Hey Toto! As I write this it is foggy, grey, and wet outside my window....sigh. Yet very green, and very clean....everything gets washed regularly up here. I have lived all over the world, and everywhere has good and bad about it. I got tired of living in Hawaii if you can believe it! Anyway...we are now retired and try to go south for the yuckest months so we get the best of both worlds. There is a lot of out door activities up in this part of the world of you are an out doors person. Portland offers a lot of culture packed into a little city and I love a major airport being so close. Others will give you their perspective I am sure. We have a really great group of exmo's that meet up regularly together. Jenny
While I am not in Portland, I can give you some info about the weather and S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder). Many people in the PNW have SAD. Some, like Jenny and my in-laws, go south for the winter/yucky months. Others, like myself, take anti-depressants. Some do both. Along with anti-depressants, a light box helps tremendously. Some people recommend tanning. Working for a dermatologist, I can not recommend that.
The PNW is a great place to live. Like Jenny, I couldn't handle Hawaii. I lasted 7 months and had to get home. The rain keeps everything green and alive, beautiful. It's not the kind of rain that most people think of. It's not a downpour. Usually it's what we call drizzle.
This is not Portland, but where I live in Bonney Lake, WA. This is Mt. Rainier, and I go through this intersection daily. It's just an idea of how things look here in the PNW.
Think smaller-town more hippy version of Seattle. I moved from UT, so it's easy to compare it to that.
Weather: not as hot in summer, not as cold in winter. Snows maybe once per year average. Not as distinctly different four seasons. Sort of just "beautiful" (Apr-Sep) and "gray" (Nov-Feb).
Culture: well, there is some. So that's different than UT. :) Home of the micro-brew movement, lots of stuff like outdoors things, music, clubs, events.
Sociality/work environment: lots of differing people with differing views. OR is about 50/50 conservative / liberal, but Portland is more liberal on average. Lots of rural, farming, etc. not for out of town. The coast is only 1.5 hours away and great for scenery and hiking. Not as much for swimming since it's cold. (But people still do that too.)
It doesn't actually "rain" as much as some might think. But it's overcast the majority of the winter months and it rains often enough that things are pretty wet most of the time. Rain-coats and mold cleaner are par for the course.
That's my ramble. I'd recommend spending a few days here especially during the 'gray' half of the year. If you drive a Subaru Outback and oscillate between blankets+coffee+book on some days and hiking and waterfalls on other days, then you'll probably like it here.
I LOVE it, and can't imagine living anywhere else really. I don't get depressed however. There are so many great things to do here. You can surf and ski within a couple hours drive of each other here. If you like beautiful scenery, and people with great imagination, this is a good landing spot. The drizzle lasts for much of the year, but is something I have come to LOVE. I grew up in the Desert and was used to huge downpours that you couldn't go out in really. This is much different. We go all over in the rain here without a second thought. Just depends on your personality and state of mind!
Wow, you guys are amazing in how quickly you responded and for how much information was given: varied, personal and honest to one's situation. Thank you!
I might have the opportunity to move to Portland; I'll find out within the next few months. I'll keep you informed of my progress and even if it doesn't become a reality. If it does become a possibility, I will definitely take the advice of coming during these grey winter months sporting a raincoat and a good lamp. I don't think I'll do the tanning thing since melanoma r us in my family. Driving south for a weekend here and a weekend there should also help get over the endless grey matter which was suggested. I liked what was said about the PNW getting washed often. Good way of putting it.
But I am outdoorsy, love music and arts and GREEN life. I've been living far too long without trees and a city. Currently I'm living in The Sticks, Utah where I love, love, love my job but hate, hate, hate rural Utah (except for the outdoors part).
Thank you again, so much. Your insights are so valuable to me.