Reviews & Comments
Portland Dec. 2016
The issue with the snow is not the snow, it's the complete lack of planning for it. It happens about twice a decade. It turns into a fiasco because there are about 5 snowplows for the entire city, the snow is a wet snow, it gets ruts and re-freezes overnight. So it's driving on ice after the first 6-8 hours. Everyone with a 4WD/AWD thinks they know what they're doing, they go out in traffic and mess it up worse. Fortunately after the 2016 debacle ODOT and the city of Portland have said they will use salt for the first time ever. They tried to claim mag-chloride was as effective and not harmful to fish, but that was a lie. Oh, and it would corrode vehicles the same as salt.
Portland, ORDon't move here
Lifelong Portland/area resident, 40 years. Understand the city of Portland holds sway over the PDX Metro area and the state of Oregon.
Pros: Still the cheapest major metro area on the west coast. So if you need to live on a coast, this might be for you.
Weather - very mild climate. Yes, it rains a lot. It rains from October until June. June to August is summer, sometimes into September. Summer can get hot for 10-15 days total, temps approaching or over 100. But it's not humid. Some years it does snow for a week here and there in winter. Below freezing temps are usually fairly limited. It's overcast/gray a lot of the time.
Cons: Housing costs. Entry level is about 400K. You can go lower than that if you are willing to live east of I-205 north of Foster Rd. A house that's 250K in much of the midwest or southern U.S. is 500K in the Portland area. The urban growth boundary has artificially restricted housing growth for 3 decades. A residential lot is 100K. Permits and fees for new housing are 40K minimum. This is why big builders are buying existing housing in inner SE Portland on big lots for 650K, knocking down the original house, splitting the lot and building two McMansions for 750K each on a 4,000 square foot lot.
Portland was a nice place and a relatively sleepy town until about the mid 1990s. In the past couple decades 250,000 Californians have moved here. And they didn't bring any new roads with them. They've sold their houses for cash in CA and taken oveer the metro area. If you're wealthy on the west coast or upper northeast, Portland might be for you. If you're not, you're in for a shock. This area is full of pot farms, pot shops, stoned drivers, and heroin addicts.
Traffic - it's bad. The highways are largely 2 lanes, if they are 3 lanes there's usually a choke point. Aggressive traffic enforcement by the Oregon Highway Patrol keeps traffic from reaching freeway speeds if it gets close. All road construction is done during rush hour and never serves to add capacity. This has been a stated goal by the legislature for decades - to punish people who drive cars. Only the oligarchy must be allowed to drive. A couple weeks ago it took me one hour to go 11 miles using freeways. Most stoplights on surface streets are timed to allow a maximum of 2 cars through on a green.
Bums. There are bums everywhere. Plan on routinely being accosted by someone mentally ill and/or on drugs if you try to go into a convenience store. There are extensive homeless encampments in much of the city outside the chosen rich areas in inner SE or the Pearl District.
Anti-democracy protestors - professional thugs. These people run downtown. Routine rioting and looting once a month, traffic shut down, motorists pulled out of cars and beaten. The mayor and city council pretty much egg these people on, and don't allow police to take any enforcement action.
Taxes. Plan on paying a minimum of 10% to the state right off the top. There is no sales tax, but they find other ways to get you. Rain taxes, road taxes, gas taxes, bonds, school bonds, park bonds, library bonds...
Crime. In other states breaking into someone's car gets you jail or prison time. In Portland and Oregon it doesn't. You'd have to get caught about 10 times to do any time. There's a movement towards decriminalizing everything, including drugs (which has led to the big drug problems). The property crimes rate in the metro area is pretty high. Violent crime is a little bit higher as well, mostly due to prolific gang violence.
Crowded. The infrastructure for this area is stuck in 1978. It can sustain a population of about 1 million. The current population estimate in the metro is over 2 million. A lot of the new arrivals came from other failed states and cities, and are attempting to enact the same policies which led to where they came from achieving third-world status.
As soon as my job is through, I'm out.