Although not its capital, Portland is Oregon’s biggest and most populated city. Situated in the shadow of snow-capped Mount Hood, Portland is historically a port city, straddling both the Columbia and Willamette rivers. Nicknamed the 'City of Roses', Portland is known for its picture-perfect scenery, beautiful greenery, and hipster microbreweries and coffeehouses.
Living in Portland as an Expat
With thriving shipping and technology industries, newcomers with the appropriate skills should not struggle to find a job in Portland. They may also be able to find work in tourism, at one of the two Fortune 500 companies that call this city home, or in Portland’s successful creative and manufacturing industries.
Although costs can be high, newcomers to Portland will have plenty of choice when it comes to accommodation. The city is populated by small and simple apartments, as well as grand luxury high-rises, and large houses with big gardens, both in and outside of the centre.
Aside from being one of the top biking cities in the country, Portland is also known for its stellar public transport system. Newcomers will be able to get everywhere in the city on the TriMet buses and trains. In fact, owning a car is wholly unnecessary in the city, but those adventurers who want to explore further afield will be able take advantage of several car-rental companies in Portland.
Cost of living in Portland
While the cost of living in Portland is higher than the national average, it is still cheaper than in cities such as New York and the major European capitals. Rent and utilities are expensive, and food prices are not cheap either. In order to afford the high quality of life that Portland offers, newcomers should negotiate the appropriate level of salary before relocating.
Expat families and children
Portland is home to some top-rated public schools, all of which are state funded. As schools are allocated depending on which district one resides in, however, newcomers should consider this when choosing a neighbourhood. There are also a number of high-quality private and international schools in Portland. Parents wanting to send their children to these schools should be prepared for the exorbitant costs involved.
Climate in Portland
Although much of the year in Portland is cloudy, with above average rainfall compared to the rest of the US, this gives way to a beautifully green spring each year. These months stretch into a warm and dry summer with clear skies, while winter, on the other hand, brings wet and cold weather, with occasional snow falls.
Boasting a high quality of life, friendly locals, good public transport and oh so many food trucks, it’s no wonder newcomers to Portland never take long to fall in love with their new home.
►See Pros and Cons for Moving to Portland to learn more about the ups and downs of life in the city.
►Wondering how to keep busy in the City of Roses, see Lifestyle in Portland.
"Eat at food carts. Get a bike. Visit the Colombia Gorge and the many mountain lakes in the area (not necessarily on your bike though). Portland is surrounded by beautiful nature and the Oregon Coast is only an hour and fifteen minutes away." Read what Peter, a Danish expat, has to say about life in Portland in his interview.
Are you an expat living in Portland?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Portland. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
Cigna Global Health Insurance
With Cigna, you won't have to rely on foreign public health care systems, which may not meet your needs. Cigna allows you to speak to a doctor on demand, for consultations or instant advice, wherever you are in the world. They also offer full cancer care across all levels of cover, and settle the cost of treatments directly with the provider. Cigna is currently offering a 10% discount for seniors (over 60) on their Silver package.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.