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Anyone here from Portland, OR?(6 posts)

Anyone here from Portland, OR?Fr Ted Crilly
Oct 9, 2003 4:33 PM
I just found out that I might have the opportunity to move jobs early next year to Portland. As yet, I haven't done much research into the place, but this board seems as good as any other to get real opinions.
What's the cycling scene like there? Would you describe it as a cycling friendly city? Do bike lanes within the city abound?
Other than the cycling, is it a cosmopolitan/touristy/young city? Are there many universities there? What about the weather? I believe it can get quite wet and miserable for long periods. Is it an outdoor activity type of city? Any mountains for summer hiking and winter skiing nearby?
The only US city I've ever lived in is San Jose, CA, so any comparisons on these questions to the San Francisco Bay area would be helpful.
Yes to all... go to Portland...nmrwbadley
Oct 9, 2003 7:02 PM
I amPdxMark
Oct 9, 2003 7:25 PM
Great recreational and commute cycling. There is pretty extensive a race scene too, but I don't participate in that so can't really comment.

Cycling routes extend throughout the city. Thousands of people commute by bike to downtown everyday. Zoning laws encourage new office buildings to build facilities for bike commuters.

Some would say there is a rich variety of cultures, performing arts, etc. Others would say it's provincial & pastey white. (It's not NYC.) There is a large urban state university downtown, a combined medical school/graduate engineering school, a law school, and three other private colleges/universities in town.

Weather wise, it's not San Jose. I grew up in Concord, California. Here in Portland, you'll not have lovely amber brown California hills for 9 months. Everything is green here. It's not that alot of water falls (well, more than central California), but it doesn't fall quickly. So it can be persistently grey & drizzly for 2-3 months each winter. Once or twice a year we might get snow or freezing rain. We're also further north, so the short days of winter are shorter (& the long days of summer are longer). If you NEED sunshine, the winter can wear on you. I like the winter.

Outdoor activities... coast is 90 minutes west, skiing is 90 minutes east, hiking and MTBing are in-town and everywhere in between the coast & the mountains. Big rivers make for good sea kayaking. Little rivers are here for rafting or river kayaking.

Seat-of-pants estimating, there are about 1/10 (or less) as many people in the Portland metro area as are in the SF/San Jose megapolis. You can be riding out-of-town type roads within 30 minutes (or less) of starting a ride from downtown. There is great public transportation. Live within 5-10 miles of where you work, and you can get by most days without using a car. (Not so easy in Portland suburbs.) Long distance commutes are painful, as they should be.

Local politics are liberal... (thank God)... but statewide politics are almost evenly divided liberal/conservative, so things are a bit messy these days. Housing will be cheap compared to San Jose.

Vanilla Bicycles is close to downtown. Stop in and place an order for a gorgeous custom lugged steel bike when you get here.
PDX, I just found out what your handle refers to (nm)Fr Ted Crilly
Oct 10, 2003 3:09 PM
Lived in SJ, visit Portland often. A couple of things...Cory
Oct 9, 2003 7:27 PM
I lived in or near San Jose for 25 years, and still have relatives there I visit often. And I've traveled to Portland many times, including twice last summer.
Portland is prettier and I think more bike-friendly, but San Jose has that great Mediterranean climate: warm, dry summers and cool but rideable winters with maybe an inch of snow every 20 years. Anything below 50 degrees is considered bitter cold there. Portland can be dank and wet for months on end. I don't really mind that kind of weather, but it does get tiresome and you have to prepare for it. I honestly never owned a real jacket, and never even SAW an ice scraper, until I moved from the Bay Area in my late 20s.
Portland has plenty of mountains and other outdoor activities everywhere, and the city is geared for that kind of recreation. There are universities in town and others nearby. It's pretty forward-thinking, particularly in the present political climate.
You might also check the state's economy. California and Nevada, where I live, have serious problems that are going to last awhile. I don't know what's going on in Portland, but given the dip in tourism and construction (logging is very important in Oregon), it may be depressed, too.
Sounds like a nice place.Fr Ted Crilly
Oct 10, 2003 8:04 AM
Thanks for the comments guys. With abundant outdoor activities and bike friendly commuting, you make Portland sound like a good place to live. I'm from Ireland, so wet, miserable winter, (and sometimes summer), weather is something I'm familiar with. If I do go there it will probably only be for a 12 month assignment, so property prices aren't a concern to me.
Thanks for you help.