First forum post --EVER--. Seeking any help I can get! My wife and I are moving to Portland, OR in mid to late October and we're in need of housing. Looking to rent an apartment in the $600-$800 range that is cat friendly. We visited the city in May on a week long vacation driving up the coast from San Francisco. Beautiful! We absolutely fell in love with the city. Too bad the weather isn't always as nice as what we saw. We're vegan foodies I guess looking for a progressive area near good coffee, restaurants, co-ops, farmers markets, etc. In the short time we were there (3 days) I really liked the NW 23rd area, Mississippi Ave. area, Alberta arts district, Blossoming Lotus!!! (NE Broadway?) and particularly Hawthorne and the SE area in general (Thinking maybe Belmont st.). I've been trying to research what I can from Craigslist, Google Maps and a couple books, but talking to some people from the area would be very useful.
I'm flying out myself the last week of September (I live in Pennsylvania) to take a job interview and establish an apartment so we can drive out a few weeks later. I plan on having a job by the end of October but you never know. My wife is a dental assistant and waitress so I think she'll find work. I have well over a year's rent in savings so I hope a potential landlord would accept that over current employment?
We'd really like to be close to a MAX line or a good bus line, but I guess everyone would. I'm willing to make certain compromises considering our budget. Again, I'm leaning towards SE and the Hawthorne, Belmont, Sunnyside area; any recommendations would be greatly appreciated! Also, any personal experience on what to expect dealing with potential landlords and the application process would be great! Thanks in advance!
Hi there and welcome to Portland! You will definitely prefer the east side, I think, based on your description. Stick to NE and SE 'hoods. Belmont,SE, Sunnyside are all amazing, as are NE Portland neighborhoods on Mississippi Ave, Alberta St. and anything N or NE close in. You will feel right at home in no time. SE is more "granola" hippie vibe, whereas NE is a little grittier with some hipstery vibe thrown in which drives some people nuts but I live in NE and don't even notice it. Alberta St has great coffee shops and a nice co-op. Neither Alberta nor Belmont are on the streetcar or MAX train line but they are on the bus routes which makes for easy commuting. Try this website, too: http://www.housingmaps.com/
My thought from your description is that you would love NE or SE :-) Good luck!!
Thanks so much for the input! From what I've seen and heard, I think I'll like those areas too, it's just a matter of what I can afford. I might be willing to stretch my rent limit a bit because I want to be relatively close to some of the things that make Portland so special to me. I've considered living in more of a suburban area near a MAX stop, but I'd rather be in walking distance of what those neighborhoods have to offer (coffee, restaurants, co-ops). Now it's just a matter of figuring out what we can afford and landing that sweet apartment next month! BTW, everyone we've talked to from Portland has been sooo nice and helpful. I'm sure there's a few bad apples, but it is very reassuring when considering such a drastic move across country! It's good stuff!
Portlanders are amazing. It is a friendly town, compared to many larger cities. I am sure you will find what you are looking for because half the battle is having an open mind and embracing what a new city has to offer and it sounds like you are already looking forward to this adventure!
Do NOT settle for a suburban area - you won't have to, and you will love living in urban Portland and the strong sense of local community that it offers. I speak from experience. I moved across the country many years ago and settled out in the burbs where I died of boredom for five years before moving into inner urban Portland. My whole life became more vibrant as a result. You won't regret spending the extra money and will save on commuting everyplace because you can walk or ride your bike to the market, coffee shop, community garden, co-op, etc.
Also, don't rule out Sabin, Eliot, Irvington, or even Lloyd Center, Kerns, and Buckman. While not immediately in Alberta and Belmont, these other neighborhoods are nice and only a short drive away from the other areas. I live in Eliot on the edge of Irvington and I can be in Belmont, Alberta, Kerns, etc. within just minutes. That might expand your apartment options a bit...
I'm taking your advice and expanding my search to other areas close-in. When I started this I thought we would live in a suburb close to the MAX, but now after really thinking about all the things we ant access to, talking to people like yourself and the fact that we're already moving 2600 miles; why not just go all the way? I'm flying out at the end of the month to find a place and I'll certainly be looking around the coop grocery stores we've come to enjoy, but also in other nice (and more affordable) areas. We're downsizing to one small car and my little motorcycle and we plan on letting them sit most of the time. I'd rather walk, bike and use my time on public transit for reading and such. I'm considering the areas you described as well as SE Division St, SE Powell and as far over as South Tabor. In my more expanded search area, I'm sure I'll be able to find a place that will suit us while we explore your beautiful city.
I am also relocating to Portland and have had a good experience securing an apartment ahead of time with KBC Management (www.kbcmgmt.com). I will be paying $750 for a studio just outside of downtown.