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Pining over someplace else

We all know that Portland's da bomb.  We wouldn't be here if it weren't.  There are lots of us who have shared that we come from many different places.  Recently, though, I've been thinking.... 

We were away for spring break to explore all that is Von Trapp (some of you know that I have two little girls obsessed with the Sound of Music).  During our time away from the States, we started to wonder: "Could we be better suited in a place outside the US?"  I found myself wanting to live in a place where farmer's markets were commonplace and the way-of-doing-business, not where farmer's markets needed subsidizing, organizing, planning, or all the rest.  I found myself wanting to live in a place where walking or cycling were the primary modes of transportation, not where cars were the dominant vehicle.  I found myself wanting to live in a place where space was efficient, not where space was just another thing to fill with all our goods.

Don't get me wrong.  We love Portland.  But, we just got this feeling that we just can't seem to shake.

Do you ever have this feeling?  The feeling of wanting to live somewhere other than Portland, OR?  The feeling of pining over someplace else?  Perhaps places outside of America?  Perhaps where you have lived before?  Perhaps to be closer to family?  Have you lived "abroad"? 

Or, do you know for certain that Portland is the place for you and your family?


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I'm a native Portlander and love it here but last week I begged (okay, too strong, enthusiastically asked with a little whine at the end) my husband to try to find someplace, anyplace, ("even Canada") that he could work, if just for a year. I would have to quit my job since they don't give sabbaticals and we'd need to find someone to live in our house but I'd do it.

We had a chance to spend a year in New Zealand but I was too wimpy to have a baby on the other side of the world. Now, I'm wishing we'd get another opportunity like that and fear it was once-in-a-lifetime. Ireland, Japan, Denmark, Spain? He said Hawaii is a possibility -- not what I had in mind but certainly a different way of life!

I think it's the season...I get really, really stir crazy this time of year...dreaming of selling the house and moving to Singapore, etc. Realistically, I go to Malay Satay Hut and walk through the Fubon Supermarket.

oh, absolutely. every day i think about all the wonderful places all over the world that i'm not visiting, haven't visited, hope my son will know. it's very much a part of my life plan (such as it is) to spend time abroad, my husband spent his childhood in the jungle and it made for the most amazing growing-up experience. i would love to get in on that.

I moved here in September and I am still pining for the place I moved from. My husband grew up here, so he is not as homesick. However, pre-baby we spent a year and a half in Europe and there is not a day that goes by that he doesn't think about traveling again. I also miss places at certain moments. I know once spring actually arrives some of what were feeling will subside. I look forward to showing my son how beautiful Portland is in the spring and summer :)

This is it. Home. Been here 12 years and I am staying, I love it.

Spring is still the hardest season for me here. It feels like winter. Where's the sun? In fact, I just checked the weather in Palm Springs yesterday, 93 degrees and sunny!

We used to have a fantasy of living in Italy but I think its passed. Maybe when we're empty nesters?

We are planning on moving from Portland probably within the next 5-10 years or so. Most likely either to the coast, into the rural South, or Europe.
Having grown up in the Bay Area (where, when I was a kid there was a population of 3 million and now there are 45 million in that same area!!!), gone to school in Seattle, and living here for 6 years...I recognize that the Portland we know and love is changing...and I sadly doubt it's for the better.
So yea, it is in our definite plan to move!

We spent 6 weeks in Kauai two summers ago (rented a car and a condo) and spent the most blissful weeks of our life so far. As far as 'place' goes, that was it for me. Hanalei Bay had a great farmers market, was completely walk-able, the people were relaxed and warm and the weather was perfect. The spirit of 'ALOHA' is tangible. Food was expensive and housing would be as well, but I feel like that place really met all the criteria for me of 'home'--except one. The one that keeps us from moving to any place that's not Portland. Family. I want my kids to know their grandparents really well. And as my parents age, I can't imagine being more than a 2 hour flight from them. So, for now at least, we will settle for really good vacations every few years to all those places!

I have already mentally left Portland. We plan on moving in 1.5 years to a small-ish mountain community . We lived there on and off when we were early married before our daughter was born and we really miss the quiet, the GENUINE and friendly people( Hello Portland???!!) and the safety. No traffic is a bonus too.

I am also concerned with the air pollution here and my allergies are horrible here.

I grew up in Portland ...Born & raised here and I am so disturbed by the changes that I see here. This is definitely not the place that I was raised in. I do not want to raise my daughter here...

My husband was born and raised in the bay area and he sees how the people here are not too much different than people in the bay. He is dying to leave here.

Originally the plan was to move to France but with family in the states we have compromised on our mountain town but who knows? My 6 year old daughter is pulling for France! She is just in love with it there!

Anyway.. my statement is I will live almost anywhere but here.

Jennifer, what exactly is it about the people in Portland that you think is so bad? I moved to Portland 2 years ago and having not grown up here, wonder where you're coming from.

By the way, having friends who moved to Europe, while it sounds so great from a "grass is greener" perspective, the reality is that you will always be an
'outsider' and never really belong there. The ethnic and cultural heritage of many places in Europe is such that it is hard to assimilate (think of all the frustrated Muslim youth who feel like second-class citizens because they are not treated as really French despite being born there), while the US at least has a recent history of being a melting pot. And this is the perspective of a non-American (I moved here 5 years ago)

I would definitely suggest living abroad if you can (and getting an EU work permit isn't as easy as you might think!) I lived and worked in Ireland (Dublin and Cork) for two years and then moved to England and lived and worked in Bath for three years. I met my husband in Bath and we got married over there and lived there when we first got married. It was a wonderful experience, particularly because it made me appreciate Portland so much more. I couldn't wait to move back to the US and have no desire to ever live in England again, although we enjoy our visits to see my husband's family and our friends that we miss so much. But who knows? We may end up moving there for a year or two so our son can get to know that side of the family better and have that experience. If we do, I know I'll be counting down the days until we return to Portland...

We've lived a lot of places here in the U.S. and are content in Portland, for the most part, but would really like to live abroad for a year or two at some point. Unlike many of the commenters, though, we're not looking for a European experience... Friends of a relative spent a year w/ their young kids in India; friends of our own are taking a year to travel in SE Asia with their 4-yr-old daughter. Europe sounds lovely, but other places are beckoning us (again; we've been, pre-child) for reasons that are difficult to articulate, except to say that we feel it's healthy to go be in a place for a time that is very unlike the places you're used to...

I'm very content here for the moment. I know that we will not be here forever, but for the time being, Portland feels like the right place for us. We dont have family here, if we did, we might stay. Our family is in AZ and Norway so if we make a decision to live closer to family, it will mean a move to one of those two places.

Earlier this year we were faced with an opportunity to move to Norway, and we agonized over the decision for weeks. It was a sleepless, stressful and gut wrenching time for us. We have made big, cross country moves before and we love an adventure. It's complicated, and we're still not totally sure we made the right decision, but we're here for now. It felt like too much change for us right now. Maybe we'll do it in the future.

I've always thought about living in Europe, I think it could be an amazing opportunity for me personally and for my family. I think a lot of people dream about living in Europe, but when faced with the reality, I can tell you, it's scary! There are a ton of things that I know would drive me nuts, and after living in the US for 12 years, I venture to say that my husband might just go nuts before me! An Ex-Pat assignment is a whole lot less scary to me than a local hire type of international move, and had this been an ex-pat type of opportunity, there's a good chance I'd be living in Norway by now.

It's supposed to be sunny and 75 degrees by Saturday...and then we'll all be thinking about what a great place PDX is!

New Portlander:

I knew that my anti- Portland sentiment would open up some comments but without getting into a huge anti- Portland rant, I will just say that I have traveled a lot abroad and in this country and Portland is not exactly the most friendly place around.

Case in point: Our dear friend moved here from North Carolina last July and he started out all Pro- Portland till all the grumpiness, hipsters, rude people, political activists and passive agressive people got him down.. now he is counting the days till he moves! He has lived so many places and he really was shocked.

This is really not a big secret, lots of people flee for nicer places every year. I just know that my daughter noticed the vibe here when she was 3 and I just cannot raise her in this negativity any longer.

If you like it- Great.

Different things for different people. I just merely commented on this post and do not wish to have this turn into a Pro vs Anti Portland rant session.

I just know that this is not the city I grew up in and I know when I am in a positive place for my family and this definitely not the place.

By the way New Portlander... I have lived overseas and really did not experience any outsider-ness and was fully embraced by the culture and the people. It just depends on where you live and what kind of person you are.

See? Different people have different experiences and I say, if you are happy someplace then stay there and if not- then explore. You owe it to yourself to be in a happy environment and I owe it to my daughter.

OK! That's it from me.

So...a topic on which I have lots to say and will likely have much more over the next year...

A Tennessean by birth, I moved to Portland from Missouri in 2002 with my German husband who had just lived in Sweden for about 8 years getting his PhD. We both needed a place for post doctoral work...Portland was a compromise...and it was fabulous! We both loved it dearly. I can honestly say that I thought that I should have been born an Oregonian. Unfortunately, however, we were there only temporarily...after 5 years we needed to move for our careers. We married there and had our 2 daughters there..and I will ALWAYS hold Portland as my favorite place in the USA.

To London we moved almost 1 year ago. And oh the change! BIG BIG BIG city life (like 9-10 million persons). The biggest PROS: 1)cultural diversity -- much more of a "melting pot" here than I EVER experienced in the US. 2)culture and history -- simply overwhelming 3)the food (yes...I did say the food, surprised myself too initially)-- one of the supermarkets here is actually better than New Seasons..fresh, organic, and diverse 4) transportation -- it is so nice to never need a car, to be able to walk to the corner market for milk, to commute to work, etc. People here are quite concerned about their "carbon footprint" 5) socialized health care -- while there are some parts that make me cringe (primarily the infrastructive), the overall idea is right and the individual physicians are excellent (I myself am a physician and am VERY critical on this aspect)

The biggest CONS: 1)incredibly EXPENSIVE --- in a way, this place is actually the worst representation of capitalism I could imagine...the housing costs inside the city are simply unaffordable for the working class. I believe that only about 20% of the flats and homes in the inner city are actually lived in all year round -- most are owned by wealthy foreigners as investment purposes! We live in the "belle of the burbs", Ealing...and it is simply not up to our standard. It lacks the village feel, the green space and the tranquility that we had in Portland. 2) lack of socialization/subsizidation of education -- our kids are young, but apparently public (that is what they call private school here) schools are the way to go and they are expensive and hard to get into! Our childcare for 2 girls under 3 at a daycare is £1700 (that is $3400!!) per month!
3) lack of "child-friendliness" -- very hard to find changing facilities in restaurants, hardly any elevators at Tube stations (traveling around with a stroller on the Tube can be a nightmare)..and just the overall sense that British society still has this concept that children are "little adults"

In our family, the CONS have actually outweighed the PROS (also taking into account some issues with our jobs...) and we are moving yet again..to Uppsala, SWEDEN, just about 30 minutes north of Stockholm. Given that my husband has lived there in the past, we know about the great quality of life Sweden has to offer. Just the benefits of my job are almost unbelievable. I am anxious to get there and experience it there..perhaps in a couple of months I will write back and tell you all how it is!

All this being said...I surely miss the following: OPB/NPR, Pix Royale with Cheese, Deschutes Black Butte Porter, Mount Hood, EmilyJane and scouring consignment shops for Hanna Andersson!

Having grown up in NY, going to college in Mass., living in Denver and New Mexico, I have to say, I am incredibly happy that we moved here last summer.

Sure, there are things I think are really *quirky* about Portland (hey, all you Hawthornier-than-thou hipsters, it won't diminish your cool quotient if you move out of the way when a mom with a stroller is coming down the sidewalk), but in general, I love the "small town masquerading as a city" feel.

Essentially, Portland was the best compromise DH and I could come up with as to where to raise our boys. Spending the first 5 years raising my kids in the Hamptons was horrible. Sure we were close to NYC, but not really close enough to take advantage of all it has to offer. And even if we could afford it, NYC is a little too concrete jungle for me to be happy raising a family there.

That being said, I am 99% sure that when I hit retirement age, DH and I will be heading to New Mexico. I figure by then I'll be old enough I don't really have to worry so much about skin damage from the sun. :) The other 1% screams get a kick-ass apartment in NYC. So who knows, we'll probably end up being snowbirds.

As a 3rd generation Portlander I can't imagine living anywhere else, or raising my family anywhere else. In regard to the changes we all see happening here, they are happening everywhere, some of it is not so great but change happens. You either embrace what is good and hope for the best or leave and find what is a good place for you elsewhere.

Well, we are moving to Denver. I really like Portland but usually by January every year I want to move. Then by May I am ready to stay. I grew up in the bay area and my husband grew up here. I miss the bay but it has changed from when I grew up.

I am nervous about moving to Denver but we are ready for the change. We have moved away before to Seattle and move back. So you never know we may be back here.

We always talk about living overseas for a year. I think it would be great for our daughter.

Portland is a great place.

My family moved here last July from a small city near Sacramento, Ca. I grew up there, and I am SO pleased with Portland!
My husband has lived in several other states, and had also spent almost two years in Korea. He always knew he wanted to come back to Oregon.
We are happy to be here, but we both ponder the idea of moving to another country, from time to time. I think for us, it's because we feel America has fallen apart over the last seven years. Not to get into a political discussion or anything, but I hope our next president can turn things around, and make me believe living in the U.S. really is the best option.

I am pining for Portland.

I was raised in San Francisco, a 1st Generation American (my family's from Ireland). I love San Francisco, but hate the greater Bay Area in general. I went to college in Berkeley, then moved to Ireland for a couple of years (I have dual citizenship). I returned to California to attend vet school, not knowing whether I wanted to permanently settle in the U.S. Around the time I moved back to the U.S., my brother moved to Portland.

Meanwhile, I met my husband. We bought a house halfway between his job and vet school in a dismal suburb with no sense of community. My husband is from New Orleans, and we both long for a more urban lifestyle, including public transportation and independent businesses. We drive CONSTANTLY, which I hate. We decided to stay in our house for a few years after I graduated from vet school so I could get some professional experience and we could start working on a family.

We never wanted to stay where we are now, but needed time to decide where we wanted to go. I was pushing for Australia (where I have family) or New Zealand, but the moving costs and logistics seemed so daunting (including moving with dogs). Ireland has a really high cost of living. We don't speak any foreign languages very well. We settled on Portland as the city that seemed to most suit us (family friendly, good outdoor activities, voters pushing public transit through, affordable housing, etc). Personally, I would still have a hard time choosing between San Francisco and Portland if San Francisco weren't so expensive. Yes, it has changed, but things change. It's still a beautiful place to live (if you're in the city or don't need to commute ever).

It's been 7 years since we bought our house, and we can't sell it without losing a ton of money. We have an 18 month old and another baby on the way and we are eager to start life in a new place. But now, due to the foreclosure crisis, we can't afford to leave our house. It's frustrating.

If we are able to relocate to Portland within a couple of years (hopefully) and find we don't like, we're going to leave the U.S.

So many feelings around this topic! I definitely feel there is always a "better" (more likely different) place that we could live. We don't have the resources or connections (or guts) to get up and go move abroad. I think it would be a great experience for us and our kids and I wish we could. If for no other reason, then to see why we do love it here. I must say that many of the my feelings of resentment toward the US are coming from today's political climate. Many of my "issues" with Portland aren't necessarily ones that wouldn't be replaced by similar problems elsewhere (climate-a big one and some of social issues).
As for Portland being "unfriendly" or people with "attitude", I personally don't know too many places off the top of my head where you could get so much diversity socially, economically, entertainment wise and the rest and have all people be happy to help and be friendly to everyone. Although Portland is not a BIG city, it is a city. Not everyone is going to have the same feelings of outward niceties always. I have found myself feeling comfortable in so many different social groups I never could have imagined that I would fit in-from affluent double income parents, to young zoo bomber types. And "fitting in" didn't come naturally from either side. Sometimes, we have to give (a lot) of our selves to get the return we are wanting and sometimes things just "click". We moved from a very wealthy, beautiful part of central California 4 years ago. I miss the beauty and the weather but not the social aspect. My experience in Portland has allowed me to be myself and to feel good. Something that I didn't feel other places I have lived. Would I still move abroad? Heck ya! Somewhere else in the US? There would have to be a VERY big draw.

We were in England over spring break visiting my husband's family, and we were totally ready to move there at the first chance. Right now I kind of hate being an American. But, when we flew back into PDX, I had the feeling of, "well, England (or Europe) would be great, but I'm glad we have Portland." For now I'm pleased to be in Portland. Hopefully we will have the chance at some point to live elsewhere, for variety.

Jennifer - I moved here from North Carolina about 6 months ago and was floored by the number of nice people we met, literally within minutes of arriving. Is there some rudeness around? Yes, obviously. Can't go anywhere w/o encountering some of that. But, my mother-in-law always says, and she has a point, that if you find yourself encountering jerks all the time, you're the jerk. I'm not calling you a jerk, but the tone of your message is pretty offensive. Could it be your approach that's attracting a greater amount of rudeness than the average Portlander?

Moved here from Florida eight years ago. Best and hardest thing I've ever done -- never leaving that I can tell.

BUT... we have talked (even last week) about how cool it'd be to spend a year in Europe. I'd always want to come back but I do pine for something different.

Re: whether people are nice or not, I thought people here were ridiculously friendly when we moved here -- to the point it made me wonder if there was something in the water. (When you come from crime-ridden Orlando, you can't help but be a bit suspicious.)

Oh for heaven's sake, everyone doesn't have to love it here. It really isn't utopia for everyone.

I was born and raised in San Francisco. If I could afford to live there, I would. I would prefer Alameda, to San Francisco because the San Francisco where I grew up no longer exists. I think that's the same everywhere, things change too fast for the natives.

Portland is one of those places where you either love it or hate it. I love San Francisco but I know it's not now nor was it ever perfect. And if people hate it, I don't get defensive. Different strokes, man. I have friends who swear by Los Angeles or Fort Worth, Texas. . . I would rip my eyes out and cut my limbs off first.

I am in love with the physical beauty of Portland. The people often escape me, though I tend to do better with natives than transplants. I love the rainy days, that everywhere you look in Portland is absolutely breathtakingly gorgeous, rain, shine or snow. I love that it is child-centered here.

I miss Tucson, Arizona. If I could figure out a way to make that heat work for 5-6 months without AC. . .I'd be there. I can smell the desert during monson season if I think about it long enough.

Relax Portlanders! Your home is drop dead gorgeous and while it can be a bit wet and more "urbane than thou", it is a really special place. Don't underestimate the importance of the fact that you have the countries most "aware" population, either. Back here in CA, my neighbors sweet grandson is named Cheney and the neighbors on the other side have his and hers Hummers. Barf.

As far as pining... I pine for France. I have a silly, cliched, school girl crush on France and always have. We would move the clan there for a defined period of time when the kids are older.

I agree with Leah, though, it's probably scary when you are actually faced with the possibility. That's why I think the kids should be a bit older and it should be for a limited amount of time so as to get back to the family.

And, hey don't give up on our fantastic country! Be disillusioned, angry to tears, motivated into action, but being an American, not a 'Merkin, is a very lucky and great thing. Listen to Barack Obama a little and you'll start believing it again.

I miss my pre-mama freedom of movement, but I love being rooted in Portland and fully intend to be here 'til I die. I pined for Portland terribly when I lived in Albuquerque, and when I lived in Guanajuato (Mexico), and when I lived in Washington, DC. As those cities are all quite dear to me, my longing simply reinforced the knowledge that Portland = home.

For me, that is. I can't seem to pry my sister away from Seattle, or my best friend away from NYC. Dangnabbit. ;)

P.S. To echo Suzame, I have to say that the vibe I experienced on the East Coast was all about impatience, indifference, or irritation. It was pleasantly disorienting to return to Portland and get friendly attention at every turn. So disorienting, in fact, that I teared up my first day home when a checker at Fred Meyer wished me a nice day! This was followed by nice people at the bank, nice people taking a stroll, and (most astonishingly) nice people at the DMV.

I wish for socialized medicine, a government that doesn't spend most of my tax money on national defense, paid maternity leave and less driving. I know there are places in other countries where I can get that, but my family is here and Oregon is beautiful. Now, if I could only stop working so much so I could get out and enjoy the beauty!

As someone who has lived in Portland 10 years and loves it, I don't mind in the least hearing that other people don't - and why they don't. I find it fascinating that others can have such different experiences here. I'm especially curious to hear the perspective of native Portlanders on this: what's changed about the city for you?

"Jennifer - I moved here from North Carolina about 6 months ago and was floored by the number of nice people we met, literally within minutes of arriving. Is there some rudeness around? Yes, obviously. Can't go anywhere w/o encountering some of that. But, my mother-in-law always says, and she has a point, that if you find yourself encountering jerks all the time, you're the jerk. I'm not calling you a jerk, but the tone of your message is pretty offensive. Could it be your approach that's attracting a greater amount of rudeness than the average Portlander?"


This is a subject that I am quite opinionated about- and as of late I have encountered a bigger than average share of bad behavior here. No, I am not a jerk. No, my approach is not attracting rudeness.. that was a rather offensive comment actually and nothing in my post warranted that comment from you.

I answered the question from the original post.

Do I feel like Portland is the right place for me and my family. No , I do not. I answered the question according to how I feel and that's O.K. really. I loved that this question was asked and I felt that this would exactly be how the comments would go. I am sorry that I cannot lie, if I offended anyone.. well...what I wonder is why are you taking offense to something this trivial and why should you care if someone does not LOVE Portland? Does it really matter? Like I said in my second post.. if you like it here. great. if you don't get out. whatever. It's your life, you have a right to feel your way and I have a right to answer a post and feel my way. Nobody on this forum should have to be judged for how they feel. You should be able to comment, respect each other and move on. Not attack.

I don't have to like it here and I thought that this was a free country where I could comment on a question without people commenting back telling me I am wrong, rude a jerk or whatever. Wow. I guess this forum likes it better when everyone agrees and bad mouths other places but god help you if you answer a question and say that you don't like it here.

Sorry, but I am just am not part of the Portland brainwashed club. I passed on that Kool- aid. Thanks.

First off, I think a place is what you make of it. I think every one of us, with the right attitude and time could be relatively happy almost anywhere in this country or Western Europe (if allowed to work, stay, etc.). If you actively seek out other Moms and Dads, keep an open mind, and listen to others, you'll fit in anywhere... and those around you will help you be happy. Even in Houston. ;-)
Now, there are a few things you can't take with you fom place to place...
Family- Some of us have a lot of close family here. It's very hard to leave that when you have children that really enjoy their grandparents and uncles and aunts.
Weather- Maybe not a really high point right now, but we do have really nice summers and our Winters, while rainy, arent totally immobilizing. I lived in Fairbanks, AK once...and Austin, TX.
Cost of living- It's good here. It's not good in Western Europe. Its a pain in many nice US cities. Then again there are places like Boise where its quite good.
Careers- I wouldnt leave the company I'm with. I've worked hard to get where I am and I can't imagine leaving my job just for better weather or to evade hipsters. I think my spouse would agree.

Having lived many places (Alaska, Washington DC, Austin, Portland, the UK, etc.) I can tell you that we have it really good here and almost every place thats been mentioned here has a substancial "grass is greener..." factor to me.

It's just that time of the year! It really helps to get out and excersise if you can. :-)
Portland still kicks ass.

I would agree with the comments that not everyone has to love Portland. As Jennifer said earlier, people are different and different people like different places, people, etc. It might seem vague, but it's true, and certainly one person's not liking Portland shouldn't become a threat to people who love it here! That's my sense, at least.

I don't love Portland today, but in general do feel very happy and fortunate that my family landed here three years ago(thanks to my good luck in a national job search). We moved here from LA, where I had attended grad school for 9 years. Before LA, I lived in Portland for two carefree years after graduating from an east coast college. I LOVED it here then, and when it became clear that LA was my best option for grad school (even though I really wanted to go to Seattle to be closer to Portland), I was devastated at having to leave what I thought was heaven and settle down in the hell that I perceived LA to be. Several years later, I found that I loved LA--and still miss it sometimes, even as I recognize that raising a family there would not be nearly as easy and happy as here. But one of the things I discovered I liked about LA (aside from the glorious weather and amazing culture and diversity and natural surroundings) was that it is a dystopia. In Portland, the general sense is that everyone loves it here--it's a FABULOUS place to live, liberal, green, etc., etc. Living in LA, I began to appreciate the pleasure of *secretly* loving a place many people hate. What I realized I did not miss about Portland was--and I don't mean to offend anyone here--a certain smugness, a self-satisfiedness wherein everyone's always sort of saying to each other, "Isn't this place divine? Don't we live in the best place on earth?"

Now, 9 years later, I was THRILLED that the academic job search lottery favored us with a Portland move. And indeed, I DO love it here, and wouldn't choose to live anywhere else. But my story is just intended to show that I do sort of agree with Jennifer's point about the Portland "Kool-aid"--that is, I can see how if you didn't love Portland, you could be made to feel really "wrong" about it somehow, because everyone is supposed to be so darn happy! Just my thoughts, of course...don't mean to stir the pot too much on this one...

The other thing I can say is that it is a Priviledge to be able to live where you want for the most part. To have the resources to travel, to be a person or family that would be mostly accepted anywhere you could afford to live.

Many (if not most) people in the world are not that mobile. Some folks have to stay and care for family members, or can't work without family provided child care because they can't pay housing and child care costs, or are the wrong sexual orientation or ethnicity or are just too poor.

So if you get have your druthers about where you live, or shoot, even get to figure out where you'd like to be. . . .as the 10,000 Maniacs song goes. . ."you are blessed and lucky. . ."

Has anyone relocated to or from British Columbia or other places in Canada? Universal health care is an obvious plus. Any other pros/cons?

i moved here from baltimore 3 years ago to be with my husband (my choice -- he would have been happy to relocate to be with me as well), and pretty much drank the pdx hipster kool-aid, falling in love with it here.

now, though, i've grown disillusioned. portland has some great things going for it -- one of the best public transit systems in the country, a commitment to sustainability -- but it's also got a major self-satisfaction and mystique that doesn't live up to the hype in my mind, for one major reason: the abysmal job market. i'm currently a stay at home mom not by choice, but because i couldn't find a job here that would even pay enough to offset our childcare bill. my husband was also out of work for 9 months, and temping for a year before he landed his current position. it's awfully hard to wax poetic about a city in which you live in a small, bland apartment, stand no chance in hell of ever owning a home, and live so paycheck to paycheck you can't afford to fly home to visit family back east.

i'm guilty of chasing the geographic cure as much as the next person, but to anyone romanticizing another locale, i'd say unless you've got really concrete prospects or tons of money, don't. i gave up a house that i owned, decent job prospects, and the potential for my daughter to grow up actually knowing her grandparents for an idealized view of a city, and i'm starting to regret it more and more.

We moved home away from Portland last summer and while I have some misgivings about our particular community, I am thrilled to be "home". After 3 years, it seems like you have given living in Portland the college try. Why can't you all go back? The grandparent factor has been sooooo rewarding for us and the kids. It would be a major upheaval as it was for us to move, but after everything settled down, it's been a good thing.

My husband gets gets homesick for New Zealand, where he was raised (I met him there while I was an exchange student), occasionally - mostly during our Winter or when we have to come back after vacation. We live here primarily for work/professional reasons and because it would actually be difficult, immigration-wise, to move there at this point(he's actually a U.K./E.U. citizen). Although there's many things I like about N.Z., we have better job opportunities/situations here, own a home we like, and my mother, a seriously dedicated Grandmother, lives nearby and provides free and loving daycare for the little one in our lives. In Portland, I also appreciate how close we are to other cities/places we like to visit (N.Z. is pretty isolated-if you travel, you go for a while, not so much for short jaunts except Australia), all the baby and child-friendly classes here, restaurants, educational opportunities for ourselves and our child, etc. And farmer's markets, strangely enough, seem to be more common in Portland, at least according to my in-laws. On the other hand, medical care for children is nice and cheap in N.Z. and people get much longer vacations and maternity leave. My husband has no interest in living in England, although he also has many relatives there -- Portland actually feels closer to N.Z. in some ways. We also have relatives living in France, Australia, and Canada, but for right now I just think of this as great incentives for visiting those places.

I love Portland AND Kool-Aid...and I vote!

I think Portland will always be home but we fantasize about spending a year in New Zealand...

Really most of my pining is for more free time...

I am a native Oregonian though have family in the bay area and lived there for three years. Portland has changed dramatically in many ways, but there remains a core of really special people if you know how to connect with them. When I lived in California, it seemed strange to not smile at everyone and/or say hello on walks. Then I realized that this was something unique to Oregon.

Also, despite the pollution, traffic, etc., we have a pristine environment in comparison to many areas. Visit Sacramento in the summer when the smog chokes out all visibility not to mention breathing.

I know there are many benefits to traveling/living abroad, but I am grateful to have strong roots in Portland and will take these horrible, gray Spring days. Yeah for a sunny weekend!

Sometimes I feel like moving somewhere else, not because I don't like it here (I do) but just for something new and exciting! The feeling passes though. And its not like its even an option to begin with!

Having been raised here in Oregon I just feel like this state and its various (and very different) places are home to me.

I loved it here most in the early 90's. This city has changed a lot since then. There was more raingear, less upscale fashion. Hipsters don't bug me one bit. They have to live somewhere too right? And I think people here are really friendly and nice. And funny.
I rarely go to the Pearl because I have no reason to, but if I do I feel like I'm in some strange other city and its very odd to me...some parts of this city are unrecognizable! But I'm kinda old and sometimes wax nostalgic about the parts of portland I miss. Regardless, we dig it here. When we get away we're always relieved to be back.

Does anyone think that people from Europe (or anywhere else for that matter) really want Americans moving in? Visit and spend money, sure. Moving there, buying property and making it unaffordable for their children? I'm not so sure.
From what I see all over HGTV and newspaper articles, baby boomer americans are leaving the US mess behind to go on "permanent vacation" in South America and Europe, but what will happen if/when there's a backlash? Or when they get old and sick and there's no hospital or they don't belong to that country's health care system? And isn't part of this just plain escapism? Does anyone else think about these things?
I salute the people helping to make these changes here, people taking the time to fight for more bike lanes, attend public transportation or city planning meetings, or organize farmers markets in the city.
I think there will need to be a lot of these changes more collectively in the near future, simply out of necessity. Why not put all this energy spent pining for greener grass and just grow it yourself?

Smiling or making friendly eye contact while out on a walk or elsewhere is absolutely not unique to Oregon. Let's keep perspective, here. Lots of people the world over are that friendly.


I’m a Canadian who moved to the US several years ago to join my husband, and we still head north to visit family a couple times a year. I have family and friends in several places in Canada, including Vancouver, BC.

Pros: universal health care, 1-YEAR standard maternity leave (WHY oh WHY did I leave before my daughter was born?!), immense natural beauty, less congested and friendlier (in general), political climate and values much better (IMHO), overall society more down-to-earth/humble (again- IMHO – less consumerism and flag waving), overall sense that your country is liked and respected around the world

Cons: high taxes, deep cold (Vancouver is more temperate, similar to Seattle), feeling ignored/ridiculed by America, much smaller population meaning less consumer choice in general (choice of fewer stores/brands/products versus a bazillion here), long waiting time for health procedures (the often-overlooked downside to universal health care – we’re talking a 3 month wait to get an MRI), a significant part of the economy is still resource-based so some industries are not as well developed (e.g. high tech, which ultimately, is why my husband has a job here and not there)

Would I move back? Absolutely. I bug my husband about it sometimes, but he’s been living in America for 10+ years and is set on saying. Maybe sometime later… in the meantime, we’ve settled into careers here and we like Portland a lot. In fact, it’s probably one of the more “Canadian-like” cities in the U.S.

As a native Portlander, there is no other place we could call home. While it doesn't have to do with any Kool-Aid for us (because we sort of hate the politics-on-your-sleeve thing), our family roots are deep. We have no desire to raise our kids away from every grandparent and aunt they have. We also dig the child care for date nights. ;)

Would we live abroad for a while? Yeah, sure! Would it become "home"? Unlikely.

I've drank the KoolAid (only the organic, locally-made, agave-sweetened brand of course). Kidding aside, while I definitely miss Minneapolis-St. Paul where both my husband and I grew up, I love it here in Portland. Though some would characterize it as Portland smugness, I feel very fortunate to live in a place with a strong sense of community and the plentiful options for leading a life where the measure of my success isn't by the type of car I drive. Perhaps maybe by the bike I ride. I don't feel the same pressure to "keep up with the Joneses" which I imagine is prevalent elsewhere.

Is Portland perfect? Probably not, but it certainly is a city where one voice can make a difference. I don't think you can say that about many cities. Everyone should experience living in another city, it gives you needed perspective, and makes you realize how good you may or may not have it.

Remember when you would go to Powell's at 9 o'clock at night and pray to God you could find a close parking spot so you didn't have to run for your life? Remember when you could get to Gresham in 25min at 4:30pm? Remember when you could rent a super cool apartment in NW for $400 a month? Remember when Bend was quaint? I do. It was before all the Californians(and others) discovered how great it was here. I certainly don't blame them for wanting to move here but if they or you don't like it anymore...you can leave and we will pick up the pieces. We will make the best out of the mess you have left.
Maybe I should move to Canada and give that a shot? But I won't because I love it here.

I find this posting so interesting. I have lived in several cities across the country and abroad. We recently moved from PDX to MSP 2 years ago. My feelings is that home is where you make it. I can find the positive about most cities. I miss some things about PDX but I have grown to appriciate my new city and say, WOW I bet Portlanders would really like this. Is MSP perfect, no but what city is. But isn't fun to daydream about the perfect city. I am sure the perfect city would have some people that would find it awful.

we moved here 7 years ago from new york. i had to laugh about the posts mentioning the impatience some people had experienced. on the east coast. we experienced that at times...at the store, asking for something that the clerk wasn't sure of the whereabouts, and so being told after a long and uncertain pause "we're out". out of bandaids at the drugstore? i know, sometimes it's tough to get up from behind the counter :)

you gotta admit that portland in the summer is one of the best places on earth! that being said, we too dream of drier places despite having been very happy here. we dream of going to a nice family town up on the plateau maybe north of mexico city. we honeymooned through there. both of us are teachers and we have a 1.5 yr. old. anyone done it?

Our family loves it here! But...

I'm originally from NC and my ex-husband recently moved back. That brings an entirely new dimension to our family dynamic and general happiness. My oldest is still getting used to the whole arrangement and yet my youngest is already settled without her papa. They'll spend their summers in NC (at the beach!) so that means we'll eventually have the summer at the beach vs. winter in Portland dynamic to learn how to manage. But, so be it.

I wouldn't trade raising my daughters here for the world. They're exposed to all sorts of alternatives that are normal here, whereas back home they're still, well, alternative.

For anyone with the idea of moving to the rural South, I urge you to spend plenty of time researching. It's certainly romantic but if you're used to Portland ways, expecting to make your own choices without getting too much serious pushback, umm, that might take some getting used to when you move. Just a thought. I love the South, especially NC, but baby I can't go home again!

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