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Looking for a Place to Live?

Looking for a Place to Live in Portland?

Neighborhoods to consider...

  • I'd look at the neighborhoods adjacent to Hawthorne (really anything between E. Burnside and Powell,12th & 50th), though those are likely to be pricey;
  • the Alberta/Albina neighborhood should be a little less expensive (and have much better radical chic) -- I'd look in the Piedmont and lower Piedmont areas (north of Broadway, south of Lombard, between MLK Jr BLvd and Williams), adjacent to Alberta (between Skidmore and Ainsworth, MLK and 42nd); or North Portland.
  • St Johns is part of Portland, but a bit of a commute if you have to come downtown -- still, it is cheap and working-class hip.
  • Another set of neighborhoods you might want to check out is on the west side -- Hillsdaleand Multnomah Village. Rents have become cheap(er) out there, and I know quite a few alternative types who have moved there.

Resources online

Check out

If you're thinking of moving here, period, probably the best online resource is From their site: "This Web site has two goals: To provide you with a source of information about the city, its neighborhoods, schools, climate, home styles, Oregon real estate law, and the Portland home market. The second goal is to find you the right home and community."
As you might imagine, this is a site for a real estate agent, but to her credit, it is full of information.

Also, check out Portland Maps if you are moving to Portland and concerned about crime (or a host of other things) in a particular neighborhood.

Can you afford to live here? Check out Money Magazine's Cost of Living Calculator

Other resources

The Community Alliance of Tenants works to advocate for tenants. They do seminars for renters, and have a Renters Rights Hotline, too, 288-0130. Their main number is 460-9702.

Renting: Finding Vacancies

You can check out vacancies in the usual places:

If you're looking to share a house, it will probably be easier to check out the message boards -- say, at the Coops (Food Front in NW, Alberta in NE, People's in SE), at Natures (the Division Street one is the best -- the NE Fremont one is useless), and at La Sirenita on Alberta.

About the Portland housing market

From the Portland Mercury, 4/26/2001:

  • two years ago, Portland apartment vacancy rates dropped to less than five percent—that is not good news for renters.
  • Portland saw a population growth rate of 25% -- faster than SF and Seattle from 1995-2000.
  • Rents in NE & SE have gone up; the number of households earning less than $26k have increased from 1990-1997, while affordable housing has decreased.

According to the Willamette Week (June 5, 2002):

"According to new census statistics, nearly half of the renters in Portland turn over at least one third of their income to their landlords, which doesn't leave much for that proverbial nest egg. Those in the market for new digs will find that the median price of a home in Portland is $170K, a figure that has skyrocketed 84 percent over the past decade.

According to a Community Alliance of Tenants flyer from 2001:

  • Home prices are rising in the neighborhoods that comprise the Interstate Urban Renewal Area much more rapidly than in the rest of the region—almost 4 times what they were in 1990.
  • Wages in the Portland region rose only 28% between 1990-1999.
  • In 1996, 4500 households in the area were spending more than 30% of their income on housing; almost half were spending more than 50%.

While Money Magazine has rated Portland the best big city to live in in 2000, and one of the best places to live in 2001, it also reported that Portland has the highest unemployment rate in the country (from the Portland Tribune, 2/22/2002).

Buying: House Prices

Housing prices have just about doubled within the city limits. Average housing prices for the year 2000 courtesy of the Oregonian, 4/16/2001:

N Portland: $124k
NE Portland: $169k
SE Portland: $153k
W Portland: $293k

the Caveat
I sometimes get mail asking about moving here, and what neighborhood should they move into?
If you can afford to do this, I'd wait to rent anything until you come to town. There is no substitute for actually seeing a place, a neighborhood, and meeting your future roomies. Rentals are usually available immediately. And honestly, what I think is safe may not

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August 23, 2005 | Permalink



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