them knowing that you were not a "proud Oregonian?" Or was it the icy cold stares that you were preemptively giving them in anticipation of the coldness you believed they would give you? Did they actually voice that they were afraid of you taking their job? Or was that again, perhaps your own paranoia? Did you ever consider that they were…what do they call it…oh yeah: genuinely interested in you? And it's not that Portland "thinks" they are a big city with world-class restaurants. They ARE a big city—or at least a major city—with world-class restaurants (recently voted 3rd best food in the nation). And if you don't like bone marrow ice cream: don't eat it. Must you be threatened by creativity and artisanship? And with 90% with a high school degree and 30% with a college degree or higher and 19 4-year colleges in the Portland metro-area, I think it's safe to say Portlanders have brain cells (and at least most of their teeth).

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Charles
Portland, OR

"Whoever is responsible for PR in this city is an - 11/6/2014

Portlanders brag that the best thing about Portland is that within a short drive in any direction you can find beautiful wilderness and outdoor activities. Very true. Unbeatable landscape out there. My neighbors tell me our neighborhood is good because it's easily accessible to the highway. And I agree: The best thing about the place is how easy it is to leave.

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S
Happy Valley, OR

Great Arts Climate - 10/10/2014

Portland makes the arts accessible to everyone. All ages, all incomes. There are amazing opportunities to enjoy music, theater, visual arts, crafts across cultures and ethinicities.

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Angel

Portland is only good for a very few - 10/7/2014

I've lived in Portland off and on for years since the mid-1970s (been here taking care of family). Portland as a whole likes to believe it's very "livable", and "cool", and "weird", but Portland is mostly just self-congratulation and conformity. It's just an odd city little city that still hasn't become what it claims it has been all along. Like most places, most of Portland hasn't recovered from the Great Recession. For example, more and more jobs here require a college degree for work that doesn't require a college education (I've seen receptionist jobs requiring a 4 year degree), and want to pay you $12 an hour part time. Portland's biggest problem, however, is that Portland's economy was ridiculous even before the Great Recession - and it had been even back into the 1970s. It's just not ever been able to be a "big player" like Seattle or San Francisco, and never been able to attract much industry/tech that actually puts good money into the local economy (e.g., sure, Nike is here - but the people making Nike shoes are thousands of miles away being paid slave wages). This never changes about Portland, and all the bluster and bragging from the local government, et al, doesn't change that. So unless you are already a person of money, don't come expecting to do well or find a good job here. Could it happen? Sure it could. But you could win big playing Bingo at the casino, too. Portland, despite it's love of "diversity", is just as guilty as everyone else of demanding conformity to whatever ideal is held by a person at the time. I've been in bike shops where bike repair techs make speeches about how "fat" people are destroying the world. I've been in "diversity" trainings where the "liberal" instructor would only recognize certain groups as part of the "diversity" of the human world and USA culture. I overheard a well-off hipster neighbor accusing a working class tenant of being "classist" because she didn't agree with the hipster's politics. Again - it's all ridiculous. But it's Portland. Note too that the cost of living here is high, especially housing. Not as bad as Seattle or San Fran, but high enough that you are going to pay most of your income for rent on even a basic or crappy place (which is going to hurt even more if all you can get for a job here is part time low wage). You can also save money by living with a lot of roommates, if you don't mind living like you are 20 years old your whole life. This is just Portland. Add to all this that too many people here think that if you are offended by their intentional body odor you are "oppressing" them, that many people here over-smoke so much marijuana that a good deal of their brain cells are gone, and that people who drive $60,000 vehicles and live in $400,000 are the top pushers of "simple living" and "environmental" protection - and it all adds up to Portland. So, if you love marijuana, radical left or right politics, don't mind a crappy economy, and don't mind listening to a lot of blowhards talk constantly about how "great" and "weird" and "booming" it is here, come to Portland. Otherwise, you'd find more what you're looking for elsewhere.

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Danna B.
Bend, OR

Rain - 9/24/2014

Rain, Rain, Rain.

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john
Portland, OR

You can do most anything you can think of within a - 8/21/2014

From laser tag to live music, Portland is located within a few minutes drive to most any activity you can think of. There are smaller venues playing local bands all the way up to the MODA center which hosts the national phenoms. Within a 2 hour drive from portland you can find camping, fishing, skiing, ocean activities, lakes and rivers,hiking and any other outdoor activity you can imagine. Within a few hours you have great wolf Lodge, two state fairgrounds, multiple casinos, and plenty of night life for the adults. Traffic is bad on I205 and I5 from about 8am till 7pm, and the rain sucks, but other than that Portland is a wonderful place to live.

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Want to move
Portland, OR

I want to move, but don't think Portland is bad as - 5/26/2014

I've lived in Portland for 10 years and I do want to move, but mostly because of the weather and my severe outdoor allergies. If you have any outdoor allergies stay away!! I have lived all over the United States and trust me there are worse places to live. It is very liberal here so if you are conservative or have negative thoughts about groups of people you should probably keep it to yourself. Bring a lot of money with you it's expensive. I was in good financial shape when I moved here and now I'm in terrible financial shape, of course we did just go through a terrible recession. Keep Portland Weird is mostly men dressed in drag, they are mostly harmless. I work downtown and there are a lot of homeless. It drizzles here most of the year. Drip, drip, drip. It's overcast and humid most of the time. There is only about two months of good weather here if you're lucky. When there is a random few days of good weather it feels like a miracle. You really have to watch out for the pedestrians and people on bikes. They don't obey the traffic laws and if you hit one with your car it is your fault no matter what they are doing. If you have money there is all kinds of stuff to do here. So the bottom line is if you have money and don't mind never seeing the sun and being damp and chilly all the time Portland isn't such a bad place.

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Starbuck
Fallbrook, CA

Portland, Oregon is a Nightmare Weird - 4/25/2014

After reading a few of the reviews about Portland, had to enter my response. Yes, it is the most weirdest place and corrupt for that matter than anywhere else I have lived. If you are planning to move here be careful what you say to people as the people of Portland are always in a bad mood (undoubtedly due to the rain) and don't even know it and do not under any circumstance sign one of Oregon's non competition contracts if you are working for a company. Lawyers are corrupt to the hilt in Oregon and buy off judges at a moments notice to get their way in court and the biggest kicker of all. Don't ever catch a pedophile in Oregon molesting some child; you will be sorry as the police protect these deviant people at all costs including Catholic priests. Just do some research on line for all the information about this subject in Portland. I believe the Oregon constitution's main jist is the protection of deviant lifestyles and police are ordered not to intervene if though they have committed crimes against normal people. Portland,Oregon, yes, is a very weird place... whacky, delusional, corrupt.... stay away at all costs if you value your finances and sanity.

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Jasmyn
Tualatin, OR

Keep Portland Weird - 1/12/2014

Portland is filled with weird people looking for a good time. Oregon is one of the best places for customer service because youll find people here actually care about other people. We look out for eachother whether you moved here 40 years ago or 6 months ago. We dont care. Dont try to change Portland. We are weird and we are proud. But we also accept everyone. <3 welcome to oregon!

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Alex
Portland, OR

Listen to the masses - 1/12/2014

Would be appreciative if 1,000 more people would add to this thread about how horrible Portland is. People who are thinking of moving, or have recently moved, or contemplating moving, need that extra push to decide. Yes, people think Portland is expensive, uneducated, fake polite, boring, hate the rain, no one will make friends with them, taxrs too high, nothing to do, can't make a profitable living,, were duped by the hype to move here, have home marrow ice cream, be transported to the ozarks but it's really Portland, pushy small Christian business owners will try to convert you, Buddhists will try to convert you, takes 16 years to make a friend,, trains only drive a straight line-north to south and easy to west,ridiculous traffic, and let's not foreget....Portland is white, oh so very white. ( I always thought it was gray and gray blue.... So in a nutshell, there you have it. Portland is the worst....the absolute WORST place to move because it will not meet your expectations and it definitely is not a "lovely" place to be spend hell in. Please, for the love of God and all that is organic DO NOT MOVE HERE.

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Alex
Portland, OR

Listen to the masses - 1/12/2014

Would be appreciative if 1,000 more people would add to this thread about how horrible Portland is. People who are thinking of moving, or have recently moved, or contemplating moving, need that extra push to decide. Yes, people think Portland is expensive, uneducated, fake polite, boring, hate the rain, no one will make friends with them, taxrs too high, nothing to do, can't make a profitable living,, were duped by the hype to move here, have home marrow ice cream, be transported to the ozarks but it's really Portland, pushy small Christian business owners will try to convert you, Buddhists will try to convert you, takes 16 years to make a friend,, trains only drive a straight line-north to south and easy to west,ridiculous traffic, and let's not foreget....Portland is white, oh so very white. ( I always thought it was gray and gray blue.... So in a nutshell, there you have it. Portland is the worst....the absolute WORST place to move because it will not meet your expectations and it definitely is not a "lovely" place to be spend hell in. Please, for the love of God and all that is organic DO NOT MOVE HERE.

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Alex
Portland, OR

It's raining out there - 1/12/2014

Portland is raining ran.

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Jay
Leander, TX

Portland is great - 9/26/2013

I really like Portland and I even like Seattle a lot too both cities looks alike. It's beautiful in Portland and the smaller towns around Portland is very nice. Weather is nice all the time never too cold or too hot it's can be a little too warm in summer sometimes and a little humid but it's not bad at all because it's only a week or two in summer. In winter it's rainy a lot sometimes and some years will be different it's will be rainy too much in winter and some years will get less rain than some other years but it's just light rain most of the time and it's can be a little heavy sometimes. Not very cold in winter it's very mild compare to Denver, and Chicago. Denver gets bitter cold in winter and Portland is no where nearly that cold. Spring, summer and early fall is awesome weather here some summer can be sunny everyday for three months and not see a cloud and some summer can have a few more cloudy days than other summers. But it's beautiful in those three seasons. There is some sunny days in winter but it's mostly cloudy days with rain. The job market is great in portland area and economy is doing better and doing good I hope it's stays good because three or four years ago it's was doing a little bad but better than rest of country. Tons of things to do in the state of Oregon and in Portland too. Lots of bike and walking trails. A lot of clean safe campgrounds and mostly along the coast of Oregon. There are campgrounds close to Portland that are great to camp. A lot of sight seeing all over town and leaving town on way to ocean or to the cascade mountains. The people there are very nice and not everyone is nice but a lot nicer than most cities in this country I guess it's has something to do with people liking it in Oregon a lot and that what makes people happy and friendly there. I love the pacific northwest united state it's my favorite part of the country, because of good weather nice folks and very good foods like seafoods and beautiful there. Thank you for reading my comment.

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Mickey
Portland, OR

A town where people don't shower and are incredibl - 9/15/2013

I've finally left Portland after being seduced by the NY Times articles and short visits to check it out. Boy was I duped. I quickly grew tired of the phony shop keepers asking me about my weekend plans--you don't know me and why would you care? Tired of the icy coldness of the general public--unless your a "Proud Oregionian" they would much prefer you not move to their state. I grew tired of being asked why I moved there and fear that I might be taking a job away from one of their own. Guess what? I wasn't taking your job. I brought my own. I ate in your restaurants and hired your people. I paid property taxes and contributed to your overall economy. I'm educated with a post-graduate degree. I shower and I have all of my teeth (meth addicts everywhere). I qyuickly grew weary of the holier than though Christian fundamentalists. I've never seen so many businesses advertise the scriptures on their websites. The incidence of DUIs was appalling. I felt like I was in the Ozarks for much of the time. Portland thinks they are a big city with world class restaurants. That is laffable. No, I dont like bone marrow ice cream. Good riddance Portland. I'm heading home where the people have brain cells, shower and smile and mean it. Oh, and the majority have their teeth.

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