Moving to Portland Oregon in a Nutshell

Moving to a new city always seems like a good idea when you’re on the run, freshly divorced, or have pissed off every last Starbucks barista in your local city with your ridiculously elaborate drink order. The idea is that in this new paradise, no one will know you so you can start over with a new job, new hobbies—hell, a new accent if you want.

If your destination of choice happens to be the west coast’s City of Roses, you’d best familiarize yourself with these essential tidbits. Here is moving to Portland Oregon in a nutshell (not, like, in a peanut, just in summary):

It’s illegal to pump your own gas.

For most of you, this fact will be categorized in the “who the hell cares?” column, but for a small portion of the population this may be a pivotal point. If pumping your own gas is important for you, say to give the appearance to your date, father, or random stranger on the other side of the pump that you’re a real man or a competent woman, I recommend choosing one of the other 49 states to move to.

It ain’t cheap to live there.

Oregon’s cost of living is 30 percent higher than the national average. Put another way, it’s the second worst state in which to earn a living. Framed in a different perspective, it has an unemployment rate of 6.3 percent (the national average is 5.8 percent). Viewed from another angle, the entire state has a mere two Fortune 500 companies (Nike and Lithia Motors), which means that most of Portland’s businesses are small- or medium-sized with few employees. You do the math.

But there’s no sales tax!

While you’re trying to find a job and get accustomed to the city, you can numb your pain and loneliness with a shopping spree because there is no sales tax in Oregon. Come to think of it, not having a job is probably a good thing because Oregon is in the top five states with the highest income tax. But without that income-tax-stealing job, you’ll have to be okay with being homeless, marrying rich, or robbing banks.

It’s got Portlandia and hipsters and festivals, oh my!

If this sounds like your cup o’ tea, then start packing your vintage embroidered Indian boho bags. Portlandia is a “satirical sketch comedy television series, set and filmed in and around Portland Oregon”—for those of you interested in doing some extra work on a show about the hipster culture. Or you can actually be part of the hipster culture, which is a widespread epidemic here, due to the fact that “Portland tolerates lower standards of fashion and personal hygiene more than comparable urban areas.” And finally, four words: Alberta Arts District Festival. Free, monthly, and very hipsterish.

Bikes are the new cars.

Okay, that’s pushing it a little, but this city is bike-friendly. In fact, for this very reason Bicycling Magazine voted it #4 in the country. It used to be #1, but apparently Minneapolis edged Portland out because they have more protected bike lanes. As does Chicago. And New York. You know what? Just drive your damn car.

Powell’s Books.

According to themselves, they are the world’s largest new and used bookstore, as they take up an entire city block and have over one million books. This may be an unsupported claim, but since no one has actually disputed it, what the hell. If you love books and you love brick-and-mortar stores, this may very well be heaven.

Selena Templeton

Selena Templeton is a writer and editor who sees the world through Giggle Glass, a type of wearable technology with an optical head-mounted display plus false nose and mustache. It reveals the absurd, amusing, and inappropriate goings on of daily life and displays it in a lap top-like hands-on format, from which she posts to various blogs such as Self Storage Finders, Romantically Challenged, and As a former professional organizer and a current Virgo, she is a self-diagnosed authority on storage, packing, organizing, and general neat freakishness.

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