I was told that Portland was the Alaska of the “lower 48”, so I took a travel assignment in Portland. After living in the beautiful Juneau, AK for the summer, my first couple weeks in Portland were quite miserable and I did not see any resemblence between the two states. However, I have now lived in Portland for 15 weeks and it is starting to grow on me, but Portland and I still have a love-hate relationship.
Reasons I love Portland.
The Columbia River Gorge
As many of you know, I love waterfalls, and Oregon has plenty of them!
A short hour drive from Portland will land you in the Columbia River Gorge, which definitely reminds me of a smaller scale Juneau. The Gorge is a canyon of the Columbia River. The canyon stretches through the Cascade Mountain Range, on both the Oregon and Washington borders.
The Gorge is a very diverse and unique place, containing many ecosystems ranging from temperate rainforests to dry woodlands (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbia_River_Gorge). The Gorge has hundreds of hiking trails and dozens of waterfalls!
Some of my favorite waterfalls in the Gorge include: Starvation Creek Falls, Fairy Falls, Gorton Creek Falls, Dry Creek Falls, Elowah Falls, Tunnel Falls, Tamanawas Falls, and Wachella Falls. The falls are even more majestical with icicles!
The Oregon Coast.
The Oregon Coast is nothing like the beaches of Florida that I was used to. There is something majestic about the Oregon Coast that is hard to describe.
The Oregon Coast is so unique because of its beautiful geographical diversity.
Highway 101 goes along the Oregon Coast, which is such an awesome drive. From the drive alone, you can see the waves crashing into the sandstone cliffs, not to mention the adorable little towns that you will pass through.
I love the people I work with and I love my job here in Portland, which is why it is so unfortunate that I don’t like so many things about Portland.
No to mention this spectacular view!
Reasons I severely dislike Portland.
All of these reasons are merely my opinion I have developed over the past couple of months, based soley on my experiences. Unfortunately, these reasons keep me from ever wanting to settle down in Portland. I do believe that a lot of my dislike for Portland is related to the time of year that I traveled here and that I haven’t made many friends on this assignment as I have on other assignments.
I have found the people in Portland to be very intollerant of the behaviors of normal non-Portlanders. Everything is all about the environment, veganism, gluten-free, recycling, etc. Good luck if you don’t believe in these ideas, nor go to extreme measures/risking your own basic comfort needs and safety to go green. Making friends is extremely difficult in Portland, especially if you do not hold the qualities listed above. If you have watched the first episode of the most recent Bachelor, there is a gal from Portland on the show… her behaviors do not surprise me, need I say more?
Good luck finding a guy who has a college education and a big boy job. Good luck finding a date who doesn’t have a beard. Oh not just any old scruff or beard, a long, unruly Paul Bunyun looking beard.
Really? Does any woman find this attractive? To find a date who is college educated, with a job and a car, without an unruly beard and who believes in God… This is like trying to find a unicorn… they don’t exist.
However, if you are looking to date a married couple, you are in luck! There is this concept I had never heard of before moving here called polyamory where a couple, married or not, seek a woman to date, go on adventures with, and be intimate with. There are also many open relationships in the Portland area. Called me old fashion, but I don’t understand the concept of being in a relationship if you want to sleep with other people? Why not just be single and sleep with multiple people?
You Can’t Pump Your Own Gas
Some find this to be awesome. However, I find it very awkward. One of the attendents broke my gas cap so it no longer is attached to my car and I never knew because I don’t pump my own gas. Do I tip the attendent for doing what I wanted to do in the first place? Do I talk to the attendent? It is just awkward.
This was at 2pm on a Saturday. Think about rush hour is like!
I have been told that the city was not prepared for all of the people that it now holds. That is pretty obvious. I would beg to argue that the traffic in Portland and Seattle is worse than in Miami. There is sitting traffic… all of the time.
There is No Concept of the Left Lane (aka fast lane)
This is very typical… me passing in the right hand lane because Mr. Truck thinks he doesn’t understand the passing lane concept.
Oregoneans have no concept of the left lane as being a passing lane. Everyone is always in the left lane, all of the time. Even if there are no cars in the other lanes, they will be in the left lane. Even if they are going slower than all the other lanes, they will be in the left lane. I have almost come to accept that if I want to pass people, I just have to go in the middle or right lane.
Oregonean Drivers Think They are There to Enforce the No Cell Phone Laws
I will be sitting at a traffic signal, on red, and pull out my phone. On multiple occasions, I have had people scream (yes scream) at me to put my phone down. It is like they feel like it is their job to enforce the no cell phone law. Get a life. I only look at it at red lights, which I know probably isn’t legal either, but get a life people.
Driving Laws and Speed Limits
Apparently, running a yellow light is illegal in Oregon. Stupid law. Need I say more? You have to stop for pedestrians, even if there isn’t a cross walk and always at the random cross walks on busy roads. The speed limits are ridiculously low. However, with the trafficand left land drivers, it is rare you’ll actually get to go the speed limit.
Do you see a van parked on the road with your speed posted on it… followed by a bright blinding flash? Too late, you already got a ticket. After you pass the van, a speed limit sign is posted. How is this legal?
There are random crosswalks on busy roads and highways, where there are no traffic signals. So, you could be going the speed limit of 35, 45, 55 and all of a sudden have to come to a complete stop because an individual is walking on a random cross walk. This is ridiculous and dangerous.
Road Conditions and Tire Chains
Although, yes I understand that Indiana is flat, we recieved a great deal of snow in Indiana and never needed tire chains to get through the snow. However, the roads were salted the evening before a big snow storm and there were dozens of trucks plowing before any snow could accumulate. Oregon and I am sure other states, don’t salt the roads because it is bad for the environment and for vehicles. So, instead of salting the roads, you want to put the lives of humans in dangers while driving, but save all of the animals and damage to your vehicle. After living in Indiana for 28 years, I never experienced any of the effects of this claimed damage; if you want to buy a super expensive sports car and dont want the damage of winter or salt on your fancy vehicle, move somewehre warm. When I lived in Miami, I was told that the salt from the ocean would damage my vehicle over time… so, would you Oregoneans suggest removing all of the salt from the ocean as well?
Instead of salting the roads, tire chains and traction tires are required. Well, these damage the roads in a linear fashion from the route tires take, creating hydroplaining hazards. Again, making it very dangerous for drivers with it is raining, which is all of the time.
Instead of salting the roads, Portlanders leave their cars stranded on every major road and put on spikes and get out trekking poles and hike the rest of the way home, followed by calling into work the next day because the ice is too bad to drive. Seriously?
Within a month of me being in Oregon, my car window was shattered, my coach purse (which was not visible) and wallet were stolen at the Gorge. I have an out of state drivers license. Talk about a hastle. I have lived in Miami and Houston and have never had my car broken into. This is probably a lot about luck, but while I am hiking with veterans license plates?? Come on. You’re welcome for your freedom that you had to break into my car and steel my
The Hipsters Who Don’t Work aka Homeless by Choice
I have had people younger than I am, who aren’t homeless, ask me for money. When i tell them I don’t have cash, they offer to walk to the ATM with me. Are you kidding me? What did you do all day? Did you hike all day, smoke pot and hang out with your friends, while I worked all day? Oh, you don’t have money to go to college? Neither did I, so I took out student loans and joined the Army. Don’t ask me for money when I work my ass off to pay my bills and get to travel like I do. Get a job. Join the Army. Go to school.
It rained for 18 days straight last month. Yes, I was warned of this before I moved here, but I was also told that it was a drizzle. I have experienced gloomy, all day rainy days. Days with absolutely no sunshine. This is not a drizzle.
3 thoughts on “My Love-Hate Relationship with Portland”
If you dont like Portland for those reasons: you wont like The Bay Area. Homeless hipters by choice who think you owe it to them though they come from trust fund families are a pet peave of mine. In defence of Portland snow laws: they dont get a lot of snow normally….also about Polyamory vs traditional relationships: female friends have complained to me about similar issues. Polyamory growly popular around the country and isnt uncommon in DC and San Francisco where ive lived. Portland isn’t very diverse like the bay area is which probably makes it hard if you dont fit in perfectly. Here we have all type, all languages, all races, many religions, and no snow haha. But many of the same issues are here too
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Polyamory is a great concept and it seems to work better than traditional relationships (from what I’ve seen), but I still wouldn’t be able to do it! Great for those who can and it works 🙂 I suppose I wouldn’t take too well to the Bay Area, it sounds! Thank you!
This cracked me up. I take it that it all was long before Seattle, or maybe just before. You definitely could screenwrite for Portlandia. The thing is, most are the EXACT same things that have annoyed me about Seattle for the 30 years I’ve been here. Left lane drivers…..oh man…. . I’m not young enough to have any involvement with the polyamory thing – although if I was dating, I don’t think I’d go for the Paul Bunyon/Methuselah beards either…..but it’s not as common on women – but the rest is just spot on (for here in Seattle, too, as you may have noticed).
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