Over the last few weeks a lot of people have asked me why Meghan and I chose to move to Oregon. It has, of course, made me reflect but also put me a little bit on the defensive, so here goes my manifesto:
The job market in Santa Cruz has not been very lucrative for educational jobs or any other jobs for that matter. There are industries that are growing in that county, but most of the jobs come from either farming or UCSC, and there aren't enough. It may be a sign of the times, but Meghan and I were not having much luck.
We did a serious analysis of some Bay Area communities compared to Portland and looked to see what the cost of living was and what kind of community we wanted to live in. Many of the Bay Area communities were prohibitive because of rent prices and our parents places were less-than-appetizing. (Don't take offense to that mom and dad, you know how it goes)
We found, through the job boards that there was a lot of opportunity in education (my field) and in parks and rec and non-profits (Meg’s field). So after some call backs, but much difficulty trying to get a job from a city 11 hours away, we decided we’d move up and see if our luck improved. I was put on a few substitute lists and would hopefully be able to use that to get involved in the local school districts and have some transitional work.
Meghan and I both decided that our energy would be much better spent paying less rent in the place that we wanted to work and live rather than paying an arm and a leg in place that couldn't support our careers.
Aside from all of that Meghan and I have been flirting with Portland over the last few years. We have some good friends here who have shown us what an amazing city it is. Portland has the lowest cost of living than any other city on the west coast and for that reason it draws creative types like us. It has a vibrant and non-traditional art scene. The music scene in Portland is the envy of much of the US. It is one of the most well-educated and well-read cities in the country, along with that is the amazing Powell’s city of books. It promotes bike usage as a main source of transportation along with public transit; it is possible to be car-less here. The mountains and forest surround the city on all sides. Although it lacks some of the Bay Area’s Diversity, it is decidedly a progressive city that encourages thinking and conscious growth. It is a city, but it is not as gigantic as some of the other cities in the west (pop. 550,000), along with the downtown, it is a city of neighborhoods and (we hope) community.
We are young and idealistic and feel like Portland is great match for us both. In times like these, sometimes we must go out on a limb to succeed and I hope that both of us are able to do that here among our creative, left-wing brethren. I realize that this transition will not be easy, as people in all states in all cities are dealing with the recession and its repercussions. There is also the difficulty in changing locales. We must deal with social changes, geographical changes, and weather changes (read R-A-I-N). With all of these things hopefully moving in our favor, we hope that Portland allows us to grow and individuals, and as a couple. We hope that we are able to overcome some of the inescapable difficulties that a recession brings. We also hope that friends and family of whom we hold so dearly are able to take the time to come visit us (we have a second bedroom) and help us to explore this new realm. We also hope you continue to read our blog and share our experience of transitioning to a new city, a new state, and a new life(sort of).
Listening to: some lame new-agey music on the local radio station