Portland, Oregon

Best Places to Retire in Oregon


Portland (population 540,000) is an attractive, cosmopolitan city located in the northwestern part of the state, 78 miles from the Pacific Ocean, and just below the border of Washington State. The city has a population of nearly two million people. The Willamette River runs through the heart of the city and the Columbia River is a few miles to the north. http://www.portlandonline.com/

Portland is described as both “vibrant” and “diverse.” It is a great city for walkers, with small city blocks and a generous number of cafes, markets, parks, plazas, galleries, bookstores, and coffeehouses, and more than 25 local brew pubs. The city is also very biker-friendly with many designated bicycle lanes, paved and unpaved trails, and a popular 1.5-mile route along the downtown waterfront.

Public transportation is outstanding. For openers, passengers ride free on buses, light rail, and streetcars within the 330-block downtown, known as “Fareless Square.” This area is home to many amenities, including the Rose Garden Arena, the Oregon Convention Center and the Lloyd Center Mall. Four turn-of-the-century trolleys, called Vintage Trolleys, connect downtown to Lloyd Center District, while the streetcar system links to the Pearl District, Northwest/Nob Hill, and Portland State University. The city’s light rail system (MAX light rail) is a 38-mile system that connects to a great many attractions in the area, and there is excellent bus service as well.

Portland, called “The City of Roses,” has four spectacular gardens: the International Rose Test Garden, a Japanese Garden, a Chinese Garden, and The Oregon Garden. It has waterfront walking parks and there are 37,000-acres of parks and green spaces in the metropolitan area, including 5,000-acre Forest Park. Adding to the many beautiful settings is majestic Mount Hood, just 65 miles away. Its 11,235-foot peak is the tallest in the Cascade Mountain Range and dominates the city’s skyline.

The arts scene in Portland offers an extraordinary number of opportunities for patrons, artists, and performers. There are outstanding music, dance, Broadway productions, opera, and visual arts performances. And as you’d expect for a city of this size, there is extensive shopping (tax free) and excellent dining. There are many opportunities for outdoor recreation activities, both within the metropolitan area and in the beautiful wilds of the “north country.” The area also offers numerous choices for excellent hospital care.

Money Magazine called Portland “North America’s Best Big City.” When you’ve taken a closer look at it, you may well agree!

Arts & Culture

Portland Center for the Performing Arts is considered to be among the top performing arts centers in the nation and hosts an estimated 900 performances annually. There are 21resident companies that perform at this venue. The resident companies include Portland Opera, Oregon Symphony, Oregon Ballet, Portland Center Stage, Portland Youth Philharmonic, Oregon Children’s Theatre, Tears of Joy Puppet Theatre, and Broadway in Portland. http://www.pcs.org/

Portland Opera & Fred Meyer Broadway in Portland (included together on the following website). The Opera, which began in 1965, presents a four-performance season at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts. Broadway productions have been offered since the 1995-96 season with as many as 11 productions in a single season. http://www.portlandopera.org/

Portland Symphonic Choir is comprised of more than 140 voices. It has been performing in the area for more than 50 years. Membership is based on highly competitive auditions. http://pschoir.org/

Profile Theatre, founded in 1997, produces live theater in an intimate 95-seat theater. Each season it presents plays by or about a single playwright. http://www.profiletheatre.org/

Oregon Ballet Theatre is a professional, classical-based company that was established in 1989. It offers a four-production season at the Oregon Center for the Performing Arts. http://www.obt.org/

Oregon Symphony is more than 100 years old. It is also among the largest arts organizations in the country, with 88 full-time musicians. It presents classical, pops and community concerts. http://www.orsymphony.org/

Portland Baroque Orchestra was founded in 1984. It is dedicated to presenting authentic interpretations of 17th and 18th century music. Performances are at Reed College’s Kaul Auditorium and historic First Baptist Church in downtown Portland. http://www.pbo.org/index.shtml

Portland Center Stage, founded in 1988, is the city’s leading professional theater company. http://www.pcs.org/

Portland Art Museum, which dates to 1892, has a diverse collection of more than 33,000 objects and works of art. http://portlandartmuseum.org/

Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA) champions creative exploration and challenges both artists and audiences to push the limits of artistic expression. http://www.pica.org/

Miracle Theatre Group oversees three professional companies: Miracle Mainstage, Teatro Milagro, and Bellas Artes. http://www.milagro.org/

Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, founded in 1982, supports new and emerging artists and promotes exchange among varied ethnic and cultural groups. Its name is derived from its home, a 1910 firehouse which houses a 110-seat theater, two art galleries and a dance studio. http://www.ifcc-arts.org/

Lakewood Center for the Arts and the Lakewood Theatre Company are nine miles away in Lake Oswego. The “theatre” is the theater facility organization and the “company” offers cultural and arts programming. Tenants at the center include the Dance Studio, Lakewood Center Gallery, Community Arts Preschool, the Children’s Theatre and the Children’s Art Studio. The “Festival of the Arts is an annual June event at the center. It is a citywide celebration that attracts more than 18,000 people to performances at the center and the park. More than 900 pieces of art are typically on exhibit. http://www.lakewood-center.org/

DO JUMP, founded in 1977, presents ambitious choreography. Its performances are a blend of dance, acrobatics, and aerial work, with humor and original music. http://www.dojump.org/

Chamber Music Northwest, which began in 1971, offers a season of performances. It is considered among the most successful chamber music groups in the nation. http://www.cmnw.org/

CoHo Productions offers a series of productions at the CoHo Theater. http://www.cohoproductions.org/

Artists Repertory Theatre is a not-for-profit, professional theater company. It also offers education and outreach programs. http://www.artistsrep.org/

BodyVox Contemporary Dance Company produces diverse forms of programs. http://www.bodyvox.com/

Oregon Zoo, located five miles west of downtown, has more than 1,000 specimens, including 200 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. Its botanical garden features more than 1,000 species of exotic plants. One of its attractions is a five-sixths scale railway that offers a four-mile trip through the adjacent Washington Park. The zoo also sponsors a popular summer concert series. http://www.oregonzoo.org/

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is considered among the nation’s top science museums. It features five exhibit halls and eight science labs, an Omnimax Theater and the Northwest’s largest planetarium. http://www.omsi.edu/


Rose Garden Arena is host to both the Portland Trailblazers (NBA team) and the Portland Winter Hawks (part of the Western Hockey League). It is also a popular venue for concerts and many other special events. http://www.rosequarter.com/

Portland Parks & Recreation Department administers the city’s recreation sites and facilities and offers an extensive list of programs. http://www.portlandonline.com/parks/

Mount Hood, which is 65 miles away, has four ski resorts and offers the longest ski season in the nation. Skiing, snowboarding, hiking, and snowshoeing are available. http://www.mthood.info/ There are two dozen or more golf courses in the area, including two public golf courses that rank among the top 100 in the nation – Eastmoreland Golf Course http://www.eastmorelandgolfcourse.com/ and Heron Lakes Golf Course http://www.heronlakesgolf.com/kemper/courses/layout10.asp?id=201&page=5512.

Portland Beavers are a Triple-A baseball team that plays its home games at PGE Park. They are an affiliate of the San Diego Padres. http://www.portlandbeavers.com/

Portland Timbers are the A-League soccer team that also uses PGE Park.

Portland International Raceway is a 1.9 mile road course with nine turns. The race season includes a popular Indy-car race with the world’s top racecar drivers. http://www.portlandraceway.com/

Portland Meadows Race Track (horse track) is five minutes from downtown. Its main track is a one mile oval. The track has a 6-furlong chute and a 1º mile chute used for quarter horse racing. Seating capacity is 4,450. http://www.portlandmeadows.com/

Multnomah Greyhound Park is a 1,383-foot dog racing track with a total capacity of 18,760 spectators and seating for 6,064. http://www.mecoregonracing.com/mgp/default.html


Portland State University has about 24,000 students and is a part of the Oregon University System. http://www.pdx.edu/unst/

Oregon Health & Science University is a highly specialized health and research university. It has educational services that include Schools of Dentistry, Medicine and Nursing, as well as Allied Health, and Science and Engineering. http://www.ohsu.edu/

Senior Programs

The Portland Parks & Recreation Department provides programs dedicated to persons age 55 and older. It offers more than165 courses, trips and events quarterly. http://www.portlandonline.com/parks/

Portland State University offers a “Tuition-Free” Auditing Program for residents age 65 and older through its Senior Adult Learning Center. http://www.upa.pdx.edu/IOA/SALC/


Adventist Medical Center is a 302-bed hospital that includes a school of nursing, and a retirement center on its campus. It is a full-service hospital with a staff of nearly 500 physicians. http://www.adventisthealthnw.com/

Legacy Health System includes the following hospitals: Legacy Emanuel Hospital, Legacy Emanuel Children’s Hospital, Legacy Emanuel Good Samaritan Hospital, Legacy Salmon Creek Hospital, (in nearby Vancouver, WA), Legacy Mount Hood Medical Clinic (Gresham), and Legacy Meridian Park Hospital (Tualatin). http://www.legacyhealth.org/

Providence Portland Medical Center is a part of the Providence Health System in Oregon. The hospital has 483 licensed beds and a medical staff of nearly 1,000. http://www.providence.org/oregon/facilities/

Oregon Health & Science University is a highly specialized health and research university treating patients at numerous primary care and specialty clinics, and traveling clinics. http://www.ohsu.edu/

Airport & Train Service

Portland International Airport, which is just 20 minutes from the center of the city, offers direct service to more than 120 cities within the U.S. and internationally. http://www.portlandjetport.org/

Amtrak offers three daily departures between Seattle and Portland, as well as daily trips to Vancouver, B.C., Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=Amtrak/HomePage


Average temperatures for January are a high of 46 degrees and a low of 34 degrees. Average temperatures for July are a high of 80 degrees and a low of 57 degrees. The average annual precipitation is just over 36 inches. http://www.wunderground.com/US/OR/Portland.html


The Oregonian – http://www.oregonian.com/index.ssf

Property Taxes

Multnomah County Assessment & Taxation – http://www.co.multnomah.or.us/dbcs/assess_tax/bopta_info.shtml

State Taxes


Chamber of Commerce


State Aging Agency



Beaverton – 8 miles
Vancouver, WA – 9 miles
Gresham – 16 miles
Salem – 46 miles
Longview, WA – 49 miles
Cannon Beach – 78 miles
Astoria – 90 miles
Warrenton – 91 miles
Eugene – 110 miles
Seattle, WA – 173 miles
Bend – 175 miles

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