Moving to Portland? A Complete List of What to Expect

If we asked you to guess the largest cities in the country, you would probably guess quite a few of them before mentioning Portland. But Portland is actually the 27th largest city in the U.S. with more than 650,000 residents—and the largest city in Oregon by far.

With this in mind, you might want to consider moving to Portland if you’re interested in relocating to a new city. Moving to Portland, Oregon might go down as one of the best decisions that you ever make since it’s clearly a city that’s on the rise.

There are, however, some things to know before moving to Portland. You should find out about them prior to picking up and moving to Portland.

We’ve put together a guide to moving to Portland that should help to make your move a massive success. Find out what you can expect when you move to Portland and get some great tips for moving to Portland, Oregon below.

It Rains a Lot in Portland

OK, so let’s get this one out of the way immediately. If you’re not a big fan of rainy days, Portland is probably not for you.

Seattle has earned a reputation for being the rainiest city in the Northwest. But in reality, it’s actually Portland that is holding the crown in this part of the country.

It rains about 163 days out of the year on average in Portland. This put it behind only Rochester, New York, and Buffalo, New York in terms of how much precipitation it gets each year. And those cities tend to get more snow than rain, which makes Portland the rainiest city in all the land.

So if you’re going to be moving to Portland, make sure your moving company brings the boxes with all your umbrellas and rain gear in them.

It’s Hard to Buy a House in Portland Right Now

To be fair, it’s hard to buy a house just about everywhere right now, not just in Portland. The real estate market is red-hot on a national level, and it’s making it increasingly difficult for people to find and purchase homes throughout the U.S.

But it’s been especially hard for people to buy homes in Portland over the last few years. The population in the city has surged, and it has left a lot of people out in the cold when it comes to finding houses that they like.

As a result, you might have to consider renting an apartment, condo, or house before buying one. That might be your only option at this point depending on which type of house you would like to eventually buy.

The Job Market in Portland Is Competitive

There are a few key industries that are really thriving in Portland at the moment. You’ll love what the Portland job market has to offer if you work in one of these industries:

  • Technology
  • Health
  • Sports

But—and this is a big but—the job market in Portland is extremely competitive. Although the unemployment rate is low compared to some other big cities, there are tons of people moving to Portland for work all the time. It has made it challenging for some people to find jobs.

You may want to think about applying for jobs prior to your arrival in Portland so that you can get a head start. With a little luck, you might be able to land a job before you begin moving to Portland for good.

The Salaries in Portland Aren’t as High as You Might Expect

The cost of living in Portland has risen more than 20% over the course of the last decade. This is due in large part to the big spike in the city’s population.

This might lead you to believe that the salaries in Portland have also gone up, especially when you consider how competitive the job market in the city is. But unfortunately, the salaries in Portland haven’t risen as much as the cost of living has. It has made it a challenge for some people to thrive—and sometimes even just survive—after moving to Portland.

This is yet another reason why you might want to try to land a job prior to moving to Portland. It’ll give you a better sense as to what type of housing you’ll be able to afford from the start.

Traffic Can Be a Nightmare in Portland

Thankfully, the traffic in Portland isn’t as bad as it used to be. But it’s still a lot worse than it is in most other cities!

On average, those who live in Portland spend about 27 hours sitting in traffic each year. There is tons of traffic congestion in certain parts of the city that really slows people down.

But the good news is that Portland does have a very reliable public transportation system that people can use. It also has a flourishing cycling scene, so you won’t have to be shy about breaking out your bike on the nicer days in Portland.

Even still, you are going to have to live with at least some traffic if you own a car in Portland. Portland has also become a tough place to find a parking spot. But the hope is that the traffic situation in the city will continue to get better over time.

Shopping Local Is a Way of Life in Portland

If you walk around in almost any major city in the country, you’re going to come across your fair share of chain stores and restaurants. These chains have popped up all over the place in almost all major metropolitan areas.

But you aren’t going to find very many of them in Portland! Portland is still one of the few places that has embraced shopping local versus supporting the large corporations that swoop in and set up shop in most cities.

You’re going to have to get used to shopping local when you go to:

  • Grocery stores
  • Coffee shops
  • Clothing boutiques
  • Breweries
  • And more!

But you won’t mind one bit once you get the hang of it. It’s one of the biggest perks of living in a place like Portland.

Portland Is a City That’s Evolving Quite a Bit

A lot of people have credited the so-called “Portlandia Effect” with Portland’s rising population over the last decade or so. Ever since the hit TV show started airing back in 2011, Portland’s population has been growing by leaps and bounds.

At first, this didn’t change the city all that much. Those who arrived in Portland in the early 2010s got to soak up everything Portland had to offer in its truest form.

But gradually, the city has evolved, and while the evolution of Portland has slowed down a bit during the COVID-19 pandemic, it appears as though it will continue to evolve in the coming years. There is a lot of gentrification going on around town, and some people have complained about it destroying the quirky vibe that Portland once had.

You could make the argument that Portland hasn’t really changed that much. But it’s clear that it has changed at least a little. It’s something that you’ll want to consider prior to moving to Portland and being surprised by what it has become.

The Culture in Portland Is Always Fantastic

Say what you want to say about Portland, but there is no denying that the culture in the city is a big part of what makes it so great. If you’re thinking about moving to Portland, it’s likely that the culture has helped to persuade you to consider it.

Portland has a great arts community that is always creating cool things within the city limits. It’s also filled with “makers” who make the city what it is and keep on pushing it forward.

Maybe our best moving to Portland advice is that you should give thought to what you’re going to bring to the table to add to the local culture. You should strive to help make Portland an even better place than it already is by using your talents to do it. It’ll make you feel right at home from the second that you first move to Portland.

Moving to Portland? Make Sure You Keep All These Things in Mind

Moving to Portland is going to prove to be an excellent idea for a whole lot of people. Portland’s population has risen dramatically over time because of how awesome the city is.

But before you take a leap of faith and add moving to Portland to your to-do list, you should commit all of the things that we just touched on to memory. It’ll ensure that you don’t encounter any unexpected surprises while you’re moving to Portland.

Get your hands on more practical moving tips and tricks by reading through the rest of the articles on our blog.