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Move to Portland where everyone lives in a big house and drives a new car. Don't they?

Move to Portland where everyone lives in a big house and drives a new car. Don’t they?

Before Portland becomes the go-to city for all things hipster and start-up, GoLocalPDX spills the beans on why not to move here.

Maybe it’s an inside joke from a company who recently opened their own Portland outlet?

GoLocal started on the other side of America, and like a good bi-coaster, skipped the middle and landed in Portland. They’re in good company, like Uber and AirBnB, even if they didn’t start in San Francisco. Even if Uber isn’t legal…yet.

Channeling their best Tom McCall with his invitations to visit Oregon, and leave, GoLocalPDX posted “The 10 Worst Reasons To Move To Portland.”

On first glance it’s not a bad take, but it needs some local color from a local. Sound familiar?

I’ll take it from here.

10. Live In Portland, Commute To Salem.

An out of towner might look at a map and say no problem, especially if their current commute is longer. Face it, an Oregon commute is always better no matter the distance because it’s Oregon.

The bigger problem here is taking a shot at Salem. Why not live there if you work there? Are the multiple prisons a problem? If too many ex-cons and politicians in the same town bothers you, the commute is the least of your problems.

9. Confusion between Portlands.

How often do you mistake Portland for Portland, Maine? Never? Think outside the border and you’ll see the dilemma potential residents face. Commuting from Portland, Maine to Salem, Oregon might be tough.

When Portland is compared to any other city that’s called the Portland of the Midwest, or the Portland of the South, they’re never pointing to Maine. Neither should you.

8. Cheap Rent.

It might be going up, but that just means you’re looking in the wrong neighborhood. Cheap rent used to mean NW Portland, then SE, then it moved to NE. Every move left higher rent, but what’s new?

Low rent means artistic neighbors, or a crack house. Follow either trend and you’ll find low rent. And fumes.

7. Bike Shop.

Move here and open a bike shop, says GoLocalPDX. But be warned, there’s already lots of them. What’s missing is the bike shop that creates new bikes from old, and I don’t mean those bikes that look two stories tall.

Instead, find good frames and parts and create custom rides, one of a kind bikes. New bikes get old, old bikes get tossed. Give them new life and make them personal for the new owner. How local is that?

6. Comparison to Brooklyn as a Hipster Hideout.

Portland has a Brooklyn area and a Brooklyn street, but it’s no Brooklyn.

I’m not the only one who’s lived in both places, but my Brooklyn place had cheap rent and few white people. I saw it as a cultural exchange project much like the trip I took in high school where others went to Japan, or New Zealand, or South Africa. I went to Iowa. The language barrier was a problem, but not like the other places.

A good comparison between Portland and Brooklyn is the view of downtown across the water. Manhattan from the Brooklyn Promenade isn’t Portland from the Eastside Esplanade, but it’s close enough for that warm, fuzzy, reminder that you’re not in NYC.

5. Move To Portland Because Your Sweetie Is Moving Here.

This works better in reverse. Move west, lose the love of your life, then what? Give up on the rest of your life and move to Vancouver? It could be worse.

If you move to, say, New York City, and breakup, you still have a big city to take the sting away. And boat loads of models, male and female, just waiting for you to call. Hey, they’ve got to date someone, why not you?

New York is paved with broken hearts. In Portland you get to mope a few days after emotional devastation, then you move on.

4. Move To Start Tea Party Wing.

If you vote Tea Party, stay in the suburbs where seemingly normal people talk about Portland like a war zone.

“I wouldn’t go downtown unarmed,” is a common refrain.

That’s Tea Party enough for most men and women of action.

On the other hand, Portland does have a strong membership in Daughters of the British Empire, so a tea party is only a suggestion away.

3. There Is Rain.

The dampness is one of Portland’s treasures. What other city gets cleaned up so often? A good rain clears the air, the gutters, and the streets. It leaves things looking and smelling better.

Who doesn’t like the shiny look of a city after a good rain. It’s refreshing. You might not think refreshing is the right word after riding a wet, crowded bus to the eastside. As refreshing as a cattle car? As refreshing as the animal barn on the last day of the county fair?

Yes, there’s rain, but not as much as you’d get moving to the coast, and those people never complain.

2. Embrace Your Oregonianism.

Ever since the first ox stepped out of it’s harness after an Oregon Trail pull, Oregonians have accepted strangers. It’s a state of strangers, but the strangeness wears off fast enough.

If you move here and decide to stay, toss all your team gear from other colleges. You’re either a Beaver or a Duck. You’re not a Buckeye, a Hoosier, or a Horned Frog.

You only have one pro team you’re interested in, the Portland Trailblazers. All other allegiances you can leave at the door. They’ll only bring you trouble.

East coast feelings about states are different than the west. We’re not surrounded by tiny states that make Luxembourg feel big. And we’re not Texas where you can drive two days and still be in-state.

We don’t dislike Washington, California, or even Idaho. They’re not in the same conversation as Oregon, so why bring them up at all?

1. Finding Work After The Move.

If you move here without a job, you’ve either got a lot of brass, or following your loved one is working out better than you thought it would.

Portland is a place to bring what you’ve got, because you probably won’t find it once you’re here. Something about paying rent and buying groceries and career development all at once. Time is not on your side with that mix.

Show up sharp with a plan, and work that plan. You’re only new once, and it doesn’t last. Make a good first impression every time because you only get one chance.

The song says about New York, “If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere.” Not so in Portland. If you can’t make it here, then go back home, expect to be disgraced.

Portland’s not that hard, they say. You’re not weird enough for Portland, but too weird for here.

BoomerPDX advice? Give Portland a chance. You’ll meet friends for life. Come on in Millennials and GenXers, just don’t be surprised to find a baby boomer ahead of you.



About David Gillaspie
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