Summer

View of the Gorge from the Vista House during summer in Portland

Portland has virtually the same weather as its soggy northern cousin, Seattle, except with no Space Needle to attract the errant lightning bolt. Oddly, Portland doesn’t have the same reputation for having rainy weather even though it really should. In fact, you’ll often hear about how beautiful the weather can be in Portland, and how wonderful it is to live in a city with such amazing weather and so many outdoor activities.

I’ll try to break down the reality for you.

In order to properly describe the weather, I’m going to start with the season when I moved to Portland – summer. Locals will tell you that the 1-to-2 months of unbelievably, drop-dead, smack-your-mother-in-the-face, gorgeous summer weather we get makes up for the 9-to-11 months of other stuff.

They lie.


Don’t get me wrong. There are several days, even weeks, throughout the summer with highs in the mid-70s and beautiful sunshine which gently kisses and snuggles the cheeks of every fair citizen of this fine city.

What the locals don’t tell you is that just when you start getting comfortable thinking that summers are pretty nice in Portland, you will get kicked straight in the buttcheek by some of the hottest weather I’ve ever experienced in a city (and I’ve lived all over). Like clockwork, every year, Portland will try to kill every single one of its citizens with several weeks worth of 95+ degree days, and triple digits often become the norm for 3-4 day periods at a time.

Anywhere else, complaining about periodic hot spells would be crazy; just turn on the air conditioning, right? Ah, but much like the Portland parents who might explain to their kids that Santa Claus is simply a fat man in a red suit who promotes consumerism, many Portlanders also don’t believe in air conditioning.

A/C cramps their style. Their hot, sweaty, stinky style.

On days where baking bread and frying eggs on a nearby sidewalk isn’t out of the question, I recommend staying as far away as possible from the Southeast quadrant – in addition to air conditioning denial, some of its citizens tend not to believe in showering or deodorant.

As if unpredictably blisteringly hot days aren’t bad enough, sometimes Portland will whip a wild one at you like this summer, which didn’t start until July! Up until then, we didn’t have a spring, we had a winter that headed deep into overtime throwing frigid downpours at everyone with temperatures in the 30s.

If that doesn’t scream “Beautiful Portland summers,” I don’t know what does.

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One Response to Summer

  1. Brad Paul says:

    I, too, was deceived by Portlanders claiming that air-conditioning is a bourgeois luxury, a silent killer of Peace-Loving Friends of Nature. I should have known better, judging from their bedraggled appearance and heat-induced hysterics. Their commitment to their ideas soon will fall, roughly in tandem with some wicked heat stroke.

    Though, I’ll take a Portland summer to anywhere else I’ve ever lived in a heartbeat.

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