T Nation

Portland, OR--Any thoughts?

I’m toying with the idea of relocating to Portland (from SF), and am running a preliminary house search on realtor.com. What are some desirable areas of the city? I want something with an attractive commercial area (cafes, funky stores) nearby, big trees, and older, larger houses–no new construction or suburban-looking subdivisions. Any thoughts?


Thanks! Portland seems like a really nice city so far.

I vote for Northwest, or some areas of the pearl district. It is really picturesque and pretty, with lots of trendy shops, cafes, etc. I have also lived in the Park Blocks, which is nice but not as
neighborhood-y as Northwest. The park is nice in the summer and you are within walking distance of some great restaurants, the art museum, theaters, and downtown. It feels a more urban than Northwest though.

It all boils down to how much you’re willing to spend for a house. Now, the area where Ko and I live at is a highly desireable area. It has everything you listed - and is within walking distance to downtown (we’re right across the bridge in SE). However housing prices are up - they’re not as crazy as they were back in, oh around '97. But one of the condos in our courtyard that had only 969 sq. ft. went for $154,000. No yard, just a plot, but it has a small garage. Another one, a bit bigger at 1300 sq ft. went up for sale at $144,000 - no garage, just a basement.

Funky areas with "personality: Laurelhurst, Alameda (both expensive, although you can get lucky), Hawthorne (where we live), Brooklyn (up and coming!), Sellwood, Alberta (the new artsy fartsy area in the city). Around Multnomah village (in SW), might be another area to consider. Also in N. Portland: St. Johns and Piedmont. Both of these areas have really improved over the years!

I hope this helps. Good luck!

Thanks–that’s terrific input. I appreciate it! I’m looking forward to an exploratory trip. Someone sent me a link that said people in Portland spend 37% more on average on reading material. Got to love a literate city. And your controlled, well-thought-out growth–I’m practically swooning!

Price is not so much of an issue–after SF, most things seems cheap. And I’d be bringing my SF salary with me.


Speaking of–any resentment about waves of Californians descending upon your city?

I would just like to add that Portland, MAINE is also a very nice city:) Sure, the winters are harsh and the Thai population likes to put on cock fights in the alleys, but you’re comfortably removed from hick-country, where shotguns, snowmobiles, and incest reign supreme. And, just in case you are wondering, I’m from Maine and, yes, I’m joking:)

raising glass of wine to Eric C LOL.

Well, there is ALOT of Californians here now. So, it ain't that big of a deal anymore. As a matter of fact, I was born in SF and lived there for a wee bit before my parents move up to the NW.

If you're bringing your SF salary with you, than our area, SE Hawthorne could be the area you're looking for. Especially near the Ladds Addition neighborhood. And well, it's kinda hard to NOT be "well read" when you have Powells City of Books right in downtown - and it's four stories and takes up a whole city block! Plus a ton of other used/new book stores -many with a coffee bar/cafe inside.

When you're in Portland, you should have breakfast at The Heathman, downtown. That's where Ko works and he works from 5AM to 3PM (Thursday to Sunday) . Let him know you're there - maybe he'll send out a "treat" for you!

I am to also thinking of relocating back to Oregon. Kauai is to small and laid back for a single guy like me. I lived in Oregon for about six years before moving home, and liked most of it. I know that I would prefer to live in Portland than Oahu.

Linn (Lynn?) Haven. Just outside of Portland. Beautiful area. I have friends who live there. I visited them last year. I liked it. I just couldn’t live out on the west coast. Too much rain and too cold for too long. But it is damn beautiful!

Hawthorne/Belmont is where you want to look. Its artsy/funky, lots of old housesand big trees. Stay out of Northwest and the Pearl district, many people mistake trendy for funky. Those areas are way to expensive for what they are. Its noisy and there is way to much traffic. Parking is also a pain in the butt.

I actually have an excellent command of hte english language, among others, and am not at all “mistaken” as to the difference between trendy and funky. I personally prefer to enjoy my cafe time without gagging on the overwhelming stench of patchouli . My OPINION, as requested, is based on actually living and operating a business in Northwest Portland for a number of years. The parking situation is nothing compared to SF, the convenience of living within walking distance also mitigates numerous parking issues. Housing costs don’t begin to compare to SF, especially if you have an SF income. I do not recall noise being any more of an issue than anywhere else I have lived including San Fran.

I just recently moved out of northwest Portland because of traffic, noise and parking. If teenagers in modified cars and thumping stereos is your bag then Northwest is for you.

At least you’ll have far fewer homos than in SF!

I don’t think Ko was trying to question the command of the english language. He has lived in NW Portland pretty recently. And our gym is located in the Pearl District. Kelly stated she didn’t want “new construction” in the area. Well, right across from the gym is a host of “new construction” - all condos. You can get a 1100 sq ft condo for $500,000 if you’d like.

However, I've lived off of Hawthorne since 1993. And this neighborhood uses NW 23rd and NW 21st as a example of what "NOT" to do. And that nasty patchouli smell? Well, it's moved to SE Division and SE Powell. We're basing our opinions on our most recent experiences is all we're doing. Boils down to this: Portland overall, is a great town. Anywhere. So, it's a matter of what will fit the person's needs like anything else.

I’ll bet “Big Joe” is in a big closet. Come on out Big Joe! Make Freud proud!

Hey is that the 24 hour fitness in the pearl district??! I had my ISSA practical with Charles Staley in a 24 around that area. That gym was real nice too.

Yup. That be the one. It useto be a Golds Gym, which is why it’s equipped pretty good. A nice big, airy, former warehouse. You can usually find Ko and I waaaaay in the corner - at the lifting platform (when we’re not benching).