I really like the Loveland/Ft. Collins area but the ongoing front range growth explosion definitely sucks. Soon there will just be one supercity from Pueblo to Cheyenne...
Why yes I do - as many as ya want, on just about anything ya might want suggestions on!
As for places to live here in Pdx: One of the things I like most about Portland is all of the distinct neighborhoods & semi-hidden pockets of culture & community. There's something for just about everyone somewhere in this city!
I generally recommend the "inner Southeast" from about 10th through 50th and from Woodstock up to Burnside to most people, as this is the area I personally like best for most things.
I assume you mean the downtown Portland REI? I've seen job openings at that location and there also are 2 more REIs in the metro area. The others are fairly far out of town but 1 of the 3 is almost alwatys hiring.
The "Pearl District" is Portlands main upscale arts area & is definitely a busier area. It's very centrally located and is where the Pdx REI is located.
It's mostly a yuppie highrise & warehouse "loft" type district. Personally if I wanted to be in that general area of town I'd prefer to head further west / northwest over towards Forest Park. Do you know about Forest Park? It's a massive city park, is almost entirely forested (even a bit of old growth) and has tons of hiking trails.
Will you be attending MHCC? I like Gresham & would certainly consider living there. It's certainly not as hip & happening as Portland to be sure, and also is a fairly long drive, bike or bus ride from most of the rest of the Portland area. On the other hand, it's located on the east end of town making it much closer to the Gorge, the Cascades, national forests and other great places for backpacking, etc.
NE Alberta street is anouther artsy area but is a lot more diverse culturally & economically. It's not my favorite part of town but has some very cool things going for it.