Job and temp landscape in Portland Oregon and surrounding cities?
September 11, 2018 10:30 AM   Subscribe

Please introduce me to the job and temp landscape in Portland, Oregon and surrounding cities in 2018/2019.

I will be moving to Portland, Oregon, in ~ November 2018.

I've already perused in the last few months and I'm not seeing much in terms of jobs that are related to me, so I'm querying people who live there and might be able to suggest what I should look for in terms of companies, etc., so I can hit the ground running when I get there.

Here is what I am hoping to find out or get recommendations for.
• Any temp agencies that are highly responsive or might specialize in my industry (see below for specifics) - or that you found very responsive (maybe they'll be useful to me, too).
• Any companies that I should watch in terms of job listings (i.e., I can drop the company name in and get updates, but I don’t know that these companies are in that area - types of companies that would be relevant if they are even there are companies that might do a lot of science writing or have biology-related jobs).
• Are there any specific lists that I should subscribe to for job openings etc in addition to weekly emails from
• Is there a cluster of companies in an area with biology-related type jobs? If so, where is this located (i.e., Pharma companies are predominantly in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, medical device companies are far north of Minneapolis, etc. - I’d like to find this out now if it means I should move to Hillsboro instead of Portland, for example, or plan to commute).
• Any other recs you have about the job and/or temp landscape in Portland would be great.

Here are the “about me” parameters and what it means as to what I will look for when it comes to job hunting, but if you have had phenomenal responsiveness or noticed a billion jobs with a particular temp service and it falls outside what I list below, please do let me know. Also, although I will be leaning towards looking for a a temp job in tech writing, but I'm open to much more - the overly detailed list is below if you know about jobs that require X and maybe I have that?:
• Undergraduate degrees in biology and psychology and a graduate degree in a biological field (think anatomy and physiology type courses, not ecology)
• Most recently, 10 years as a medical writer (as in writing journal articles for publication in medical journals in the areas of neuroscience and oncology) and a year as a tech writer - so I guess I will look at these for temp jobs OR full-time
• Throw in teaching full time for 2 years at universities - I have no desire to return to teaching university full-time and probably can no longer do so, but if by some strange coincidence you can adjunct cool biology courses like comparative anatomy or your own senior seminar type course- please let me know - as in are there schools that need biology faculty on an adjunct basis?
• If there are other types of temp jobs (even part time) that are open to someone without specialized experience - what that is and where I should look would be great. Since I'm a sock puppet, I'll be honest and say that in my ideal universe, there will be a job that will give me time to write - as in maybe someone just needs a person or people to occupy space and sit in a chair for X hours and its okay to write - I'd do that if they'd take me.... but I don't know where to look or apply.

As always, thanks in advance.
posted by wonder twin powers activate form of a sock puppet to Work & Money (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe this is too far left field, but I'd look at the hospital systems and try to get into their communications departments writing press releases. Providence; Adventist; OHSU; Kaiser Permanente; and Legacy are the main hospital systems here. I'd start looking at their individual websites (or cross reference each with Indeed to ensure they are indeed posting on Indeed).

There's a bunch of small colleges here. You'd have to check each one's bio department, but I could see it as possible that you could work at a few of them. Portland can be like a small town though, and you'll really need to get to know the academic community. List of schools here. Sort by city. Wilsonville and Gresham are suburban. Forest Grove, McMinnville, Newburg, and Salem are long commutes but doable if you live toward that direction, and teach just once a week, for example.

If you haven't already, take your address off your resume. There are many companies who won't even look at you until you're living in the area.
posted by hydra77 at 10:42 AM on September 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

OHSU sounds like it would be a good fit for your background (also have their own job site, I think it gets scraped by Indeed). Beaverton / Hillsboro is the "tech" area, with Intel being the largest company. Are you reading the local business news to help identify interesting companies?

Portland State University regularly hires adjuncts, Portland Community College is worth a shot, too - I think both list these jobs as a hiring pool they pull from as needed. The smaller colleges are more likely to shuffle existing staffing around, but do hire adjuncts sometimes. I'm assuming you know you will not make a living wage adjuncting.

I've worked as temp admin help in Portland several times, and almost returned to temping while job-hunting post-PhD (got a job offer shortly before temp job was supposed to start). I've been happy and pretty consistently employed with Northwest Staffing Resources, which has several branches in the Portland area, but it will mostly be plain-ol-admin. They have part-time jobs, and admin jobs also tend to have downtime in which you could write. I saw a few more specialized jobs come up on Adecco but have never had success actually getting placed or even getting a response through them. Temp agencies will want you to come in in person and be ready to interview/work immediately, though, there is not a lot you can do beforehand. For admin, you will want to leave your graduate degree off your resume if possible and focus on the admin skills you have (Excel! data entry! customer service!) for this. It took me a couple placement interviews to get good at talking about my experience in a temp-job-friendly way.
posted by momus_window at 11:28 AM on September 11, 2018 [4 favorites]

Mac's List is the local non-profit job listing site.
posted by aniola at 11:41 AM on September 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I wonder if any of your skills could be useful in the extremely booming cannabis industry... these people are especially bio-science oriented but I bet there are other companies that might be interested in someone with your skills.
Good luck!!
posted by wowenthusiast at 2:13 PM on September 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Look at Ochin. (their jobs are indeed, I don't see a job listing on their site directly). I have a friend who works there are she really loves the company and she does something medical resarch related.
posted by vespabelle at 2:27 PM on September 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

In your ideal universe where you can write during downtime at work, look into graveyard shifts. Security in an office building, gas station, overnight home health care - basically passively monitoring something.
posted by bendy at 10:25 PM on September 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

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