Portland is not the "wanna-be" Seattle so many say it is. It's just a smaller town that can't be Seattle. Geographical reasons alone make it impossible. While it's true that P-town (one of the other nicknames I have yet to see mentioned here) lacks the nightlife and "opportunities" for self destructive behavior to the tune of about 50% compared to Seattle, it also lacks the shitty aspects by about the same percentage. Liberal it is, and the only guys complaining about that don't live in Portland anyway - so I say let 'em sit in the closet wearing a cowboy had & mommys panties bitching about P-Town to their hearts content.
Portland is more laid back than Seattle, this being both a good and bad thing. The obvious reasons apply. The nicest things about Portland besides foody-friendly & other interesting establishments/sites to see within city limits are the Columbia Gorge (as incredible as the Grand Canyon but in a completely different way), ocean beaches no more than about an hour west, and COMPLETE climate change (including "suddenly" bright, clear blue sky and crisp clean high desert air/surroudings) which can be found only a 2-3 hour drive over the Cascade mountain range (Central Oregon - Bend). Bend is, however, the kind of place to vacation/visit ONLY - unless you're alreay rich & have at least come close to a mid-life crisis. It's tailored (or rather it "has been remodeled to tailor") to Cali people who want 2-3 times the house/property for 2/3 of what the home in California sold for. It's a great place to retire (instead of hotter than hell Arizona), but again if you're young and still trying to figure out how to come up with your own personal pile of allmighty dollars, steer clear while in route to "anywhere but the place you just left" during the one-way destination U-Haul adventure.
Portland is a great place to live but the rain spoils it for about 60-70% of the year, so overall I think it's best for people who love lots of rain (minus the thunder & lightning which usually make rain more fun & interesting), as a second home sort of place or a great home if you're someone who likes to move every few years. Job market is decent, there are tons of illegals - some of whom are happy to serve up the exact same fantastic (and authentic) tacos you'd find south of the border... with the majority of them waiting each morning near the closest temporary employment company just dying to hop into any contractors van.
Fishing is spectacular, with 90% of the fish being caught by 10% of the fishermen (Steelhead are even smarter than Goerge W., if you can imagine that.. and also very similair because they're difficult to "catch".)
On any average day I find myself bitching about P-Town for one reason or another (the nice weather days make you forget... much like the boyfriend who stops hitting his woman just long enough to make her think she actually DOES like being stuck with him).
Anyhow, if you don't like Portland then don't live here. Personally, I think Seattle is more fun - there IS more to do but just as much rain. I think I could find as many reasons to leave Portland as I could NOT to move to Seattle - but overall it's a really chill town with a lot of easy-going, friendly people & a borderline (I stress that part) decent music scene. Worth a visit, but make sure you stay long enough to experience the annual 7 month monsoon before deciding to make it your permanent home.
J: "Did you see the forecast for Portland last night?"
A: "No, but wasn't it the same as the last three weeks? Showers today with occasional rain?"
J: "Yeah.. except it's supposed to be clear around midnight tonight and stay that way 'til around 7am tomorrow"
J: "Is that smack or hash?"
A: "Dunno... probably both"