Yes, we all have our own opinions, but some are true opinions with strong reasoning and empirical evidence to back up our opinions. While I'm not searching for apodictic certainty here, I think a little more research is needed here.
Let's say you pay sticker price for L+C. You're in the hole what, $150,000? Let's also assume an 8% interest rate. You're in the hole $1,819.91 per month for 10 years. Extend the loan over 30 years and you're still looking at $1,100.65. That's a lot of money, any way you slice it. The top salary you can expect in Portland is $120,000 per year. Do you know how many associates were offered that salary last year? 3. The other "Biglaw" salaries in PDX are between $90,000 and $110,000. There were about 15 to 18 of these positions last year. Past that, you're looking at very small firms where you can expect to start at $40,000 a year.
If you're going to make that big old loan payment, you'd better be one of the 15. Also, half of the 15 were from T14 schools. Portland's star is rising, and people want to come here.
I'm not necessarily discouraging you, I just trying to make sure you aren't looking at things through rose-tinted glasses.
Your 40K estimate for starting salary is low... btw. And your neglecting to consider that you wont stay at your starting salary throughout your 30 year loan repayment plan. Assuming you eventually make partner, you are going to be making a ton of money. At the small law firm i work at, the 3 partners rake in over 250K a year each. And I live in Montana, where the legal market is practically non-existant in comparison to the rest of the country.
No offense, but I am looking more into the future than you are, I believe. I understand being cautious, but if you strive for success then plan for success. Yes, you are going to be in debt for a while... But thats what you endure when you decide to attend any professional school.