Don’t Take the Rain for Granted: When an AZ Native Ends Up in PDX


Author: Kyle Huck
Posted: January 6, 2017

I grew up in a small town in northern Arizona. I went to college in a slightly larger town farther north in Arizona. That state was my home for the first 23 years of my life. But for the past three years I’ve lived in Oregon, the last four months of which were in Portland. How and why did I end up here? What attracts people from out of state to this part of the country? My reasons may not be the same as those for the next Portland migrant, but I don’t think they’re far from the recurring themes that draw people to the Rose City.

Whether or not Portland identifies with the nickname “Silicon Forest”, the implication remains the same. The city is proud to associate itself with other west coast technology and innovation hubs like San Francisco and Seattle. Portland is a place of opportunity, and people recognize that. I see it as a hybrid between a cool area to live and a great environment to accelerate my career. Not only is it home to major companies like Intel and Nike, but it is also booming with small businesses that connect with and support one another.

Another element of Portland that stands out to me as an out-of-stater is the culture. I always assumed that a bigger city would mean colder personalities. That may be the case in some urban areas, but not in Portland. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the accepting and open-minded nature of the community. There is a feeling of unity and cooperation that is reminiscent of a small town in this metropolitan area with a population of more than 2 million (including neighboring suburbs).

To me, Portland also seems like a city full of young energy. This brings up a sort of chicken-or-egg conundrum — did the energy bring the young people or did the young people bring the energy? Regardless of which came first, the pattern is continuing. I’m one of the latest millennials to succumb to the city’s charisma. “Keep Portland Weird” might seem like a silly goal, but it carries real meaning for the people that live here. It means embracing diversity, celebrating individuality and welcoming all perspectives and walks of life. I can definitely get on board with that mission.

I can’t say I’ve been in Portland long enough for it to feel quite like home, but it feels more familiar every day. Unlike when I’ve lived in other places, I don’t find myself looking forward to another move to greener pastures. I knew when I got here that I found a great place to live. My eyes are opening to the career opportunities at my doorstep. And as for right now, I feel incredibly privileged to be pursuing my MBA in beautiful Portland, Oregon.

Version 2Kyle Huck is a first year full-time MBA student at Portland State. He is a graduate assistant in the Marketing and Communications department of the School of Business Administration. His background is in graphic design and web-based marketing. He plans to use his MBA to advance his career in the creative/marketing world.

Categories: student life