Our wish to move to Portland, OR

For several years, Martina and I have wanted to leave the schlong of the US (Florida) and get ourselves up to Portland, OR. There’s a whole cacophony of reasons, but here’s a few that come to mind:

  • Culture! There’s nothing to do in Florida!
  • Temperate weather: yes, it rains in Portland, but not as much as you think and when the sun comes out, it’s bearable and you just want to be outside! Going outside in Florida for 9 months of the year involves sweating, mosquitoes and heat exhaustion.
  • Soft grass, beautiful scenery, gardens, trees and flowers.
  • Mountains: highest point in OR: 11,249 ft; highest point in FL: 345 ft.
  • Food: being that Florida is just one big theme park, there’s not much creativity when it comes to food and your culinary life seems to center around a deep fat fryer. There’s more creativity in the artsy culture of Portland and so much more to explore.
  • Veganism: Martina is vegan and I’m mostly vegan completely vegan too (as are our kids), so living in a place where every restaurant offers up a big variety of vegan options (beyond chips & salsa, salad with no dressing and steamed vegetables) is exciting to us. And the food supply chain is more extensive to us there, with many more natural food stores to choose from.
  • Happier people: it is well documented that despite all the sunshine, Florida residents are among the saddest in the nation. Everyone we met in Portland was so nice and happy, because they live somewhere awesome.
  • Parks, trails and reserves in huge numbers that look pretty year round.
  • An actual winter, with cool weather, and sweaters, soups and stews.
  • Four seasons.
  • Better schools than Florida.
  • The desire to buy a home that won’t be flooded, wrecked by a hurricane, or eaten by termites.
  • Roses!
  • 90 minutes to the coast, 45 minutes to the mountains.
  • Wine! Martina and I are both quite fond of wine, and the Willamette Valley has some of the best Pinot noir in the country the world. With stunning vineyards just 30 minutes from Portland, we can go wine tasting whenever the hell we want!
  • Artsy subculture: I grew up in Brighton, which is well renowned as an eclectic, artsy city, with artists, musicians and hippies bringing life to the city. Portland really reminds me of that, with its own American twist.
  • No more huge AC bills.
  • Public transport: being able to leave your car at home is a huge deal to us, since we live in one of the biggest urban sprawls the world has ever seen. Being able to take a train, tram or trolley is a huge plus for us.
  • Walking! Again, the layout of Florida is such that you can’t walk anywhere. Even if there are sidewalks, your destination is miles away (because everything is so spread out) and you’ll be a soggy, stinky mess when you arrive. Portland is so beautifully planned out that walking is a real option and helps you keep fit and active in the process.
  • Parks: Portland has a very high number of parks, which will be great for playing with our children. Parks in Florida are hard to come by, and they’re filled with sand, crunchy grass and fire ants.
  • Nightlife: Portland has something for everyone and there are nice places that we as young parents can go to for a nice night out: somewhere more exciting than Chili’s, followed by your neighbourhood bar.
  • Adventures: there’s places to explore in Oregon. From the mountains, waterfalls and lakes to the forests and desert, we can take day trips or weekends away to explore, outdoors, in temperate weather.
  • Voodoo Doughnuts!
  • Outdoor activities: unless you like hunting or fishing, Florida is not much of an outdoorsy state. Oregon has so much in the way of hiking and biking that we’ll be fit in no time!
  • The Farmer’s Market!
  • Local food.

As you can see, we’re just not cut out to live here with the dreamers in the swamp. Oregon is calling our name and we can’t wait to get there!

By Dave

Dave is the proud father of Ellie and Jack. There's nothing that makes him happier than spending time with his incredible wife and their amazing children. He's a civil/mechanical engineer and he also builds and maintains WordPress websites.


  1. Hey Dave, just read this, my brother in law has just moved from Staffordshire to Florida about 30 mins from you, we were talking about how nice it would be to live in Florida last night, I just read this while paying my bill and now had second thoughs about ever living in Florida

  2. Born and raised in Florida. Living in Portland now for about 5 years.
    Good list! The only thing I will sort of disagree with is the happy people thing. Portland is actually very passive aggressive. The one thing I most agree with is the sunny days. It’s not often, but when it does happen, they are fantastic.

    1. Yes, I suppose my view from a 10-day vacation was centered on an endorphin-high and my perception may have been overstated. But nonetheless, I don’t imagine that people could be much more miserable than they are here.

    1. Not yet :( we’re still waiting on that opportunity to arise to make it happen, but that hasn’t happened yet. Soon I’m hoping!

  3. Just got back from Portland and I am already job searching there. They are light years ahead of Florida even though the St. Pete area is desperately trying to achieve what Portland and Austin have been doing for years. Everything you stated about Oregon is true. The people are friendly, laid back, it is steeped in culture and they embrace green living. As far as the rainy, cool weather is concerned, it is better than a heat index of 105 and 89% humidity.

  4. My wife and I are planning the same move. We have placed a move by date of Dec 2016 on it. I was born in Dunedin, FL and have lived here my entire 38 (hot and humid) years on this planet. We are both excited for the change of pace and temp. We will be selling our house and using the profit to make the move. The only thing that I have found that is difficult is the actual moving. The question is do we sell everything and buy new there or pay to move a 3 bedroom house full of stuff 3200 miles. (= aprox. $5,000-10,000)
    Any thoughts on the best plan would be helpful.

    1. The cost of the move is certainly significant. I’m anticipating spending up to $10,000 and will largely leave things here and buy new when we get there. Obviously, if you have a lot of furniture that you love or that is worth a lot of money, it’s probably worth paying to have it moved.

      Good luck to you with your move. I truly hope you make it happen by your target date!

  5. We live in St. Petersburg currently too and plan to move to Oregon. I stumbled upon this and had to share. We got here from Kentucky by boat and the boat thing did not work out and everything has been a struggle. I miss seasons, snow, cool air, lack of bugs, hiking, camping, country roads, better education systems, and being able to leave the city. I teach and the school system is horrendous. Its in the lower income area with difficult behaviors. We want to try Oregon. Its seems to be a good fit for our personalities. But we will move with only the items that fit in our car with a dog next summer. I hope it works out for everyone. Thanks for letting me share.

  6. Dave,

    I was just reading your article and I must say it’s not just Portland OR, but rather a lot of the Norrtheastern, Mid-Eastern and Midwest states. I am originally from Africa and lived in Orlando FL from 2003 to 2010. My wife was born and raised in FL. Our first three kids were born in FL. We didnt know what we were missing until as fate will have it, we moved to MA late 2010 due to a job offer. The winters were brutal but the 4 seasons are so worth it. A year and a half ago we were planning on moving out of MA, again for career reasons, but we just couldn’t let go the awesomeness of having four seasons and the plethora of amazing diversified outdoor scenery you get to enjoy in some of these other parts of the country compared to FL. We knew moving back to FL was a no-no after having experienced the northeast lifetsyle and outdoors. We finally settled for the western part of Richmond VA, just 25 minutes drive from downtown last June and we love it. In fact I met a mate of mine who was in Grad school in FL with me and he said he moved out of FL right after grad school to Richmond VA and doesn’t plan on ever going back to FL despite being raised in FL. Trust me FL has a lot to do in order to catch up to some of these Northeastern, and Western states. I like your statement about the highest elevations. Once you live in some of these states, you get a better meaning of what nature should be. Nothing is fake about the scenery. What you see is what you get from mother nature’s awesomeness. It’s just something to do with the 4 seasons I believe. It’s like everything is wiped clean and renewed every 3 or so months; oh and talk about the crisp air you breath during the first month or so of winter. It’s so refreshing. So I think you are onto something great here by thinking about moving from FL to OR.

    Good luck


  7. Vancouver, WA resident here. Came to this post via your ‘Sleep is God: Go worship’ post, and really enjoyed the Russell Foster TED talk.

    I couldn’t help checking out why someone would want to move out west. Makes me think of something that my friend across the river in Portland saw the other day. Someone had written in a public bathroom, “Stop moving to Portland.” We had a chuckle over how they’d really missed their audience.

    Neither of us is especially bitter about the dramatic cost of living increases we witnessed in Seattle, where we both moved from to be with family. Watching your city attract waves of brogrammers and culture vampires is tough though. Folks seem to think that they can buy their way into a hip, artsy scene without displacing the very people who make it attractive.

    I’m not here to repeat the message from the bathroom wall. Humans should be free to go and live where they want to. Instead, I’d like to encourage you to make another list, one of all the things you want to give and create when you get there. You’ve figured out why you want Portland, but why does Portland want you?


    PS: Yes, it really is awesome out here! Errr, I mean, it’s actually miserable and rains all the time ; )

    1. Hi Scott,

      I know what you mean and I don’t look forward to being part of the cliche of people that moved to the area in this decade. I see the burden that the influx of people is putting on Portland and how it’s negatively affecting rent/house prices and causing local landmarks to be razed to make way for new developments.

      With that in mind however, me and my family align closely with what I would coin “Portland values” that seek to promote local trade, quirkiness, art and history. I certainly plan to keep those values alive and contribute to that. Sorry to be one (four) more coming to the area. Save some nice weather for us!

      1. Dave,

        It sounds like you’ve got a pretty nuanced understanding of the situation and you’ll fit right in. Best of luck making your move.

        Can’t make any promises about the weather. Looks like the rain is back for another 8 months!

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