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Best Portland Boomer Cities (to avoid)

courtesy Klaus Hackenberg / Corbis

courtesy Klaus Hackenberg / Corbis

According to a Brookings Institute study using Census data, Huffington Post shows the top ten cities with the greatest population growth for 45 – 66 year olds.

Baby boomers are called ‘pre-seniors.’ Isn’t that nice?

Since Portland falls into the tenth spot, and Beaverton is listed as a Washington city, boomerpdx takes offense.

This ‘aging city’ Brookings Institute list need some non-institutional help.

Number one through ten:

  • 1. Austin – Round Rock, TX?

Boomerpdx encourages all ages to get up and move, but move to Texas? From here the recreational opportunities in Austin would be leaving Texas. Often. And since it’s such a big state you’d get plenty of exercise.

Austin was the setting for Dazed and Confused, which made #1 in the Top Twenty stoner movies of all time, so they’ve got that going for them.

Portland is one of the greenest cities in the world with a big mountain on one side opposite an ocean on the other along with a river through downtown. Call it an ageless feeling on the edge of the continent, not Texas.

  • 2. Raleigh/Cary, NC?

Educational and cultural opportunities in Raleigh? Austin has the University of Texas and that wasn’t mentioned.

Boomers interested in college are interested in doing stuff, not sitting in classrooms. Are there community colleges in NC?

PCC is all over Portland with classes on everything. Boomers want practical learning, not some gasser prof pumping his latest theories in book form as required reading.

If you want warm and fuzzy don’t go to Raleigh, stay in Portland and go to Powells. It’s toasty.

  • 3. Boise/Nampa, ID?

Move anywhere in Idaho and your new nickname from your old friends is ‘Spud.’

If you have friends from France they’ll think you’re a hick because you don’t pronounce Boise as ‘Bwa.’

Here’s another surprise: Boise copied the Portland transit mall as their downtown plan. Same bricks, same beautiful layout.

Portland has everything Boise does without the high desert cowboy schtick. “Hey podnah, pass them French fries” will wear you out.

Boise is also home to Boise State’s blue football field where players in blue uniforms look like they’re wearing camouflage. They win games with the blue advantage. Move there and you’ll have to explain the blue. It’s too confusing.

  • 4. Colorado Springs, Co?

It’s also known as a world bulls eye with Fort Carson, the Air Force Academy, North American Aerospace Defense Command, Schriever Air Force Base, and the U.S. Olympic Training Center in the neighborhood.

Move to Colorado Springs and you’ll be surrounded by fly boys and very fit people.

The only uniforms you’ll see in Portland are the usual fire and police and parking meter readers. That’s enough.

In addition, Colorado Springs adds to the high tech environment. California has Silicon Valley. Oregon has Silicon Forest. High tech in Colorado proves that you’ll find Silicon Mountains in more places than Hollywood.

  • 5. Provo-Orem, UT: This area south of Salt Lake City has earned a spot on a number of “best of lists”, including a listing in Where to Retire Magazine as an “enticing city for new careers.”

Let’s clear this up. UT is shorthand for Utah. A city rated as a good place for retirees to start a new career sounds like calling a dip in the Great Salt Lake a good way to stay dry. Maybe it works in Utah.

In Portland water is still wet. Count on it.

  • 6. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin location boasts a lake location and plenty of cultural and educational opportunities through the University.

Think of Wisconsin and the first image is a Cheesehead, hats that look like big cheese wedges. Most of the time Cheeseheads are associated with the Green Bay Packers, not the three time Rose Bowl losing Badgers of the University of Wisconsin.

But if the hat fits, squeeze it on.

If bitter cold, bad beer, and cheesy dandruff sounds like heaven, this is the place.

If Tillamook cheese, micro-brew beers, and a little rain suits you, choose Portland.

  • 7. Albuquerque, NM: This vibrant metropolis features a host of cultural opportunities, restaurants, and recreational opportunities.

Is it just bad press or is New Mexico still home to Area 51, downwind nuclear fall out, and no natural borders like the other box states? If you want neighbors like Texas, Colorado, Arizona, and Old Mexico, this is the place.

Baby Boomers have enough skin problems without living under a magnifying glass-like sun. We’re not ants on the sidewalk waiting for the final burn in Albuquerque. Besides, you’ll need more educational opportunities like the college towns just to spell Albuquerque right on your mail.

  • 8. Riverside/San Bernandino/Ontario, CA?

Boomerpdx checked with a southern California consultant on this one. They said LA pollution flows east toward the San Bernadino Mountains and clogs the air so you can’t see across the freeway on a bad day. On a good day you leave town for the other side of the mountains.

From a cultural point of view, San Berdoo has a traditional connection to the Hell’s Angels, so show up with the right Harley. Or else.

Portland has a few temperature inversions each year, a scientific way to explain the haze, along with encouraging words to limit driving and lawn mowing. For motorcycle gangs you’ll have to be satisfied with nerds rolling up on vintage Vespas.

They’re dangerous, but at least the women are safe.

  • 9. Houston/Sugar  Land/Baytown, TX? The greater Houston metro area which includes these cities is consistently ranked in best of lists, in part due to diversity and employment opportunities.

Why would a pre-senior choose to live in the same area as the greatest domestic evacuation in U.S. history? That alone ought to raise a red flag.

If it doesn’t, remember Houston is in Texas. You want to spend your golden years listening to Texans explain how you wasted years of your life by not moving there sooner?

I don’t think so.

Houston joins other cities who’ve lost NFL franchises, but none had a name connection to their region like the Houston Oilers. Now their team is called the Houston Texans, a poor choice. At least Cleveland kept their team’s name when the Browns ran to Baltimore after the Colts slipped off to Indianapolis.

One team wore the Texans name in Dallas, who left to become the Kansas City Chiefs.

No one wants a hand me down name. And they’re tanking at the moment.

If you move to Texas, park your rig in Austin and throw the horns.

  • 10. Portland, OR/Vancouver, CAN/Beaverton, WA: The Pacific Northwest is an area known for outdoor recreation and a more casual lifestyle. Portland is a known as one of the most “green” cities in the world.

This is where last becomes first.

The Brookings Institute ought to convene in Brookings, Oregon if they voted Portland the 10th best city for Baby Boomers.

Portland has more educational and cultural opportunities than any city listed above. Reed College, Lewis and Clark College, Portland State University, campuses for University of Oregon and Oregon State University, Oregon Health Science University, and more.

The city is full of smart people saying smart things to each other in coffee shops, pubs, and enough food carts to make New York City pay attention.

Portland attracts architecture fans with it’s cast iron buildings, dance fans with an abundance of clubs, and fans of the outdoors who may not visit Mt. Hood but can see it most days.

When you plant roots in Portland you make a statement. You want beaches, rivers, forests, and mountains at your doorstep. You want the urban jungle and the old growth, industry and solitude. Portland is where you can have it all if you figure a way to stick.

From NW Portland, to Hawthorne, to Alberta, you can follow the evolution of an inventive city.

What you won’t find here is a way to start over and keep a high end lifestyle. Boomers who thrive bring their business with them.

Does that sound like you? If not, pick another place. If so, make your call. Portland needs new ideas as much as anywhere, but you can still live with the old ones here.























About David Gillaspie
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