Another reason I like Portland, Oregon is that it has wonderful Unitarian churches. The First Unitarian Church in downtown Portland is extremely active with social justice and community issues. It has a huge music program (three adult choirs, three childrens' choirs and active handbells for both children and adults). This Fall Bill Sinkford will become the Senior Minister at First Church. He used to be president of UU Association, so he is a national figure. We in Portland are very enthusiastic that he has chosen us, and we expect that First Church will have even more going on than it has in the past.
Even beyond churches, Portland has a lot of activity around social justice issues, so if that is something that appeals to you, then Portland would be a great place to move to.
Wide range of cultural events also makes Portland a great place to live. Last week the Portland Opera company opened a program that combined Pagliacci and Carmina Burana. Opera singers, excellent chorus and a wonderful dance company all collaborated on a really great experience. It isn't easy to support a good opera company, and from having listening to multiple ones, I think we have a GREAT opera company here. But it ain't just opera. All kinds of musical events here, and many of them are reasonably priced or free. And, I just found out that our library, Multnomah County Library, is #1 in the nation in terms of circulation for libraries serving a population under a million people. Lots of things to do in Portland.
Portland, OR, sounds like a retirement-friendly community; these days many cities make similar claims - Chapel Hill, NC to Fort Collins, CO. But I am not at all sure if a good retirement community, a non-denominational church and a playhouse will be enough to make life happy - I am concerned about feeling "connected.". Any advice? I am 64, lucky enough to have a good job at a Washington DC employer that doesn't force people to retire at any age - I often think of retiring, especially when I have to get up at 6 AM in January, but once I reach office and get on with my work, I see little reason to call it quits. It's usually when I go on vacation and have to come back in a week or ten days the idea of retiremrnt tugs at me; travelling to different lands may be my only real passion - I suppose sometime in the next two years I will finally give in to my temptation.
Sounds like you are in an enviable position. Retirement isn't mandatory, and since you seem to be enjoying what you are doing, I wouldn't see any reason for you to retire. Feeling connected is your concern? That is specifically why I would recommend cohousing as a retirement option. There are many different cohousing communities -- some in apartments, some in detached houses -- and Portland has at least six separate cohousing communities. In cohousing you can have your own separate space, but you are surrounded by neighbors who have chosen to be neighbors with you. You have the option of participating in community activities -- meals, cultural events, upkeep of the common space -- or not. Most cohousing communities seek an intergenerational mix -- some young families, some career people, and some retired folks.
I am still working, but at Daybreak Cohousing, where I live, five of our present 20 members are retired, and they all say they love it. And being connected is exactly why they say they like it. It really is like living in an extended family. All of us joined specifically because we want to be interconnected. I am expecting to finish my work career while living in cohousing and then enjoy my retirement here. Aging in place is another name for what happens in cohousing.
Good points. Living in a cohousing community has given me some good lessons. I agree with you that in America we love our independence so much, and when we are young we think we will live forever and we'll always be as fit, as nimble, and as financially well-off as we are right now. In our community, we now have two women with multiple sclerosis -- they are either the same age as me or just a tad older. MS is not a disease of just "old people". Their mobility is really restricted and their minds are still 100% sharp. I'm sure that 20 years ago they both expected to be able to retire in the suburbs and be fine, but now suburbs would be impossible for them. All of Portland's public transportation has been made wheelchair accessible. All of the buses have a ramp so that people in wheelchairs can get on, and the light rail and streetcars have entrance ramps too. That was one of the major reasons one of my co-housing members chose Portland. She is in a motorized wheelchair and, in Portland, she can take the bus or light rail down town and to her doctor appointments or to cultural events. All the theatres have accessible seating. We designed our Cohousing building so it is completely accessible. It has been very enlightening for me to be around both of these women. I have just assumed that I will always be just as mobile as I am right now, but that is not a sure bet. Now I also factor in what I would do if I developed mobility issues, and I am happy that I have chosen cohousing and Portland, Oregon.
Retrieving data ...