Moving to Portland Oregon
from the Bay Area
Thinking of moving to Portland Oregon from the Bay Area? You’re not alone. Many Californian’s are moving to Portland for the lower cost of living, greater connection to the outdoors and the unique lifestyle that comes with Portland. To help you consider relocating we’ve highlighted the biggest factors in making a major move. Jobs, recreation, wining/dining, attributes, and comparison of costs and weather.
PORTLAND OREGON JOBS
Portland metro has a robust economy laced with a diversity of industries and employment opportunities. Known as a hub for apparel design, tech innovation, and healthcare research.
Nike has been a major employer in the region with over 12,000 employees on their 400 acre Beaverton campus. They are also heavily involved with University of Oregon’s athletics. Numerous Apparel and Footwear brands have design offices in Portland Metro with Adidas, Columbia Sportswear, Under-Amour, Keen, and Doc Martins making the region a nexus of apparel design.
The world’s largest semiconductor manufacturer is located 20 minutes west of downtown Portland. Operating on 4 large campuses in Hillsboro, Intel is the largest private employer in Oregon with 21,000 employees. Their presence for cutting edge research and manufacturing has attracted numerous other tech related companies to Washington County. Often referred to as Silicon Forest, a play on the Bay Area’s Silicon Valley. Portland is also evolving into an affordable alternative destination for technology startups from the Bay Area and Seattle.
4 of the top 5 employers in Portland Metro are in the Healthcare field. Healthcare providers Providence Health, Legacy Health and Kaiser Permanente generate 40,000 jobs. Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) is a nationally distinguished research university. They employ over 17,000 through their dental, medical, nursing and pharmacy schools. If you’re a healthcare provider or researcher moving to Portland from the Bay Area there are numerous employment opportunities here.
We love to give relocating families tours of Portland and surround areas. Let’s explore the unique charm of the different neighborhoods and find the best place to call home.
PORTLAND OREGON RECREATION
Moving to Portland Oregon and the Pacific Northwest has some amazing advantages. Recreation and outdoor fun probably being the biggest. Rivers, oceans, mountains and forests all within a short distance from the City of Portland.
Located at the convergence of the Williamette & Columbia Rivers, Portland offers quick and easy access to water sports, including fishing, sailing, motor boating and swimming. The Columbia River salmon run brings anglers to the shores from April to November to catch a variety of salmon species like Chinook, Sockeye, Coho and Steelhead. Oregon is also home to a number of legendary flyfishing rivers including the Deschutes, McKenzie, Clackamas, Rogue and Umpqua. Drive one hour east of Portland to get your adrenaline fix with world-class windsurfing and kitesurfing in Hood River. The wind consistently blows through the narrow Columbia River canyon walls.
Prefer winter sports? Portland has numerous skiing options and much less traffic than trying to funnel up to Lake Tahoe from San Francisco. Mt. Hood, the volcano mountain easily visible from Portland is a 1.5 hour drive. It has multiple ski resorts to choose from: Mt Hood Meadows, Timberline, Copper Canyon, Summit & Ski Bowl. Meadows offers a variety of terrain and above tree line skiing. A favorite with Portlanders. Timberline is the only ski resort open 12 months out of the year and starting point for backcountry skiing, as well as, mountaineering to the summit. While there make sure to grab lunch or a beer in the historic Timberline Lodge. Imagine how long it took to drive there in the 1930’s. Copper Canyon, Summit and Ski Bowl are great family destinations and have more intermediate terrain.
Drive 3.5 hours to central Oregon and you’ll find the 6th largest ski resort in the U.S. Mt. Bachelor has 3,365 feet of vertical drop on its steep volcano cone. After fresh tracks and sore legs enjoy apre-ski beers in Bend. One of the most brewery dense cities in the U.S. If you’re interested in touring the mountains or getting an inside scoop into local skiing, Josh is an avid skier and will guide you toward the best stashes.
Worried about leaving the Ocean breeze from the Bay Area? No problem, Portland is an hour and half drive to the Pacific Ocean. Pick from a variety of picturesque beach towns that dot the Oregon Coast to vacation or day-trip. Rent a boat and throw crab traps to bring a crab feast home. Try paragliding from the beach with the consistent and strong winds.
Lastly, you’ll quickly learn that Oregonians and Portlanders alike are avid hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. There’s a plethora of great hiking trails within an hour of Portland. Explore the popular hikes to waterfalls, up volcanos, views of the Columbia River and heavily forested isolation. Portland has long embraced outdoor spaces. Located within the city limits of Portland is one of the largest urban forests in the U.S. 5,200 acre Forest Park has 80 miles of trails where you’ll find a healthy running community. A favorite activity for locals is to hike the many neighbor parks scattered through the city.
WINERIES, BREWERIES & DINING
If you’re moving to Portland Oregon you will be pleasantly surprised to find amazing wine country within an hour drive, the best breweries in the country and a culinary kaleidoscope at half the cost of San Francisco.
As Napa Valley is known for their bold Cabernet Sauvignon and buttery Chardonnays, the Willamette Valley boasts French-like Pinot Noir and crisp Pinot Gris & Blancs. Pop out for a day trip to explore the 200+ wineries in the Valley. Expect lower tasting fees and smaller crowds than Napa and Sonoma Counties.
Beer lovers from around the world recognize Oregon as one of the pioneers of the craft beer scene. In fact, Portland has the most breweries of any city in the world, with around 80 different breweries in the Portland Metro. Josh’s top recommendations include: Breakside Brewery, Gigantic Brewing, Ruse Brewing, Ex-Novo Brewing and Pfriem Family Brewers (in Hood River).
The food scene in Portland is next level. A few years back high quality Japanese ramen began taking over the city, seek out Afuri or Izakaya Kichinto to start. Long before food carts were trendy, Portland has had an army of food cart pods located throughout the city offering amazing (and cheap) options. Unlike San Francisco, you can usually get reservations to high end restaurants at decent prices. Each neighborhood has a unique offering of restaurants but Portlanders love to explore the city for good food. It’s common to see lines outside restaurants without reservations. And brunch is a very big deal here. Again expect lines on Saturday and Sundays between 10-2. Oh yeah, donuts are serious here. Avoid the tourist lines for Voodoo donuts and get dirty at Blue Star.
LIVING IN PORTLAND, OREGON
Portland is unique, different from most places and that’s what makes it so great. When you relocate or visit the city you’ll notice a few things immediately and others it takes time to put together.
Here’s a quick list to help:
No sales tax in Oregon.
Portland requires gas to be pumped by a gas station attendant at all times.
Bike culture is strong here with many bike friendly streets. Environmentally friendly actions are encouraged.
National chain stores and restaurants are looked down upon and not prevalent.
Portland has the most strip clubs per capita of any city in the world (at least before covid). It’s part of the local culture, with a mix of men and women. Try stripperaoke at the Devil’s Point.
Portland embraces weird and is proud of it.
COST OF LIVING AND WEATHER
Finally, let’s compare the cost of living and weather between the two areas
|Average Home Cost||$514,000||$1,360,000|
|Median Property Tax||1.04%||0.67%|
|Median Household Income||$78,000||$115,000|
|Average Commute||26 minutes||32 minutes|
|Average Gas Price||$2.80||$3.56|
|Cost of Pint of Beer||$6.00||$8.00|
|Average Summer |
|Average Winter |
|Average Rain (inches/year)||43||25|
|Average Snow |