I used to live in the Portland, OR area a few years ago. What I can tell you is that Vancouver, WA competes with the Portland, OR area for nurses since it is right over the river. Pay is $23 and change base plus shift differential. Here's their website: http://www.swmedctr.com/
I have looked at their jobs online, and mostly I see med/surg or telemetry positions available for new grads. I don't know what area you are interested in, so you might want to call them. Renting can be reasonable in some areas, while high in others.
The cool thing I like about Washington state is there is no state income tax (like FL) and Oregon has no sales tax. So, you can live in WA state and drive across the river to Janzen Beach in Oregon and buy all of your stuff. I love the area and wish I was back!
Crime rate is fairly low, weather can be good or bad depending if you like rainy winter months. The pacific ocean is COLD, so don't expect to go swimming once you get here without a wet suit! LOL Great recreational activities, lots of hiking, skiing, etc. Portland has wonderful shops and I love the MAX lightrail. I could go on and on...
Good luck and let me know if you have additional questions.