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Top 20 Pros and Cons of Living in Portland

Top 20 Pros and Cons of Living in Portland

Thinking of moving to Portland? 

Well then, you might already think there’s nothing greater than living in the third-largest city in Oregon, knowing what it could offer. But what other way to get you prepared for this new lifestyle than to know the pros and cons of Portland? 

Below is a quick list of those for you!

The Advantages of Living in Portland

Cities in the Pacific Northwest region of America are considered ideal for those who enjoy exploring, hiking, biking, camping, and spending time outdoors. This could easily be the key advantage of living in Portland, Oregon. 

But let us share with you other things you might not be aware of.

1. Limitless Adventure and Fun

Having fun in Portland is not just an option: it’s a lifestyle. With the ample outdoor activities available in and around Portland, there’s no doubt you’ll never run out of places to go.

Trips for climbing and backcountry hiking might just become your favorite exercise since there’s so much access within the area. Forest Park is the most impressive natural area in Portland and is a paradise for trail runners, hikers, and bikers. 

It’s also surrounded by rivers and even has one running through it, providing opportunities for paddling. The Willamette River is one good example of it.

2. One of the Best Airports

Portland International Airport (PDX) is actually dubbed as one of the best airports in the country. In fact, it is the best airport in the United States, according to Travel + Leisure.

PDX doesn’t chill at all. With an easy light rail connection to downtown, free Wi-Fi, and great local food and drink, you might want to get your flights delayed just to stay in the place longer.

On top of it all, unlike other airports, all of the things you can buy in PDX are sold at street prices. And, in true Oregonian fashion, it’s all sales tax-free.

Finally, the airport is always looking to extend its lead. There are small things like art installations and new bars and restaurants to give the utmost experience to travelers. 

One of the Best Airports

3. Green Community 

Living in Portland is like living in the greenest community in the world. Besides having been surrounded by trees and a lot of green space with hundreds of city parks, the community itself is environmentally conscious. 

A report from the Green City Times states that Portland was one of the world’s first cities to create a master plan for bicyclists and pedestrians. Portland’s transit options include options unique to the city such as the MAX light rail, WES commuter rail, and Portland streetcar.

You may even get lawn care inspiration from its concept of green open space, one of which has given equal attention to livability within the city. No wonder Portland has around 250 parks and recreational sites.

4. Fantastic Food and Beer

The culinary and beer scene in Portland is one of the best reasons people travel or even relocate to the city. 

While the City of Roses does have a lot of restaurants to offer, needless to say, food carts still dominate the culinary scene. From downtown to the city’s outskirts, Portland has over 500 carts serving a wide range of world cuisines and fusions. 

Portland got the nickname “Beervana” because it not only serves 99 beers but 99 Oregonian beers. That is a testament to Portland’s illustrious craft-brewing scene. 

To further give you a perspective, the city has around 70 breweries, and the scene is constantly evolving, with the breadth of beer styles almost as impressive as the number of breweries.

5. Chill and Laid-Back Environment

Living in Portland is very relaxing. If you get bored, there’s always something to do. There are over a dozen breweries, wineries, and distilleries if you enjoy beer or whiskey. 

If you like art, the Pearl District is a haven for galleries. You can ride your bike around the neighborhood in nice weather – that’s just how chilled Portlanders are.

The place is big on outdoor recreation, so you will not run out of things to do in your free time.

Chill and Laid-Back Environment

6. Many Job Opportunities 

The Portland Relocation Guide says that Portland’s job market growth is 7% higher than the rest of the country, making it an appealing location for new talent and retention. Thus, relocating to this city can get you access to many job opportunities.

The Athletic/Outdoor industry here is now emerging, thanks to the big name businesses in town  such as Nike, Adidas, Under Armor, Keen, and Columbia.

You can also secure your office in tech companies in this city. There’s Intel, US Bank, Wells Fargo, and Fisher Investments, to name a few. 

With Portland’s thriving tech industry, the city is in turn nicknamed “The Silicon Forest.” Pretty fun if you’re always surfing the net as a pastime.

7. Various Walkable Neighborhoods

Living in Portland makes you really want to ditch your car when running your daily errands. Why? Portland is filled with neighborhoods that are just steps away from shopping, dining, and entertainment – easy to explore on foot thanks to the streets’ pristine sidewalks.

Although ranked as the largest city in Oregon, getting around from one place to another in Portland can also be accomplished by biking. If you haven’t heard, Portland was named the number one bike-friendly city by Bicycling magazine for many years running.

But if you really want to have the best pedestrian experience, you might want to move to this specific neighborhood in Portland, which is the Pearl District. The area is densely packed with crosswalks and bustling streets lined with locally owned boutiques and restaurants.

8. Rich Arts and Culture

Portland is brimming with art and culture. They have a diverse range of museums, art galleries, theaters, dance venues, and other cultural institutions.

It also has a long history of supporting the visual arts, dating back to its early days as a fledgling settlement at the end of the Oregon Trail.

Today, galleries can be found in every neighborhood, displaying work ranging from historical to contemporary and cutting-edge. 

These diverse art spaces keep their doors open late for special events and exhibits, to which the three popular art walks — the monthly First Thursday in the Northwest, First Friday in the Central Eastside, and Last Thursday in the Alberta Arts District — are dedicated. 

Rich Arts and Culture

9. No Sales Tax

Oregon is one of the five states in America without a sales tax. This means that when you buy anything in Portland, what you actually see on the price tag is the exact cost you’ll pay. 

In other words, purchasing within the city is tax-free.

So, when you visit the city, make sure to at least have a shopping list of the materials you are eyeing to buy –  cell phones, bags, and any other accessories. You can have the time of your life with all the experiences, plus you can save money.

10. Good Weather and Good Coffee

The weather in Portland is quite alright, actually. It does rain, but the snow season is not that harsh. 

Temperatures remain comfortable as well, with July and August averaging highs of 81, making it ideal weather for outdoor activities.

Summer and sunshine, on the other hand, are much more appreciated in Portland. Yes, there are days when the heat is intense, but it quickly cools down at night.

Whatever the weather is, you will never go wrong with good coffee. Good thing there are coffee shops on nearly every corner of the city, from big box coffee (Starbucks, Peets, etc.) to local giants like Stumptown and Kobo’s to very small, independently owned Portland cafes.

The Disadvantages of Living in Portland

As much as there are so many great things Portland can offer, there are bad sides to everything. Here are some of the things that people dislike about the city.

1. High Rate of Homelessness

The rate of homelessness in Portland is without a doubt the number one reason why people think twice about moving to the city.

In recent years, Portland’s homelessness crisis has become more visible. During the 2019 point-in-time count, a yearly census, an estimated 4,015 people were homeless, with half of them “unsheltered,” or sleeping outside. 

According to advocates, the numbers have most likely increased significantly and it will continue to do just like that with the increasing housing costs.

2. Skyrocketing Housing Costs

To live comfortably is to live in a comfortable house. But that’s unlikely if you are purchasing one in the city.

In a report by Bungalow, Portland home prices have increased by nearly 53% in the last decade, from a median sale price of $263,000 in March 2011 to $501,224 in March 2021. 

As housing costs continue to rise in the city, more people are less likely to afford a home of their own. This is one of the biggest reasons why the city has a high rate of homelessness as well.

Skyrocketing Housing Costs

3. Difficult Driving Experience

Driving in Portland is already a nightmare, and it’s only going to get worse, according to the sentiment of the residents of the city published in an article by Willamette Week in 2017.

The rush hour in Portland is said to be terrible, and that makes driving there miserable. The Texas A&M Transportation Institute reported that the rush-hour delays improved from 25th to 12th in the country between 2004 and 2014. 

It turns out that these terrible driving issues were due to these: too many people, not enough roads, and natural bottlenecks caused by hills and bridges.

4. Seasonal Affective Disorder

Portland receives more than 50% of its rainfall from January to May, and then again from October to December, hence, the lack of sunshine. As a result, it’s not uncommon for the average Portlander to suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) at some point in their lives.

When you experience this phenomenon, you may feel increased tiredness and a desire to isolate yourself from the rest of the city. Make sure to counter this problem by reaching out to your loved ones and seeking help.

5. Reserved Locals

The people in the city are not as welcoming as some may believe. Native Portlanders (not everyone, obviously) have expressed dissatisfaction with transplants who come to the city from outside the Pacific Northwest.

 It’s just not that they aren’t friendly, they are polite, really. They’re just reserved and just don’t show feelings, especially to strangers.

Unfortunately, according to a 2019 Business Insider survey, the city is the 34th rudest in the country.

Brutal Road Traffics

6. Brutal Road Traffics

Portland’s traffic is a nightmare and truly is by far one of the worst things you can experience living there. It’s like extending rush hour by an hour. 

Well, because of its location near the rivers, Portland faces several logistical challenges. And, if there is a traffic jam, it may take you 30 minutes to travel a mile.

Although Portland lost 11,000 residents from July 2020 to July 2021, according to the data from the U.S. Census Bureau for Portland, the city’s streets are still unable to meet the unexpected demand. Hence, the nightmare is Portland’s traffic.

7. Heavy Rains and Snowstorms

For the average person who is not accustomed to the climate, living in the Pacific Northwest is an adjustment. Although there will be some sunshine during the summer, the rest of the year will be cloudy with lots of rain and plenty of snowfall.

Residents in Portland experience measurable precipitation every other day from November through April. And as if that’s not enough, you will still experience rainy days on average once every week, even in the warmer months of July and August.

8. Limited Access to Air Conditioning

Yes, living in Portland means you won’t have much access to air conditioning. The weather becomes unbearably hot for about eight weeks out of the year, but still, most buildings, even houses, do not invest in any type of air conditioning. 

Why is that? To keep the electricity bill low.

As a result, most people resort to purchasing portable units to get through the summer, which can feel like a sauna where the temperature can easily reach 90°F. 

Hard to Find Rental Spaces

9. Hard to Find Rental Spaces

If the house costs in Portland are skyrocketing, so is the rental of apartments. Because this is a free market system, landlords charge whatever they believe the population will accept, making it difficult to find a rental home.

According to, the average rent in Portland for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,734, which is pretty pricey.

10. Inconvenient Outward Travels

If you ask a native Portlander about the experience of traveling outside the city, they will pretty much say it is inconvenient. First, navigating the highways and bridges of Portland is a bit challenging. 

Moreover, layovers in the city are not a joke; in fact, they are more common in the city than in most of the United States, including the various bus routes that you may take. 

To avoid the inconvenience, make sure to leave enough time when you travel out of Portland.

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