On March 19th we celebrated our 1 year anniversary of living in Oregon (yes I realize I'm almost a month late on this post, but my life...

10 Reasons Why Oregon Kicks Ass

On March 19th we celebrated our 1 year anniversary of living in Oregon (yes I realize I'm almost a month late on this post, but my life is happily full). This past year has been just beautiful. Life really is the best it's ever been.

#1 The Weather. Yes that's right, I love the rain. You know why? Everything is green! There's no brown, dry, or dead plants here. There's an amazing amount of life bursting out of the ground, walls, in the cracks of sidewalks, roads, buildings, everywhere! And none of it had to be watered, except your own garden for maybe a month or two in the summer. Not to mention how it always smells like rain. And there's no wind here! Not like Nevada wind anyway. The temperature is wonderful Spring through Fall, it's always not too hot and not too cold. And there is some sunshine too!

#2 Exercise. There are bicycle lanes everywhere. Anyone who's ever ridden on busy streets can appreciate this. And whenever I go for a ride, run, or walk, I usually see a minimum of 10 other people also riding, running, or walking. Depending on where you go, you might see 5 times that on a nice day. A majority of the time it's the right temperature for outdoor exercise and a lot of people here seem to be very healthy. It's like bike and runner central, it's glorious.

#3 Job. Best job I've ever had. Small business is the way to go. If you have the opportunity to be apart of a growing small business, I highly recommend it. The environment is much more relaxed and you get to actually be apart of the business, not just another drone in a cubicle that can easily get away with only doing 15 min of real work a week, or worse you're forced to work major overtime every week. Here my work actually makes a significant difference in the life of the company. Nothing is more motivating than that. Oh yes and I got a bonus at the end of the year and a raise at my anniversary. Is anybody these days getting raises and bonuses?! Not many, so I am incredibly grateful for this job.

#4 City. No it's not a big city, but it's much bigger than Reno, meaning there's lots more to do here. Every kind of museum, zoo, a million play places and kid friendly coffee shops, and every quirky, weird little shop you could ask for. And the food! All kinds of food, every ethnicity, and an amazing selection of whatever diet you're on: low-carb, paleo diet, pescatarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and even meat lovers!

#5 Parks. I have never been to a city with this many parks. I read there are over 200 parks here, and I believe it. You don't really feel like you're in a city because every couple of block there's another park. And not just a little strip of grass. No, parks here mean forest. Many have grass and playground equipment too. But a lot of them have more trees then the entire city of Reno. ;-)

#6 Portland Is Weird. The theme here is "keep Portland weird" and thousands of people are trying their hardest to keep that reputation going. You see every color of hair, very interesting outfits, tattoos, and/or piercings on people of all ages, sexes, races, income levels, "professional" business world, you name it. Many people here have every possible hobby you could think of too. Someone recently told me there's a guy who rides around town on a unicycle whilst playing the bagpipes. Gotta admire the talent there. One random Saturday this winter we saw some joggers in downtown with capes. No idea why. Just for kicks I guess. Oh and the crazy guy with bright pink hair and shirt who knelt down in front of a church and started screaming at his dear Lord. Good times. I snapped the picture before he started screaming. I love seeing people do whatever the hell it is they feel like doing.

#7 Farmers Markets. There is a farmers market in every area of the city and most suburbs, some are even year round. There's several that are at least March-November. It makes buying fresh, local, organic produce much easier and affordable. You can even get flowers, starter plants for your garden, and other homemade arts and crafts at most of these. There's usually live music and tons of food to choose from as well. And of course water fountains for kids to run through.

#8 Camping/Hiking. Pretty camping, the kind with trees and a river or lake nearby. We haven't had the opportunity to do much of this since it's rough with a toddler, but I look forward to the days when we can explore the hundreds of miles of trails in this state. Plus we got lots of good mountains nearby, Mt. Hood, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, and Mt. St. Helens (I hope it doesn't erupt again soon...). There are a crap-ton of waterfalls in this state and I'd love to see all of them.. Once you get about an hour outside of the city in any direction, there's a new campground about every 30 miles. No exaggeration on that either. 

#9 Recycling. Whatever your stand on environmental issues, hopefully we can all agree that we humans, especially Americans, are incredibly wasteful and produce an appalling amount of trash. Recycling may not be the perfect answer, but it's at least an attempt to reuse some resources. There is recycling pick up in every neighborhood and recycling and even compost bins a lot of places you go.

#10 State tax. Yes that's weird to say, but if you come take a tour of the libraries or rec centers here, you'll know why I say that. I've never seen so many big libraries. We take Sebastian to the library and he gets a fat stack of books that we will then read 1000 times in 3 weeks. But then praise the mother, it's time to take them back and get new ones! It keeps us sane and Sebastian entertained. Every couple of months he gets to take a new class at the rec center for super cheap. He's taken gymnastics, munchkin sports, and now he's on to swimming. No way we could've afforded to do that at any private businesses. The public transportation system is nice too. We've gotten by with just one car and don't plan on changing that ever. And there's not chronic road construction like in Nevada. It's kinda weird.