Friday, February 3, 2012

For the Love of Portland

We arrived in Portland on the evening of January 25th, just over one week ago. We cashed in some frequent flier miles to fly first class on American Airlines, which allowed us to each check three pieces of luggage for free. We took the opportunity to transport as much clothing, shoes, toiletries, etc. as humanly possible so we only had to ship three large moving boxes via USPS (at a total cost of $150) for now. That was the extent of our move!
arriving at PDX with all of our checked luggage
We've had an amazing run of good weather since our arrival; it has only really rained once for the better part of one day. Thus we've spent a lot of time outdoors, exploring the stretch of Hawthorne where we live as well as the surrounding neighborhood of Sunnyside. We have also made one trip downtown and to another favorite neighborhood, Northwest Portland (aka Nob Hill), and a few trips farther east to a strip mall with a Target and Bed Bath & Beyond.
history of Sunnyside
We are living in a converted 1908 bungalow which we have rented while the owners are working in New York for the next few months. Our fully furnished first floor apartment measures over 800 square feet and gets lots of natural light due to its southern exposure. We are walking distance to several great grocery stores, tons of restaurants & bars, and lots of locally owned businesses as well as a library, movie theater, health care facilities & more. Of course, if we need to venture any farther, the #14 bus line which goes to the heart downtown (3 miles to the west) is only one block away.
entrance to our apartment - the three windows on the left, first floor, are our living & dining rooms
Which brings me to one of the questions we get asked most frequently: "Why Portland?" There are many reasons we love our new hometown. Below, I've listed some of the most compelling that played the biggest role in us deciding to move here:

No need to own a car. Portland is made for walking with sidewalks everywhere plus ample bike lanes and extensive public transportation options. If you need your own wheels, there are car-sharing programs like Zipcar with more than 20 vehicles within a one-mile radius of our apartment. Also, there is a high percentage of Toyota Prius owners here; when we go for a walk I always see at least one Prius or other hybrid on every block!
Trimet public transportation map
Emphasis on green living. The entire city has a recycling & composting program, many newer buildings are LEED-certified and use alternative energy, and many businesses offer locally-sourced products.

We just joined the Green Microgym, one of the world's first electricity generating gyms!
Great beer. There are 43 breweries operating in Portland, more than any other city in the world!

wall of beer at the Hawthorne Fred Meyer
Diverse, delicious food. In addition to buying your groceries at locally owned stores like Zupan's & New Seasons, you can dine your way around the world at over 200 food carts. Portland also has the highest number of restaurants per capita of any city in the U.S.

food porn: "The Reggie" at Pine State Biscuits
Casual, artsy vibe. With a few exceptions downtown, the staff at the most expensive restaurants & hotels won't blink if you come in covered in tattoos, with a blatantly unnatural hair color, wearing your own version of world traveler, hippy, vintage, boho chic attire. Just skip the sweat pants please!
Greg would fit right in wearing this cap
Geography. Parks, rivers, mountains and the Pacific coast, all practically on your doorstep. If you love the outdoors, this is a great place to be!
this picture was taken when we were here in 2010, but we got a glimpse of Mt Hood yesterday while walking in our neighborhood
Of course, there are many other reasons to love Portland, and I am not the first to write about this topic. Obviously there are also reasons why plenty of people would not choose to live here. One, high unemployment, could certainly change our rosy outlook if we have trouble finding jobs. But I am the eternal optimist, confident that where there's a will, there's a way!
    thumbs up for Portland (and UT orange houses)
    While you wait with bated breath for my next post, I suggest you watch a few episodes of Portlandia. A bit of an extreme take on real life here, but not totally off the mark in many respects. Good for some laughs, for sure, and probably a few WTF's?!?!

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