There are an unbelievable amount of people who want to move to Portland. Since the questions and answers are essentially the same for most situations, I thought I'd put something together. (In case people Google instead of asking Facebook or Reddit.)
1. Do not move to Portland without a job. The dream of living here in a cheap department as a busser in a cool restaurant is dead. My husband recently saw a dive with a sign that said you need to supply your resume to bus tables. If you're interested in actually knowing what industries are hiring, check the Occupational Employment statistics from the Bureau of Labor:
Workers in the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro Metropolitan Statistical Area had an average (mean) hourly wage of $24.38 in May 2014, about 7 percent above the nationwide average of $22.71, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regional Commissioner Richard J. Holden noted that, after testing for statistical significance, wages in the local area were higher than their respective national averages in 12 of the 22 major occupational groups, including healthcare practitioners and technical; construction and extraction; and protective service. Three groups had significantly lower wages than their respective national averages: management; business and financial operations; and arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media.
2. The housing market is insane right now. People are competing with cash buyers and investment conglomerates from all over the country. It's to the point to where people are writing sad letters to get sellers to choose them.
3. If you do find a job and an apartment, then be prepared to spend well over 1/3 of your income in living anywhere east of Hillsboro (one of the larger suburbs,) north of Tualatin (one of the smaller suburbs, west of Gresham (one of the suburbs with a less than savory reputation) or south of Vancouver, Washington.
The average wage that usually goes toward well paying jobs is around $23 per hour. So you have $3680 per month. That's your gross. Factor in about $920 for taxes (Oregon has an income tax.) That leaves you with $2760. Say you're healthy and your employer has a good health plan. That's another $250 a month. That gets you down to $2510. The average rent within 10 miles of Portland is $1442 per month and maybe you didn't come here with a housemate in mind or you prefer living alone. That leaves you with about $1000 per month after rent. Then factor in Internet/cable and possibly water if you're lucky enough to score a house for rent. Despite Portland's rainy reputation, water is incredibly expensive here. If you're responsible with it, then you get stuck with about a $200 bill every 3 months. That's $840 left over. Then your electric bill without air conditioning. Maybe $50-60 a month. So you're at $790. Those are the basics that don't take into account food, car payments, gas (Oregon tends to have a little higher gas prices than other parts of the country) TriMet pass and something left over for fun.
Consider whether the potential personal politics benefit is going to be a good trade for the lifestyle sacrifice. Obviously you can halve this by having a roommate or getting in on a house share. Then all that is halved but don't think you can get a studio downtown for $500 anymore.
And don't bring your pets. If you do you might also have to pay 'pet rent' at anywhere from $20-50 per month. Many apartments have breed restrictions.
3. So you make it here. You're married or have a good friend or long term partner and are part of the employable industries. Good job! But people aren't welcoming or you're getting a lot of random road rage because you haven't updated your vehicle registration in Oregon.
There's a lot of general anger at transplants right now. Rightfully or wrongly, people are blaming newcomers for the city's general woes. Vulnerable long term residents are being displaced in a rough housing market in favor of people capable of paying more rent. It's so bad that there are anti-Californian stickers being placed on signs.
Portland is experiencing the same kind of crazy growth as San Francisco or Seattle. For some reason the West Coast is the place to be. There's a lot of resentment.
The city is also losing a lot of its character. Older homes are being destroyed in favor of larger or more developments on the same lot.
4. Keep in mind that Portland is not Oregon. This state bleeds purple. While Portland and some of the outlying areas are liberal, places like Madras or Redmond are red as anything. A former coworker who was a lesbian told me they drove straight through eastern and central Oregon when they were in the process of moving.
Those bakers who refused to make the cake for a lesbian wedding? Their store was in one of the few affordable places left in the metro area.
We only ousted our last Republican senator in 2008.
I'm not trying to deter anyone, more create a FAQ and shine a light on what's actually happening here. The NYT hasn't done us any favors as far as portraying the city in a real light. I hope this is somewhat helpful. Portland still has the potential to be a great city, as long as it's responsible about its problems and doesn't San Francisco it all up.