How to Move to Portland, Oregon

When I was planning a move to Portland in 2009, “Portlandia” didn’t exist and I had no friends in the city that I could ask for help. At that time, I found limited information on Portland aside from the “Lonely Planet” guide I picked up.

Needless to say, things have changed.

Today, you can find a plethora of articles ranging anywhere from Things You Should Consider Before Moving to Portland to Is Portland Really Where Young People Retire?

Portland is a great place to live and work, so if you’re really considering a move to the Rose City, here are the things you need to do:

1. Pick a neighborhood

Portland is split into the east and west sides by the Willamette River. There are basically five neighborhoods in the inner city – North, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest. and offer detailed information on all the neighborhoods.

You should consider where you would work, if you want to take public transportation, drive or bike, and what kind of culture you’re most interested in.

The landscape of the neighborhoods varies from the large, gloomy Victorians in Southeast and Northwest, to the craftsman, bungalow style homes in Northeast, all the way to city-living, high-rise condos in downtown and the Pearl District.

Even the feeling of each neighborhood is different. I live in the Southeast Hawthorne district, where the vibe is funky, tattooed, and smells of patchouli, while Northwest Portland offers a different experience, complete with cute wine bars and cozy coffee shops.

2. Find a home

Most Portlanders use Craigslist and Zillow but you can also find unadvertised places for rent by walking the neighborhood (that’s how I found my place).

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Consider whether you want to rent or buy, and are you looking for a condo, apartment, duplex, or house? Do you want roommates and if so, would you rather move into their space or find a place that you can then bring a roommate into?

3. Watch the local job boards

Mac’s List has dozens of Oregon jobs each week. You can also find good local jobs on and Craigslist.

But there’s a plethora of other niche job boards in Portland. Consider the following options:

4. Read the hyper-local papers

Check out the Willamette Week or the Portland Mercury, (free papers) for the latest information on local events, arts, and culture.

Support Street Roots (only $1) a local, nonprofit newspaper published every two weeks. Proceeds help to create income opportunities for the homeless.

Subscribe to PDX Pipeline for a weekly email of local news and events in Portland.

Finally, purchase The Portland Monthly for ideas on where to eat, who to watch out for, and what to do!

5. Build community

Consider joining a club to meet new people. If you play sports, check out the Underdog sports league. Volunteer for a local nonprofit such as the Forest Park Conservancy or an association like the American Marketing Association.

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Portlanders are friendly, so strike up a conversation with your neighbors, get to know your barista, and tip your server well to support local businesses and build community right in your own neighborhood.

Consider networking as a way to develop your professional community. You can find links to many Portland networking events on the Mac’s List blog.