Oregon is one of my favorite states because of the endless opportunities available depending on your location.
Let’s start east and work our way west!
If you haven’t been to the Northwestern US, you might be surprised to learn that much of the area is a complete desert. The Cascades are a huge mountain range that run throughout the region waaaay into Canada and rain gets trapped on one side of them, while the other side is left completely dry (this is called the rain-shadow effect FYI). This is the same reason why Portland is green and rainy and eastern Oregon cities are brown and dry.
As someone just driving through Eastern Oregon didn’t really seem to have a whole lot going on. The area is heavily dependent upon agriculture and more conservative. There have been a number of failed petitions to unite Eastern Oregon with Idaho (Eastern Washington too), since the east side of the State wants nothing to do with the “hippie” west side.
I don’t have a whole lot to say (or any pictures) about the east side of the state because it seemed like there wasn’t much going on. Bend, Oregon, however, was a really beautiful city located in the middle of nowhere that offered great restaurants and shopping. But like I said, it didn’t seem like there was much outside of Bend.
When people say “Keep Portland Weird” they aren’t lying…there’s some WEIRDOS in Portland, Oregon. I remember I walked by a girl with bright green fairy wings just going about her day and another time an old man in a super bright pink Cadillac drove by me blaring and LOUDLY singing along to a Taylor Swift song.
If you need a good laugh go to Portland.
Weirdos aside, Portland is an up and coming city with lots of opportunity for young people (seriously there’s barely any old people in Portland, it’s like under 35 only please). Technology and the arts has really brought up the Pacific Northwest in recent years and there are a number of big name companies headquartered in/near Portland.
Portland is a foodie’s city and any type of cuisine you can think of is available there. Some of the most popular places are actually food carts, like Michelin Star food carts. If you ever go to Portland please be prepared to eat!
It rains a lot in Western Oregon…like everyday.
I mentioned in one of my previous blog postings (Living in Idaho…while Black) that Oregon once had a system of racial laws that excluded Blacks from living in the state (you can search Oregon Black Exclusion Laws if you’re interested). As time went on these laws were taken off the books, but it is because of these laws why even to this very day Oregon does not have a large Black population or large minority population for that matter. These laws also heavily affected Chinese-Americans in what would become known as the Chinese Exclusion Laws
(We shall overcome!!!!).
Once Blacks were finally allowed in Oregon, they were only allowed to live in a small section in Portland and that is Northeast Portland. Driving throughout Portland you don’t see very many Black people, but as soon as you enter the Northeast side of the city…it’s like “wow, where did all these people of color come from?” Sadly, the ills from the past haunts still us to this day and segregation/white supremacy in Portland runs deep.
Portland in recent years, however, has become one of the most liberal cities in the country and just walking down the street there as a person of color, I feel completely welcome. While visiting a number of neighborhoods throughout the city, even outside of the Northeast area, I saw a number of “Black Lives Matter” and “In Our America” signs. This was a huge shocker for me because I never see anything like that in Idaho (duh).
The beaches of the Pacific Northwest are beautiful…to look at. Much of the Oregon Coast is rocky and the water cold year-round. If you you’re into surfing the conditions are often good for it because the waves get pretty big, but don’t expect to swim in just a normal swimsuit or two-piece because you’d freeze.
Many of the towns and cities along the coast are pretty small, around 1,000-2,000 people per town and they’re pretty spread out. One of my favorite cities was Cannon Beach, a small city of a few thousand people that is made up of beautiful beach houses and mom and pop restaurants. The city’s main draw is Haystack Rock, a 235-foot rock just off the shore. In low tide you can walk right up to the rock and observe the tide pools.
The food along the Oregon Coast is amazing. People flock to the coast for the unlimited seafood choices and it’s delicious! I stopped in at Chowder Bowl at Nye Beach in Newport, Oregon and I had the Half-Pound of “Fire,” which features sauteed prawns in a spicy Cajun sauce.
View their menu (and delicious prawns here)