Known for coffee, counterculture and countless bridges, Portland, Oregon, is a cultural and economic hub in the Pacific Northwest region, and more specifically, the Willamette Valley. A major port, the city sits on the banks of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, the former serving as the border with Washington State. Everyone from retirees to college students are drawn to Portland, lending the city a diverse and open vibe.

How big is Portland?

Portland serves as the county seat of Multnomah County and is the largest and most populous city in Oregon, covering just under 145 square miles in total. The Portland Metropolitan Area comprises a further seven counties, stretching into Washington, and boasts over 2.5M people.

The city proper, with a little over 650K residents, is divided into six regions: North, Northeast, Northwest, South, Southeast and Southwest. Each region comprises a number of neighborhoods, totaling 95 that are officially recognized. The downtown area sits on the banks of the Willamette River, and while it’s fairly compact, it’s home to most of the high-rise buildings in the city.

With warm summers and moderate, rainy winters, Portland’s weather is quite nice, actually

Portland has a bit of a bad name for being rainy and foggy – but that’s mostly during winters, and, truth be told, rain and fog in the winter are a lot better than bitter cold. In fact, due to its warm-summer Mediterranean Climate, Portland enjoys temperate weather for much of the year, with warm, dry summers, and cool, rainy winters. On average, the city sees around 4.3 inches of snow per year, mostly between December and March. It’s the kind of weather that anyone can adjust to easily, regardless of where you’re moving from.

Start-ups and entrepreneurs are fueling Portland’s job market

Portland remains a major center for transportation and logistics, and its port is the largest freshwater port in the country, handling more than 13 million tons of cargo a year. Other major industries include tech, which has moved into the area, drawing thousands of young professionals to what is known as “Silicon Forest.” The city is also a hub of creativity and entrepreneurship, with hundreds of start-ups thriving in the city across multiple sectors, such as manufacturing, tech, and of course, small-batch coffee roasteries.

Schools, universities and college life in Portland

Portland has an excellent school system that comprises public, charter and private schools. Riverdale  Grade School, Winterhaven School or Benson Polytechnic High Schools are just some of the many well performing educational institutions in the city.

Portland also has a thriving student population, with 30,000 people attending Portland State University alone. A range of other colleges and universities provide thousands of other students with programs in everything from liberal arts to medicine and law.

Portland is the dream place for lovers of the great outdoors

Portland enjoys a superb location for outdoor activities. You can explore the majestic beauty of the Pacific Northwest by taking the Columbia River Gorge trail, which includes attractions such as Multnomah Falls, Horsetail Falls, Crown Point, unique wildlife or century-old trees. Mount Hood is another favorite getaway for Portland’s residents, perfect for winter sports or summer camping trips. The Willamette Valley near Portland is a great weekend destination with plenty of gorgeous vineyards and other natural attractions. Lost Lake Loop, a 3-mile trail located near the Hood River, is a family-friendly hiking trail with views of Mount Hood.

But you don’t even have to get away from the city to enjoy picture-perfect outdoor settings: Portland International Rose Test Garden, in Washington Park, spans across 4.5 acres and contains over 650 varieties of roses – no wonder the city’s nickname is City of Roses. Also within the city, you’ll find urban nature spots such as Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge and Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

Check out some of Portland’s best neighborhoods

Portland is home to a huge variety of different house styles, ranging from old-fashioned Foursquares and Cape Cods to high-rise apartment buildings. Single-unit homes are marginally more common than apartments, which tend to be centered in the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods along the banks of the Willamette River. Whether you want a hip and modern environment, or a quiet area perfect for raising a family, you’re bound to find a neighborhood in Portland that suits your lifestyle. Here are some of your best options:

  • Sellwood-Moreland

This neighborhood, with its small-town vibe and strong sense of community, is ideal for young families in search of a relaxed and quiet lifestyle. There are plenty of local businesses around, such as restaurants, grocery shops and cafes. Antique shops are also abundant, creating a nice local atmosphere where you can walk around, do your grocery shopping, have a bite to eat, and top it all with some antique hunting. Schools in the area are also well rated.

  • Laurelhurst

Located close to downtown Portland and made mostly of single-family homes, this neighborhood is suitable for families and young professionals who want to be able to reach their offices easily, but still avoid living in a busy or noisy area. The neighborhood contains many old and beautiful homes, which gives its streets a particular charm, and the Laurelhurst Park in the area is perfect for relaxing outings.

  • Brooklyn

The fairly central and mostly residential Brooklyn neighborhood is increasingly popular with families after major revitalization efforts. It offers a wealth of single-family homes in various styles, as well as several parks and independent businesses, such as cafes and bistros.

  • Northwest District

The neighborhood is well known for its charming, European feel and the upscale stores and restaurants lining the streets. Located between Washington Park and Forest Park, it provides plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun, while schools in the area are top-notch. It’s a great location for both families and career-oriented people, but it’s also one of the priciest neighborhoods in the city.

  • Pearl District

If you’re craving the chic, artsy and lively lifestyle, this is the perfect neighborhood for you. It has a dense urban feel, with many apartment buildings and warehouses converted into shops, restaurants, or art galleries. Cultural events, like exhibits or concerts, happen frequently, which means your social calendar will always be full. It’s a great area for creatives and young entrepreneurs.

Moving to Portland — do you need self storage?

Portland has been an attractive destination for people from all walks of life for many years. More people from neighboring California relocate to Oregon than from any other U.S. state. On average, you can expect to pay a professional moving company around $3,700 to $4,100 to help with the move. Doing it yourself can save costs but may take longer and you might struggle with larger and more delicate items.

Renting a self storage unit in Portland will help you streamline your move, whether you’re hiring a moving company or you’re planning a DIY move. It allows you to move in at your own pace, rather than being surrounded by boxes on your first days in your new home. Plus, you don’t need to worry about matching schedules with the seller. In case you consider home renovations or downsizing projects in the future, a storage unit will prove to be indispensable.

Self storage can also be useful in the long term for Portland residents. With so many opportunities to practice various sports, including camping, hiking, winter sports and water sports, Portland residents own sporting gear, including recreational vehicles such as boats and ATVs. The best place to keep all those items safe, while also keeping your home and garage uncluttered and suitable for day-to-day activities, is a storage unit.

Small and big businesses alike can benefit from renting a storage unit in Portland. It’s the ideal place for storing stock for e-commerce entrepreneurs taking advantage of the superb transportation facilities offered by the city. Meanwhile, the thousands of artists that call Portland home can find a storage unit to be an ideal place for storing materials and works of art.


Maria Gatea is a real estate and lifestyle editor for Yardi with a background in Journalism and Communication. After covering business and finance-related topics as a freelance writer for 15 years, she is now focusing on researching and writing about the real estate industry. You may contact Maria via email.

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