Will Portland Always Be A Retirement Community for the Young?(SLNYT)
September 16, 2014 4:32 PM   Subscribe

 
Something similar affects Halifax, Nova Scotia, with educated young people working in coffee shops and the like realizing this is probably their long-term career. They've responded by successfully organizing a barista's union.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:46 PM on September 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


The article was pretty much the usual Portland stuff, but I noticed this aside:

According to professors from Portland State University, the city has been able to attract and retain young college-educated people at the second-highest rate in the nation. (Louisville, Ky., is No. 1.)

What on earth is happening in Louisville?
posted by Dip Flash at 4:51 PM on September 16, 2014 [6 favorites]


What on earth is happening in Louisville?

Mint Juleps.
posted by ryoshu at 4:54 PM on September 16, 2014 [20 favorites]


Portland is essentially the "New San Francisco", as San Francisco has rapidly evolved to a toxic municipality with out-of-control housing (rent, or buy) costs, causing the various sub-groups that created San Francisco dynamic "City by the Bay" meme, to depart. What I don't understand is why anyone would opt to move to a place like Houston, pretty much the bowel of America - literally and figuratively. I love Portland's transit system - it's very efficient. The only downside is rain, and the grey skies.
posted by Vibrissae at 4:56 PM on September 16, 2014 [10 favorites]


I liked the Mint Juleps first 2 EP's and the debut album was strong! Some sweet production on that puppy! Then they signed to Warner and like -pow- they're so done.
posted by Zack_Replica at 4:58 PM on September 16, 2014


wait
posted by Zack_Replica at 4:58 PM on September 16, 2014 [6 favorites]


Portland is great and all, but what happens when these youngsters decide to settle down and reproduce? It's hard to feed your kids without an income. [disclaimer, I am both young and from Portland]
posted by oceanjesse at 5:07 PM on September 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


They move to Beaverton.
posted by MoonOrb at 5:14 PM on September 16, 2014 [16 favorites]


"According to professors from Portland State University, the city has been able to attract and retain young college-educated people at the second-highest rate in the nation. (Louisville, Ky., is No. 1.)"
Dip Flash: "What on earth is happening in Louisville?"
There's a helluva lot of research, equipment/supplies, and associated services companies based there, particularly in the science / health / agricultural fields?
posted by Pinback at 5:17 PM on September 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


Portland is great and all, but what happens when these youngsters decide to settle down and reproduce

Hunger Games.
posted by The Whelk at 5:17 PM on September 16, 2014 [17 favorites]


"What on earth is happening in Louisville?"

They're hanging out with Will Oldham?
posted by The Bridge on the River Kai Ryssdal at 5:23 PM on September 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


What I don't understand is why anyone would opt to move to a place like Houston, pretty much the bowel of America - literally and figuratively.

Ok, as a former Houstonian, let me give it a shot. World-class museums, some great schools and universities, a vast outsider-art scene, one of the biggest gay neighborhoods and populations in the country, the world's largest art car parade, a stunning skyline shaped by some of the century's greatest architects . . . like any sprawling metropolis, Houston has it's share of problems (which are only compounded by the state's batshitinsane conservative politics and some very intense socioeconomic/racial tensions), but it's a damn fine city in many, many respects.
posted by treepour at 5:31 PM on September 16, 2014 [22 favorites]


...personal income per capita in the city grew by a mere 31 percent between 2000 and 2012, slower than 42 other cities...

Between 2001 and 2012, gross domestic product per person grew 50 percent, more than any other city, even those in Silicon Valley.
Did anybody else notice this discrepancy? Is it explained by picking different starting years (2000 vs 2001), or are Portland employers getting lots of extra production out of employees without paying them much more?
posted by clawsoon at 5:34 PM on September 16, 2014


I brew Kombucha. I don't have a car. I have an intermittent neckbeard. I am in my 50's and live in the Bay Area. On to the second paragraph.
posted by telstar at 5:39 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


They move to Beaverton.

Hahahaaaa. Right. We've done that calculation. My wife and I are sort of lower-middle-class-ish and it would destroy us financially to move to Beaverton.

Suburbs don't make sense when you rely on city amenities like they mention in the article. The biggest one is transportation. We live close to where we work.

With house prices in the Beav not being much better than they are here in the city for comparable school districts, when you add in transportation costs, it makes it a net-loss by moving further out. Its so goddamn difficult to get around on that side of the city on a bus, or by bike. My son and I commute by bike (or bus during terrible, terrible weather), and my wife drives four days a week. There's absolutely no way we can afford another car, and in fact we would love to get rid of the one we have. Just moving to Beaverton wouldn't increase our wages any either. There's not magical jobs out there that pay more than in the city.

Right now we're just hoping to be able to afford a house in a couple years in a neighborhood that doesn't have needles at the playground and tweakers pissing on the tree in our front yard.

It feels lately, that Portland is the embodiment of the death of the middle class. I'm cool with lots of kids moving here to hang out for a year or two. That's fine. I just wish there was actual opportunity to not be rich, but not be poor either. That's an opportunity that's quickly vanishing around here, and its really discouraging.
posted by furnace.heart at 5:44 PM on September 16, 2014 [22 favorites]


Vibrissae: "Portland is essentially the "New San Francisco", as San Francisco has rapidly evolved to a toxic municipality with out-of-control housing (rent, or buy) costs, causing the various sub-groups that created San Francisco dynamic "City by the Bay" meme, to depart. What I don't understand is why anyone would opt to move to a place like Houston, pretty much the bowel of America - literally and figuratively. I love Portland's transit system - it's very efficient. The only downside is rain, and the grey skies."

I'll agree with you that Portland does seem to have taken up the mantle of the new Bay Area. I've actually had a few friends move out of San Francisco, then to Berkeley, and then on to Portland for the reasons you mention. The City priced people out, so they moved across the bay, then got tired of dealing with BART and headed elsewhere. Beware, Portland. It's only a matter of time. The weird can't last forever.

But I'd disagree with how you're shitting on Houston (and I'd bet you'd shit on other similar cities like Phoenix). People want to live in these cities because it's so damn cheap and easy to live there, and you still have plenty of culture available so long as you can put up with the suburbs. Perhaps it's not so jam packed with the weird, but there's plenty of fun to be had (and even more fun in some cases).

But that's kind of a derail, so I digress.

MoonOrb: "They move to Beaverton."

Or they just don't "settle down and reproduce" at all, in my experience.

Out of about a dozen friends who all moved to LA, San Francisco, and Portland after college to "live in exciting places" and pursue certain sorts of dream jobs/lifestyles, not a single one has "settled down." They're still scraping by and living the stereotypical single "young person" lifestyles in each city despite the fact that they're now in their mid-30s.
posted by Old Man McKay at 5:45 PM on September 16, 2014 [9 favorites]


I also brew Kombucha! But I live in Charlotte.

What's up with Louisville? Well, as someone who is from there originally and has many friends still living there - it is one of the cheapest cities in America to live in and yet it also has world class culture, particularly with regards to music and live theater. Although it gets crazy hot and humid in the summer, the climate is overall fairly mild. Mostly. Louisville is one of the few US cities I have visited that really has been "kept weird."
posted by Slothrop at 5:46 PM on September 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


Left Portland in the mid-80s after working for - and losing my shirt on - this nightmare:

"The hottest Oregon stock 30 years ago was not Nike. It was Animated Electronics. Founded in 1978, Animated went public in 1981 and quickly earned shareholders a 134% return on investment, nearly tripling Nike’s performance..."
posted by hal9k at 5:49 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


‘As our culture and expectations grow, decadence rises. We’re not the hungry immigrant nation we used to be. We’re more into meaning, into jobs that find fulfillment.’

I know this is bolded for clickbait in the article, but it bothered me. Why equate job fulfillment with decadence?
posted by Bistle at 6:02 PM on September 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Why equate job fulfillment with decadence?

"Decadence" is when people besides the very rich start thinking they deserve to not be miserable.
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:05 PM on September 16, 2014 [54 favorites]


What I don't understand is why anyone would opt to move to a place like Houston

I still think of leaving Texas as our escape, but come on. You'd move to Houston because that's where you got a job. Or because you want to move to a real city but have family between there and Dallas and don't want to be so far away. Or because you actually like hot, humid weather. Or because you can sell your house in a better city and buy a perfectly good house, free and clear, with the appreciation on your old one.

I'd bet that not that many people, except native Texans, think specifically about moving to Houston. But that's also true for pretty much everywhere except NYC, LA, DC, SF, and Boston, and more recently Seattle or Portland.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:06 PM on September 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


are Portland employers getting lots of extra production out of employees without paying them much more?

Yup. Tons of qualified candidates, but very few openings, means you get to hire better employees and screw them hard. The capital class in the area aren't re-investing, either, so growth overall is likely flat.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:10 PM on September 16, 2014 [7 favorites]


‘As our culture and expectations grow, decadence rises. We’re not the hungry immigrant nation we used to be. We’re more into meaning, into jobs that find fulfillment.’

Three typical recent lifestyle articles from NYT:

What You Get for 1,500,000

Simone Rocha, Born to Fashion, Makes Her Own Mark

At SoulCycle Tribeca, The Spinning Stops; Panic Ensues

But it's the unemployed guy who dares to take a few cheap pleasures in life that is decadent - right.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:19 PM on September 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


‘As our culture and expectations grow, decadence rises. We’re not the hungry immigrant nation we used to be. We’re more into meaning, into jobs that find fulfillment.’

a closer read of TFA attributes this quote to a David Albouy, professor of economics at the University of Illinois. No offense meant to the author of the article but the prominence of the quote sucks.
posted by Bistle at 6:25 PM on September 16, 2014


RouXenophobe: And Chicago. Don't forget Chicago.

Or maybe it's just that it ought to be on that list...
posted by persona au gratin at 6:26 PM on September 16, 2014


The only downside is rain, and the grey skies.

Downside? That was one of the main reasons I moved to Portland. After 5 years baking in the Las Vegas desert, I really enjoy 8 months out of the year living in the shade.
posted by daq at 6:27 PM on September 16, 2014 [10 favorites]


A closer read of TFA attributes this quote to a David Albouy, professor of economics at the University of Illinois. No offense meant to the author of the article but the prominence of the quote sucks.

I think the prominence of the quote is pretty indicative of the NYT's editorial perspective on decadence.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:27 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Re-reading this article, I realize that basically everything I disliked about it was quotes from Albouy.

Along with the "decadence" comment, he laments that Portland "doesn’t invest...in its institutions of higher education". You know, because cities have so much to do with funding colleges and universities. (For the record, PCC does receive about 15% of its funding from local property taxes, but the ability of any local government to goose that number is effectively nil.)
posted by rcoder at 6:34 PM on September 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Poke out your eyes
And move to Portland
Kill your wife
And move to Portland
Burn down your home
And move to Portland
Come on everybody!
We're movin' to Portland


©1987
posted by batfish at 6:34 PM on September 16, 2014 [8 favorites]


Can we please short-circuit the "omg how can you live without sun?"/"omg how can you stand it being so sunny?" part of the conversation? It comes up every time the Northwest is discussed and it's getting tedious.

Newsflash: different people like different climates! A friend of mine moved to Seattle because she spent an exchange year at St. Andrew's outside of Edinburgh and fell in love with the weather. Me, I get more solar-powered and more in touch with my inner lizard-on-a-hot-rock with each year that passes. Both of these orientations are valid.

As my mom used to say, "If we all liked the same things, it would be incredibly boring and there'd be a worldwide chocolate shortage, always."
posted by Lexica at 6:35 PM on September 16, 2014 [11 favorites]


So where's the next Portland? Missoula?
posted by dhammond at 6:35 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


It comes up every time the Northwest is discussed and it's getting tedious.

It really is a thing anyone should consider if they are thinking of moving to the Pacific Northwest, though. And if you think it's tedious to talk about the lack of sunshine, imagine living a few years without seeing the sun (not exactly true, the sun always seems to come out when people are visiting you from out of town - they'll inevitably talk about how the weather isn't as bad as people say, then leave town, then the dread grey moves back in).
posted by el io at 6:40 PM on September 16, 2014 [6 favorites]


Shhhh nobody mention Chicago where it's still basically possible to be middle class and have a nice life, and there's much less posturing about authenticity.
posted by bleep at 6:41 PM on September 16, 2014 [19 favorites]


Missoula was sweet when I went through there a number of years ago. The summer climate was light, sweet. I ate at a couple different hippy/veg restaurants. Betcha they're long gone.
posted by telstar at 6:43 PM on September 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


Shreveport
posted by Bistle at 6:43 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Missoula would be my guess too.

LOVE Missoula.
posted by MoonOrb at 6:44 PM on September 16, 2014


I really enjoy 8 months out of the year living in the shade.

Mmmm, me too! I love it. So much. This summer has been a little harsh.

I work in the coffee industry on the wholesale side, so I am exposed to a ton of baristas and lots of youngin's who just moved here. Every June or July, we tend to get a fresh wave of folk into town. They proceed to talk about how they visited last summer and fell in love with the city, transferred to PSU or whatever and now they're here. They live like 8 deep in 3 bedroom apartment buildings, but it's summer time! The kids get to ride their bikes around the beautiful city and spend all day hanging out in parks and in front of their friends coffee shops and bars! Magic! Then september/october rolls around, and everyone back home is starting to get some rain, and in some cases some snow, and they feel so fucking awesome because summer always runs late here and its STILL NICE OUT. WTF, Sunny and 70 in October!?Awesome! Trick or Treat Motherfuckers!

Then November hits. It gets a little colder. Kids don't bike as many places, and hanging out at the park doesn't have the same allure. It starts getting cloudy, it rains a little, but its still easy to get around without getting soaked. So you try and have a Whatever-theFuck-Show TV viewing night, so that you and your 7 roomates. Its cool though, because these kids lived in Vermont or New York or wherever, and can handle a rough winter. They're tough as nails!

Then the holidays keep them distracted a little bit, they pick up more hours and go home for the holidays and they come back to just fucking RAIN until the middle of February. Cabin fever starts to set in, but its managable. Lots of TV. Lots of drinking. Its cool. They start to bitch about their roomates a bit more. Every February or March, we get this glorious, fucking awesome 75 degree day that's clear as a bell and everyone's wearing T-shirts again.

Which is where it all starts to fall apart. It gets back to the oppressive (warm, delightful, awesome) gray weather, but added in you start to get the spring rains. Kids just hang their bikes up. They start bitching about their roomates constantly (because again, they're sleeping like 3 to a room or some crazy shit). It just oscillates between mist, drizzle, and raine UNTIL JULY. Usually in late June, some motherfucker snaps, can't take their roommates anymore, and just moves back to whence they came, or better yet, LA.

Every year this happens to someone I know who just moved here, and it warms my cold, cold heart every time.


So where's the next Portland? Missoula?

FWIW I know at least a dozen people who have moved from Portland to both Missoula and to Spokane. I have been hearing an ungodly amount of buzz around Spokane. I don't get it. I've been there. I don't understand.
posted by furnace.heart at 6:45 PM on September 16, 2014 [44 favorites]



It feels lately, that Portland is the embodiment of the death of the middle class. I'm cool with lots of kids moving here to hang out for a year or two. That's fine. I just wish there was actual opportunity to not be rich, but not be poor either. That's an opportunity that's quickly vanishing around here, and its really discouraging.


I moved to Portland in spring of 2001 when I was 23 and worked a 12.00/hr nonprofit gig for five years before deciding I might actually like to have some money. Got my masters at PSU but had to leave the city when I couldn't find a job that would let me afford to stay and still pay back student loans. Now I'm in Atlanta. Of the network of friends I had in Portland, 85% did what I did and took jobs elsewhere in the country as they neared their thirties.

Still, it was a great fucking city in which to spend my twenties and I'll remember it fondly, always. Not unlike some women I dated there.
posted by echocollate at 6:46 PM on September 16, 2014


Will Portland Always Be A Retirement Community for the Young?(SLNYT)

Hope so. I wasn't forced to work less, it is glorious.


-- 27 year old lazy fuck living out the rest of his days in comfortable partial retirement at 15/hr week, hope to be 10 soon.
posted by floam at 6:48 PM on September 16, 2014


It really is a thing anyone should consider if they are thinking of moving to the Pacific Northwest, though.

And it's not just the overcast skies! The mild climate can be deceptive about how just how far north the city is. For example, Portland, Oregon, is about two degrees of latitude further north than Portland, Maine.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 6:48 PM on September 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


It really is a thing anyone should consider if they are thinking of moving to the Pacific Northwest, though. And if you think it's tedious to talk about the lack of sunshine, imagine living a few years without seeing the sun

My issue is not with discussion of the weather (which is totally valid and worth thinking about before moving there), it's the reactive/"humorous" omigod-how-can-you-live-that-way/fuck-you-how-can-you-live-the-way-YOU-do-huh discussion.

My grandparents lived in Salem, so I've spent a fair bit of time in the Northwest. My now-husband lived in Seattle when we met — he made the mistake of visiting in August and deciding on the basis of that to move there. August, September and October in Seattle are gorgeous!

We met in October of the same year he moved there. In June of the following year, he emailed me: "I haven't seen the sun in a week and a half. It means giving up my concealed-carry permit, but I'm moving to California. To be with you, I mean, did I mention that part?"
posted by Lexica at 7:01 PM on September 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


Recently a friend of mine got a professorship at Oregon State, and he road-tripped out to Corvallis with another friend. I had enough frequent flier miles for a free trip, and the hotel was pretty cheap, so I met them out there for a final trip before I started my work for the semester. We spent about a week in and about Portland, also taking a trip to the coast, Eugene and Corvallis to help him get set up.

I loved it. Having lived for approximately the past ten years in and around DC as my closest major metropolitan hub, the difference in attitude and feel was palpable. It reminded me of the best parts of Baltimore without the bad.
posted by codacorolla at 7:02 PM on September 16, 2014


just how far north the city is

Yeah, when I moved here (looking for a good mid-sized city, totally ignorant of its "hip" reputation), I was prepared for grey skies and drizzle; but the shortness of the days in late December/early January were a shock. Get up in the dark, commute to work in the dark, commute home in the dark, dark all evening...major cabin fever. I grew up in the southern US and had no idea how much the daylight hours change between winter and summer solstices. The first winter was brutal, since then I've gotten used to it.

And just to buck the trend - I'm better off in the same industry (IT) here than I ever was in Florida or North Carolina. To be fair, however, I'm employed by an out-of-town corporation...
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:19 PM on September 16, 2014


-- 27 year old lazy fuck living out the rest of his days in comfortable partial retirement at 15/hr week, hope to be 10 soon.

Teach me how to be you.
posted by saul wright at 7:38 PM on September 16, 2014 [6 favorites]


Spokane is wild, and awesome. I grew up in Portland and moved to Milwaukee Wisconsin. I've since ended up in Chicago. What the midwest lacks in terrestrial features, it gains immensely in livability.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 7:43 PM on September 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


So where's the next Portland? Missoula?

Missoula would be my guess too.
LOVE Missoula.


Hush UP you guys!
posted by ikahime at 8:02 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Hush UP you guys!

Oh like we could possibly afford to move there because there are no jobs, duh!
posted by MoonOrb at 8:04 PM on September 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


Portland is great and all, but what happens when these youngsters decide to settle down and reproduce

if you don't have good employment, sometimes you're just not able to have children, even if you always wanted to. Involuntary childlessness is another result of our messed up economy.
posted by jb at 8:15 PM on September 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


One of my best friends who has a ridiculous IQ and most of a doctorate, and her husband who is similarly ridiculous and wonderful and employable, were out of work or underemployed in that area of the country for years. She only recently got a regular job and I think he's still looking after getting laid off.

I've come to an important conclusion.

Rum makes cream sherry taste much better.
posted by zennie at 8:28 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Did you know that Portland's slogan is "The City That Works"? Locals append "... Part Time" to it.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 9:08 PM on September 16, 2014 [10 favorites]


I haven't been to Portland but I feel like the new Austin would be a better comparison than the new San Francisco. About ten years ago, my husband and I seriously considered moving to Austin. Rent was cheap as was grad school - the out of state graduate tuition at UT was less than the in state undergrad tuition in NY. Ten years later, prices for everything in Austin seem to have increased out of reach while San Francisco is completely out of our price range unless we both win the lottery.
posted by kat518 at 9:15 PM on September 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


On a personal note, I'd like to thank those of you who are going on at length about the weather in Portland and Seattle. Your contributions will be instrumental in helping me stockpile a supply of smugness that should last me through a long, very dark, incredibly wet winter (the kind that Seattle and Portland only think they have.)
posted by Nerd of the North at 9:27 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


> I have been hearing an ungodly amount of buzz around Spokane. I don't get it. I've been there. I don't understand.

Well, there's the garbage goat.
posted by Banknote of the year at 9:32 PM on September 16, 2014


I lived briefly in Spokane. Not nuts about it. Do not see it as The Next Cool Place To Be.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 9:35 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Portland is great and all, but what happens when these youngsters decide to settle down and reproduce

Well, it's already happening. That's why our public schools are bursting at the fucking gills. People aren't moving out to the burbs, and they're having kids later in life, so all the school-size predictions are obsolete.

All I know is at 42, having lived all over the country, this is the first place in a long time - like, since college in Charlottesville, aka "the womb" - that actually feels like home.

(And the weather is one of the main reasons this place wasn't Bay Area II years ago.)
posted by gottabefunky at 10:01 PM on September 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


I thought this article from The Oregonian a few days ago was interesting, more people moved out of Portland this summer than moved in. It's the first time in awhile this has happened.
posted by sleepy pete at 10:10 PM on September 16, 2014


It reminded me of the best parts of Baltimore without the bad blacks

That hopefully isn't what you meant, but it certainly is the implicit (and less awesomely, overt) reason quite a few people I know are loving their recent moves to Portland.
posted by Dip Flash at 10:33 PM on September 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


Dip Flash, you need to cull your friends/acquaintances, because they sound like they suck. (And also point them out to me, so I can avoid them around here...)
posted by sfkiddo at 10:39 PM on September 16, 2014


... more people moved out of Portland this summer than moved in. It's the first time in awhile this has happened.

Let's hope it continues! Not forever, but at least for a while—it'd be nice if looking for a job or a place to live in this town wasn't like the fucking hunger games anymore.
posted by Chutzler at 10:50 PM on September 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


Something I realized after growing up in Chicago and living the last 15 years in LA--lots of people have never been there. They've been to NY, of course. Probably lived there. Been to Boston. Been to SF and Seattle. But they've never been outside ORD.

And I know why people are shushing in this thread the mention of Chicago: so many of the benefits of NYC without so many of the downsides.

Question: why not Madison over Missoula or Spokane?
posted by persona au gratin at 11:02 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


Madison is already mature coolio. Missoula and Spokane are the novel flavors, with lots more upside for newbs.

Me? I'm betting it all on Eureka/Arcata California.
posted by notyou at 11:12 PM on September 16, 2014


Spokane has some great restaurants, but then you are still in Spokane. Missoula has awesomeness outside of that, plus proximity to beautiful country.

Dip Flash, you need to cull your friends/acquaintances, because they sound like they suck. (And also point them out to me, so I can avoid them around here...)

Watch for coded language: Portland is so safe! I love being around so many progressive people!
posted by Dip Flash at 11:21 PM on September 16, 2014 [8 favorites]


Right now we're just hoping to be able to afford a house in a couple years in a neighborhood that doesn't have needles at the playground and tweakers pissing on the tree in our front yard.

This is pretty much us, as well. In 2008 we were finally in a position to buy a house. Unfortunately, the bubble had burst everywhere except Portland (so many people wanted to live here, you see) so we were finding it impossible to find a house that was actually worth what the owners wanted for it. In the middle of that search, the recession hit and my husband got laid off. Two years and half our savings later, he finally found another job. Cool beans, but we were now making up lost ground, financially, and couldn't afford a house still. The we had our son, because we got really tired of waiting to start a family until we could be in a house because Portland just wasn't cooperating with that. So now we have daycare, which is like an extra rent.

We're hoping to maaaaaybe be able to afford to buy in a year or 2 as well. But it's almost definitely not going to be in Portland. Even renting is getting ridiculous - for the first time ever we're living in a place that raises our rent every year like clockwork. There is certainly no shortage of people who can pull rent money out of their asses somehow, even without a discernable source of income, so there's no need for our management company to want to keep us as tenants. If you bought a house pre-recession and aren't underwater, or if you're happy to be unemeployed and have urban planning make your heart sing, then you're going to be just fine here. If you're making a lot of money, then yeah, you'll be fine anywhere. But middle class, and not yet a homeowner? You're fairly screwed.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 12:08 AM on September 17, 2014 [3 favorites]


Portland has always felt like the mothership to me, but my husband has rightfully pointed out that I am, by nature, a hothouse flower. I love the sun. I think 85 degrees is the perfect ambient temp. I love rain, but having grown up in Florida, I'd like the rain for just an hour or so, in the evening, so as not to conflict with apollo's schedule.

Climate (and jobs) are the primary things that keep me from joining the Portland community.

As to weird towns changing, nothing could be sadder than what has happened to Austin in the last 20 years.
posted by dejah420 at 5:59 AM on September 17, 2014


There is certainly no shortage of people who can pull rent money out of their asses somehow, even without a discernable source of income

I know a few couples in their late 40s to mid 50s who are supporting adult children living in Portland. The stereotype is that Junior is lazing along working part time at the artisanal kombucha stand, but in the families I know the kids are struggling to create a professional career in exactly the kind of tight labor market the article and comments here describe. The downside for you is that there are a ton of young people with family support of one kind or another, from an actual trust fund (rarer but still common) to the commonplace monthly help with bills and rent from parents who aren't rich but are able to afford a modest level of subsidy, and that changes the rental and real estate markets considerably.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:33 AM on September 17, 2014 [4 favorites]


Parents are a factor in rent problems in Austin as well. Around the university, fancy apartment buildings are going up where the rent is $1200/month for what are essentially dorm rooms. For $1200 a month you don't even get your own bedroom! I have a good job and yet unemployed students are paying over twice what I pay in rent. Parents will pay extra for a shiny apartment building and the aura of safety that comes with that shine.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:51 AM on September 17, 2014


That hopefully isn't what you meant, but it certainly is the implicit (and less awesomely, overt) reason quite a few people I know are loving their recent moves to Portland.

Oh, rereading what I wrote, I can see how it might be taken that way. No, it's not. The bad parts of Baltimore, for me, is that it's a heavily car dependent city. In Portland we walked everywhere, and it seemed like you could get by pretty well with nothing more than mass transit and trips on the train.

Parts of Baltimore night-life also tend to revolve around 21 year olds binge drinking and old men trying to pick up on the 21 year olds binge drinking (like Saturday nights in Canton). I'm sure that goes on in Portland, but overall the atmosphere in everywhere I went was much more relaxed and fun than, say, Loonies at 12 AM on a Friday.
posted by codacorolla at 7:29 AM on September 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


Watch for coded language: Portland is so safe! I love being around so many progressive people!

So, I get this. It happens, but there's alot of the time when people are talking about Portland being safe, because it just actually is.

I live in a sketchy, shitty neighborhood by Portland standards. There's drug crime, and lots a domestic abuse, a few places known for human trafficking, and the Police just sort of leave us alone because we're on the wrong side of 82nd avenue.

That said, it's still pretty safe. Only a couple times have I ever felt even remotely in danger just hanging out in the neighborhood. Portland has its problems, but actual honest to god safety isn't really one of them. Even as recently as the 90's, this wasn't necessarily true.

I totally understand what you're saying. There's a ton of people who like Portland because it is mega, super white, but saying the city is 'safe' isn't necessarily coded language, it can be just be that.
posted by furnace.heart at 7:48 AM on September 17, 2014 [5 favorites]


By way of comparison, Virginia Beach has a population that's 20% African American and 6% Latino, yet in terms of violent crime, it's the third safest metro area in the US, after Plano, TX and Henderson, NV, and wellll ahead of Portland, which is just 7% African American, and 9% Latino. (It's also a good size burgh - 1.6m people: just ahead of Providence and just behind Austin).
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:54 AM on September 17, 2014 [7 favorites]


codacorolla: Parts of Baltimore night-life also tend to revolve around 21 year olds binge drinking and old men trying to pick up on the 21 year olds binge drinking (like Saturday nights in Canton). I'm sure that goes on in Portland, but overall the atmosphere in everywhere I went was much more relaxed and fun than, say, Loonies at 12 AM on a Friday.

Sure, but why are you in Canton, the dudebro neighborhood? Loonies is a fake Irish bar. Why not head up to Club Charles or some bars in Hampden? Even Fells and Fed Hill is going to be leaps and bounds better than Canton.
posted by spaltavian at 9:35 AM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sure, but why are you in Canton, the dudebro neighborhood? Loonies is a fake Irish bar. Why not head up to Club Charles or some bars in Hampden? Even Fells and Fed Hill is going to be leaps and bounds better than Canton.

That's where my friend bought a house. I understand, obviously, that there are good bars in Baltimore. That's why I said Portland reminded me of the good parts minus the bad parts that I describe above.
posted by codacorolla at 10:13 AM on September 17, 2014


How has this thread gone on this long without someone mentioning Minneapolis? The gourmet donut-to-hipster ratio has got to be similar to Portland.
posted by misterpatrick at 10:53 AM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


what ever you do stay away from abq...
posted by judson at 11:27 AM on September 17, 2014


So where's the next Portland? Missoula?

Akron. The next Portland is Akron, Ohio. We have shitty employment and similar months of unending gray skies, plus long and gruelling winters. Add in the Rust Belt chic and you have yourselves a goddamn hipster paradise here.
posted by slogger at 12:02 PM on September 17, 2014


Parts of Baltimore night-life also tend to revolve around 21 year olds binge drinking and old men trying to pick up on the 21 year olds binge drinking (like Saturday nights in Canton). I'm sure that goes on in Portland, but overall the atmosphere in everywhere I went was much more relaxed and fun than, say, Loonies at 12 AM on a Friday.

Canton is rough but it's close to the Laughing Pint, I suppose.
posted by josher71 at 12:11 PM on September 17, 2014


Watch for coded language: Portland is so safe! I love being around so many progressive people!

This feels really condescending to me.

Also, I've lived in both Portland and Baltimore. Portland seemed safer than Baltimore and there is certainly more leftist politics at the forefront.
posted by josher71 at 12:17 PM on September 17, 2014 [4 favorites]


Doesn't Portland seem safer than Baltimore because Portland is way safer than Baltimore in terms of violent crime?
posted by Justinian at 1:15 PM on September 17, 2014 [3 favorites]


> The next Portland is Akron, Ohio.

I once ate at an Olive Garden there.
posted by research monkey at 2:27 PM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Akron is Ohio's Ohio. It's awful. Godspeed, hipsters, if you decide to move there.
posted by Justinian at 2:33 PM on September 17, 2014 [3 favorites]


pretty much the bowel of America

Steep competition for this title btw
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:36 PM on September 17, 2014 [2 favorites]


@ Vibrissae

>What I don't understand is why anyone would opt to move to a place like Houston

I chose Houston 20 years ago, so: Bite me.

Houston's probably more interesting, vibrant, affordable, and employed than wherever you live. I say this with some confidence, because we do really, really well when compared to virtually ANY metro area by any metric, especially if you include cost of living in your calculations.

The arts here are completely bananas (one local artist just won a MacArthur). Jobs are abundant. You can afford the real estate. The food is completely incredible, at any price point. The urban core is increasingly dense, which is drastically increasing walk- and bike-ability. (Bike culture in particular has exploded in the last 5-10 years.) And, as I noted, we more or less skipped the recession.

All of this creates a gumbo of people from everywhere, which means a diverse and broadly tolerant city. Our three-term mayor's an out lesbian -- in Texas -- and while it was a big story elsewhere, the big story that nobody reported was that it wasn't really an issue in the campaign.

Summer's hot, but the other side of that there's not really a season when you can't do things outside, like biking or grilling or whatever else you might want to do.

tl; dr? Maybe crap on someone else's city.
posted by uberchet at 3:37 PM on September 17, 2014 [5 favorites]


Citylab has a rebuttal up. Still digesting it, but I thought this was interesting:
The unemployment rate for 25- to 34-year-olds with a four-year degree in the Portland metro area in 2012 (the latest year for which this data is available) was 4.8 percent, slightly higher than the average of 4.0 percent for all large metro areas, but only ranking 16th highest of the 52 largest metro areas. Portland’s unemployment rate for this group was exactly the same as Houston's and lower than in Atlanta's and Chicago's (5.2 percent), Los Angeles' (8.3 percent), Las Vegas' (7.2 percent), and even New York's (5.7 percent).
posted by en forme de poire at 3:46 PM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Summer's hot, but the other side of that there's not really a season when you can't do things outside, like biking or grilling or whatever else you might want to do.

I'm not crapping on Houston; if you like the climate more power to you. But for me personally, when I used to live in the south, exactly that sort of long grueling summer heat kept me indoors for a far larger chunk of the year than the occasional Portland winter drizzle does. To each their own.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:54 PM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


(Greg, you're not the one who called my town a "literal and figurative" bowel.)
posted by uberchet at 4:06 PM on September 17, 2014


I know, just putting in my two cents. :)
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:12 PM on September 17, 2014


I lived in Portland for ten years and have lived in Missoula for a year now, and you can take it from me: Missoula is very unlikely to be the next Portland.

It's too small, there isn't enough rental infrastructure, public transit isn't developed or frequent enough, it doesn't have a strong enough cyclist culture, and even though it's a liberal hotbed by Montana standards, it's still just too conservative (just for example, see our recent adventures with our basically pro-rape county attorney). There are a lot of barriers to achieving a sufficient critical mass of Portland-type people here, and there would be significant growing pains and cultural clashes if it were to happen. Also, breweries are only allowed to stay open until 8pm and can only serve you three beers, although apparently the upside is that they don't even need a liquor license to do it. (?!)

(Incidentally, I didn't know that last part until just now - clearly there is an opening for some disruptive artisanal small-batch roving brewery to start serving wacky beer all over the city since you don't even need a liquor license! Come on Missoula - this is exactly what I mean, if there was a loophole like that in Portland, people would already have a whole intense subculture based around it and there'd be like a "Fourth Wednesday" devoted to new hyperlocal ephemeral brewery openings or whatever.)

Anyway, Missoula has a ton of other stuff going for it, don't get me wrong! I love a lot of things about Missoula and, on balance, I like living here a lot. But it's not Portland, and it's not in any danger of becoming Portland any time soon. As an Oregon native, I'd say it has more in common with Eugene, OR in a lot of ways.

I'll let you all know if I start seeing food carts around, though.
posted by dialetheia at 4:32 PM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think I can solve this. The best city is: wherever you are, if you are rich.
posted by spaltavian at 5:01 PM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


I agree, the best city is where you can find me, specifically. Especially if you are rich because then you can take me to dinner!
posted by en forme de poire at 11:43 PM on September 17, 2014 [3 favorites]


"San Francisco has rapidly evolved to a toxic municipality with out-of-control housing (rent, or buy) costs, causing the various sub-groups that created San Francisco dynamic "City by the Bay" meme, to depart"

Or, alternately, you can look at it the way I do, as someone who has rented in S.F. for about five years... or perhaps as someone who bit the bullet and decided to buy a place to live around here.

By the beginning of 2014, average rental prices in Oakland were $1,868, compared to $2,631 in San Francisco and $2,295 in San Jose. But the thing is, if you have lived in S.F. for awhile now, odds are good that you aren't paying today's average rental prices, because you've been around awhile, and quite possibly also have rent control. Over the past five years, my rent has increased by just a tad over 1% per year, average. As my partner and I share one room and sublet the other at somewhat under the current market rate for our neighborhood. As such, our share of the rent is about half of the market average for Oakland today... and falling each year. (Oh, and we can walk to work and have no need to own cars, either, so that's another $300-600 a month saved.)

Meanwhile, over in Oakland, the average rent has increased by around 7-11%, each and every year, for several years now... in all areas except the most dangerous. And Oakland is *MUCH* more dangerous than San Francisco, with a serious gang problems, huge budget problems, and a massively understaffed, underfunded, demoralized police force who are fleeing in droves.

Oakland has been latched on to by self-described artist/creative types as a hip, cheap place to find a huge amount of live/work loft spaces at below SOMA prices... but at what cost?! The vast majority of these new Oaklanders weren't the urban poor, "pushed out" of San Francisco... Rather, they were largely young, college-educated, moderately affluent, disproportionately white individuals who *chose* to move to Oakland, with the promise of low rents, more space, and cool, hip -- and increasingly non-black -- neighbors and neighborhoods. In truth, they are the very definition of gentrification, and have a huge impact in that city, where 25% of the black population have been forced to move. (In fact, some of Oakland's black exodus moved to San Francisco, where city housing policies guarantee a larger supply of low-income housing!)

In both Oakland and San Francisco, there has been a decrease in the black population since 2000... however, in Oakland, that decrease is three times as large as in San Francisco, and that is in a city about half the size of S.F., so about six times as large a decrease, per capita. Meanwhile, in both San Francisco and Oakland, there has been a growth of the Asian and Latino communities, which puts in to question just how large the exodus has been in S.F.'s Mission District.

More noticeably, though, San Francisco's population has gone from 776,733 in 2000 to an estimated 837,442 for 2013... a growth of about 60,000 people.

In comparison, Oakland's population was about 398,000 in 2000 and is now an estimated 406,000... a comparatively stagnant growth level. A big part of the reason for that? San Francisco creates many more jobs. It has a current unemployment rate of 4.5%, which is half that of Oakland's 9% unemployment, less than Portland's 6% rate, and roughly equal to the unemployment rate of Seattle.

So, when you talk about San Francisco being a "toxic municipality", I kinda what to ask, "who for"? For the unemployed with no savings? For unsuccessful underground artists? Perhaps.

... but for those who have been living in established minority communities such as The Mission or Chinatown? For longterm renters? Not really.

And for property owners? And those who come here, with a job lined up at one of the local high tech, biotech, or dotcom companies? Definitely not.

If San Francisco is toxic, it is toxic in the sense that it is a hard place for those who don't have a good job lined up *to move to*, not primarily in the sense that it's a toxic city to continue to live in. Fortunately, there are lots of good jobs, with a local rate of unemployment lower than most of Texas.

Obviously, San Francisco is not entirely immune to supply and demand... and there's a LOT of demand... but to suggest that demand and high prices for n00bs makes a city toxic is a real stretch. I, for one, am extremely glad that I moved to this toxic city. I've made friends, found community, discovered lovers and partners, walked more, and have lost about 50 lbs since moving here.

Really.... San Francisco sucks. Don't go!
posted by markkraft at 12:14 AM on September 18, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'll let you all know if I start seeing food carts around, though.

They're on the corner of Toole and Scott.
posted by ikahime at 12:26 PM on September 18, 2014


They're on the corner of Toole and Scott.

Yup, and they're open every Tuesday night for my convenience! At least last I checked - maybe a few carts have better hours by now, but Tuesday-only carts are still pretty weak.
posted by dialetheia at 12:33 PM on September 18, 2014


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