Cost of living in Portland vs. Seattle
January 29, 2008 12:00 PM Subscribe
Living on a modest income in Seattle vs. in Portland, OR -- your thoughts, opinions, experiences?
posted by Kat Allison to Work & Money (10 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I'm temporarily living with friends in Seattle (recently moved here from Minneapolis), and am job-hunting in both cities. Recently I had an interview in Portland that went very well, at a place I think I'd really like working. The downside: the salary would be $37,000 (non-negotiable)--which is certainly not poverty by any means, but is significantly less than I made in my last job, and less than I'd like to be making.
Positions in my field in Seattle tend to pay better (usually in the $40s). On the other hand, if the figures I've found on line are accurate, the overall cost of living in Portland is ~10% less than in Seattle, which would offset a good part of that differential.
Here's my question, though: I have a sort of subjective feeling that Portland is an easier city to live in without a whole lot of financial cushion than Seattle is. I have a hard time putting my finger on why, exactly--it just feels more, I dunno, low-key, non-driven, middle-class, whereas Seattle has that whole Glitz! Million-Dollar-Condos! World-Class-City! vibe going on.
What I'm wondering (and I'm sorry this question is so vague) is whether others who have experience with both cities, or just with Portland, can give me perspective, or suggest aspects to this that I should be considering. I do know rentals are cheaper on average in Portland at this point, but do you think that's likely to change drastically near-term? Are affordable rentals (say, $800/mo or less) likely to be good, or to be rundown/in sketchy neighborhoods/otherwise undesirable? Oregon has the income tax, but doesn't have sales tax--does the one wash out the other, or does it significantly affect one's disposable income? What's it like living in Portland without a whole lot of money?
(Oh, and possibly relevant variables: single, no kids, no debt, generally frugal and not much interested in consumer culture.)