A Few Tips on How to Survive the Rain in Portland, OR

DITCH THE UMBRELLA – This may seem counterproductive, but let me assure you, most people who have grown up in the Willamette Valley do NOT use an umbrella. There may be the rare occasion if you are incredibly dressed up, with a hairdo that will not fit underneath a hood, but seriously, consider how much of a pain umbrellas are. They add to the amount of space you must occupy walking down the street. You are constantly looking out to make sure the wiry ends don’t poke someone in the eye. They get pulled, tugged, and tossed by the blowing wind. They drip mercilessly, leaving a “puddly” mess every time you find shelter indoors.  All in all, you are better off skipping the fight (and later, dead weight) of carting around this contraption. Instead…

INVEST IN A GOOD RAINCOAT – Being that Oregon is an incredibly outdoor oriented state, finding a store that can sell you a decent raincoat is not going to be an issue. Make sure to opt for one that is waterPROOF, not water RESISTANT. Trust me, when you are soaking wet at the start of the fourth quarter of a football game where it has been drizzling/raining all day, you will wish you had. Additionally, don’t worry about getting an incredibly heavy coat. You can always layer more shirts or a sweatshirt underneath, but rain in Oregon does not necessarily mean it is going to be cold.

DO NOT FEAR THE OUTDOORS – During the summer times, we cannot help but seek out water. From the beach to the lake to the pool, the summer months seems to be an endless quest to be outdoors, having fun, and getting completely soaked. Why should that suddenly change when the water is brought to you? I am not advocating swimming in a puddle (although jumping in them can be quite fun). Instead, don your new raincoat and go for a walk. Enjoy the fact that the sun isn’t beating down on you, and the air is permeated with the fresh scent of rain. (Don’t lie, everyone loves that smell.) Reality is, if everyone living in Portland stayed indoors until the rain stopped, the city would be a virtual ghost town all year except for mid-June through most of September. Last time I checked, that clearly wasn’t the case.

ENJOY THE RAIN FROM INSIDE – Even with the last tip, I must admit there are some days that are simply going to be I-don’t-want-to-go-outside-rainy. Whether it is because we are in the middle of a particularly vicious downpour, or the excess grayness has got you feeling a little blah, do not let remaining inside become a negative. Look at the rain as a great motivator to catch up on that book you started a month ago. Build a fire. Start a project. Bake some cookies. Or maybe you could simply use the weather as a guilt-free excuse to snuggle up on the couch and watch your favorite movies all day. To be clear, making a habit of all-day-movie-marathons probably isn’t a great idea, but the once-in-a-while-rainy-day-film-fest is just fine.


On Rainy Days





While rainy days are gloomy (and often, here in Oregon) I always try to make the best of it. Now, granted I am no, happy-go-lucky individual who can smile like the sun comes out my ass all day long. There are things I truly hate about the rain. I hate getting soaking wet, and chilled to the bone when walking anywhere, and since I do not have full access to a car, this happens a lot. I hate the mud that flicks up from my shoes to the backs of my pants or the way the water soaks up the back until I am wet up to my mid-calf. And while umbrellas are meant to help keep the rain off, you ever notice how hard it is to control one when the wind starts blowing and water splashes in your face anyway? Not to mention the rain that runs down the back of said umbrella soaking your back pack and all the materials in it. But aside from all that, there are definitely things that are good about the rain.

1. It keeps Oregon green. We live in a state known for its greenery and forests. If we are to take pride in that and enjoy it, we are going to have to deal with living in a slightly wetter environment.

2. It makes us appreciate the sunshine. Ever notice when it’s sunny and hits anywhere above 60 degrees campus is crawling with people happy to be outdoors. Oregon does have its sunny days; the rain just makes them that much more special.

3. Less chance of seasonal depression. Living in the dorms, this was something I noticed among our residents from California. Since Oregon is rainy through much of the spring, these kids starting getting incredibly antsy and missed the sunshine terribly near the end of the year. Growing up with it spares most of us from such dramatic seasonal mood swings. 

4. It’s a great way to help someone concentrate. You are not going to be heading outside anyways, so settle down into some work and make progress.

5. It can help you relax. Turn off the tv and the radio and you might be surprised how soothing the sound of rain on the roof can be. Curl up with a cup of hot cocoa or bake a batch of scrumptious cookies, and suddenly rainy days are not so bad after all.

I am sure other people have their own reasons for loving or loathing the rain, but hopefully this has also given some insight on things bigger than a bout of crummy weather. Many things in life have both their advantages and disadvantages. We just need to push through the bad and look for the good.