Moving from Portland, OR to Phoenix, AZ

Heading South from Portland and Planning a Bright Future in Phoenix

When most people think of Phoenix, AZ, they think of sunshine. Unless you’re a sports fanatic, in which case you think of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns — but still, it’s all about sun. And that makes sense. Phoenix, with its surrounding suburbs, gets so many days of sunshine every year that it’s nicknamed Valley of the Sun.

Moving to a new city can be daunting. The best way to make a smooth transition is to know ahead of time what kind of differences to expect. We’ve gathered the most important ones for you so that leaving Portland and settling into your new place will be one of the smoothest transitions of your life!

Phoenix by the Numbers

Here are some important figures to know:

  • Average commute time: 25.4 minutes
  • Population: a little over 1.5 million (compared to Portland’s 630,000)
  • Median income: $46,881 (roughly $6,000 less than Portland)

Road Tripping from Portland to Phoenix

You’ll want to break up that drive into at least two days — maybe three. It’s about a 20-hour drive if you take I-5 down the coast through California, so you could do it straight through if you have someone sharing the wheel. But why would you want to? More than half of the trip is down the West Coast, which is some of the most beautiful scenery. 

I-5 is the most popular option, but the other way is to head through Nevada and on into Arizona from there. The drive time is about the same for either route.

The Phoenix food scene

Portland is famous for having some of the best food in America. Blogs, polls and magazines frequently rank it as one of the country’s top food cities. And as a resident, you know this: Food trucks are a big deal in Portland — hundreds of them populate the city.  

So if you’re sad about leaving the food culture or the food trucks, don’t despair. Know that there are a lot of food trucks in The Valley, as well (though not nearly as many), offering anything from mac and cheese to locally-famous fry bread. Plus, The Valley features cuisine from all around the world, with restaurants offering dishes from Japan to Europe to the Caribbean Islands.   

Economic Comparisons

What can you expect in terms of cost of living, job market and taxes?

  • Housing in Phoenix is more than 40 percent less expensive than in Portland.
  • The overall cost of living in Phoenix is cheaper as well, except for healthcare costs and utilities. Those are roughly 20 percent higher.
  • The unemployment rate is higher in Phoenix, but recent job growth is enormous, even higher than it has been in Portland.
  • Income tax in Phoenix is much lower than in Portland – 4.2 percent as compared to a whopping 9 percent.

Weather Differences to Expect

Weather may be the most drastic difference between Portland and Phoenix. So, what do you need to know?

  • If you don’t like snow, then Phoenix is the place for you. The city gets a grand total of zero inches of snow per year. Not much rain, either – more than 30 inches less per year than Portland (expect less than 30 days of rain every year). As for sunshine, Phoenix gets nearly 300 sunny days a year! That’s more than twice as many as in Oregon. So, you won’t have to worry about Vitamin D deficiency. 
  • Given that, the humidity will be a lot lower in your new city, so drink up! You’ll likely feel parched at first, so have water handy and take it easy on the coffee. A lot of people in climates like Phoenix’s will run humidifiers in their homes, especially at night. And get some lotion or shea butter, too, since your skin will reflect the humidity difference. You will get used to it, though; give it some time!
  • July, the hottest month, has an average high of 105 degrees in Phoenix. Compared to Oregon’s July temperatures of 80 degrees, the Arizona heat will be an adjustment. So don’t be afraid to run your air conditioner a lot during that first summer. Your utility bill may be higher, but it’s hard to put a price on comfort.
  • Elevation change is another area that will require some preparation. Portland was pretty close to sea level (86 feet of elevation), but Phoenix is quite a bit higher – 1,086 feet. While that’s not as tough to get used to as, say, Denver, it can still cause light-headedness if you’re not careful. So drink a lot of water and give yourself a few weeks to adjust.

Sports in the Valley

Even if you’re not into sports, you’ll probably want to know at least a little about it here in The Valley – if only to connect to your new neighbors. The Phoenix Suns are probably the most popular team, being a part of the NBA since 1968. The city also represents in women’s basketball (WNBA) with Phoenix Mercury. If you prefer Major League Baseball, then you’ll want to follow Arizona Diamondbacks (also known as the D-Backs).

And if you need a break from the heat, catch some hockey! The NHL’s Arizona Coyotes play in nearby Glendale. 

Want More Time for Fun in the Sun? Go U-Pack!

Don’t stress about getting your items from Portland to Phoenix. U-Pack® can take care of it for you, no problem! With service centers throughout the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, U-Pack is well equipped to handle just about any long-distance move. All you have to do is pack and load — we’ll take care of the driving! Ready to get started? Get a free online quote or call 844-362-5303844-594-3077 today.

Learn more about the U-Pack moving process.