Get outside, Portland is your oyster

Portland State students should feel incredibly lucky to call the Pacific Northwest their home (or home to their university). The city of Portland is both beautiful and earth friendly. We recycle, have a myriad of local and sustainable food sources, are constantly riding our bikes, are shopping at farmers markets, and have wonderful locations for hiking and other outdoor activities.

Unfortunately, people in different parts of the country are quick to attribute Portland with rainy weather, and what person would want to go out and do things in the rain all the time? While one could argue that people living in Portland eventually get used to the rain, in reality we don’t get nearly as much rain as people might think. So maybe it’s a good thing that more people aren’t in on our little secret.

While it does seem to rain considerably in the fall and spring, and we are prone to the occasional windy rainstorm, the East Coast is known to have substantially rainier weather than the Pacific Northwest. According to, the rainiest city in the United States is Mobile, Alabama. The website lists Mobile as having 60–65 inches of rainfall annually. Portland, on the other hand, only gets 35–40 inches.

While some of the non-raining days of the year might include overcast clouds, Portlanders generally get to enjoy good weather spaced throughout the year. And with summer right around the corner, we can expect to have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the green and thriving environment that the area has to offer.

Spending time outside in Portland during the spring and summer can help you connect with the area. On top of that, being outside frequently can make you happier. Time spent inside during the day, especially if you are in front of a computer all the time, has been linked with seasonal depression. Getting up and out of the house early in the day to hike, volunteer, go out to a farmer’s market, plant a garden, ride your bike or simply go for a walk can decrease depression and make you feel happier.

Feeling well and staying active is good for your overall health, but it can also really improve your ability to concentrate in school. While you may not want to think about school if you can avoid it, spending your time off doing things outside with friends can make the school work you do less stressful. Fresh air, no matter how you get it, can rejuvenate your body and make you feel relaxed. You don’t have to put away your phone or computer and go on an all day hike in Forest Park, but it might do some good. You can connect with nature as much, or as little, as you wish. And that’s totally fine. But you can’t begin to feel the benefits of an active lifestyle if you don’t give it a try.

Going outside and enjoying everything the Pacific Northwest has to offer can be as simple as taking a walk around your neighborhood, or as in-depth as a daylong hike around Multnomah Falls. Portland is a great city, with many different options for outdoor fun. But for those new to the area or who are convinced that it only rains in Portland, don’t let that get to you. There are plenty of cities with more rain than us—you just can’t let it prevent you from getting outside.

While it may rain occasionally, there are plenty of opportunities, especially in the next couple of months, to enjoy the nice weather. So get out there and do whatever outdoor activities suit your fancy. But it might be safe to bring an umbrella, just in case.