good for established persons, but inequitable.
I've lived here from 2018 to late 2019, and then came back in late 2020. I'm going to try to be as factual about my experience and what I perceived here as possible.
2018 and 19 was definitely a different experience than 2020 to now. I rented in the SW area close to the highway. The public transit has a very large and accessible system that can take you to most higher density places you might need to go. The west side's vibe is definitely a more luxurious and forefronts more nature and higher incomes. there is also a big difference in the amount of people in roommate situations and house/space sharing situations than in the east. its a bit mixed in downtown. I currently live in the east side and there is a big difference in the vibes here. There's a very heavy millennial and shops/business influence that is good and bad. closer to where NE and SE meet theres an imbalance I feel. Downtown is way more prominent that way with the big money stores and inhabitants vs. the very large homeless population that resides close to the major transit lines and high traffic areas.
Now on to the real deets. main roads can be good and posh, but I feel that they can cause an imbalanced dynamic that changes every couple of blocks. The homeless population has started to inhabit a large portion on many high traffic placed or trails other kind of hidden paths. I was one of these homeless people in August. the population has multiplied, from what I could see, about 3 or 4 times since I left in 2019. A lot of that is because of the harsh qualifications to be able to get assistance and apply for housing here. charities and human service organizations are flooded and overfilled and cannot help a majority of people here. many houses on the east side are sharing 5 bedroom houses with roommates to bring costs down on the highly overprices housing market. common jobs, at least for the last year, are flooded with many job seekers and most of the market is for healthcare, mental health, and jobs with lots of education or experience. If you dont already have your set up here it is extremely hard to get into the loop of housing job and wellbeing.
Many things are overpriced like gyms, shops (not local artists I understand the price of their art), and other goods. The politics here are leaning left for sure but there definitely is a population of those leaning right. Police brutality and crime is prominent and corrupt. 50% of their arrests last year were homeless persons.
The main streets can be extremely dirty. there can be a noticable smell like a bit of car smoke and almost like dust and dirt. sometimes when it rains it smell like urine too. I've had to dodge stepping on human feces on the sidewalk more times than I can count on my hand. I've had a LOT of unpleasant experiences on most of the public transit lines. there is nothing wrong with those with mental illnesses, but the drug use and mentally ill events that happen are common, and almost expected using trimet. from those coming off of highs and trying to pick fights and having psychotic attacks, having people piss in the bus seat (more than a couple times) and then having another unstable person sit in it (very unexpected), to people who will just straight be mean to you, its all there.
This is not a very welcoming place for those under 21 housing, job, and community wise (unless youre in college). This town revolves around art, weed, and alcohol broadly. lots of job opportunities for those illicit industries. Very outdoorsy and eclectic activities galore. hiking trails, bike trails, art museums, art exhibitions, niche classes, small shops, breweries, activist movements, green related education and classes, and so so much more.
I've faced a LOT of housing and job discrimination because of my age. those looking to rent a room will see many ads explicitly write "looking for someone over 21-25". If you join a lot of groups and communities and go out a lot you can find a lot of good people to be around. but many people are friendly, but really stick to their established group so it can be really hard to get good connections here.
of course the weather is real consistent in the summer. the winter has 2/3 or more of the time rain or rarely sleet or snow in February. Bring a rain jacket and rain boots, umbrellas get torn apart in the wind. trust me I went through three before I gave in. the flowers are beautiful. prominent trees are pine, rhododendron, spruce, cedar, blackberry, and some other PNW based foliage. fall is beautiful although not at the level of the midwest or east cost.
I think I got most of it here. this place was good in some ways and very bad in others. definitely not a good fit for me, and could be improved in infinite ways. honestly it might be forced to improve if this wealth and equity gap gets any larger. but anyways, cheap place on west coast. if you're in the millennial or older age group, like eclectic outdoorsy and illicit activities, you have a stable financial and housing standing, then you might fit well here.
s | Portland, OR