Top Reasons to Move to Portland
It’s so easy to forget to value the uniqueness of a community once we’ve lived somewhere a few years. After ten years spent enjoying the magnificence of Alaska, I remember blandly greeting a friend’s wonder with, “Oh, yeah, the eagles. You see them all the time.”
Since relocating to Portland in October, I have been sending a “wow” list to my friends and family back in Utah. Here are some of the things that have made me truly happy to call myself a resident of Portland.
Chicken or egg
While researching housing options, I discovered that Portland allows its residents to keep up to three chickens without a permit. In fact, Portland has the highest per capita urban chicken population in the country! One house I looked at didn’t have a chicken coop, but the neighbor a house away did, and I thought it would be pretty cool to trot down to the neighbor’s to get fresh eggs. Thankfully, roosters are not allowed. That wouldn’t be as charming at five in the morning. Still, fresh eggs in your morning omelet? How could one complain about that?
Walking to my car recently after another interesting neighborhood exploration, I was caught by surprise as an onslaught of bicyclists – a good 15 or 20 of them – passed by. I stopped and wondered why there would be a bike race in the middle of the week when I realized the time: 5 p.m. The bike-to-work commuters were on their way home!
Where there are bikes, there are beards
I remember reading a local magazine that proclaimed Portland as the “beardiest” city in the United States. Some Portlanders claim that a beard works like a scarf while bike riding. Apparently all the biking to work explains all those beards!
My heart skipped a beat while enjoying home-cranked pumpkin ice cream at the Troutdale General Store one day. Three handsome and fit 50-something men dismounted their bikes, came in for some coffee and chatted about sustainable lifestyles at the table beside me. People here take their beards, their bikes, and their sustainability seriously. Woohoo!
Liberal reading policies
I am now officially a resident of Oregon. Well, at least the library says I am. When I recently got my library card I was amazed to discover that I can check out 100, yes, that’s right, 100 books, CDs, or DVDs at a time. The Multnomah County Library system seems determined to help its residents have their own personal library, even if it’s only for three weeks at a time.
Not in a hurry
While driving on the freeway, wondering why I was passing everyone, I noticed the speed limit just outside Portland is 60 miles per hour. And people actually go 60 miles per hour. Out past the urban growth boundary, the speed does go up to 65 but people still stick to the posted limit. I actually saw a car creeping along the highway with a sign in big letters in the back window that said “55 mph = 37 mpg.” In other places around the country, motorists routinely pass me even while I am traveling at 70. No one seems in a hurry here.
This caught my eye: a newspaper feature on Bishops. The local barbershop chain is about to franchise because they’re so popular. Catering to generations X, Y, and Z, the shop offers affordable salon services in a casual, fun and trendsetting atmosphere. Clients come for a shampoo and blow dry, cut or color, and a free bottle of Miller High Life. They stay to hang out.
On their website, owner Leo Rivera says, “We care about being part of the community and making it better.”
Even the grocery stores are different
At my local Fred Meyer the other day, I found hemp milk on the shelves as part of the regular inventory. It’s touted as being cholesterol free, vegan, and full of essential amino acids and Omega 3 and 6 oils. Even better: it’s legal! I had to try it. After drinking a gallon, I have to admit I don’t feel healthier, but I do appreciate having the alternative right here in my neighborhood grocery store. During another grocery outing, I was offered a sample of beer. Having come from a state with less liberal liquor policies, once again I marveled at how good we have it here in Portland.
Each day continues to surprise and delight me as a newcomer to Portland. Even if you are a native or long-time resident, I hope you will make your own “wow” list and take great pleasure in the many wonderful things this great community has to offer.