1: The easy access to beautiful natural settings: Oregon Coast, Columbia Gorge, Mount Hood, Cascade Mountains, Willamette Valley plains, Hood River Valley, about 20 wildernesses within a 2.5 hour drive. The most diverse and best balanced (between development and nature) state park system in the U.S. has 151 parks within a 2 hour drive of Portland, of 200+ total.
#2: The year round fresh, green foliage due to rain throughout the year and abundant evergreen trees.
#3: Mild climate. Not usually below freezing for more than a few weeks, and not usually above 90 F for more than a week or two per year
#4: I really love hearing people not from here complain about overcast gloomy days, rain, wind, and driving in the snow. Most seem to move away after a year or two.
#5: Onshore airflow from the Pacific. This keeps the air moderate in temperature and humidity, and flushes out whatever pollution might be otherwise trapped.
#6: Clean environment. I've seen the transition from the 1960s when everyone used the area like a big trash can and littered like mad to how people do not tolerate it anymore. Same for industry with regard to air and water. Even most businesses now do a decent job of recycling most everything: paper, glass, metal, wood, compost, plastics, fabrics, even building materials like sheetrock and concrete.
#7: Access to fresh, wholesome foods year round. U-pick farms are a 20+ minute drive from central Portland, or there are farmers markets from March through November bringing it into the city. The Oregon and Washington ocean fisherman provide the best fresh salmon in the world, along with fresh crab, scallops, oysters, clams, shrimp, rock fish, cod, tuna, and deep ocean fishes.
#8: The amazing diversity of restaurants and food carts. For example, there are ten Ethiopian restaurants, about 40 Greek, 75 (east) Indian, at least five Norwegian, hundreds of Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, Sushi, Thai, Korean, Vietnamese, and many others. Then there are hundreds serving Oregon cuisine, some rated among the best restaurants in the U.S.
#9: Bicycling mecca. Rated #2 in the world (after Amsterdam) by Virgin Travel and #1 in the U.S. by most bicycling analyses and surveys.
#10: Attitude. Any idea about transforming Portland to be more cosmopolitan, or businesslike, or professional, or formal, or uniform, etc., etc. will be ignored. We don't care what goals other cities have. I have interviewed for software engineering jobs in shorts or jeans and fit right in with the interviewers. Except for a few stuffy businesses (which are no longer), working hours (of the day) are largely determined by personal preferences.
#11: The television series Leverage shoots in Portland (since season 2) and has it stand in—convincingly—for Boston, Nebraska, Kiev (Ukraine), Los Angeles, Chicago, and many others. I like our diversity of architecture and land use which makes that possible.
Answered By: walmeis - 1/16/2012