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9 Reasons the Rest of Oregon Is Way Cooler Than Portland

Oregon Portland
by Ariel Bloomer Jun 29, 2015

1. The reasons outdoor-lovers move to Portland are not even in Portland.

Surfing at the beach? An hour-and-a-half to Seaside. Skiing? Mt. Hood Meadows is an hour-and-a-half the other direction. Windsurfing? Hood River. Hiking the waterfalls? Columbia Gorge. Rock climbing? Smith Rock State Park out of Redmond. Whitewater rafting? The Clackamas River and the North Santiam. Yet somehow Portland gets all the credit.

2. Two-thirds of Oregon is sunny, in rain shadow and high desert.

Every time you travel as an Oregonian, people ask about how we stand the rain, or jokingly accuse us of having brought the rain with you. To someone from Bend, with 300 annual days of sunshine a year, that sounds absurd.

3. We take Portland’s ‘weird’ and we one up it.

Fine, Eugene and Ashland, too. But in places like Vernonia and Sweet Home, it’s easier to relate to the History Channel’s Ax Men than to the sketch-comedy on Portlandia. There’s probably a gun-loving uncle in your life who looks like he walked straight out of Duck Dynasty, and you have to admit, that’s a whole different kind of weird.

4. Many of Oregon’s premier festivals and events are outside of Portland.

The art, music, and butterfly-filled Oregon Country Fair outside Eugene is on the calendar of every hippie in the state each July. At a century old, the Pendleton Round-Up in Eastern Oregon is one of the largest rodeos in the world. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival draws tens of thousands of theater lovers to Southern Oregon every year.

5. Our food might not be trendy, but it’s time-honored and tasty.

The options on the breakfast menu at Camp 18 off Hwy 26 may not have changed much in the last 20 years, but it’s delicious and served up in portions fit for a logger; $6.50 will get you a cinnamon roll the size of a plate.

6. Our caves trump the Portland Underground every day.

There are the Sea Lion Caves along the coast, the lava tubes near Bend, and even a National Monument and Preserve called Oregon Caves. There are much cooler places to spend time underground than the Portland’s dirty under-basement.

7. The closer you get to Portland, people drive excruciatingly slow.

Is 50 the top speed on your Subaru? I know the highways in the Metro area aren’t exactly the wide-open spaces of Baker and Union counties, but I feel like the birds are flying faster than we’re driving close to the city.

8. But maybe people drive so slow because Portland’s bikers are so unpredictable.

It can be a dangerous thing to be a biker among large moving vehicles, but sometimes the cyclists are putting themselves in danger by failing to follow the rules of the road and leaving the helmet at home. Driving through Portland when you’re unused to the erratic behavior of the two-wheeled can be terrifying.

9. Ever hear of Crater Lake National Park?

Take that, Portland.

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