Living and Working in Portland, Oregon

Beautiful Vista of Portland, OregonPortland, Oregon, often called the City of Roses or simply PDX, is a vibrant city in the Pacific Northwest. Known for its unique blend of natural beauty, progressive culture, world-class dining, and creative spirit, Portland captures the hearts of its residents and visitors with its eclectic charm and tight-knit sense of community.


Located in the northwestern part of Oregon, at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers, Portland was historically a hub for trade, commerce, and transportation. As of 2022 U.S. census estimates, Portland was home to just over 635,000 people, making it the largest city in the state. The city is the county seat of Multnomah County.

Portland boasts a temperate climate with mild, rainy winters and warm, dry summers. The city experiences all four distinct seasons, offering a wide range of outdoor activities and recreational opportunities throughout the year. Whether you enjoy hiking in the lush forests, cycling through scenic trails, or kayaking along local rivers, Portland has something for everyone.

If you’re considering relocating to Portland, you can find detailed information on websites such as Travel Portland, City of Portland, Portland Metro Chamber, Travel Oregon’s Portland page, and the Portland Relocation Guide.

Portland’s Job Market and Economy

Portland’s economy is dynamic and diverse, strongly emphasizing technology, creative, and manufacturing industries. The city is a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship, fostering a welcoming environment for startups and established businesses. Greater Portland reports that the region’s top industries include apparel and outdoor, bioscience, climate tech, computers and electronics, design and media, food and beverage, metals and machinery, and software.

In its list of major employers, Greater Portland lists Intel with 22,328 regional employees, Providence Health & Services with 21,000, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) with 18,048, Nike with 15,125, Legacy Health with 13,120, Kaiser Permanente with 11,163, Fred Meyer Stores with 9,525, PeaceHealth with 4,482, Lam Research with 4,000, and Wells Fargo with 3,500.

If remote working is your preference, you’ll be pleased to know that more than 23% of people in the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro metro area worked from home last year, per the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 American Community Survey (ACS).

Whether you’re an aspiring professional or a seasoned expert, Portland’s job market offers many opportunities. The city’s commitment to innovation, sustainability, and education creates an environment conducive to personal and professional growth, making it an attractive destination for job seekers.

There are many paths to help you reach the career that is right for you in Oregon. Among the Oregon Employment Department’s useful tools to assist with this is a guide outlining a variety of ways to gain education, training, skills, knowledge, and abilities on the pathway to a meaningful career. The guide is particularly helpful to students and recent graduates, but contains useful information for any job seeker. To view the Oregon Employment Department webpage, please click here. To view the Oregon Careers Magazine guide, click here.

Portland is home to several higher educational institutions, including Portland State University (PSU), a public research university known for its urban engagement and sustainability programs located in downtown Portland; Reed College, a small liberal arts institution known for its rigorous academic environment; Lewis and Clark College, a private liberal arts college with a strong emphasis on international affairs and environmental studies, the University of Portland, a private Catholic university known for its strong nursing, engineering, and business programs, and Portland Community College, a two-year community college that provides a wide range of associate degrees and certificates, offering numerous career and technical education programs, as well as opportunities for transfer to four-year institutions.

For those seeking job opportunities in Portland, resources abound. The Oregon Employment Department maintains a comprehensive listing of jobs in the city, accessible through their website. WorkSource Oregon, a statewide partnership, collaborates with local and nonprofit agencies to provide job listings, career support, and workforce development programs. Use this guide to help you discover dozens of Portland career coaches who can help you grow your career and navigate the Portland job market.

Lifestyle and Culture

Portland offers a lifestyle and culture characterized by a strong sense of community, a passion for sustainability, a thriving arts scene, and abundant outdoor activities amid stunning Pacific Northwest scenery. While the cost of living in Portland is rising, it remains more affordable than larger West Coast cities like Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. In 2021, the median household income in Portland was $78,476, and the poverty rate stood at approximately 13%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Portland at nightThe Portland housing market is dynamic, attracting urban dwellers seeking a more laid-back, environmentally conscious lifestyle. Homes in Portland receive three offers on average and sell in around 20 days, Redfin reports. The median sale price of a home in Portland was $525K in September 2023, up 1% from the year before. The median sale price per square foot in Portland is $320, up 3.9% since last year.

The city is peppered with art galleries, world-class restaurants, trendy coffee shops, and microbreweries. Portland Art Museum, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and various theaters and music venues ensure a steady stream of cultural and artistic experiences. Residents and visitors can explore a wide range of attractions and activities, including Powell’s City of Books, the world’s largest independent bookstore; food cart pods, offering an array of international cuisines; parks and gardens, including the serene International Rose Test Garden; breweries and wineries, a craft beer and wine enthusiast’s paradise; and outdoor adventures in the Columbia River Gorge and nearby mountains.

Need to Know When Moving to Portland

If you are considering a move to Portland, here are some essential resources to help you get started. The City of Portland is serviced by different providers depending upon where you live. Your address determines which company will cover your power, gas, water, sewer, and waste removal.

Utilities: The city is served by various utility providers. Contact the following for essential services:

Transportation: Portland offers a comprehensive public transportation system, including buses, light rail, and streetcars, through TriMet. Additionally, the city promotes cycling with a network of bike lanes and bike-sharing programs.

Government: Stay informed about city services, permits, and local regulations through the official website of the City of Portland.

Job fairs, job seeker events, and other resources in Portland:

Business networking opportunities in Portland:

Events calendars that offer an array of options for the whole family:

As you embark on your journey to live and work in Portland, you’ll discover a city that values innovation, sustainability, and community, making it a welcoming and exciting place to call home. Whether you’re drawn to the city’s natural beauty or thriving cultural scene, Portland offers a lifestyle that embraces the Pacific Northwest spirit.

Resources for Mental Health and Homelessness in Portland

Other area mental health crisis lines:

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