Photo: Anatoliy Cherkas/Shutterstock

7 Lies You Tell Yourself When You Move to Portland, Oregon

Portland Entertainment
by Britany Robinson Nov 3, 2015
1. Portlandia is just a hyperbole.

For better or for worse, the accuracy with which this sketch comedy portrays Portland is frightening. Remember the episode with the four-way intersection where two drivers are insisting that the other one go ahead?

    “No, you go…”


    “No, YOU go…”

Portland drivers exchange smiles and waves with fellow neighbors of the road with more fervor than Manhattan drivers exchange obscenities.

“Put a bird on it!” Remember that one? Walk into any gift shop, book store, or car mechanic and count the number of cute animals decorating their surfaces. It’s like walking through a Disney movie, but with irony.

Okay, so maybe there isn’t an “Allergy Pride Parade” in Portland…just yet. But the rest of the show? One-hundred percent fact.

2. I’ll finally become a vegetarian.

Yes, it’s true. Portland is very veggie-friendly. And you’ve probably been meaning to take that healthier, greener approach to eating for years. But Portland is also friendly to those who dream of bloody-rare steaks. There’s the pork-belly sandwich from Lardo, the spicy wings from Pok Pok, and the peanut-butter-pickle-bacon burger from Killer Burger. Not to mention the fried chicken from Screen Door. Forget quinoa and spinach smoothies — these carnivorous meals MUST be sampled if you’re truly trying to immerse yourself in the gastronomy of Portland.

Unless, of course, you’re already a vegetarian. In that case, enjoy the abundance of fresh-pressed juices. You’ll love it here.

3. I’ll go hiking all the time.

It’s something to strive for, of course. With the awesome accessibility to the outdoors, from Mount Hood to the Columbia Gorge, outdoor activities are a draw for many newcomers. But Portland, like most cities, has a special ability to suck you in and make you forget that land exists outside of city limits. Sure, you could go for a hike this weekend. But then again, everyone is raving about that cute little brunch spot that just opened down the street.

Don’t beat yourself up over it. You’ll still enjoy gazing at Mount Hood from your patio table while eating eggs florentine and sipping mimosas on that rare, sunny day.

4. I know how to recycle.

It’s 2014 — everyone recycles. You saw An Inconvenient Truth, you’re on top of these things. But then your new Portland friend goes to throw something away in your kitchen, sees a cereal box on top, and says: “I’m sorry, this is your cardboard recycling, not your garbage, correct?”

Luckily, he can’t see the rotten produce that you haven’t figured out how to compost, lying just below the flattened vessel of Lucky Charms. You tell him: “Yes of course!” and discretely toss his garbage in another plastic bag that’s lying around because you haven’t stocked up on reusable shopping bags just yet, either.

5. The rain will make me more productive.

The rain will make you sad. The rain will make you restless. The rain will make you wet.

Eventually, you will acclimate to the incessant drizzle. But at that point, rain will be such a constant in your life that it won’t make you stay in and be more productive — it’ll just make you stop noticing.

Someday, maybe, the rain will inspire you to finally start writing that memoir of yours instead of hanging out at Powell’s Books because jumping over car-sized puddles to get downtown sounds exhausting. But not before you’ve developed the pallor of a vampire and completely restyled your wardrobe to a point where you always look like you’re about to go hiking.

6. It’ll be hard to meet new people.

One upside to Portland’s lack of services is the fact that it forces you to interact with people. Which is great, because Portland people are ridiculously nice.

Not that you’ll necessarily become best friends with your pizza-delivery boy, but the openness and friendliness of Portlanders makes moving here far less daunting than most cities. Walk down the street and people make eye contact and smile. Call a customer service line and the person on the other end will chat you up like they’ve just discovered you’re second cousins.

If you’re looking to make friends, it’s easy to get out there and do all that in Portland. Whether you’re sitting at a bar or standing in line for groceries, people here reach out to strangers with refreshing kindness.

7. I am not a hipster.

Of course, you don’t call yourself one. But denying the title is the first sign that you are (at least a little bit) of the hipster persuasion.

If you felt drawn to Portland, then you probably have an appreciation for things like bike lanes, organic soaps, beanie hats, beards, plaid, vinyl records, thrift stores, fair trade coffee, and craft beer, all of which are available aplenty in “Stumptown.” And liking a combination of these things probably puts you somewhere on the hipster spectrum.

But fear not. Because once you move to Portland, you’ll realize that hipsters have it goin’ on. Girls look cute in thick-rimmed glasses, guys look sexy with beards, and we should all recycle more. So what’s everyone harshing on the hipsters for? They (you) are just trying to make the world a better, more bike-friendly place! Hipsters LOVE Portland. And once you’ve bought yourself a sensible rain jacket (from a thrift store), you will too.

Discover Matador