I'm in Portland for Monitorama right now, and reminded of all the little things that make me love this town:
1. There is a bike assembly station at the airport, with a tuning stand and free tools.
San Francisco is doing better and better with their bike community, and I love all the new lanes I'm seeing criscrossing the city. But nobody does bike-friendly like Portland.
2. The transit system is fast, cheap, practical, and runs on time. And you can buy your ticket with your phone!
I don't know what they're doing right in the Portland city government, but the Trimet system is a joy to use. Not only is it cheap ($5 buys you all-day rides on buses and trains), but they have bike racks inside the cars, and as of recently, you can buy your proof of payment from a mobile app.
3. Housing is cheap– $600 will buy a decent room in a shared house, and $1000-$1200 gets a nice one-bedroom apartment.
'nuff said. In San Francisco, everybody's either paying through the nose or clinging to whatever rent-controlled space they currently have.
4. Great beer and food everywhere.
Unlike the mobile food trucks in San Francisco, Portland has a long history of stationary trailers setting up shop in outdoor parking lots. A good lunch is $7, and $4-5 craft pints are everywhere.
5. Things move slower.
This one's hard to quantify or precisely describe, but I see everybody – from students to techies to businessmen to shop clerks – walk a little slower, try to cram less into a day, hour, or sentence, and generally exude less tension and urgency. The Bay's tech boom might be due to that constant undercurrent of energy, but it can get tiring.
I doubt I'll move here for a while, since I'm loving PagerDuty, work, and friends, but I think I'll always dream of getting a nice little house in Southeast, biking across the bridge, hitting happy hour at Henry's, and living out my days in flannel.
In other words: