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5 Reasons to Avoid Portland, Oregon

When traveling through the Pacific Northwest, some may think that stopping in Portland is a must. Many people, especially younger folks, consider it one of the best cities in America. However, it may not be all it’s cracked up to be and you might want avoid visiting Portland, Oregon.

Don’t get us wrong, there’s much to love about Portland, Oregon. Still, we’ll make the case that it may not be worth a visit. You might be better off continuing down the highway.

Let’s find out more! 

What Is Portland, Oregon Known for? 

Oregon’s largest city has a well-deserved reputation as a place that’s progressive-minded and “green,” literally and figuratively. Along the Willamette River, Portland has a lush and inviting natural landscape. The city’s youthful energy seems contagious, too, resulting in a vibrant atmosphere.

The community’s forward-thinking approach to transportation adds to this atmosphere. Many areas, including the downtown district, are easily walkable and bikeable. Additionally, public transportation systems, including light rail, are efficient, dependable, and very popular. Many of Portland’s residents are constantly on the go, in business and leisure. However, they slow down to enjoy the thriving scene of restaurants, coffee shops, and brewpubs.  

Some call Portland “the City of Roses,” in part because its climate is perfect for growing flowers. It’s also the site of towering Mount Hood and is the headquarters of the Nike sportswear company.

Portland, Oregon Old Town sign
There’s a lot of cool things in Portland, Oregon, but it definitely has its downsides.

Is Portland, Oregon a Depressing Place to Live? 

Unfortunately, all of these desirable assets don’t mean that everything’s rosy and bright. For many people, it’s depressing. A study from 2020 cites the state of Oregon as the most depressing of all 50. Over five years, the study says, an average of 25 percent of the population reported suffering from depression. Is the rainy weather to blame? Another study names Portland a top spot in the nation for Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D.

Pro Tip: Skip Portland, Oregon and head to one of these 5 Must-See Ghost Towns in Oregon instead!

Is Portland a Safe City?

Like many major cities, Portland has seen a rise in crime recently, but the numbers aren’t alarming. In terms of violent crimes like rapes, murders, and assaults, Portland remains below the U.S. average, according to However, it ranks high in property crimes like burglaries and vandalism. The tourism website TravelPortland downplays the concerns with reassuring statistics. It also points out that “the majority of crimes occur in areas where visitors stay and frequent.”

Skyline view of Portland, Oregon
While there is still crime in Portland, it is overall safe to visit.

5 Reasons to Avoid Portland, Oregon

So why stay away from Portland if it has so many good features? Here are the top five reasons to choose another destination.

1. It’s Always Rainy or Cloudy 

Temperatures are mild in summer, so Portland is a pleasant place to beat the heat. But like Seattle three hours north, it can be gloomy. Portland gets around 40 inches of rain a year, but it’s typically tiny amounts falling very frequently. Is there a scientific correlation between overcast skies and attitude? We’re not sure, but we have a sunnier disposition when the sun is out. 

2. There’s Lots of Traffic

Even with many people using public transit, the streets are often busy. Frustrating traffic jams are one of the reasons many people walk and bike to work.

They are trying to escape the gridlock that can add hours to relatively short commutes. Portland often ranks as one of the most congested cities in the nation.

3. The Crowds Are Overwhelming

We often love the energy of many people gathering in one place. Being among others who share the same interests can lead to lifelong friendships. But we also love a little elbow room sometimes, and that’s in short supply in Portland.

There are too many people there so that you can count us out.

Portland marquee lit up at night
Be prepared for lots of rain when visiting Portland, Oregon.

4. Homeless Population Can Be Dangerous

Living costs have skyrocketed recently, leaving many people on the streets. The areas where they have set up camps are places that tourism officials may suggest you avoid. People can become volatile when they are down on their luck and desperate.

The population is sizable; around 6,700 people in metro Portland, according to a recent report.

5. It’s Too Hipster

There’s no doubt millennials have taken over Portland, and some can be annoying. We love Portland’s creative and youthful vibe, but sometimes it’s an overload. Hipsters come in various shapes and sizes, and you can count on finding every variety in Portland.

Pro Tip: While traveling through Oregon, spend the night at one of these 7 Best Free Camping Spots in Oregon.

Should You Avoid Portland, Oregon? 

Portland, Oregon, is one of the faster-growing cities in the country and shows no signs of stopping. More than 4 million people live in greater Portland, and dozens move there daily. They are people who’ve fallen under the spell of a progressive city with much going for it.

Despite its considerable charms, we find Portland frustrating on many levels. Unless you have a reason to be there, like attending an event or visiting friends or family, we will skip it. Keep driving past Portland to the many Pacific Northwest destinations that are more hospitable and easier to navigate. 

Have you encountered any trendy cities on your travels that aren’t as wonderful as they appear? Let us know in the comments!

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