Considering a move to the Rose City?

People move to Portland for all sorts of reasons. In fact, Oregon was the number one moving destination in the country as of earlier this year, and the majority of those incomers were Portland-bound.

If you’re thinking of making the move, you probably already have an idea of what to expect when you move to Portland, but there are just a few things you should know first. Starting with our fabled rainy weather.

1. What you’ve heard about the weather is (mostly) true

pioneer courthouse square umbrella statue

But it’s not all true!

It does rain pretty often — especially from October through May — but we don’t get as much rain as many people think.

Portland’s average yearly rainfall is actually about the same as most major cities on the East Coast. That’s because the rainfall in Portland is usually more of a consistent drizzle — not the torrential downpour some areas get.

Summers in Portland can be surprisingly warm and dry. (This year we broke our local record for the most 90-degree days in a year.)

Portlanders don’t let rain or heat stop us, but some of us have a tendency to overreact to forecasts for snow.

Pro tip: Most natives don’t use umbrellas. We prefer to brave the weather in a quality rain jacket with a hood.

2. Our geographic divisions matter

portland trimet transportationPortland is broken down into five geographic quadrants (with an unofficial but important sixth). If you know them, not only will getting around the city be a breeze, but you’ll sound like a seasoned Portland veteran when you talk to your neighbors.

You’ll regularly hear people talking about Portland’s five quadrants: North, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest. East Portland is really a part of the city too, and most of its residents believe it should be designated as Portland’s sixth quadrant. In fact, more people live there than in any other district.

Where in Portland you choose to live will probably depend on several factors like, where you work, what kind of housing you’re looking for, and what leisure activities you’re interested in. Check out this neighborhood guide to get a sense for each one.

3. Day-trip opportunities abound

There’s no shortage of fun things to do outside of Portland’s city limits.

Go hiking in the Columbia River Gorge or ski on Mt. Hood.

mt hood oregon

Photo: 305 Seahill on Flickr

If you like wine tasting, the scenic wineries in the Willamette Valley are less than an hour away.

Or, if you don’t mind a couple hours in the car, head to the Oregon coast for a weekend getaway or even just the day. The water is usually freezing, but the beaches themselves can be surprisingly warm and sunny in the summer.

4. Food, beer, music, sports, repeat

Like any city, Portland has its own unique culture. Portlanders are passionate about the things they love. Here are a few things you’ll find plenty of in Portland:


From Voodoo Doughnuts to the city’s numerous food cart pods, Portland has a great food scene, and locals are always happy to tell you their favorite spots.

Don’t pass up classics like the Waffle Window and Pok Pok, but leave room for some of the undiscovered foodie gems in Portland.


Portland is a major hub for microbreweries and beer aficionados. Many breweries even offer tastings.

A photo posted by Kenzie (@noblecook8) on


There’s plenty of opportunity to listen to live music here. Portland has dozens of small venues like the Crystal Ballroom and the Aladdin Theater where you can catch up-and-coming acts before they make it big.


Portlanders don’t kid around about their sports. From Blazermania to the Timbers Army, you won’t find more loyal fans anywhere.

Fun fact: Hefeweizen is now the official craft beer of the Portland Timbers.

5. Portland is popular

Not so long ago, many Californians moved to Portland to avoid the traffic and general over-crowdedness of cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Portland is still a great place to live, but enough people have moved here in recent years that it’s not the quaint, small-town escape it once was.

Don’t let that deter you though! Portland has grown into a happening city, but it’s still a far cry from the sprawling suburbs and 5-lane highways of L.A.

shopping6. There’s no sales tax

Oregon is one of five states with no sales tax. The price on the tag is what you’ll pay at the counter.

Many Washingtonians shop in Oregon for that very reason. Jantzen Beach, a giant shopping center, is located conveniently on the Oregon side of the Columbia River.

7. We don’t pump our own gas

Only New Jersey and Oregon prohibit drivers from pumping their own gas. Why?

Once upon a time, all gas stations were full service, and nobody pumped their own gas. When self-service stations started opening in California, the rest of the country decided to follow suit. Except Oregon and New Jersey that is. Don’t ask us why.

If you forget to stay in your car on your next trip to an Oregon gas station, you can rest assured that most gas station attendants are well trained in the art of gently reminding out of state drivers.

8. It’s pronounced Wil-LAM-ette

It’s hard to get around in Portland without mentioning the Willamette River that runs roughly south-to-north through the city.

Here’s a tip for blending in with the locals: pronounce the name with emphasis on the second syllable, like this:

Ready to Move?

Are you ready to join us in Stumptown? We’d love to have you! Just don’t forget to bring your hiking boots and leave the umbrella at home.

If you live in an Oregon city outside of Portland and need to sell your current home before you move to the city, or if you’re curious about buying a new home in Portland, get in touch!


Photos: brx0 on Flickr, Ian Sane on Flickr, meridican on Flickr