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10 Reasons You Want to Work and Live in Portland, Oregon

Posted on by Jessica Williams

Work and Live in Portland, Oregon

Portland, for all its job search hassle, is worth the extra work. From the coast to the mountains, the opportunities for fun before, during, and after work are endless.

I want you to stay motivated in your job search, so here are 10 reasons I believe you want to work and live in Portland (in case you need convincing).


Let’s get down to it. At the end of the day, it’s all about connecting with others and building relationships that make you feel alive. I’ve found that Portland has a generous community built on the hearts of kind people who want to help you. Consider The Oregon Public House, the world’s first nonprofit pub that donates 100% of all profits to local nonprofits.


Thanks in part to the Bicycle Transportation Alliance; Portland is one of America’s most bikeable cities. Bike to work, to happy hour, or heck, bike the whole city in an afternoon! Join the bike commuters on Hawthorne between 8am – 9am and you’ll feel a part of something special.

Happy Hours

Traditional and late night happy hours make Portland an ideal place for cheap beer and grub. It’s delicious, too! Downtown, you must go to Bailey’s Taproom and order Mexican food from Santeria across the street. On the eastside, hit up  The Gold Dust Meridian or the Captured by Porches beer cart on SE 28th Avenue (be sure to get a falafel at Wolf & Bears too!).


From Portland Story Theater to Soul Night at The Good Foot, whatever your interest, Portland has an outlet. Geek out to trivia at the WayPost or join in the Naked Bike Ride. Just get out there and participate! It’s so much fun.

Creative Minds

Portland attracts innovative thinkers like Julie Keefe, Portland’s creative laureate who was recently selected by Fast Company for its 100 Most Creative People in Business List.

Dog Friendly

Your pup is sure to be content in this town! In Portland, employers like Wieden+Kennedy, allow you to bring your dog to work. Bars and restaurants like the Lucky Lab Brewery encourage dining with your dog on the patio.

Casual Dress 

Forget the suit and tie, Portlanders prefer to dress casual, but with style. Vintage is encouraged, second-hand is cool, hats are appropriate, and tattoos in the workplace are common.

Food Carts

The Whole Bowl, Spoons, Just Thai, Sonny Bowl, Honkin’ Huge Burritos, and Scoop are just a few of my favorites. With so many food cart pods, you may never have to visit the same food cart twice.

Coffee Breaks

Portlanders like their coffee and are loyal to our coffee shops. Downtown, I’m a Spella loyalist and Courier Coffee is where to go in the Pearl District. It’s a great excuse to stretch your legs and laugh a little with good people.

People Know Your Name

Portland is the only metropolitan city I know, where people truly know your name. After four years here, I rarely walk down the street without seeing a familiar face.

I know the job search in Portland can be tough, but hang in there because it’s worth it! What do you love about living and working in Portland, Oregon?

Video entitled Finding Portland from Uncage the Soul Productions on Vimeo.

Cover image modified on a Creative Commons license from Flickr user Stuart Seeger

Jessica Williams
Jessica is a former account director for Mac's List and Prichard. In her spare time, Jessica can be caught hiking with her dog Zoey, traveling to foreign lands or practicing yoga.
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  • jaybloom

    I would add it is a great for many generations working and living together. Truly a community for all ages!!

    • Jay~ I agree and thanks for saying that! Many folks often argue a different opinion and so I appreciate your thoughts. Best ~ Jessica

    • Dom

      That’s not true pussy

  • Taylor Long

    Great post, and thanks for the plug about Portland Story Theater!

    • Thanks Taylor!:)

      • tekina

        planning to move to Portland Oregon living now in CA could someone share with us honestly whether Portland Oregon is a good place to move my husband is about to get his MBA this year around October or November still decided need help please… plus CA u can get job easily, rent is very high but seems to me so many things happened here in Ca.. appreciate your help.. forgetting I have 4 boys ..maybe good to raise kids over there just a thought…

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  • Elizabeth Aspen

    I left Portland at the height of the recession (seriously regretting it ever since, considering where I ended up). I want to move back, but I’m sad to hear that things don’t seem to have improved much, job wise.

    • Elizabeth,

      From what I understand, Portland has always had a tough job market. It’s just not a very big city but attracts many many talented, educated people so competition can be fierce. It’s not hopeless though! I know many people including myself who have moved here and found work overtime. You just have to be prepared to spend some time and work hard. If you decide to take the leap, I wish you best of luck!

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  • Luke Backus

    I’m from the East coast, my wife and I are pumped up about moving to Portland Oregon next Fall. Well I’m excited about it, my wife is still wavering on the idea. I will definitely share this with her. Thanks!

    • Luke,

      That’s great! I love it here:) Best of luck in your move.


  • Georgia B. Rodriguez

    I spent a weekend in Portland back in 2009, and that short amount of time convinced me that I want to live there one day! I’m from Los Angeles and am ALWAYS cold, so people tell me I would’t be able to handle the weather up there, but I’d be willing to try it out for myself. I truly love being a California girl, and I love being near Disneyland, but Portland feels slower and more cozy than LA. Like I said, a weekend is all it took to convince me I’d love to live there; hopefully one day I’ll be able to do it!

    • Georgia,

      I lived in LA and southern California for a long time and I have to say that Portland’s weather isn’t so bad and the city more than makes up for the rain. You’ll hardly even notice it because you’ll be so busy living it up;)

      Best of luck in moving here!


      • Georgia B. Rodriguez

        Thank you, Jessica! That makes me feel less apprehensive about it, should it work out! 🙂

  • Lorna

    My husband is from portland Oregon
    I had been thinking since I am from Britain to move there for a job in video games.

  • curious reader

    Why is finding work in Portland tough? I don’t see any explanation of this in your article.

  • Star Robertson

    Thank you For posting this my husband, myself and our 8 mo old son are planning our Portland move from CO in June. I’ve only read negative about this transition so your article gave me a bit of hope.

  • Kristy Sinsara

    We are considering moving to Portland this summer, currently we live in Bend. We moved to Bend because of the sunshine. Unfortunately no one told us that it’s also a very conservative, non-progressive city. I mean it’s truly like living in Alabama but with a really gorgeous view and weather (9 months of the year). Someone said on a different blog that Bend, Oregon was “poverty with a view”. Yep, that’s accurate too. Everyone here is poor. Like really, really poor. I’m not judging, just stating a fact. If you’re super religious and love being outdoors, BEND is YOUR city! If you’re more open minded and love diversity and progressive thinking, it looks like Portland is more your speed.

    Is there any other city in Oregon that has more sun than Portland but cooler than Bend? Anyone know?

    • Hey Kristy,

      Gosh I just don’t know of one. I think the solution to your problem is figuring out how to live in Portland despite the rain.

  • Michal

    This video makes me believe Portland has kind of european spirit. I never left Europe but this city looks more european than any other US city I’ve seen – in internet offcoure :). If I would be about to move USA, Portland would be one of the top choices for me.

    • So many world travelers settle here exactly for that reason! It’s a great place to be if you value European culture

  • mslady269

    My sister lives in Eugene and goes between there and Portland where her kids are. She’s been trying to get me to make that move from Michigan for years. I’m getting fed up with these harsh winters and really would like a change, so I might have to really look into this. This article definitely makes me lean towards the pack everything up and go side. I work from home, so all I need is my laptop and a good internet connection, so the work issue isn’t an issue for me right now. Man… I suppose I have a lot to thing about. I’d be moving a whole house to the other side of the country basically with all the stuff we have.

    • Cecilia

      Spring time is right around the corner, and it’s great time to move to Portland! It’s tough to make such a big move but we think it will be worth it:)

    • bonz

      i am retired and reading your post u mentioned that u work from home i would love to do the same but very skeptical of all those scams and also considering moving to portland tired of the florida heat.

  • I am 23 yrs old with my associates in Graphic Design from a reputable art school in Kettering, OH. I have 4 years work history in Graphic design and 2 years managers EXP. My gf has her degree in Cosmetology and does Spa, nails, and skin treatments. We are very interested in making a visit (next 6-7 months) and possibly a move in 2015. Could anybody give some advice to us young upcomers with finding a position in our careers? Any info from Oregonians would be SO GREATLY appreciated. Portland is where we want to be!!! We have never been out West – but we KNOW 100% we are not OHIOANS at heart. It is just a different place here in Ohio, it just doesn’t quite fit who we are as individuals…Please any info would help us guys 🙂 thank you.

    • Hey Derek!

      Definitely check out the other blog posts on Mac’s List – we’ve been writing for years about how to find work in Oregon! You can search using the search bar or by categories on the right hand side.

      Best of luck!

  • Dara Nicole Boyd-Galleguillos

    We are thinking of moving to Portland from Austin, TX within the next year. I year they’re sort of sister cities!

    • Sarah1411

      My fiance and I also live in Austin and are planning a move to Portland! It has everything we love about Austin, but, from what I read, much better drivers. Also, no more Texas summers!!

    • Walle4203

      we are too! Im really hesitant about the job opportunities over there but since I’m in banking it shouldnt be that hard…(?) I like ATX but the summers and traffic are unbelievable!

  • Forrest

    My wife and I would both love to relocate to Portland, or as we’ve started calling it, the jewel of the Pacific Northwest. I recently looked at a potential job in the city and was shocked by the salary in comparison to the cost of living. Add to that a 9% State tax (we currently live in Florida and pay no State income tax) and it looks like our dream of moving to Portland may go unrealized.

  • LeilaniD

    My boyfriend and I are planning on getting married and moving to Portland, and he has a bachelors degree in Marking and I have a esthetics license, and other job history as well. He is ruthless when it comes to finding a job so I am not worried we won’t have income and even a part-time job on my part would be fine until I find something serious. We are a young couple and I was wondering how hard it is to find a place to live? Also, are people really nice in Portland as I am hearing? If I did leg work, and networking and getting to know people in town, would I get the cold shoulder? I live in Vegas, and like NO ONE here is friendly unless you work or go to school with them. It is so sad.

    • The rental market is competitive right now but if you’re diligent, you’ll find something! Just get there early and be super friendly and responsive.

      You would not get the cold shoulder by trying to get to know people in Portland – Portlanders really are friendly and if anyone ever does blow you off, it was probably an anomaly. Open your heart to others, be kind and help others, and smile at folks – it won’t take long till you’ve got friends.

      Good luck on your move! Sounds to me like you’ll be fine!

  • Jeannie


    How competitive is the housing market now? Is SE Portland good for kids or is a nearby suburb such as Gresham better? I’m in CA getting ripped off by high costs and my family lives in another part of rural Or. Interested in moving to Portland area in the next few years, not as familiar with that part of Or.

    • greg robertson

      People from CA have a hard time here!
      We’re not as passive aggressive as people in th north west!
      There are nice people here but it’s small enough that you find out quickly that a good many of the people here are not as nice as they pretend! I’m from SF and also find it very gossipy! Maybe it’s because people in SF are so buisy and don’t care what other people are doing? Some of my friends have left here for those reasons!

      • Hi Greg,

        I’m surprised by your comment. I’m a relatively new transplant to Portland and I haven’t detected any of the passive-aggressiveness you describe. Compared to Washington, DC (my previous home) Portlanders seem very outgoing, friendly, sincere and honest.

        I’m sure every city has its ups and downs, goods and bad–people are people–but on the whole, I feel like Portland is friendly town. I’m definitely glad I moved here!

        • greg robertson

          I am involved with a community of people in SF that really speak there minds and are very straight forward so I’m kind of used to that! We do this to keep from resenting others!
          I was hanging out with different groups here and found people to be friendly outwardly but I kept finding out latter they were trashing me behind my back!
          I chose to stop engaging with them completely! They were all older people so I thought they should know better!
          Haha! Learning lesson is that age is irrelevant! I have met really cool younger people here!
          I’m going home a soon as I can because in just relate to people better there!
          I also really like NYC because people speak there minds!

  • Jennifer Kennedy

    I am from Albuquerque, NM and can not wait to move. Its way to dry for me and I do not see myself settling here. Your article helped a lot. I am researching as much as I can about Portland, Oregon. I am falling in love.

  • Moe Tamim

    Am kinda hesitant to move to Portland, it seems a nice place , but the daily raining thing makes me take more time to think about it, plus I would look like an alien since am coming from middle east

    • Alex

      You won’t look like an alien. there are Middle Eastern there, too. But I recommend you don’t move until you find a job first or save some money that is sufficient to AT LEAST six months (rent + food etc).

      People there are very friendly but most of them have no money or homeless. The whole state is like that.

    • greg robertson

      We have lots of sun here!
      It doesn’t rain as much as people think!

  • Fozzil Fred

    This video is so much glitz and does not in any way capture Portland. I’m a former East Coaster and have lived here 25 years. I personally love it here in SE Portland. The city is small enough to walk and bike to many places. Mass transit is also good enough so that with a bike, you don’t need a car. Best of all, the people are very friendly. Great cheap food, lots of outdoor activities within an hour of the city and lots of inner city things to do. I’m from upstate NY so after living in the cold there, the rain doesn’t bother me. Besides, it doesn’t rain much from May to October. Job market is much better, and rents are low compared to East Coast cities or West Coast cities. Problems: Housing prices are high and traffic is getting worse (too many people moving here). But… people drive so much calmer than in Calif. or NY or Boston. Don’t get me started on the beer!

  • Isaury Torres

    My family and I are really considering the idea of moving to Portland… but the fear start to coming out… because of language barriers mostly job related… We know that in a couple of months we would be able to start speaking english fluently but at the beginning would be a little hard. What would you recommended or what do you think is the attitude of the Oregonians towards people to speak spanish ?

    • greg robertson

      There are lots of Spanish speaking people here!
      people here tend to stick with there own kind though!
      I’m from SF so I’m use to a little put off by that!

  • Jess

    My aunt lives out there and has practically been begging me and my mom to both move out there! I’ve been seriously considering lately. I need a nice change and a new start somewhere. The fact ill have family there would definitely make it an easier transition. I really love that Portland is so bike friendly, I’ve never been a fan of driving. My main concern is finding a job. Is difficult for someone with little work experience to find a job there? And a secondary concern is living cost. What’s the comparison for someone coming from Woodstock, Georgia? Anyone know?

  • Traion

    Looking to relocate to Portland from the South. I know it will be a vast change but I am ready, this is kind of a resart for me, always wanted to live on the west coast, I want to live in the out skirts not far a drive from the city, but I like the small town feel, plus something affordable to start out money is tight right now any suggestions?

  • Sandy Yates

    Hi! My husband and I are from Shreveport, La., moving in May with an 11 yr old and an 8 month old and 3 cats 🙂 My brother lives there and we have a few friends there, so we have a little help. We are more than excited!! We’ve been doing a LOT of research to make the move easier, and also to get more familiar with Portland. Does anyone have any advice for us?

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  • Peter Kuzemchak

    I fell in love with Portland the day I flew overhead from Atlanta back in 2010. I’m very happy that I chose to live here in Portland, originally was planning to move to Seattle. This region is so beautiful, so much to see and do at anytime day or night, or any season. One thing I learned though…Portlander’s don’t carry an umbrella when it rains!… ( or you’ll look like a tourist )

  • Danny P.

    I want to move to Portland!

  • Kim Sadlier

    I’m looking into moving out there from Charleston, South Carolina. We’re growing a lot and don’t know how to handle it. I really like that most major cities in Oregon already have a good general idea of how to handle major influx of people and don’t keep themselves in a historical box of limitations. I’m trying to see how much I would need to drive out there with a friend and hopefully move in with a roommate after a few days. I have an uncle who lives out in Milwaukee, who I could stay with for a few days. But I would like to get on my feet quickly, if possible. I also have worked as an Administrative assistant for over 10 years and have seen good job opportunities out there. Right now I’m just trying to calculate the bed time. Anyone else who made a big move from east to west, what are your thoughts andor tips for me?

  • Mary Kasal

    I am disabled and a recent widow looking for a change. Are there any 55+ apartment developments in Portland? Also I am a bead/jewelry artist is there a beading association or group in the city?

  • Dominic Bosch

    Oregon is the gayest fucken state in all of the planet of the gays Oregon is so bad and depressing never move here I promise you’ll be depressed Oregon is so bad all there is, is trees and gay people protesting and a shit ton of people who voted for Hillary everyone here takes shit to serious if you are going to live live somewhere better better if your reading this and live in Oregon fuck u

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