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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 07-19-07, 07:07 AM   #1
thebristolkid
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Talk to me about Portland

Myself and a friend are thinking about moving from Philadelphia to Portland (Oregon). Give me the total rundown...neighborhoods to look at, what are some good bike shops, also, give me the general pros/cons of living there. Is it all it's hyped up to be?

I visited Portland for a few days about 4 years ago, and I was impressed, but we're planning a trip in the next month to do some advanced recon. Thanks up front for all your advice.
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Old 07-19-07, 09:40 AM   #2
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yea im kind of wondering the same thing. i want to go next summer to check it out.
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Old 07-19-07, 09:50 AM   #3
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This has been discussed recently. I just moved here (from Salt Lake,Utah) and I have to say (aside from brake less being illegal) that Portland is as close to Utopia as I have ever known. Come visit. People can bad mouth pdx for being "too cool" (for school), and what not, but I have never let that type of aloof stuck uppery affect me. I have actually found the city to be extremely friendly, and of course extremely bike friendly.
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Old 07-19-07, 09:57 AM   #4
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Gross generalization: East side where the hipsters/hippies roll. West Hills for yuppies. Downtown is a mixed bag/bum central. Pearl District is for yuppies/plastic people. North East parts have their moments too. My favorite part of Portland is between Division and Belmont St in the 25th to 40th Street blocks. (SE Portland.) It is by far the most bike friendly.
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Old 07-19-07, 10:06 AM   #5
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i've heard people joke that Pennsylvania and Portland have some sort of exchange program, theres a lot of people from here living there and vise versa.
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Old 07-19-07, 10:14 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by thebristolkid View Post
Myself and a friend are thinking about moving from Philadelphia to Portland (Oregon). Give me the total rundown...neighborhoods to look at, what are some good bike shops, also, give me the general pros/cons of living there. Is it all it's hyped up to be?
Do you have a job lined up or any sort of marketable skill? If not do you like talking on the phone?
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Old 07-19-07, 10:33 AM   #7
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I'll be there soon. definitely looking forward to it!
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Old 07-19-07, 10:48 AM   #8
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Do you have a job lined up or any sort of marketable skill? If not do you like talking on the phone?


i like talking on the phone and i plan on living there for a bit next summer.

all i have to say about the city is the people there generally seem like they'll be jerks, but really turn out to be friendly. i don't think i ever took a tram/bus ride that i didn't have a good conversation with a complete stranger.

great town.
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Old 07-19-07, 11:31 AM   #9
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I grew up in a boring town called Beaverton, which is just outside Portland, and I never really went into the city too much, just the occasional walk along the river or concert. I went to college for 5 years, and now I am living in Portland. I couldn't be happier.

I live in the Southwest area, right by Portland State University. I'm really starting to discover what makes this city so great, and what I was missing all of those years being just 20 minutes away.

The food. Portland is nationally known for having great food, but what sets it apart from other cities, is that our great food isn't in fancy restaurants and diners; it's everywhere. The small podunk bar, the burrito van; it's all really good. We have some damn good fancy restaurants too. =)

The bars. We have a lot of bars, and many of them have great music. My current favorite is called the Candlelight, a small jazz bar that has live music every night at 9pm. Pool table and friendly folks too. There's another, Kelly's Olympia I believe is the name. Vintage motorcycles hang from the ceiling, and I always have an amazing time when I am there.

The cycling. It's amazing. It's scenic. it's functional. It's just great.

The work. It can be tough. Especially if you're in a creative field. I'm a graphic designer, and while there is a lot of work available, there's a lot of competition. I hear it's similar in other fields to. However, Craigslist exists. So be prepared to use it to find work.

The drugs. Portland has a drug problem. Don't let anyone say it's not that bad, because it is. If you're into drugs, cool; I am not, and it saddens me often. Portland has the highest teenage heroin use in the United States. Meth is here too, but, that's just the Northwest. You'll see it. I hate it.

The homeless. Never bothered me really, still don't. Saw a homeless man giving another man an HJ in front of a public fountain in broad daylight last week, which pissed me off because there are kids that play in that area, but that's not an everyday thing.

The folks. People here are good people. There's the yuppie *******s that act holier than thou, but they are very easy to ignore, in favor of the large amounts of great people you will meet from all walks of life. This city is diverse, and it only takes an hour of walking around to realize that. If you're willing to talk to strangers, you will make friends everywhere you go.

The beauty.
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Old 07-19-07, 11:40 AM   #10
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Grab a bike messenger and shout "look, I have a fixie!" You'll be hired on the spot.
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Old 07-19-07, 12:54 PM   #11
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I've been here for about 2 years and love it. The rain can get tiresome, but only after about 3-4 months of a non-stop drizzle. I definitely think North Portland and NW Portland are on their way to becoming the next trendy parts of town. Basically wherever people of color are beginning to be pushed out...
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Old 07-19-07, 01:11 PM   #12
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hows the cost of living compared to other cities?
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Old 07-19-07, 01:11 PM   #13
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luvthemas and I were up in PDX with two other friends, living with ::velolove:: and we had a blast. Such an easy city to ride in, because drivers (in our experience) are very aware of cyclists. We stayed in the Southeast, at 35th and Hawthorne. Hawthorne and Bellmont are two pretty cool stretches of road. As for shops, check out:
-Bike Central (downtown), some cool vintage parts, very track/fixed friendly
-Veloshop (downtown), they have an entire room of Deep V's (if that turns you on), plus Molly (owner) is really cool
-Veloce (Southeast), Great place to ogle vintage road and track bikes
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Old 07-19-07, 01:29 PM   #14
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hows the cost of living compared to other cities?
I haven't been to Portland since about 2001, but I remember the cost of most things being much more than I was used to, coming from Alabama (not backwards-nowhere Alabama, like, say, Atmore). I imagine it's more expensive now.
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Old 07-19-07, 01:38 PM   #15
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hows the cost of living compared to other cities?
In my experience it's reasonably cheaper. But I came from Dallas, TX and when I was looking for places to live I couldn't believe how cheap the rent was here in comparison. So I guess it's all relative.

+1 on Veloshop. I've had problems on my commute a couple of times that I didn't have time to fix, they were really awesome about fixing them quickly and calling me so I could pick up my bike at lunch. Never had the attitude that some bike shops have from them.

Also there are two worker owned bike shops - well, one w/ two locations. City Bikes - they're really helpful too. But I've got a soft spot for worker owned collectives. http://www.citybikes.coop/

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Old 07-19-07, 01:44 PM   #16
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Thanks for all the replies so far. Keep 'em coming. Re: our skills, we're both designers (him: interiors / me: advertising/graphics with a little bit of interiors), but honestly, we're thinking of opening up a small bike-related business.

That's funny about the PDX/PA exchange program. As far as the rain, I'm used to it. Prior to moving to Philly a year ago, I'd spent the last 8 years in Pittsburgh (which I believe is second to Seattle in "least number of days of total sunshine").
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Old 07-19-07, 01:49 PM   #17
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i lived there about 6 years ago. i like portland, but once you get outside of it, there are some nasty middle america style strip malls and tons of chain stores. i guess you get that anywhere, but it sure made portland seem like a small area against a vast sea of crappiness.

summer and fall up there are so nice.
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Old 07-19-07, 01:54 PM   #18
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stay away, we don't like your kind around here
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Old 07-19-07, 01:59 PM   #19
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As el twe said, Portland was amazing! If I wasn't already set to move to SF it'd be Portland for sure. Hawthorne and Bellmont are awesome streets. Unbelievable vegetarian/vegan food and great cafes. I also didn't have a single bad experience in any of the bike shops I went to.
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Old 07-19-07, 02:04 PM   #20
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Don't know about Portland, but I have a whole bunch of friends who moved to Eugene from Baltimore. Haven't been there to visit yet, but they love it. I've been thinking about checking it out, as they seem to have established a colony.
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Old 07-19-07, 04:42 PM   #21
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for instance, how are the rents in portland
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Old 07-19-07, 04:43 PM   #22
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I live here. I have lived here most of my life. I love this town. It's not for everybody but I like it. I've heard it described as a cheaper San Francisco or at least the housing is cheaper, of course it's hard not to be. Finding work is hard here, I know as I'm currently trying to do just that, but the biking community is the greatest. We have all sorts. We have guys (and gals) building stretched out bikes and tall bikes, mini-bikes (zoobomb anyone?), bike jousting, bike festivals, a rad BMX scene, serious racers, people just wanting to get around, and everything in between. There's actually a book written about Portland called "Freaks and Refugees", at least I think that was the title and I think it does a pretty good job of describing the city.

Summary: me like Portland, will you? beats me.
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Old 07-19-07, 04:58 PM   #23
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Ah yes, a fine book, by the Chuck Palawhatever guy who wrote Fight Club.

http://www.amazon.com/Fugitives-Refu...885963&sr=1-12

"Fugitives and Refugees", close enough.
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Old 07-19-07, 05:49 PM   #24
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Thanks for all the replies so far. Keep 'em coming. Re: our skills, we're both designers (him: interiors / me: advertising/graphics with a little bit of interiors), but honestly, we're thinking of opening up a small bike-related business.
Cool then. As long as you have your parents money you'll love portland.
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Old 07-19-07, 06:54 PM   #25
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I just moved here on Sunday. Wife and kids are still holding it down in another state while I get us settled in. Use Craigslist. I found a good job with health insurance in 48 hours, and a cheap-ass sublet in Ladd's, which seems so far to be about a five minute (or less) bike ride to all the necessities, including my fun new job. The cafe around the corner is some kind of anarchist co-0p deal, but they don't open until 8:30 because they are lazy. Luckily, there's a 'bucks right across the street. Point being, it kind of seems like whatever you're into, Portland has it going on.
People seem super nice (which is important when you move somewhere by yourself and don't know anyone)-- The ******* factor seems pretty low. Cars look out for you (just take the lane), there are some okay bars (any suggestions? Rock, pool, Tecate?) and a lot of hippies. But, I lived in SF for 16 years and hippies don't really bother me. I just don't let them crash on my couch.
I've been hearing for years how tough the job market here is, but if you know how to do anything besides sit at a desk and look sleek, it seems pretty easy.
The weather has been rad. Sun, then rain, then big clouds, then sun. Super dramatic.
Complaining about strip-malls is lame. Let me introduce you to my new friends. Hi, coast. Hi, velodrome. Hi, beautiful, easy-to-get-around-in urban center. Hi, free wireless, good schools, farmers markets, Thai food. Nice to see you all again.
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