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10 Little-Known Things to Learn About Portland Before Moving There

10 Little-Known Things to Learn About Portland Before Moving There

There’s no shortage of reasons why someone would want to move to Portland, Oregon. The metro area is well-known for its relaxed, unassuming lifestyle, closeness to nature and great education opportunities – in other words, it’s a place that provides a generally good quality of life, and people are drawn to it.

Portland is definitely not an inexpensive place – the average monthly rent for an apartment was $1,538 this January, according to RENTCafe, above the national average of $1,463. Still, Portland remains a lot more affordable compared to other fast-growing metro areas, such as Seattle, with an average monthly rent of $2,139, or San Francisco, with a whopping rent of $3,700 per month. The street rate for a self storage unit in Portland is $137 for a standard, 10X10 one, according to Yardi Matrix.

The metro area enjoys a dynamic job market, stimulated by the tech sector, so much so that it started to be known as the Silicon Forest – a play on Silicon Valley and the forests surrounding Portland. Home to tech giants like HP and Intel for decades, and more recently to Google, Portland is also the land of young and hip tech startups, such as Bright MD, Cloudability, Lytics and Torch. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment in Portland, at 3.7%, is the lowest it has ever been in the area, while the $27 average hourly wage is about 8% higher than the nationwide average.

In terms of population, Metro Portland sees sustained growth – it now comprises almost 2.5 million people, compared to less than 2.2 just a decade ago. Local government agency Oregon Metro projects a population of over 3 million by 2040, and a significant proportion of current and future population growth is due to people moving into the area.

The decision of moving – or not moving – to a certain place is usually not based only on numbers, costs or employment opportunities. You also need to go behind the scenes to get a better sense of what living in that particular place actually entails. That’s why we gathered some little-known, 100% Portlandian facts that will help you decide whether moving to the area is the right decision for you and your family.

1. Portland prides itself on being weird

“Keep Portland Weird” is the metro’s semi-official motto, even if it doesn’t originate here. The slogan was initially used in Austin, as “Keep Austin Weird,” as a way promote local businesses. In 2003, the quirky catchphrase was imported to Portland by Terry Currier, the owner of Music Millennium, an independent record store in the city. The motto fell on far more fertile ground in Portland than in Austin, and was soon being used to describe the individuality, and the less-than-typical ways of Portlanders.

2. Metro Portland sits on a volcano that’s actually a huge park

Portland’s resident volcano, Mount Tabor, is situated within the city’s limits and, fortunately, is dormant. The lava field that Mount Tabor is part of, known as the Boring Lava Field, has been extinct for over 300,000 years, so the sprawling park located on top of it is completely safe – it is also anything but boring.

Mont Tabor Park provides miles of hiking trails of variable difficulty, biking trails and amazing views of the city from above. Metro Portland also has one of the country’s largest forested urban parks, named, quite literally, Forest Park.

3. The smallest park in the world is also here

Not only is Portland home to one of the country’s largest forested parks, but it also contains the world’s smallest park. The Mill Ends Park is just 2 feet in diameter, consists of one tree, and was first granted recognition as the world’s smallest park back in 1971, by the Guinness Book of Records. It also got official city park status in 1976.

Mills End Park Portland Oregon

The micro-park unintentionally came into existence in 1948, when the spot was prepared for installing a light pole. The light pole failed to materialize, and weeds started growing in the hole. Dick Fagan, a columnist of the now defunct Oregon Journal, wrote a funny a piece about it, saying he caught a leprechaun digging in there, and the leprechaun granted him one wish – a park of his own. Unfortunately, he was not specific about the size of the park, so the leprechaun gave him that very hole. Fagan baptized it Mill Ends Park, after his newspaper column.

4. Portland could have been named Boston

Portland, Oregon, was founded in 1845 by two entrepreneurs and business partners, Francis Pettygrove from Portland, Maine and Asa Lovejoy from Boston, Massachusetts. Both wanted to name the new settlement after their respective cities. The decision was made by tossing a coin, and Pettygrove won two out of three tosses. The coin was later given to the Oregon Historical Society by a descendant of Pettygrove and is now on display in the society’s museum.

5. Stop to smell the roses

Portland’s International Rose Test Garden covers 4.5 acres of land, having been initially set up in 1915. Nowadays, the garden is hosting about 650 different rose varieties and more than 10,000 bushes. About 700,000 people visit the spectacular garden each year, during blooming season, from April through October. You could spend hours walking its grounds, admiring exquisite roses and reading information about each variety.

Portland Rose Garden

6. You get to browse through the largest independent bookstore in the world

After walking the grounds of the world’s smallest park, you could also browse through the over one million new and old books contained in the world’s largest independent bookstore, Powell’s City of Books. The bookstore is so large that it occupies an entire city block, offering over 68,000 square feet of book retail space.

7. The city is filled with cute horses

One of the most interesting mass art projects in the area is the Portland Horse Project, which was started by Scott Wayne Indiana, a resident of Portland’s Woodstock neighborhood. Noticing that the road-side horse rings that were used in the 18th and 19th centuries for securing horses and carriages were being removed, Scott decided to preserve this part of the city’s past by tying small toy horses to those rings. Other residents followed suit and, today, there are more than 200 horses hiding in plain sight, throughout the city.

8. Admire Portland’s unique bridges

Two rivers run through Portland, Willamette River and Columbia River – therefore, the city has plenty of bridges, and some of them are truly spectacular. St. Johns Bridge, opened in 1931, is a 2,000-foot steel suspension bridge, strikingly beautiful due to the Gothic-like appearance of its towers. The Steel Bridge, opened in 1912, impresses with its design on multiple levels, ensuring separate ways for trains, cars and pedestrians.

St Johns Bridge Portland

9. You could be fined $500 for pumping your own gas

Oregon is one of the very few US states that are still applying a very antiquated law, preventing drivers from pumping their own gas. The law, which was passed in 1951, banned gasoline self-service because of safety concerns. Recently, the law was amended to allow Oregonians living in rural areas to pump gas by themselves, but only between 6 pm and 6 am. In urban areas, such as Metro Portland, it’s still illegal and you can get a $500 fine for pumping your own gas.

10. Get artsy at the Portland Saturday Market

The Portland Saturday Market is held every weekend, Saturdays and Sundays, from early March through the end of December. It was founded in 1974 and it’s the largest continuously operated market for arts and crafts in the country. Visiting it will get you closer to that Portland-patented creativity and originality and you’ll get to admire and purchase original creations of local artists. There’s also plenty of delicious food and live events.

Do you have any other interesting facts to share about Portland, and about life in this amazing city? Please let us know in the comments.

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Published at Wed, 18 Mar 2020 13:49:02 +0000

How to Boost Your Productivity When Working from Home

In light of recent events concerning COVID-19 (Coronavirus), most organizations around the world are encouraging employees to work from home in order to protect themselves and those around them. While this might be the norm for some, others are new to the whole concept of working from home and might need some tips to help them increase their productivity.

Working from your apartment can be quite difficult, especially if you’re not used to it. You may be easily distracted by dishes that need to be washed, dogs that want to be walked or a neighbor who seems to be building a space rocket in the apartment above you. Either way, work needs to be done and it’s up to you to make sure you stay productive throughout the day and avoid any interferences.

Fortunately, if you plan on working from home for more than a few days, there are ways to deal with the ever-lingering temptation of procrastination. Below is a list of steps you can take to increase your productivity at home.

Set up a work space

First, pick a spot in your apartment to use as an office. It doesn’t even need to be a proper office – a chair and a table work just fine. What’s important, though, is to make the distinction between a work space and the rest of the apartment. Additionally, although the temptation will be strong, avoid working from your couch or bed as these are sure to disrupt your productivity.

Next, focus on making your work space comfortable. Use a chair that’s good for posture and keep your screen at eye level. While you’re at it, add some flowers or colorful sticky notes to boost your creativity while working.

Dress up

Ditch the pajamas. Feel free to wear cozy clothes, but – whatever you do – avoid staying in the same clothes all day long. Dressing up will put you into work mode, so it’s always a good idea to change your clothes if you plan on working. Then, as soon as you’re done with your tasks for the day, you can change back into your home/leisure outfit.

Make a to-do list

Before you begin your day, make a to-do list. This will help you manage your priorities and stay focused so you don’t alter your plans on the fly. While you can make changes to your list if you really need to, it’s best to stick to it as much as possible. Not only is it highly efficient, but it will also give you that feeling of accomplishment whenever you cross something off your list.

Maintain your daily schedule

Your routine might be dreadful at times, but it’s of utmost importance to stick to it. Habits dictate levels of productivity, and choosing the best routine for you will enable you to be more efficient.

Start by creating a routine for both mornings and evenings. This can include drinking your coffee while reading the news or your emails, making your to-do list, working your way through it and, of course, taking your breaks.

During the evening, do whatever you’d normally do after leaving the office – cook, watch TV and just relax. If your mind happens to wander off to work-related tasks, try not to dwell on them. Don’t bring your work home with you, even though your work is at home. Do your best to leave it in the space you assigned it to.

Avoid distractions

Working from home, you might feel the need to take more breaks than usual. Although you’ll most likely be in close proximity to the TV or your phone, try to stay away from both of them. Put the phone on silent, close any social media pages you have open and focus on your work.

The purpose of avoiding distractions is not to be isolated from other people. As human beings, we need social interaction, so whenever you take your breaks, go ahead and have a quick chat with your roommate or go online to see what your friends are up to. The idea is just not to overdo it and spend more time being distracted than working. The key to working from home productively is to maintain a good work/life balance, so make sure there’s a clearly defined line between the two.

All in all, remember to keep your attitude in check and take care of yourself. Working from home requires discipline and commitment. And, even though you might find it difficult at first, it will get easier with time.

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Published at Tue, 17 Mar 2020 14:06:20 +0000