Local Atmosphere

Portland, OR
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4 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: Portland is a very cool and amazing city. I feel more at home here than at my real home!

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Senior

Local Atmosphere: There is a lot going in Portland for sure, mostly white hipster/hippie/yuppie stuff though, so if you you aren't in one of those demographics, you might have issues. There is a rapper here, and also a great jazz club. The city is mostly white, which is unnerving.

4 people found this useful Report
5 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: I Love Portland. Portland is a great city, probably the most liberal city in the U.S. It does have its drawbacks, like historical racial issues (unequal public school funding, gentrification, etc.), but overall, it's way better than most of the U.S., in my opinion. Way more vegan culture and delicious eats here. Way more respect for the environment. Way more small, local business, that don't channel money into megacorporations. There's a great underground music scene, winter and summer. Reed doesn't have the best reputation in the wealthier, more conservation neighborhood south of the College. Sometimes Portlanders regard Reedies as privileged white rich hipster kids that like to party and do drugs and quote great classic literature (and to some degree they can be this way, haha). But overall Portland is pretty much all hipsters anyway, and Reed's overall reputation is good. It's definitely known for it's intense academics, intellectualism, and it seen as somewhat elite. A friend of mine described it as an "intellectual wonderland".

4 people found this useful Report
5 Recent Alumnus

Local Atmosphere: Woodstock and Eastmoreland:
Not the most exciting neighborhoods, but you have all your basics within walking distance (grocery store, gas station, a decent amount of restaurants and bars, a hardware store, Bi-Mart). Eastmoreland is a wealthier residential neighborhood comprised of retirees who like to complain about Reed while attending its public lectures and a lot of families. Woodstock is pretty middle-of-the-road, it kind of feels like a small-town main street. Both are safe.

Portland is a fantastic place to live. It's easy to get around via bus (and soon via train/streetcar as they expand into the SE) and there is a ton of stuff going on all the time. Great music scene, great foodie scene, billions of local coffeeshops and breweries. The cool neighborhoods tend to be dominated by hipsters. Sometimes Reedies chose to live a little further off campus, usually in the Hawthorne/Belmont neighborhood.
Go watch Portlandia if you want to see what living in Portland is like; it's not that far from the truth.

4 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: Great for a Low Key or Alternative Taste – Portland is a great, if somewhat low key, city. It's full of little bars and pubs (especially if you are over 21) and has a decent theater scene, especially for cult classics or indie productions. There is a concert every weekend, though you shouldn't expect any pop icons. The natives are friendly, and there is relatively low crime rate (especially if you stay in the more affluent areas). Shopping is decent, with most shops being downtown, including one of the largest bookstores in the world! Great city to bike through, and public transportation is pretty good. Lots of good restaurants and little cafes to sneak into. Overall, if you are not looking for a buzzing party life, Portland is a very good city to live in.

1 person found this useful Report

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Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Ben DuPree
Los Angeles, Calif.
View all previous student authors

Portland is an anomaly for modern-day cosmopolitan cities; it possesses both a big-city and a small-city feel. Despite having less than one million people who call Portland home, the city has the look, resources, amenities, and feel of a much larger metropolis. However, the close-knit nature of the city's community allows Portland a friendly atmosphere usually only afforded to smaller villages and towns. Students from cities larger than Portland, while finding the city on the small side, appreciate Portland's fusion of a big- and small-town feel. Moreover, most students believe that Portland, while being small in comparison to nearby Seattle and San Francisco, does not lack for entertaining endeavors and fun distractions for their trips away from Reed.

Away from Reed, students generally enjoy either visiting Portland's multiple commercial districts, seeing a film at one of the numerous theaters, or perhaps seeing the sights around Portland. Although almost every student raves about Powell's Books, the lush and varied gardens (Japanese, Chinese, rose, and rhododendron in variety), and Saturday Market, almost every student has a different opinion on which activities around Portland are their favorites. With the many different sorts of escapes offered by the Portland area, the best way to determine which will suit you best is to get out there and try them all; any person who comes to Portland will not be disappointed. Here is a suggested series of activities that usually ends up making everyone happy: a day trip downtown to visit the commercial districts and Powell's, followed by a romp in the Japanese Garden, and then a quick journey down to the Willamette to look at the water. Finish with a dinner at a good restaurant listed in the Off-Campus Dining section.

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. Portland is separated into four quarters and is cut in the middle by the beautiful Willamette River.
  2. Powell's Books, one of the largest independent booksellers in America, offers a city block full of whatever literature one could want.
  3. Every weekend from March through December, Saturday Market, a fair where local artisans sell their wares, is open in downtown Portland.
  4. The Chinese and Japanese gardens bring the landscapes, fauna, and cultures of two nations to life. They are a must-see for any person visiting Portland.
  5. If you like winter sports and little snowmen, frosted and picturesque Mount Hood lies less than an hour from downtown Portland.
Notable Natives
  • James Beard – master chef
  • Douglas Engelbart – invented the computer mouse
  • Everclear – rock band
  • Matt Groening – created "The Simpsons"
  • Tonya Harding – former ice skater
  • Ursula LeGuin – science fiction author
  • Jane Powell – actress
  • Sally Struthers – humanitarian, actress, spokeswoman
Local Slang
The Civil War: Ancient ritual where kids from Eugene and Corvallis beat each other up
Points of Interest
  • Downtown Portland
  • Hawthorne Boulevard
  • Japanese Garden
  • Memorial Coliseum
  • Mount Hood
  • Multnomah Falls
  • Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)
  • Rhododendron Garden
  • Rose Garden
  • Willamette
Shopping Centers
  • Lloyd Center
  • Pioneer Place Mall
Movie Theaters
Avalon Theatre and Wunderland Nickel Arcade
3451 SE Belmont St.
(503) 238-1617
Movie Theaters
Bagdad Theater & Pub
3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd.
(503) 236-9234
Movie Theaters
Century 16 Eastport Plaza
4040 NE 82nd Ave.
(503) 772-1111
Movie Theaters
Lloyd Center Cinema 10
1510 NE Multnomah St.
(503) 287-0338
Major Sports Teams
  • Portland Trailblazers: NBA
  • Portland Winterhawks: Junior ice hockey
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • San Francisco: CA: 7 hours
  • Seattle: WA: 3 hours

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 14 responses

Very poor
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 14 responses

  • 0% Painfully remote.
  • 14% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 0% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 7% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 79% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 13 responses

  • 8% There aren't any nearby schools.
  • 69% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 23% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 13 responses

  • 8% No way.
  • 54% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 38% Totally.


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