Hi there, I will like to start a conversation to weight the pros and cons by moving from LA to Portland. I am positive there are similar discussions on the forum, but each and every one has its own story to tell. Little bit about our story: me 31 Product Development Engineer with 7 years experience in medical manufacturing, 4 years as team lead and IT Manager as a second hat, MBA candidate, my wife 28, accountant with 5 years experience, MBA, CPA candidate, our cat, well not much to say here except that he is an awesome crazy cat. We are both Romanians born, moved in US 8 years ago. Currently full time employed with good jobs, also invested in real estate, owning 4 houses @ LA.
I twice visited Portland for business and had the opportunity to visit little bit around, I must say I was impressed with how nice is out there, it remembered me about Romania, nice and green. Now of course green is coming with rain and I get that, I am still processing if we can handle that much rain (Nov to April) but is not far away how we lived back in Romania.
I can't say that we are missing anything here in LA, but we don't feel like home, is a flat life stile, too much concrete, has no life in it. For the day I spent in Portland I felt very good, energized and much better (it was sunny outside). I don't want to overlook this but something attracted me to that place.
Now the questions: Job market for accountant and engineering (tips aside of CareerBuilder, Monster, etc), location to live, we like green with lots of trees but close to civilization, walking/biking distance from shops, I guess this is based on job area?; traffic congestion: how bad it is? after work activities; real estate market and investment opportunities; people, how easy is to make friends in the neighborhood you live in, how social are people out there. Where we live, we don't even know our neighbors; How is life in general. I'm not afraid of moving, when I came in US I had $2000 borrowed, not speaking English a word and I made my way in, I like challenges but also want to be realistic.
Looking for your thoughts and feedback. No actual plans to move yet, just shopping @ for ideas.
Well, I have only visited LA but haven't lived there so I can really only speak to my impressions. Portland is very different from LA: much less intense pace, like small "big city", but we do have many amenities that only large cities have. For example, we have an amazing food scene, active arts community, breweries and coffee shops galore. Instead of being a concrete jungle with similar landscape, Portland itself has amazing parks and greenery all over the city, and is a short jaunt from the amazing Columbia River Gorge, Hood River, and Pacific Ocean beaches. If you love nature, or outdoor activities, this is an amazing place to live! People in Portland are generally laid back and friendly, although any stereotype won't apply universally. You will find people eager to help, and engage with you, if you are open to it. Nearly every popular neighborhood has that strong sense of local community that so many people crave: locally owned shops, businesses, and a sense that people want to buy local, help their neighbors, and work together to create and maintain a community, whether that is the local community garden, being active in the schools, or volunteering. Portland has become something of an ideal, some part fantasy and some part real. I can tell you for myself it is the real deal: I love it here. Like anyplace else you choose to live, it is partly your attitude and what you make of it. Are there after work activities? Yes - tons of them, but you have to put yourself out there and become a part of it. The economy has suffered along with the rest of the country but is really showing some signs of recovery. ditto the real estate market which seems to be turning up again after the slump. Portland in general is way more affordable than some popular CA cities, though not always the case. The only caution I would make is if you truly cannot abide overcast weather and drizzling rain, this might not be the place for you. The spring, summer, and fall can be absolutely glorious with picture perfect postcard like weather and scenery. The winters bring rain, which is what makes the city so green and lush, but some people find it very depressing if they are accustomed to sunnier climate. Hope this helps, and good luck!
I do get this feeling that out there is not as intense as is in LA, I don't think will be big deal with the rain as me and my wife lived in Romania for 23 years and winters are similar, lot of rain, snow and cold. Honestly I am getting tired of one season all the time as we have here in LA, 80 degree on Christmas day, yes gray days may be depressing but too much sun is just too much. I have one type of clothing for the entire year. I know, be careful what you wish for.
Feels like LA or where we are has no character, is nothing interesting, buildings are old and ugly looking and without any life or inspiration. I visited Portland twice and is so different, is true was sunny outside but the air was so fresh, the sky so clear and everywhere you look was green. I will see if next month when we are coming there for a weekend I will feel the same:). Also I was impressed with how many people were outside, walking, it was a breathtaking.
We both like green and nature, smaller city with shops, coffee places everywhere and most important walking distance, I am tired of having to drive to buy a bread or drink a coffee, I guess we are looking for that European style type place.
In LA is hard to make friends, so i guess could be different in Portland, which is a good think for us. Looking at the pro's and con's I start to think that Portland may be a better place for us, thanks for your feedback.
Hi Sorin, how was your visit back?
I too live in Los Angeles, and my wife and I are seriously weighing a move to Portland in about 6 months or so. I grew up in N. Calif, lived in Austin, TX for a while, and have been in L.A. for about 6 years now. While LA has much to like in things to do, interesting nightlife and food, I've recently had a baby and look at it through a different lens now, and it doesn't have a lot of the community qualities I'd like to raise a family in. I was on the Oregon coast a couple weeks ago visiting familyt and really liked it. Wish I could have spent more time in Portland, but I'm thinking of taking another trip out to spend some time exclusively in Portland, get a feel for some of the neighborhoods, and decide if It would be a good fit. I'm in a spot right now where I'm not tied down to a job or home, so it's really a moment where if something feels right, I'd like to give it a chance.
Well, just wanted to give you a shout since you thoughts as I do–let me know how your move to Portland progresses.
Me and my wife just came from 4 days trip (business / pleasure) to Portland last week, we stayed in downtown at Hotel 50 so we had a chance to explore the surroundings. The weather was very nice, sunny every day. I must say that if our situations will be different we will make the move without blinking, is everything one can ask for if you like coffee shops out side and not just inside, if you like green everywhere, or people biking/walking. Is very outdoor living.
That place is amazing to live in. We do have good jobs in LA and couple houses so for us will take some time to really make a move plan, but if we are to move that will be the place, no question. I really enjoyed downtown more than everything else, and when you walk in downtown you keep waking and everything feels like downtown, is not like you have one section where is nice and that's it, the entire Portland is nice, every building has shops downstairs, is a park on every street, the places we visited near by were also very nice, clean and again, green. We visited couple parks, lots of people. Also the house architecture is different, more pleasant to the eye with a lot of character, they just look nicer. It give you positive energy.
Food is very good, you have so much selection, coffee is grate. I drink water straight from the tap and was so fresh. The air quality is so different from LA, the air is so clean, you feel like you live. There are so many things to do @ there. Now of course when is raining and as I understand it is raining quite a bit, not sure what is to do but from friends who live there is not that big of the deal, you get around, you just have to get used to.
Keep me posted if you move, I will like to get your impression.
Hey, thanks for the update Sorin. Glad you had a fantastic impression on your recent visit, I'm looking forward to getting back there soon to do the same. I'll keep you posted on how it goes!
My advice would be to hop up for a weekend flight and take in the real city life. It's an easy trip from LA and would make for a nice long weekend. I'd do it twice: once in nice weather and then again around January or February (the "worst day of the year" is February 22 or something :). A little contrast and compare.
Outside of that, you'll know your neighbors if you move here. They'll make sure of that! People are very friendly and urban neighborhoods are tight knit -- inclusive...not exclusive.
As for jobs in your industry, I am not so sure. Find a head hunter up here and have some convos.
There is a LOT to do here: music, parks, hiking, fishing, you name it. You certainly would not be bored.
Commutes are night and day different (unless you move to the burbs which I would not recommend).
Finding neighborhoods that are self-sustaining (walk to coffee shops, market, etc) are a breeze.
Thanks for the advice, we did the summer trip now will have to come there in the winter and experience the rainy days. After spending couple days in downtown, I think we found our spot, just below the Arlington Heights, that neighborhood is very nice and close to everything.
I think we will end up there eventually, now this is a 5 years plan due to where we are in life.
Thanks again and keep in touch,