The City of Roses – Portland is not only the largest city of Oregon in the United States, but also the second most attractive city to college educated people in the nation. With a population of more than 6 lakh people in 145 square miles, this is the 26th most populated city in the country. The Portland MSA has more than 2 billion residents while Portland CSA has more than 3 billion. Not only has Portland been able to attract an incredible rise in its population over the last decade, but also boost up its GDP per person by 50 percent. This is more than any other city in the US. With its population and economy grew its array of nicknames as well, including PDX, P Town, Bridgetown, Stumptown, Soccer City, Portandia and of course the City of Roses due to its perfect climate for growing roses – dry summers and rainy winters. Portland is also known as one of the most environmentally conscious cities in the world. With an unofficial slogan “Keep Portland Weird”, the city ensures to keep itself relevant to the people with a young soul.
Portland stands 42nd in the world in terms of quality of living based on factors such education, recreation, transportation, housing, banking, environment, political stability and so on. The city has a location which serves as an advantage to nurture a wide range of industries.
With energy cost that’s very low, transportation that’s convenient and resources that are available as well as international air terminals, intercontinental railroads and huge shipping amenities, Portland continues to be a significant distribution center and has successfully given birth to several substantial industries. The city’s port is the biggest in terms of fresh water, second biggest in terms of wheat shipping in the world and third biggest in terms of export tonnage on the west coast of the country with one of the biggest commercial dry docks. More than 13 million tons of cargo is annually handled by the marine terminals of Portland.
Portland has a steel industry dating back even before the World War 2. This thriving industry turned out to the largest industry in terms of employment in Portland by the 1950s. Schnitzer Steel Industries is a well-known company with a shipping record of more than a billion ton of scrap metal to Asia. There are several other big names in the industry including Oregon Steel Mills and ESCO Corporation.
Another significant element of the economy of Portland is technology. There are above 1200 technology companies operating within the Portland metro. With such a huge number of high technology firms as well as the plethora of trees in Portland, the area is often referred to as the Silicon Forest. With established support facilities available for online startups, electronics and software firms, Portland offers a lucrative platform for technological advancement, aided by business incubators and seed funding companies. The biggest employer of the technological industry of Portland continues to be Intel Corporation, the manufacturer of computer components. The company alone is the employment provider for more than 15 thousand people.
There are various athletic and footwear companies in the Portland metro as well. Big brands such as Adidas, Nike, Hi Tec Sports, Keen, LaCrosse Footwear and Columbia Sportswear have the US headquarters in Portland, while other major brands such as Amer Sports and Merrell have their design studios in this area. Portland also produces a number of goods such as food items, electronics, machines and transportation equipment.
With an unemployment rate of 4.6 percent which is lower than the national average and job growth of 3.3 percent, Portland offers a productive platform to employers as well as job seekers. With a stable, productive and well educated work force with low job turnover, Portland ranks as the 5th best place for business and career and 37th in job growth. The job market continues to improve with businesses adding more than 5500 jobs, reducing the metro rate of unemployment further down, making it the lowest in the decade, and lower than the rates in Oregon and US.
More than 30 thousand jobs have grown in the metro compared to last year. The employment game seems to be extremely strong in the construction and financial companies. The top employers of Portland continues to be Intel Corporation with more than 15 thousand employees, followed by Providence Health System with more than 13 thousand employees, Oregon Health and Science University with more than 11 thousand employees and Fred Meyer Stores with more than 10 thousand employees. Legacy Health System comes next with more than 7 thousand employees, Kaiser Foundation and Safeway Incorporation with more than 6 thousand employees each, and Nike Inc. and Albertson’s Food Centers with more than 5 thousand employees each.
Portland has acquired the 32nd position in education. With 6 public school districts and several private schools, Portland offers a number of choices for those seeking primary and secondary education. The biggest school district is Portland Public Schools with 85 public schools. The biggest enrollment is achieved by Grant High School in the Grant Park area. The oldest public school is Lincoln High School. Other public schools include Roosevelt High School, Cleveland High School and Benson Polytechnic High School. Some of the private schools in Portland include Portland Adventist Academy, Trinity Academy and The Northwest Academy.
There are several educational institutions in Portland for higher learning. The university with the second highest rate of enrollment in the state is Portland State University; the first being the Oregon State University. It has around 30 thousand students. This university is among top 15 percent of US universities for undergraduate education as well as recognized worldwide for its urban planning and MBA. Portland also has the well-known Oregon Health & Science University within its border. Other distinguished private universities of the city include University of Portland, Lewis & Clark College and Reed College with the 52nd position as the best college in US.
Anyone who wishes to move to Portland requires having knowledge on the cost of living in that area. The cost of living in Portland is around 7.2% higher than that of the US average. The housing market of this city tends to be quite competitive. There exist a huge number of homes consisting of single families. As a result, the areas tend to be pretty peaceful. However, due to the huge numbers, the city’s supply of houses tends to be relatively limited as well. In fact, this city has obtained the 3rd position in terms of the lowest vacancy rate in the nation. Such a low rate of vacancy for houses is becoming a reason for the prices of the housing market in Portland to go up rapidly. The median price of homes has gone up by more than 6 percent compared to the previous year, reaching approximately 3.4 lakh dollars. However, the average price per square foot of an apartment in the city is relatively low, around $174. Aside from housing costs, one needs to spend an average of around $138 for utilities including electricity, water, heating and garbage. Costs of water and sewer continue to be on the rise in this city as well as internet costs at around $60 monthly, which is 26 percent higher than the US average.
Portland is famous for its transportation modes. People who love a little nature can walk or bike and others can easily get public transportation to reach their destination. The city has around 319 miles of bike lanes all over the city. Not surprisingly, the city has the largest number of bicycle commuters in the nation – around 6%. For others who want the convenient ride of public transportation, they can get their hands on a monthly pass of Tri-Met public transport costing around $100. The same costs $26 for honored citizens including seniors and disabled citizens. People who prefer driving requires paying around $3 for per gallon of gas which is around 13 percent higher than the US average.
Food prices can be relatively higher in Portland compared to the national average as well. A 3 course meal for two people in a mid-range eatery can cost about $45 while a wallet friendly eatery meal can cost around $11. Groceries can be either on the higher or the lower side of the US average depending on the type of item. While the price of eggs tend to be 25% higher in Portland than the US average, the price of apples tend to be 20% lower in Portland than the US average. There are around 91 breweries in the metro area. However, the beer cost is still around 28 percent higher than the national average. This sounds worse accompanied with high state income taxes. But the great news is that there is no sales tax in Portland.
No matter what one prefers as leisure activity, Portland provides it all. It is the perfect spot for outdoor adventure. Beginning with parks, there are 70 miles of trails in Portland’s Forest Park. This means one doesn’t need to go far from the town to hike a trail or merely observe natural wildlife. With more than 300 miles of bike lanes and paths referred to as bike boulevards, the city offers cycle lovers optimum opportunities. This is particularly true when biking in the Columbia River Gorge which is literally a heaven for cyclists. For those wishing to do the same in water, there is kayaking options in and around Portland. There is the Willamette River dividing the city into east side and west side and providing a watery playground for those interested in kayaking, swimming or fishing.
There are a round-up of gardens and parks that provide fresh air to those tired of the hectic life. Washington Park includes museums, gardens, zoo and a lot more. With those seeking to get an amazing view of Mount Hood, they can just go to Portland Japanese Garden which showcases serene Japanese beauty of the nature. There are Chinese beauties too in the city, such as the Lan Su Chinese Garden with delicious tea assortments to try. Waterfalls exist in their most gorgeous forms in Silver Falls State Park which is the biggest state park in Oregon with more than 9 thousand acres. The city lives up to its name of The City of Roses with gardens such as Portland Rose Garden in Washington Park, nurturing more than 10 thousand roses.
For a little more adventure, one can try ice skating in Portland either in the indoor rinks or outdoor facilities, the latter being only available during winter. For silent adventures for the eyes, one can snowshoe on Mount Hood with the minimum expense. The same Hood provides an arena for winter sports as well. Stepping away from the whites of winter, the city offers a splendid summer and spring with its greenery. Being one the greenest cities of the world, Portland is perfect for scenic picnics. For free but interesting events such as concerts and climbing, one can sign up for Portland Parks & Recreation’s Summer Free For All program offering more than 250 events beginning from June and ending in September.
For quieter leisure times, one can enjoy reading books in one of the greatest bookstores of the world and the landmark of the city – Powell’s City of Books. It spreads on a whole city block with 3500 sections consisting of more than a million books. For art and science enthusiasts, there are museums such as Portland Art Museum and Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. For shoppers, there are Portland Saturday Market, which is the biggest weekly open air crafts market in the United States, and Portland Farmers Market, which is known as one of the finest farmers’ markets in the world. For coffee lovers, there’s Stumptown Coffee Roasters, which focuses on various flavors of coffee varietals since 1999. Portland is known worldwide for the robust street food with more than 6 hundred licensed carts. Not only does the food make this city robust, Portland also has one of the most vibrant music scenes in the country with many karaoke bars, performing arts institutions including Portland Opera, and theaters. It doesn’t matter what Portland is called – P town, PDX or City of Roses – it is surely a destination to not miss.