Portland is hot location for visitors, locals, and businesses right now. What was once a little-known timber town at the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers is now a hotbed of creative economic energy. Corporate recruiters are vying for Portland clients because their candidates don’t have to negotiate – they already want to be here. Portland’s oddities are showing up in the news all across the globe. The good news is that you’re lucky enough to move here.
We’ve got a few tips for getting settled in Portland (aka PDX, Raintown, Stumptown, Puddletown, Bridgetown, etc.).
Orienting Yourself in Portland
Once your Portland movers arrive to your destination, it will be important to learn the lay of the land. The Willamette River forms the east-west boundary in the city, and Burnside Ave is the north-south divide. West of the Willamette is generally considered ″downtown.″ There are thus four quadrants to the city: NE, SE, NW, and SW.
Easy-peasy, right? Not so fast. Portland has a 5th Quadrant: North Portland. Also known as NoPo, this region lies to the west of I-5/Interstate Ave., and includes the small town/neighborhood St Johns.
Pedestrians rule the roost in Portland. It is customary to stop for a pedestrian even if you don’t have a stop sign. When driving through your new neighborhood, be very careful to watch for natives, who will expect you to stop. Since Portland is such a walkable place, you will soon appreciate this custom when cars stop to let you cross. The movers/shakers culture you may come from is rather foreign to the locals, but once you learn to slow down a notch, you will understand a huge part of what makes Portland special.
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Portland Food Trucks
Food carts are your new source of sustenance. Portland has a rich and diverse array of food carts to choose from. Many are organized into ″pods″ which amount to vacant lots where food trucks congregate to form a sort of outdoor food court. When the rain returns, most have large, heated tents where you can scarf your free-range burger, Indian food, Dominican food, ramen, or burrito safe from the drizzle. Nearly any cuisine you can name is represented by a food cart somewhere in Portland. If you like a particular cart, patronize it enough and perhaps they will be able to move into a non-mobile location.
Bicycles are a real part of life in Portland and the city has provided many lanes for them. If you are a cyclist, try to arrange your route so that you utilize these bike lanes. Many of Portland’s major streets are very narrow and do not make for good cycling, so plan accordingly. It is also verboten to ride on the sidewalks. While Portland celebrates bicycle culture, it also celebrates safe and respectful cyclists. Always wear a helmet and outfit your bike with adequate lights.