Both areas are very nice.
The US and world economies are fragile and there may be extremely rough times ahead - job security may be the most important thing to consider.
Not sure if one place is better than another to weather bad economic times.
An oil shale boom (if it occurs) in Colorado could help many survive. If you were down and out, the cold Colorado winter would not be your friend - but many could survive the mild Portland winters. Availability of water is more difficult in Colorado. If you are a pharmacist, I'd think the SW USA would be good as the baby boomers turn into old farts, move there, and need more pills.
Also, if TSHF in the USA, you'd be closer to the Mexican border and might escape to someplace doing better down south.
The downside to the close border MAY be higher crime
- I don't know - that's a guess - but you might compare crime statistics for your area and for Durango.
From a mental health perspective, Colorado wins hands down due to the abundant sunshine. That sunshine can also heat your home in the cold winter if you have lots of south facing glass. There is a large hill/mountain west of Durango - I'd try not to live in the shadow of that if possible - I'd want afternoon west sunlight.
Near Durango are the Weninuche, Big Blue, and Maroon Bells Wilderness areas and others - all awesome mountain areas. A little farther and you can visit the Wind River Range and Tetons in Wyoming, High Uintah Wilderness in NE Utah, the many national parks of Utah, Grand Canyon, parts of Nevada, etc. Downside to Colorado for backpacking/climbing is that on most summer afternoons the threat of thunderstorms and rain is present. In the Pacific Northwest, the sun shines every day from July 20 to Aug 15. But all other days are iffy here for weather. Typically the PNW probably has better snow for winter sports (better for quantity, NOT for quality). But Colorado wins for sunshine.
In Durango you may have the opportunity to have a place with some land
- not likely in Portland unless you are very high on the pay scale.
The southwest US is suffering from a drought - not sure how that will affect water and liveability over the long run. Living in Colorado at altitude would give you a significant advantage for acclimatization if you want to visit the worlds high peaks - I always spend at least a week there before departing the USA.
49.97 acres Looks like 17 miles WSW of Durango, $49K: DYODD!!!!! Address: Alkali Gulch, Hesperus, CO 81326http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/Tbd-A ... o-lightbox
Hard to beat the Telluride/Ridgway/Ouray/Silverton loop.