Long-term, living in SF isn't viable for me in terms of money or mental health. I've toyed with the idea of moving to a suburb or smaller town somewhere in the Bay Area, but I don't really see that happening. It'll still be California, it'll still be the Bay Area, and the cost of living will catch up with me one way or another. It would get me out of the city, but if I wanted city life (entertainment, shopping, culture, work, school) I'd still have to deal with getting in and out of San Francisco - or Oakland, Berkeley, San Jose, etc.
And I'm concerned about what California will be like in the next few years. The economy isn't in great shape here or anywhere else, but I'm thinking in particular of what will happen if (or when) the State's budget goes over the cliff. I am not conjuring up apocalyptic scenarios here, but I do worry. California is a big state. What will happen if Sacramento can't keep up basic services like infrastructure and state law enforcement? What will happen when state benefits and programs are cut? I worry about basic things like health, safety, crime.
Oregon is a much smaller state, and its biggest city isn't very big. It's a smaller economy, and I almost feel like it doesn't have as far to fall.
I've been getting job offers steadily - most recently from a Bay Area tech firm whose name is associated with very large numbers. If I can focus on building a good resume over the next year and a half, I'll be in a strong position to get work in Portland when I move back. That new Intel plant [ http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2010/10/intel_confirms_itll_invest_bil.html ] should be opening up just about the time I get there.
Wish me luck.