Being hot must be a strange sensation for mild, understated Oregon. It just booted all-powerful Washington, D.C., out of the top destination spot for people moving between states, with 61 percent of those relocating coming into Oregon rather than heading out. According to the annual United Van Lines survey of moving trends, the nation’s capital has now been relegated to No. 4 on the list, tied with South Dakota. But why are restless Americans leaving their hometowns, eschewing 49 other states, and settling in Oregon?
In the past few years, the metropolis of Portland has been lauded as the utopia du jour of Generation X: a midsize, family-friendly city, birthing beanie-clad, plaid-shirted young hipsters, serving locally harvested dishes, brewing “intimate” DIY coffee, and offering multiple bike-powered pubcrawls. Thanks to all of the above, the city has found itself lovably poked fun of in the spot-on satire of Portlandia. But are people moving to Oregon based on the good word of a string of praiseful Sunday New York Times articles, or is there real evidence to substantiate this veritable trend?
As a 17-year veteran of the Beaver State—a stint that included four years at the University of Oregon—I wasted no time after graduation in leapfrogging 2,909 miles across the country for the overcrowded excitement of New York City. While I haven’t looked back, it seems the rest of the country is eyeing Oregon’s low costs and laid-back attitude as the ultimate lifestyle: Even in the uber-cool depths of Brooklyn, I get impressed nods when I cite my home state. But I’ve found myself lacking the exuberant pride for Oregon that seems to have captured the nation.