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  1. #1
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    A job opportunity may take me to Portland...

    Hey everyone, as the title says I may have an opportunity in the Portland area. I was wondering if someone could shed some light on the area; weather, riding season, climbing gyms and outdoor opportunities, food, people, etc... I appreciate the help and I am wry aware of the epic riding.
    Last edited by cycletard; 02-07-2012 at 03:30 AM.

  2. #2
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    If you are a road rider there tons of places to ride. But, try to not hinder traffic like a lot seem to do. If you are into XC type riding there are some fire roads and small sections of easy single track that are close to or in town. If you are into FR/DH then you are looking at a 1hr+ drive to get to trails.

    Weather = 3-4 months of sun/light rain and 9 months of cold/gray/heavy rain.
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  3. #3
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    Great bike commuting opportunities (and getting better), great CX scene, not very much "legal" singletrack in the city. Forest Park has fire road (some fire lanes are overgrown and are slowly starting to resemble singletrack). Powell Butte has singletrack on the east side with the Springwater Corridor running past it so you might be able to ride to there depending on where you live. You will need to accept/enjoy riding in the rain but that's the worst of it, maybe a day or two of snow most years. Really good singletrack 1-2 hour drives in pretty much any direction.

    Not sure on climbing gyms, winter recreation just over an hour away east on Mt Hood plus the coast is about the same distance west. Good food, lots of coffee, good open minded people, GREAT beer.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by cycletard View Post
    Hey everyone, as the title says I may have an opportunity in the Portland area. I was wondering if someone could shed some light on the area; weather, riding season, climbing gyms and outdoor opportunities, food, people, etc... I appreciate the help and I am wry aware of the epic riding.
    Weather - It doesn't get much better than the Spring, Summer and Fall months in the PNW. Winter can be wet, dark and cold but we do get some nice days, and they are nice.

    Riding Season - You can ride all year round, but you'll be much happier if you have other hobbies in the wetter months.

    Climbing Gyms - Portland Rock Gym and The Circuit. PRG is a full blown climbing gym and The Circuit is a bouldering gym.

    Outdoor opportunities - I'll assume that you are referring to climbing? There are some good local in town places to climb. Rocky Butte, Carver, and Broughton Bluff.

    Food - The food in Portland rivals the quality of beer. If you like to eat out, you'll be very happy.

    People- For the most part the people are nice and the "Keep Portland Weird" crowd is actually a small minority, but they are loud.

    If you come to terms with the fact that Portland is not a ski/climbing/mtb town, you'll be happy here. The living standard in Portland is very nice.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  5. #5
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    LOL at the "Keep Portland Weird" crowd. That crowd disappears pretty quickly the further you get away from the river and into the areas around Portland proper.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the great advice. Where would be a decent place to live if the office is in southern Portland. Btw I am an a avid mtn. Bike rider and I have recently been getting into rock climbing (learning indoors). I also snowboard etc etc. I just enjoy doing fun things. The weather has me wondering though. Is the weather manageable?

  7. #7
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    southern Portland is kind of a random assessment......
    do you know what zip the job is in?

    There are plenty of outdoor sports to keep you occupied all year.
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  8. #8
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    ever seen the show Portlandia? It pretty much sums up that town

    27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,47,0">

  9. #9
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    You won't confuse PacNW weather with Tampa, but it's easily manageable. You'll invest in a couple GoreTex items & have to get used to shorter days in the winter but in the summer you can ride until 9pm so it more than makes up for it.

    Unless you have a job with lots of flex time or work from home days you should try to live close to work & drive to play, at least that's my take.

    There's great mtn biking in all directions, although I'm heavily biased towards the Columbia River Gorge areas. Mt Hood offers plenty of snowboarding options, lifts & back country & when you're ready to take the climbing outside it's about 3 hours to Smith Rock, so you've got that going for you too.

    Let us know if you take the job, there are a lot of friendly riders on this board who will be happy to introduce you to the trails.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cycletard View Post
    Thanks for the great advice. Where would be a decent place to live if the office is in southern Portland. Btw I am an a avid mtn. Bike rider and I have recently been getting into rock climbing (learning indoors). I also snowboard etc etc. I just enjoy doing fun things. The weather has me wondering though. Is the weather manageable?
    Weather? Depends on what you like. I will take western Oregon weather over Florida over a full year. If you have only lived in Florida, Portland will be a shock. Not just the cold/rain but the change in the length of the daylight.
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  11. #11
    Daniel the Dog
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    Dddddd

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  12. #12
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    Tough call

    It is a very clean city compared to almost any city you will ever visit. The green thing is a religion here.
    The riding is good but it is at least a 45 minute drive. After work is tough unless you do some night riding.
    The wet season weather is very soggy but not typically overly downpour wet. You get a lot of showers with light rain. The wet season starts in late October and last at least through the end of May. The middle winter months are the wettest. Long story short, you had better be prepared to gear up in rain gear and get out or you will get some cabin fever. Very few wall to wall sunny days.
    It is to bad you didn't get offered a job in Hood River, Ashland, Bend, or other NW areas closer to good riding. You get a more laid back environment, better climate and easier access to riding.
    I would definitely visit the area before moving here. I know people that LOVE Portland and people who have move away to escape the area.
    The people here are super nice for city folks.
    Food is excellent.

  13. #13
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    ^ I would agree with most of what Jaybo said above. That doesn't happen often, but there it is.

    Not sure what you mean by "southern Portland". We don't really have a quadrant of the city we refer to as "South Portland" (you're either in SW or SE), but there aren't many jobs in the "southern" part of the city on anyway. Do you mean southern metro area? Something like Lake Oswego? Sherwood? Wilsonville? Be happy to help with suggestions if we knew the general area where the job is.

    And as has been said above, if you're seriously interested get on a plane and VISIT so you know what you're getting into. NW culture is very different from much of the rest of the country (sometimes defiantly so), so you'd better a feel for what it's like to be here and make sure it works for you. Portlandia might be an exaggerated caricature for humor's sake, but the exaggeration is that not EVERYONE is like that -- part of what makes it funny is that we do all know people for whom the caricatures ring true.

    One very good cultural thing for you is that since this is a growing region that lots of people have moved to (less than half the people here were born here) it's not hostile to newcomers. It's pretty easy to fall in with a group of people from the same place or with shared interests.

    Food really is great here. Thanks to our climate and soil there's an enormous range of wonderful stuff grown nearby, and the restaurants reflect it.

    You say you are very aware of the epic riding around here, but are you aware it's aroundere (i.e. 1-2 hours' drive away) and not right here? Unlike many places, we have almost zero mountain biking within the metro area. Just search this forum for "Portland" and you'll get plenty of info on the (mostly losing) battles we regularly fight for local trail access. There is indeed an immense amount of wonderful riding in the region, but be prepared to rack up some miles on your car getting out to experience it.

    Riding season? Depends on whether you like getting wet and muddy. Prime time, when the weather is nice and best trails up in the mountains are snow-free, is more or less May-June to October, but there are plenty of lower elevation trails you can ride year round, even when wet. Riding in 40 degree drizzle isn't for everyone, but if you can handle it and have decent rain gear there's tons of fun to be had. Of course many people prefer to keep going to the mountains in the winter and play in the snow. Just remember that you're driving to some of the same places you'd bike in the summer, generally an hour or two from home.

    I think the weather's already been summed up pretty well, but I'll put it in my own words to help put together the picture. Winters are cool, wet and gray, mostly above freezing but not by much. Some winters we'll hardly get any snow at all, some (increasingly rare) years we'll get a few decent dumps that take a day or two to melt. Be aware that at the end of December it's dark by 4:30, so combined with the lack of sunshine you should NOT move here if you are prone to SAD.

    Our wet reputation isn't so much because the amount of rain we get (under 40" a year) but it's wet so much of the time from late October until ... well, that varies. Sometimes the wet season breaks up by April, sometimes (like the last couple of unusually cool+wet years) not until early July.

    But when the dry season finally does arrive ... well, NW summers are the best on the planet. Our summer-ish season might start later than most of country, but they often last through September and sometimes into early October. During that time it will hardly rain at all, so opposite much of the country our lawns turn green in the winter and brown in the summer. Most summer days are in the 70s or low 80s, with a scattering of 90s and sometimes a couple of 100-ish days. Summers aren't very humid, we have practically zero mosquitoes most years, and the sun doesn't go down until 9pm. The only place with nicer summers than us is Seattle.
    Last edited by GlowBoy; 02-10-2012 at 02:01 PM.
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  14. #14
    Daniel the Dog
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    Hood River has better summers with very few morning clouds and wall to wall sunshine. Also, a nice breeze that cools the area like an air conditioner. HR may be the prettiest place in the NW. Perfection! At the top of Hospital Hill is a bench with a view west up the Gorge that is breathtaking! Some photo's of the area:

    The Gorge is my Gym

  15. #15
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    OP, where are you coming from? I think that question can drastically change someone's perception and happiness in Portland. Yet the mtn biking can be good, but if you're coming from a rocky mountain area, where you had great singletrack you could ride to from your house (like me), then you will surely be disappointed.

    I'd also like to make a plug for a new climbing gym (top rope and bouldering) up in Vancouver, The Source. Climbing is a pretty big scene here. It kind of has to be as it's so wet and dark here most of the winter.

    So where are you coming from?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by trimess View Post
    OP, where are you coming from? I think that question can drastically change someone's perception and happiness in Portland. Yet the mtn biking can be good, but if you're coming from a rocky mountain area, where you had great singletrack you could ride to from your house (like me), then you will surely be disappointed.

    I'd also like to make a plug for a new climbing gym (top rope and bouldering) up in Vancouver, The Source. Climbing is a pretty big scene here. It kind of has to be as it's so wet and dark here most of the winter.

    So where are you coming from?
    By looking at his user profile you can see he is (was) in Tampa Bay.

    If his job is on the south side of PDX, Vancouver is a long way to go for a gym, especially when there are many in Portland.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    If his job is on the south side of PDX, Vancouver is a long way to go for a gym, especially when there are many in Portland.
    Yes and No, I live in Outer SE and it's actually faster (or about equal) for me to zip up 205 and into Vancouver (20 mins) than to get to PRG or the Circuit.
    SW would be a different story.
    And just because the job is in "south Portland", where ever that is, doesn't mean he might not live in N or NE.


    I was being lazy and not checking profiles. Probably due to the drugs I'm on from breaking my collarbone.

  18. #18
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    I would like to thank everyone for their input I very much appreciate it. I would also like to appologize for not responding sooner but as most of you know during a time like this one is juggline a lot of things. The area that the job is located is the 97224.

    The weather is definetly something that concerns me but I feel as if I have enough hobbies to keep me busy through the winter... plus who really gets out when its light out anyway .

    Where would you guys recommend looking for a place to live? Where are the good areas and where are the areas to stay away from?

  19. #19
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    So that area code is down south of Tigard (pronounced Tigerd, like the animal). It's in the suburbs. There is affordable housing around there, both to buy and rent. It all depends on whether you want to live in the burbs or not (many people move to Pdx specifically because of it's lack of burbs). If you wanted to stay in Pdx your best bets are the lower SW (Multnomah village or Hillsdale) or the lower SE (Sellwood, or maybe Milwaukie, which isn't technically Portland). To get to work from the SE though, you have to cross the river, which can be congested during rush hour.

    As for riding. The SW has awesome hills and road riding routes. Very little for mountain biking. SE is much flatter, and easier walking/biking access to neighborhood shops/restaurants. There is some single track in Powell Butte park, which is an easy ride down one of the main bike paths in town (the Springwater corridor), but it's pretty small. I have fun there riding at night for an hour or two on the rigid SS, but it's definitely not a huge destination for most cyclists in the city.
    Best close riding would Brown's camp from the SW (45m-1h), or up on Mt Hood (45-1hr) for the SE.

    Personally, we did not like the SW, as it is a little isolated and can be harder to get around on bikes. We bought a house in outer SE, and are much happier. That said we don't work in Tigard.

    I post a good bit at a relocation website you could check out. Stats about all US cities - real estate, relocation info, crime, house prices, cost of living, races, home value estimator, recent sales, income, photos, schools, maps, weather, neighborhoods, and more Check out the forums section, specifically the Portland one.

  20. #20
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    Agreeing with trimess here ... the SW suburbs can be pretty tough for biking, especially starting at 97224 and going south or west. Starting with the northern and eastern portions of zip code 97224 and going either north or east, it gets much better really fast. Depending on your exact location it could be pretty easy to bike to work or pretty tricky. As far as food goes, the SW suburbs don't have a whole lot going on in terms of dining except for the overpriced national chain outfits, but still seem to work for a lot of people. For natural groceries there are a Whole Paycheck and a Trader Joe's near the far east end of 97224, and a New Seasons Market (better and less expensive than Whole Foods) in south Beaverton near Murray and Barrows. There's also a New Seasons in the Mountain Park neighborhood of Lake Oswego, another area you could end up.

    Multnomah Village or Hillsdale are indeed good choices for places to live if you want to be in the city limits but not too far from work. They're more suburban than SE Portland (and have the very distinct disadvantage of being crappy for pedestrians because the vast majority of streets lack sidewalks) but they're still very good areas and aren't too expensive as in-city living goes. Eating out is not great / not bad, and there are a number of good choices for groceries. We have occasionally considered moving to Multnomah/Hillsdale so I could be closer to my work in Beaverton, but ultimately the rest of our lives are mostly in SE Portland so we stay put.

    Ultimately, if I worked in 97224 I'd probably look at south Beaverton or north Tigard (depending on the location) if it was more important to be close to work than be in the city proper, or Multnomah/Hillsdale if my priorities were the other way around.

    Browns/Rogers Camp in Tillamook State Forest is going to be the closest "real" singletrack riding. If we ever do get a real singletrack network in the metro area it would probably be in one of Metro's newer land acquisitions south/west of town, so you'd be fairly close to the revolution if it ever happens.
    Last edited by GlowBoy; 02-15-2012 at 01:58 PM.
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  21. #21
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    Portlandia is pretty much spot on!

    The suburbs have a very different feel than the close-in neighborhoods. Commuting in traffic during busy times is not fun, granted it's not as bad as a lot of places, but it still sucks. I would still rather deal with a commute than live in an area that was closer to work but not where I wanted to call home.

    Light rail can be quite efficient. I am a believer in it for the long term. I am glad to live somewhere that has forward thinking planning with regard to transportation.

    If mountain biking is the central focus of your life then Portland is far from ideal.

    The short winter days, I notice it nov, dec, jan. Feb usually feels like spring to me. Sometimes it does rain a lot. Not going to sugar coat that one although there are colder and wetter places in the NW.

    Renting from what I have read there is very low vacancy, so prices going up plus it is even more of a pain in the ass than usual. That said, it is still the least expensive "big" city on the west coast.
     
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