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6. Portland, Ore.
Population: 535,421
Pros: A thriving urban scene, abundant outdoor recreations
Con: High living costs

Young, educated and creative. That's the kind of workforce on offer in Portland, thanks in part to the presence of companies such as Nike and Intel, which has seven campuses in Oregon, most of them within 20 miles of Portland.

But even independently of these corporations, the city harbors a strong design and high tech industry. Environmentally minded companies will be at home in the area: Portland was ranked the most sustainable city in the U.S. in 2006 by SustainLane, a green-living research and publishing group. While Portland's business tax structure is not the friendliest - Multnomah County imposes a business income tax - the city boasts a thriving entrepreneurial and venture capitalist community, with 2,571 start-ups (almost 5 per 1,000 local residents) registered in 2007.

A mature city, Portland offers a downtown of historic neighborhoods and a vibrant restaurant community, as well as arts centers, a symphony and an opera. -Malika Zouhali-Worrall

Interactive map: Portland, Ore.
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NEXT: 7. Denver

Last updated July 02 2008: 11:16 AM ET
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