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Portland-Seattle shootout....


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One thing I would like to mention - and get other Northwesterner's opinions on - is the "Seattle Nice" phenomenon. In my experience (warning: gross generalization), many people I met in Seattle tended to be very "nice" on the surface but not actually friendly, and it was much easier to meet people and make friends in Portland. From talking to others who have moved here I know I'm not the only one who's had this experience. Of course the great Seattle folks I've me throuch eGullet are the exception to this rule, but we're not really the norm, are we?

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How's bicycling in Seattle? I gather it's pretty cool-- accesible, safe-- in Portland (is that what you mean by "riding all winter," Jim?) And which is a better walking city...you can walk almost everywhere here in NYC, another great thing....

I think both cities are big on bicycling, though Seattle is very hilly (like San Francisco) making it more strenuous to get around.

That's the whole point, isn't it ? Riding on flat roads gets really boring after a while. One needs the agony of a nice hill to remind one that one is alive, and that one deserves a croissant from Cafe Besalu as a reward for all one's suffering.

- S

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How's bicycling in Seattle? I gather it's pretty cool-- accesible, safe-- in Portland (is that what you mean by "riding all winter," Jim?) And which is a better walking city...you can walk almost everywhere here in NYC, another great thing....

I think both cities are big on bicycling, though Seattle is very hilly (like San Francisco) making it more strenuous to get around.

That's the whole point, isn't it ? Riding on flat roads gets really boring after a while. One needs the agony of a nice hill to remind one that one is alive,

- S

Uh Boise!! You can ride from your office and be on dirt trails in our foothils(which have been ranked as the #1 trail system in the US) in no more then 15 minutes from anywhere in the city. Or you can be out on our open-noncongested roads in less time then that.

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In my experience (warning: gross generalization), many people I met in Seattle tended to be very "nice" on the surface but not actually friendly, and it was much easier to meet people and make friends in Portland. From talking to others who have moved here I know I'm not the only one who's had this experience. Of course the great Seattle folks I've me throuch eGullet are the exception to this rule, but we're not really the norm, are we?

NSM, I agree 100%! I'm going to continue with the gross generalization's: my family has always joked about our heritage - we have more in common with the people of Lake Wobegon than we care to admit!

Practice Random Acts of Toasting

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I moved to Seattle from Brooklyn five years ago and I have to say I've never looked back. By comparison, housing in Seattle is absolutely affordable. You can find a fine one bedroom, within fifteen minutes of downtown, with a real terrace (not a fire escape), for easily well under $1000.00. I rented a two bedroom house with a garage and a garden for $750 and that was only a year and a half ago.

The quality of life here still overwhelms me. I love waking up to a mountain view every day and the weather is not nearly so bad as you have heard. We have an expression at my house - you never have to shovel rain. There are great bike trails and fabulous hiking opportunities within the city limits. Just a walk along the Puget Sound can be so invigorating.

The various farmers markets about town are such a treat. Yes, I know NY has its share of markets but almost every neighborhood in Seattle has its own and the variety of produce in the summer is just astounding.

Now, I know some people will disagree here but I've found this an easy city in which to make new friends and to find people with similar interests. The political climate is very liberal and accepting and there's always something happening. Although, technically Seattle is not as culturally diverse as NY, there is a great appreciation for cultural diversity. Many events are held to celebrate different ethnicities and customs. There are art exhibits showcasing Asian artists, classes held to learn Native American Dance rituals, and various musical events from around the world.

I can't truly compare Portland to Seattle. I have limited experiences there and though they've all been good; Seattle is more like home to me. It still has that urban vibe that former NYers will always crave. Seattle feels like a new boyfriend to me. I can't stop talking about him. I brag about his big muscles to all my friends and show him off at dinner parties. Excuse me while I go gush some more......

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I definitely have a biased opinion of Ptld. However trying to be as unbiased as possible I have to say Ptld has a large black population considering how small it is. The economy is headed on the downturn partly due to no sales tax, but which city right now can claim otherwise? I love big cities and Ptld will eventually be as populated as Seattle. I believe as others from larger cities move in, the infrastructure with begin to provide a solid economy that will support a more integrated suburban gentrification. Its Ptld's suburbs that I believe are the heart of Ptld. Check out this company just for starters to see whats really evolving in Ptld

Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu

Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant

www.motorestaurant.com

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trying to be as unbiased  as possible I have to say Ptld has a large black population considering how small it is.

That doesn't really make sense. It's far lower than the national average.

"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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I think I need to spend more time in Portland. Haven't been there since I was about 10 years old.

Seattle was a mecca for someone that grew up in Sitka, Alaska. So, I'm biased. I have a friend who may be accepting a position with the City of Seattle very soon so he was asking me about housing options. He's looking into Queen Ann.

Despite I have a Nordie's and West Side Market, they pale in comparison to my beloved downtown store and Pike Place.

And does it rain there? You become so used to the weather that you hardly notice it anymore except for those gloriously blue sky days of Summer.

How is Boeing doing lately? I heard rumours it isn't as well as in previous years. That's too bad. Heck if I were to be relocating, I'd spend time in each of the cities to get a feel, read some local papers, stroll the streets and window shop, drive around a few neighbourhoods looking at the houses and drink some coffee. Bellingham has always been fun, but I'm usually running for a Blue Canoe and only pass through in a blur.

Now I'm rambling whistfully....sorry. I look forward to my trip this up coming Fall.

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That's how I ended up in Portland. Was supposed to be moving to London after college (long story) and came down here to visit a high school friend over Memorial Day weekend and just fell in love. I do consistently hear that Portland is uncommonly low on minorities. One of the weekly alternative papers called it Honkytown USA in a cover story a few years back. But again, I came from Alaska so for me it's diverse.

And I must point out that only in Portland do you find this tonight. If only tonight. But still. recent thread

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...I have a friend who may be accepting a position with the City of Seattle very soon so he was asking me about housing options.  He's looking into Queen Ann...

How is Boeing doing lately?  I heard rumours it isn't as well as in previous years.  That's too bad...

City of Seattle salary + house on Queen Anne -> ERROR! Out of range solution....

Renting an apartment would be a different story though..

Boeing is struggling and taking it out on its former hometown. They will deign to consider building their next generation plane here iff we give away the farm in tax breaks and subsidies.

On the whole Portland vs Seattle debate, I don't have enough experience in Portland to make meaningful comparisons. I am a Seattle-area native with all the biases that entails and think it is still one of the best places in the world to live for the reasons that others have stated.

If you're looking for other cities to consider, Bellingham, Tacoma and Olympia are all really nice in terms of natural scenery and offer much less expensive homes than Seattle. Some still feel Tacoma has a crime problem (debatable) and Olympia is a mix of very liberal and very conservative. The problem in all three places is it can be very tough to find decent paying job, unless you want to commute to Seattle.

Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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That's the whole point, isn't it ?  Riding on flat roads gets really boring after a while.  One needs the agony of a nice hill to remind one that one is alive,

Uh Boise!! You can ride from your office and be on dirt trails in our foothils(which have been ranked as the #1 trail system in the US) in no more then 15 minutes from anywhere in the city. Or you can be out on our open-noncongested roads in less time then that.

Yeah, but ... does Boise have a Cafe Besalu from which one can purchase delicious rewards for riding so hard ? :smile:

- S

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This is almost as good as the Mac vs PC argument...

I've lived in Oregon my entire life. I can't say I've traveled extensively, but I've been around, and I've never really wanted to live anywhere else.

We actually like Seattle a lot (next visit most likely will be Bumbershoot, probably the best musical festival anywhere). It's got a much more urban feel to it, and we can drive up in a little more than 2 hours (raising the speed limit was one of the few good things we got out of the Republicans). The traffic is worse than ours, unless you drive out to Beaverton (our western suburb, proof that our much-touted land use laws aren't perfect...but when Uwijamaya came to townm, guess where they ended up?). But it's a great spot for a break and something a little different. And I have many friends there (well, maybe a few less now) that love it.

I've long maintained that Portland will always be provincial, and that's what makes it a great place to live. We don't want a major league baseball team, more heavy industry, or even too many more people. We, or at least a voting majority for the time being, understand that there are limits to growth, and we think that rivers full of salmon, forests full of trees (at least between the clearcuts), and beaches open to anyone are much better than bumper-to-bumper traffic or even Krispy Kreme (it still pisses me off that Waddles is closing to accomodate hot fried dough).

Aquitane...

Yes, I did mean bicycling. I ride from our urban neighborhood in NE Portland about 3 miles to my day job downtown. About half the distance is on bike routes with no cars, including a new pedestrian-bike river crossing. I ride every day, all winter, and everybody is right about the misty quality of our rain (Austin, Texas actually gets about the same annual rainfall as Portland).

The key to living here is staying close in. People realized this a few years ago, and housing prices in the urban neighborhoods closer to town are higher. But they are still affordable compared to a lot of other places (except for maybe the trendy Pearl district in inner NW Portland, where prices for condos continue to go up).

Anyway, I'm a little biased. I love it here.

Jim

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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If you're looking for other cities to consider, Bellingham, Tacoma and Olympia are all really nice in terms of natural scenery and offer much less expensive homes than Seattle.  Some still feel Tacoma has a crime problem (debatable) and Olympia is a mix of very liberal and very conservative.  The problem in all three places is it can be very tough to find decent paying job, unless you want to commute to Seattle.

The big downside of living in any Washington city other than Seattle is the extreme lack of worthwhile restaurants. Unless you like Olive Garden and Red Lobster. True, there are some funky family-run places here and there that serve good food, but don't even think about Fine Dining outside the city. The same is doubly true for Portland and Oregon.

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One thing I would like to mention - and get other Northwesterner's opinions on - is the "Seattle Nice" phenomenon.

I agree with you NS, in general, I think that Seattlites are pleasant and friendly on the outside but hard to get to know. The opposite seemed true for Boston, brisk and abrupt with you at first but really truly friendly once you broke through the crust.

When I moved here from Boston 12 years ago, I was in total culture shock about how polite everyone was, but I had a tough time meeting new people outside of work. I wonder if this is true wherever you go after you get out of school. I moved out here after college, where it had been so easy to meet new people.

Most of my friends are either old friends of my husband who grew up here, people I have met through work and finally through eGullet. Maybe it's just that we all get so busy that we focus only on our own little corner. Sometimes it is difficult to know how and when to cross the line into a friendship. For instance, if I meet a client and really get along well with that person, when, if ever, do I cross the line of professionalism and say "hey, let's get together"? I am perhaps a bit old-fashioned with my ideas of professionalism...

As for Seattle vs. Portland - I have never been to Portland (sad but true) so I cannot comment. However, I will proudly say that I absolutely love living in the Pac NW. Everything is so beautiful and green here. The air is clean. I never have to shovel snow or chip my car out after an ice storm. I wouldn't move back to the east coast if you paid me. (Well, a cool $1 mil might).

And as Fish said - PLAN TO TAKE A VACATION to someplace sunny between Dec and March...makes all the difference in the world!

"Unleash the sheep!" mamster

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The big downside of living in any Washington city other than Seattle is the extreme lack of worthwhile restaurants. Unless you like Olive Garden and Red Lobster. True, there are some funky family-run places here and there that serve good food, but don't even think about Fine Dining outside the city. The same is doubly true for Portland and Oregon.

Too true, too true....

Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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City of Seattle salary + house on Queen Anne -> ERROR! Out of range solution....

Renting an apartment would be a different story though..

He's looking at apartments, but I'm sure he's gonna do fairly well with his public sector experience in salary. My father just retired from Northworst Air and was hearing grumblings about Boeing scouting out alternative cities. Airbus is a dirty word in Seattle, although Boeing may become one too and that's unfortunate.

Think I'll pull out my big The Beautiful Cookbook: Pacific Northwest for food inspiration and gaze at some of the wonderful culinary things that are uniquely to that area. My favourite short jaunt is The Salish Lodge (the Great Northern!) and Snoqualmie Falls/North Bend.

But Multnomah Falls is on my list.

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I have one word to say about Salem: Conservative.

I prefer boring. Not to be confused with Boring, Oregon (really).

NSM is right about smaller towns, altho' there's usually at least one place standing up to the chains clustered out by the freeway. Eugene has some great restaurants, and Bend even has a few good spots. There are also hidden pleasures, like the milkshakes made in Fields, a one-horse gas station-grocery store-cafe-motel (pop about 5) deep in the high desert of southeastern Oregon.

Jim

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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Oh, wait - my one exception to the small town/no restaurant rant is Ashland Oregon south of Eugene. Not only is it a very liberal college town, but it's main claim to fame is the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. A charming little town with some beautiful B&B's and several outstanding restaurants catering to the sophisticated theater crowd. If I had to live in a small town, Ashland would be near the top of the list.

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I have one word to say about Salem: Conservative.

I prefer boring.

That too! And talk about your Olive Garden/Red Lobster experience.............

Practice Random Acts of Toasting

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Oh, wait - my one exception to the small town/no restaurant rant is Ashland Oregon south of Eugene. Not only is it a very liberal college town, but it's main claim to fame is the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. A charming little town with some beautiful B&B's and several outstanding restaurants catering to the sophisticated theater crowd. If I had to live in a small town, Ashland would be near the top of the list.

And you'd be close enough to state lines to cross 'em to buy your booze in California. I do love living in Portland, but even our most faithful booster will admit that as state-run booze stores go, ours sucks extra hard. I think pot is easier to buy here then a bottle of booze.

regards,

trillium

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Wow! Where are all these people in Portland living and saying it's too white? Portland is incredibly diverse as far as I can see. Forget Salem and Eugene. Go for Portland. Jump on in the waters fine. Rent will run you about $700 up for a decent apartment although we hunted around and got a smallish two bedroom for $535. Lots of great food here! And you are a quick drive away from the mountains, the desert or the beach. We have a great big town but still homey feel. I think you'll enjoy it here!

Pamela Wilkinson

www.portlandfood.org

Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

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You seem to have nailed it, Jim. Kind of like, you love your first love....

This is almost as good as the Mac vs PC argument...

Thanks, guajolote for the objective, scientific take on the weather (I've been looking for this info in vain!):

Portland: 222 days of cloudy, 37" precipitation

Seattle: 201 days of cloudy, 38" precipitation

Man, oh man, am I tickled by how much people have gotten into this topic. Really wonderful response! Thanks all of you....and keep it coming! (I know I'll have to adapt to some things, but I SWEAR I will never enter an Olive Garden....)

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Portlander for 23 years and I am enjoying everyone's observations about our humble town. If you are coming from NY - Portland is really not that diverse. I lived in DC for a year and was blown away by the diversity - I loved it and miss that here. No shame to Portland cause we can't and shouldn't try to be the end-all be-all of cities. But if that's important to you - you should be aware of that.

My brother and sis-in-law live in Seattle and despite all the stats about climate - there is a slight difference in weather between SEA and PDX and in March when you have had it up to here in cloudy days that slight difference can mean the world. On the other hand - PDX has hotter weather in summer which can be a drag if you are a gardener or you have no air conditioning.

I agree with Jim's observations that what makes PDX so charming is that natives still think PDX is a small town. Although we do not have the breadth of stuff (food) you find in SEA, SF, or NY we have a little of a lot. And you cannot beat the outdoor opportunities.

Good luck with your decision.

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OK, now for the down-and-dirty:...Income. :biggrin: ....Income. :sad:

With all that we've heard about software millionaires in the Seattle area (so this is addressed to those of you who don't fall into that category)....:blink:

What do you think about the difference in the cost of living....excluding housing (and that's a big chunk, I know). If you aren't looking for a fancy lifestyle and don't have kids, are Portland and Seattle comparable?

(Food, car costs, movies, public transportation--such as it is in Seattle :raz: ...for example, everything you buy in New York reflects the scarcity of real estate, from dry cleaning, to haircuts, to grocery stores....so Haagen-Daz ice cream is quite a bit more expensive here than in Rhode Island, for example, perhaps as much as 30%....And the price of public transportation just went up 33% in New York City, now $2.00 per ride, whether bus or subway....)

Do you have single friends who make less than $40,000 and live OK (i.e., not completely like poor students)....or $50,000....or $60,000...or what might be a cutoff point, do you think????? (As if we all know what our friends live on financially!)....

:wink: Anyone want to take a shot, or refer me to (a) another resource, or (b) egullet jail....

* *

Or how about this for a diversionary tactic: Let's talk literary. How good is the public library system? Independent bookstores? Used bookstores? (And then, I promise, I will return to food....)

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There is the original Powells Bookstore downtown, awesome, new and used. Then the Powells Books for Cooks in Northeast Ptld. Perhaps the best bookstaore for chefs I have seen yet. Income may be less than what you are use to but rent is cheap for what you get and there is no sales tax.

Future Food - our new television show airing 3/30 @ 9pm cst:

http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tv/future-food/

Hope you enjoy the show! Homaro Cantu

Chef/Owner of Moto Restaurant

www.motorestaurant.com

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