Is it just me, or is Portland being invaded by Californians? Lately I’ve counted between six and 14 cars per day with California license plates. What gives? —Mini Coupe

We interrupt this broadcast for a late-breaking news bulletin: Californians are moving to Oregon. Also, we have unconfirmed reports that something bad may have happened to President Kennedy. More on these bombshell revelations as they develop.

Not to dump all over your question, Mini (who am I kidding? I'm practically building a poo snowman on your question), but you must be a pretty recent import yourself. Otherwise, you'd know that bitching about the influx of Californians has been Portland's official civic pastime since at least the early 1980s.

It's true: Close to one-third of Americans who move to Oregon hail from the Golden State. (Washington émigrés come in second, but since they show up already damp and suicidal, they tend to blend in unnoticed.)

That said, you might be surprised to learn that this storied onslaught of Californians has been slowing for at least a decade. Census Bureau figures show that Oregon took on 56,000 of these annoyingly cheerful, mold-free interlopers in 2005. By 2011 (the last year for which figures are available), that number had dropped to just 31,000.

And it's not just California: Interstate migration has been dropping nationwide, possibly due to the crappy economy. A 2011 report from the Federal Reserve notes that when people can't sell their homes and can't afford to send their kids to college out of state, more folks tend to stay put.

To this, I would add that gauzy dreams of an easy life in some faraway clime seem less practical when times are tough. "Do what you love and the money will follow" turns out not to be such great advice if what you love to do is smoke crack.

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