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Relocation Guide: Moving to Portland, Oregon

Over the past few years, the amount of people moving to Portland, Oregon has spiked, ranking it #1 for Top Inbound States in 2013 and 2014 as reported by United Van Lines, ending Washington DC's 10 year streak. We have previously talked about why you should move to the Washington DC area, but since Portland kicked them out of their spot, we thought it was time to share the reasons why Portland has become a top moving destination. And let me tell you, I like what I have found!

Let's take a look at why Portland has become such a popular destination to move to:

Portland, At A Glance

  • Great for outdoor activities and recreation
  • Cyclist and bike rider friendly
  • Eclectic neighborhoods with a lot of variation
  • Most affordable large city on the West Coast
  • Quick access to different types of scenery (beaches, mountains, forests)
  • No sales tax
  • A well-planned and walkable downtown

Portland is "Green"

Portland not only has lush greenery year-round, but it also attracts a very “green” oriented community. Portland is said to have set the national bar for bicycle commuting in lieu of cars, the residents are recognized as innovators of revolutionary recycling programs, and they demand sustainability as well as organic meats and produce. Also, the City of Portland has a program that promotes green building as a standard of development. I'm not saying that Portland is the cleanest and greenest city, but they sure try to be! In fact, Forbes ranked Portland #1 on their ”America's 50 Greenest Cities” list.

Foodie Haven

Portland was ranked #6 on Travel and Leisure's “America's Best Cities for Foodies”. Portland is well known for its farm-to-table dining, 400+ [odd] food trucks, coffee culture, and well-crafted microbreweries (which brings Portland it's “Beervana” nickname). While most of Portland is health-conscious, they definitely have their share of unhealthy delicacies. Foodies, like me, could never be bored in this city!

Healthy and Active Lifestyle

Portland was ranked 4th on Forbes “America's Top 20 Healthiest Cities" and 2nd on WalletHub's list of ”2014's Best and Worst Cities for an Active Lifestyle”.

Residents of the Portland area love the close proximity to the Oregon Coast, Mount Hood, and Mount St. Helens, for the seemingly endless acres of forests for hiking and mountains for skiing and biking. Having such a big playground as your backyard goes a long way in making exercise more enjoyable. Also, with Nike headquarters nearby, and bike paths all over the city, Portland is a very appealing environment for physical activity. It is common for residents to ride their bikes instead of drive. Could this mean a city with less street traffic?!

Living in Portland

Portland is divided into 5 sections: Southwest, Northwest, North, Northeast, and Southeast. Each neighborhood offers a little something different, which in turn accommodates almost everyone's individual needs and preferences.

Southwest Section

The Downtown/Pearl District is where a lot of the recreational, cultural, educational, business, and retail resources are located. There are many high-rises and loft-style apartment complexes as you might expect in a downtown area. The downtown Portland area was noted as one of ”America's Best Downtown's” by Forbes. Although Portland is well known as a city that is friendly to bicyclists, it also has a walk-able and attractive downtown that offers a wide variety of cultural and commercial options. There’s a vibrant and active arts scene, great food on both the high and low ends (of price), and an attractive and popular riverside park.

Northwest Section

Arlington Heights and Nob Hill make up the NW section, which is full of Victorian houses, boutiques, and restaurants. This neighborhood is ideal for leisurely strolls, while the adjoining Forest Park is great for hiking. NW 23rd ave was dubbed “Trendy Third” because this major shopping street is lined with swanky clothing boutiques and other upscale retail, along with cafes and restaurants.

Northeast Section

Known for its hippie/radical crowd and small sub-culturally oriented shops, the Hawthorne District is the main destination in the NE section. This area attracts a younger crowd, mostly in the 20-40 year old age group, as there is plenty of nightlife, shops, parks, and restaurants. It also features Mt. Tabor, an inactive volcano that has become one of Portland's more scenic and popular parks. Eclectic is the norm on SE Hawthorne Blvd, a walkable street with block after block of vintage shops, boutiques and cafes. Sign me up!


Portland was ranked 21st out of 200 for “Best Places for Business and Careers” and 10th on “America's Fastest Growing Cities”, both published by by Forbes. The unemployment rate in Portland is only 6.2% as of November 2014, and it seems to be dropping. High career attraction for Techies & Real Estate agents here. Although there are many large corporations, it is said that small businesses also thrive here, especially coffee shops and food trucks. Portland just has endless amounts of possibilities! Like the locals say, “Keep Portland Weird”.

How Affordable is Portland?

Portland is not the most affordable state in the country, but it is considerably more affordable than other West Coast cities, like Seattle, San Francisco, and San Diego. According to Forbes, Portland's cost of living is 6.8% above the national average.

It's important to be aware that Oregon has a high income tax rate of 9%, however, the state does not have sales tax. Because Oregon does not have sales tax it greatly offsets the high income tax rate, making Portland, and Oregon as a whole, far more affordable than it appears.

What About the Rainy Weather?

I don't know about you, but when I think of Portland, I think of rain. But after reading a lot of input from locals on the matter, I wouldn't let that stop you from considering to move here! Locals say that, although it may rain most of the time from November to April, it's not nearly as bad as it sounds. The air is consistently damp with rain droplets, not torrential downpours, so it's still possible to enjoy the days. It's the consistent damp air that contributes to the beautiful lush greenery all year round. Portland has warm, dry summers, and mild, damp winters. Summers are usually sunny, averaging 70-80 degree weather while the winters are usually damp, averaging 40-50 degree weather, but very minimal snow.

Moving to Portland?

If this moving guide has you ready for a change of scenery, we don't blame you! It's got me considering to relocate there myself! Rest assured that, if you decide to make the move, Elite Moving Labor is here to help, by providing you with professional moving help for your move. Already live in the Portland area? We can help with that too, whether you're moving furniture within your existing home or need movers to load and unload locally. Give us a call at (888) 354-8303 or request a quote online.

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