The Good: Portland is a fantastic little city....actually it feels more like a big town. All “districts” are reachable within 7-15 minutes driving. You can have cocktails in NW, then head across the bridge to NE for a bite, then to SE for a movie. No hassle. No traffic. Coming from Burbank/Los Angeles....this says A LOT. One disclaimer: weekday traffic for commuters on certain stretches of highways and byways can suck. Access to natural spaces is a stone’s throw. Drive 15 minutes east and you and your dog can hike for miles at numerous spots. Forest Park trails begin in NW. The Sandy, Willamette and Columbia rivers are as accessible as picking up some hemp or rice milk at the grocery store. The northern coastal range is a bit over an hour’s drive and as mentioned earlier, if you have a dog, you are definitely in the best city. Portland caters to dogs folks. There is a plethora of doggy daycares, parks, natural areas and pet supply stores….even those that specialize in healthy alternatives for a variety of pets. New Seasons (local) grocery store even has a section selling marrow bones and goodies for people who feed their pet raw food. If you are Vegan, Vegetarian or something in-between, Portland is nirvana. Organic, gluten-free, vegan, and many other options are readily available and entrepreneurs who cater to the healthy life seem to sprout up every other week. While Portland (and Oregon in general) has a severe lack of ethnic diversity, lifestyle diversity is something that is embraced and welcomed. It makes for a fun, quirky and interesting place to live. People are quite environmentally conscious and recycle-happy which is fantastic. The coffee shops, restaurants, cafes and hip little hot spots are plentiful.
The Bad: Yes, as I have read in other reviews and agree wholeheartedly, the lackadaisical attitudes will grind on your nerves after a while. People walk, drive and bike without paying attention to what in the H*ll is going on and many are ok with just existing and not doing a whole heck of a lot in any way-shape-or-form. Yes, different parts of the city reflect different lifestyles. The Pearl vs. SE, etc.. I live in SE, but am not an unemployed dreadlocked, pseudo-hippie by a long-shot. I like the laid back feel over here (in SE) and if NW was more affordable, I would probably move across the bridge. Housing prices are ridiculous and make me wonder: what economy drives this market? Unless you have a top-paying job at NIKE or INTEL. There is no big business here, mostly small and mid-sized companies. Portland is also a mecca for non-profit organizations (I work at one and have a quite decent salary in management). However, as a single gal, it is impossible to afford ½ million dollar home all alone. Expect to pay close to 1 million if you look in particularly decent neighborhoods. There is a bit of gentrification going on in some spots, which could possibly bless you with a $280,000 - $350,000 price tag for a home, but expect to live next to seriously run-down, ghetto-crappiness (hence, gentrification). If you come to Portland with $$$ from having sold your home elsewhere or $$$ in general, or have a double-income, perhaps it is easier. BUT, if you are a single working person, saving-up your money here, forget it; unless you move away from the center and from the fun, funky neighborhoods and out to blue-collar hicksville or seriously generic suburbia......well, no thanks.
The Ugly: I have lived in Portland for 3.5 years now, before that, I lived in Eugene for 4 years….so a total of 7.5 years in Oregon and my view of the cold-natured unfriendliness of the people here has not changed one bit. It is very difficult to meet people (friends OR dates). I am 37, attractive, down-to-earth, single and well-educated, yet it is like pulling teeth with a pair of pliers to find people to commune with and it is NOT for lack of TRYING! I am from southern California (which is cause for most REAL Oregonians to puke) but, I get that. So Cal is a quality-of-life-nightmare and that’s why I left 14 years ago. My family still lives there and I do enjoy going back for sunshine and warm, friendly people as a welcome break from this place. I lived in Germany for four years and Spain for 6 months…..also two places that are polar opposites, so extremes don’t faze me. However, it is really hard to deal with cold, unfriendly people as a whole….day in and day out. Is it the weather? Transplant-syndrome? Disgruntled Portlanders/Oregonians? Eye contact, a smile and a hello are rare when walking down the street….people seem to be in their own little grey world. When the sun shines people do perk up a bit, but it’s not saying much. The overall customer service here is horrendous, arrogant and rude. If you find a gem (few and far-between) you are lucky. I am actually now thinking of moving (sad, because I really had high hopes for Portland) but, the bottom-line for me is that I cannot stand the cold people any longer. I am simply too warm and outgoing and it’s not even coming close to melting the impermeable frost of Oregon and its people.