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Portland, IN, Puts Out Welcome Mat for Remote Workers

Remote workers relocating to Portland, IN, will find a thriving rural community loaded with charm and unexpected amenities — plus financial incentives.

By Livability on May 10, 2023

remote worker

Digital nomads who move from impersonal, fast-paced cities to work remotely in Portland, Indiana, may find that trips to the grocery store take longer than expected, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

“People care about each other,” says Portland Mayor John Boggs. “When you come to Portland, the thing you have to give up is a sense of anonymity,” Boggs continues. “Trips to the grocery take twice as long because people want to talk to you.”  

Portland and surrounding Jay County are participating in Make My Move, an Indiana initiative to recruit remote workers, who are also known as digital nomads because their smartphones and laptops free them from the office. They can move around the country and work from any location with a reliable high-speed internet connection.

Professionals who work remotely tend to have above average incomes, and Make My Move communities are recruiting them with cash or other incentives.

Portland and Jay County’s goal is to recruit 18 households who can be expected to purchase houses, shop at hometown retailers and send their kids to local schools.

“Their economic impact will be much more than the money we’ll spend to get them here,” Boggs notes.

Local funding comes from wind farm economic development payments. Jay County has two wind farms in place. Two solar farms have been approved.

Travis Richards, executive director of the Jay County Development Corp., says green energy is just one of the pleasant surprises waiting for anyone moving from the city.

“At the Make My Move kickoff, everyone was echoing what a strong community we are,” Richards says. “People know people. You don’t lock your doors at night.”

Look at everything we have to offer. It all adds up to a great quality of life.”

– Portland Mayor John Boggs

Everyone moving to Portland and Jay County will discover a thriving rural community where homes are affordable, children can play outdoors and schools are known for their academic achievement. Jay County leads the state in the percentage of students who earn college credits while still in high school, Richards adds.  

Portland combines small-town charm with unexpected amenities, such as the John Jay Center for Learning, which partners with universities including Purdue Polytechnic, Indiana Wesleyan and others to offer degree programs, adult education and other classes.

Portland’s amenities include Arts Place, which enriches the community with classes, performances and exhibits. The Portland Foundation, the second-oldest community foundation in Indiana, is establishing an early childhood learning center to provide a safe place for the children of working parents.

Main Street Fall Festival in Portland, IN
Courtesy of City of Portland, IN

More surprises await downtown, where digital nomads can refuel at their choice of coffee shops and independent restaurants, shop at quaint boutiques or relax on one of the new 40 park benches along the district’s sidewalks. The park benches, seasonal flowers, LED lighting and more enhancements are initiatives of Main Street Connect, a grassroots organization dedicated to making downtown a welcoming gathering place.

“Portland’s Main Street Fall Festival, the ceremony for placing banners honoring veterans, and the Christmas celebration in Brick Alley are all done in collaboration with our community partners who are working to make downtown a vibrant destination,” says Main Street Connect leader Reda Theurer-Miller.

Everyone moving to Portland will discover what longtime residents already know, Boggs concludes.

“Look at everything we have to offer. It all adds up to a great quality of life.”

Learn more about the City of Portland by visiting thecityofportland.net.

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