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Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: do you all feel about Oregon?? on 01/01/2013 16:21:06 MST Print View

"I am a flaming liberal (bordering on communist my conservative friends like to tell me) and one of those college "elite intellectuals" that are apparently ruining our country."

Berkeley, CA and San Francisco, CA would probably greet you with open arms :)

Aaron Croft
(aaronufl) - M

Locale: Oregon
Oregon is pretty great. on 01/01/2013 19:17:28 MST Print View

I'm an Occupational Therapist here in Colorado, but I did a couple of my internships in Oregon (Bend and Portland, respectively). I really enjoyed both places. For a city, Portland is pretty laid back, fun, and close to some great areas for outdoor recreation. The rain does take some getting used to, though. Bend was also pretty great, but a little too touristy for my tastes. It felt like if Boulder and Fort Collins had a lovechild, which is both a good and bad thing, I suppose.

I've considered heading back out that way, but I just can't bring myself to leave Fort Collins, or Colorad in general. If you like sun, beer, a myriad of outdoor activities, and a fairly liberal city (although not by Boulder standards), you should check it out! That Melanzana fleece will fit in just fine here...

Edited by aaronufl on 01/01/2013 19:21:30 MST.

David K
(aviddk) - F

Locale: SW Oregon
Ashland,OR on 01/01/2013 20:14:14 MST Print View

Ashland is really the place you are dreaming about. Small town, uber left wing and unlimited outdoor stuff all around. Now matter how wacked your philosophy is there will be kindred souls. We have waaay less rain than anywhere else on the westside. You are also five hours closer to all of NorCals great outdoor entertainment and SoCal desert sunshine in the winter. Making a living as a PT you would have to check out. Earning a living has always been the downside to Southern Oregon. Finding a special someone in a small town could be more challenging as well.

Don't get me wrong PDX is a great place, one of the best cities there is. Love to go visit and eat at our favorite restaurants. Eugene has some nice things to recommend it as well, for instances the incredible trail system.

Having lived in several town in Montana I can also heartily recommend that. Not everyone will find it to their liking. For the right type of person it will be paradise. One major requirement is that you must enjoy winter sports. Many towns on the East side of the Rockies have 90 day summers.

Best of luck with your New Year's resolution.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Hmmm...Colorado?? on 01/02/2013 09:46:22 MST Print View

So many people talk about CO...

How is the cost of living in Ft Collins or Boulder?? I've heard its a bit high...
Granted I'd be moving from one of the highest in the country, but the thought of a place where street parking isn't 6.50/hr for a meter, or a studio condo doesnt cost $250k...I guess my standards are a bit skewed.

As for politics, a nice purple state where people are actually tolerant of others would be just as nice as living in a groovy commune. Here where I am the conservatives are just openly hostile to anyone who doesn't wear tea bags on his hat. Chicago is a nice refuge, but as soon as I head outside the city there is actual, active KKK.......*shiver*

As for job prospects I'm fairly lucky with my profession...lots of demand and tons of jobs wherever.

Thanks everyone SO much for the recommendations and encouragement! It is very hard to pick up roots and move......but I just keep thinking about mountains and glaciers and skiing and pine trees and rivers...ah........

And mike, the British Isles have always had a special place in my heart ;)
You have good beer there!!!

Diplomatic Mike

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Don't listen to the sirens on 01/02/2013 10:09:48 MST Print View

Apart from beer, we make some nice whisky. ;-)

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Oregon ... nice place to visit wouldn't want to live there on 01/02/2013 10:29:26 MST Print View

as someone who lives in mildly arid climate, most of the Northwest is a big No for me. I only visit Washington in July and August, and I have family there.
To me Washington and Oregon are roughly the same weather wise (I know you who live there will correct me on this).

The one place in Oregon I might consider, and actually did consider once, is ...

Bend , Oregon
a great place for a variety of outdoor experience.
fairly dry, since it sits in some kind of rain shadow.
fairly cosmopolitan for a small town (by my standards).
its almost like not living in Oregon while living in Oregon.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Oregon is YOU on 01/02/2013 12:29:12 MST Print View

Let's see... flaming pinko outdoorswoman?

Yes, Oregon is for you. Do not doubt it.

I'm originally from Pittburgh, but have lived all over the country (and the world). I did my 5-year residency in Tacoma, and we did rotations at Legacy in Portland. And, of course, I got around the state on my excursions, too.

Speaking as an outsider, if you want a city with a small town feel Portland is it. Very liberal. VERY bike-friendly, I mean like no other place I've ever seen, and EVERYONE walks around in their hiking clothes all day. Great food. The complaining about the weather re:rain is just a scheme to keep the Californians away. It rarely pours- more like a pleasant light rain. And even them it is scenic as hell. It is overcast a lot. But the three months in summer are sublime.

Portland is sort of like a smaller, cleaner, and more outdoorsy Seattle (if you can imagine that). All sorts of epic outdoor locales are very close. I climbed Mt Adams, via the decidedly nontechnical South Spur. Hood scares me- I'll not climb that. You can be sea kayaking one day (though granted Puget Sound is better for that), and hiking in the mountains the next. Then skiing the next. Or even all in the same day...

I've never been to Eugene. The coast towns like Cannon Beach are pleasant but I'm not sure about the job market for PTs. They're much more hippie-enclave-ish, if that's what you're looking for. Lots of tie-dye and vegan-organic-whatever. (Portland has more of a groovy-goatee-outdoors vibe as opposed to blatantly hippie, if that makes any sense to you. Lots of peircings and plugs, and of course the brew-pubs.)

I currently live in Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs is NOT for you. For instance it's the home-base of Focus on the Family, and it definitely shows. It's sort of the token "red as hell" metro area in this state. Even Pueblo has the hispanic vote, but not so much Colorado Springs. Denver- and particularly Boulder- is much more blue. Boulder might give most of the People's Republic of the University of California a run in the "who's bluest" competition. Golden (practically across the street) is also the northern(eastern?) terminus of the Colorado Trail. Fort Collins I understand is pretty blue, to. One nice thing about Colorado- 325 sunny days a year. My wife loves it here because of that. But you have to deal with a semi-arid climate.

But unlike Portland, Boulder is PART OF DENVER. In other words, it's not it's own thing. This can be nice in that you have a large city in which to find good food, shows, healthcare jobs, etc. But it's a CITY, no doubt, even if I-70 can have you in the middle of nowhere in nothing flat. Portland is more like a particularly large small-town. You can hike IN Portland. I loved Portland- can you tell?

Edited by acrosome on 01/02/2013 12:37:18 MST.

Kenneth Jacobs
(f8less) - F

Locale: Midwest
Portland on 01/02/2013 16:22:04 MST Print View


I have to agree with most of the people here that Portland is probably the place. I live here just outside Chicago in the NE burbs (Des Plaines). I've been to Portland many times as my sister and brother-in-law live out there. I honestly cannot say enough good things about Portland. Admittedly I tend to get very lucky with the weather when I'm out there, but I'd love the place wet or dry. Lots of places to explore and hike. I've hiked the Columbia River Gorge, been out to Smuggler Cove on the coast, bounced all around Portland eating and drinking and exploring. Great community, organics everywhere, quality food (and OH THE FOOD TRUCKS!!). Some day soon I'll pack up and move out there. May go out and have a few talks with the people at Nike this spring. Time will tell... If you are capable, I say pick up and move out there! I don't think you'd regret it one bit!

Would love to meet up and/or hike with you some time before you make a move decision. Don't know many outdoorsy people around Chicago and most of them can never find the time to get out.

I wish you the best in your searches. Let me know if you have any questions about Portland...or about Colorado for that matter. I lived out in Winter Park/Frasier for 6 summers a number of years back.


Eric N.

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Oregon on 01/02/2013 18:10:05 MST Print View

I moved to Portland 18 years ago from the East coast, when I was single and in my 30s, and it was the best move I ever made. The scenery and endless hiking options were some of the main attractions, but the city itself was also key: small enough to be manageable, but big enough to be interesting. But, at the risk of stating the obvious, please don't move here unless you have a job lined up. Unemployment's high, and sometimes this city seems filled with young under-employed people who just came here for the vibe and are now trying to figure out how to make the rent.

Elizabeth Tracy
(mariposa) - M

Locale: Outside
vibrancy? on 01/02/2013 18:58:15 MST Print View

Chicago is a really vibrant place, fueled by a pretty amazing social history and ethnic diversity.

You might find some of that in Portland. Eugene: maybe. Ashland and Bend: definitely not.

I grew up in Bend, and can't stand the place. There is a groupthink there, the kind you find in places where people who grew up there have rarely ever left home. I did not meet an African American till age 16 or a Jewish person till age 18. The snowfree backpacking season is only 6-7 weeks long, and these days is often marred by oppressive forest-fire smoke that lasts for weeks (it's a very dry place).

Like some others here, I can't help thinking you should check out Washington State as well, somewhere in or near Seattle. Boulder and Fort Collins are two other interesting suggestions, and I'm sure there are a lot more we have collectively forgotten to mention.

Wherever you visit, I wonder if there is a way to find out about the daily life there, rather than the just outdoor-tourist bubble? Can you stay with people, see what their commute is like, ride some bikes around, ask people how they feel about their jobs, go check out the local grocery store, etc. etc. Consider a winter visit, to see how you like the rain, the snow, or driving on two-lane black-ice deathtraps.

In any case: Welcome to the land of the Fleece Uniform. :)

- Elizabeth

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: do you all feel about Oregon?? on 01/02/2013 21:45:57 MST Print View

I lived in Eugene for 10 years. Went to college, both undergrad and grad, there. Of all the places in the world (and I have lived in a lot of places), Oregon was perhaps my favorite. As others have said here, Eugene itself is a college town and very liberal. Once you start getting out of the center, things do start getting more evenly distributed in terms of thinking. But I found Oregonians to be on the whole very tolerant and supremely easygoing.

The outdoors is what makes Oregon one of the best places to live. It's everywhere, and nice and big and quite unspoilt. The entire coastline is public domain, so very little development. And you get high mountains, a wild coastline, lots of big rivers, and a desert with great rock climbing. Also you have a population that loves being outdoors, so you'll meet lots of people with the same interests.

Eugene is good too - one thing is that it's sort of confined by mountains so there is sometimes a bit of air pollution. Washington is pretty similar. Lot's of outdoorsy people. Lot's of liberals like you mentioned.

I'm not sure where the idea that Eugene gets air pollution came from, but in the ten years I was there I never experienced that. The Coastal Range, the Coburg Hills, the Cascades, and Spencer's Butte do ring the city, but they are so far apart and the open length of the Willamette Valley is so flush with winds passing through that I'm not sure where the pollution would settle.

I've heard a lot about Portland, too (visited many times, but never lived there). If you'd prefer more of what a city can offer, I'd recommend Portland instead of Eugene. Eugene can seem really far away from the rest of the world sometimes.

As long as I've known unemployment has been high in Oregon. Many of my college mates who still live there all complain about the lack of work.

If I ever return to the States, my heart is set on settling in Oregon again. That's how much I loved it there.

Edited by butuki on 01/02/2013 21:49:40 MST.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: do you all feel about Oregon?? on 01/02/2013 22:26:09 MST Print View

My sister lived in Eugene, maybe 1974 to 1984, and said air pollution can be bad there sometimes. Not a big deal though. Like a few days or weeks per year, in the winter.

Nelson Sherry

Locale: Mid-Willamette Valley
Oregon sucks on 01/02/2013 22:55:49 MST Print View

I have to drive almost an hour to get to either the beach or the mountains. Because of all the farming and logging, there are paved roads everywhere that our taxes pay for, but hardly anyone drives on. I have to pedal my mountain bike outside the city, at least a fifteen minutes ride, to find good trails. And, everyone knows Oregon republicans aren't real republicans. Everything is green because it rains all winter. I've met more people that have moved here without a job than anyplace else I've ever lived. No wonder unemployment is so high. It pretty much sucks here. I recommend staying in Chicago. ;-)

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: Oregon sucks on 01/03/2013 00:41:31 MST Print View

That's a biggie, the rain. If you can't handle 9 months of unending drizzle, then anything west of the desert is pretty much out. Some people love the rain (like me), others it will drive batty!

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Rains once a year in Oregon on 01/03/2013 01:07:01 MST Print View

Only rains once a year in Oregon - starts in October and stops in May.

The air stays clean and fresh, though, although not so clear with all the constant overcast clouds.

Evan McCarthy
(evanrussia) - MLife

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
Re: do you all feel about Oregon?? on 01/03/2013 05:01:31 MST Print View

I'd move to Oregon in a second, and in fact plan to as soon as my overseas work with the federal government comes to an end. I strategically married an Oregonian and every time we go back to visit her family and friends we have long, hard conversations about just quitting our jobs and coming back for good.

Tops on my list of preferred cities would be Hood River, but you can't go wrong with Portland or anywhere else. Eugene is definitely a college town, but a good one at that.

Edited by evanrussia on 01/03/2013 05:06:38 MST.

Jeff Hollis
(hyperslug) - MLife
Think outside the box! on 01/03/2013 08:50:14 MST Print View

Jen you have better options than the rainy west coast. I recently moved from Dallas to Fayetteville, Arkansas, the foothills of the Ozarks. It is the home of the University of Arkansas so not quite as backwater as you might think. I found a community about 30 minutes outside of town that is on the White River. The community is called Beav-O-Rama and is what I like to call an unplanned community. Just to say I live in a place called Beav-O-Rama is reason alone to move here. There are no cookie cutter houses and no huge estates. It is an eclectic mix of old hippies, red necks, retirees, and probably a meth head or two. Bella the horse often freely roams through the neighborhood on weekends and many dogs here have never seen a leash. I have easy access to trails for hiking or mountain biking as well rivers to kayak. And the cost of living is dirt cheap. Plus I am surrounded by lots of deer, coyotes, hawks and the like.

I am an outdoor sales rep and needed to live in my territory so Fayetteville seemed like the best option and is central for my travels. Yes Arkansas is fairly conservative but not as much so in the Fayetteville areas and with a few more imports like yourself, we can grow into a Vermont. The vote on medical marijuana was only narrowly defeated in the last election so it is only a matter of time. And the people here are some of the friendliest you will ever meet certainly way more so than the west coast. A couple more pluses is that you can hike year round as snow is not too frequent and you can still marry a family member if that is your thing. And contrary to popular belief not all the meth jobs have yet been shipped to Mexico so there is still a place for you if you happen to be a good cook or user. And teeth are optional.

A side comment on Colorado. I have backpacked there for many years but with the mountain pine beetle killing off all the lodge pole pines and whole mountains covered in dead tress I don’t go there much anymore. I read a report a couple of years ago that said within 5 years the state of Colorado will go dark as in dead brown trees covering most of the mountain region. Not sure if that is true but there is certainly a whole lot of ugly in some places, not to mention a big tinder box that will be burning for years to come. Very sad and man-made.


Kyle Meyer

Locale: Portland, OR
Portland, OR on 01/03/2013 10:04:10 MST Print View

I've lived in downtown Portland the last ten years and love it. I lead about as hybrid a life as I can imagine possible in the US—travel most places by foot or bike (including work), live in a densely populated urban area, and can be on a trail in a wilderness area within the hour. On top of that, there is amazing beer and coffee, spectacular food, and like-minded people.

Check out the Northwest neighborhood (alphabet district). There's lots of single folks your age and plenty of opportunities to meet them at the litany of bars and restaurants. Unlike other areas, the northwest is much less hipster so your grid fleece will fit in well. : ) You'd also be within walking distance of Forest Park, the 17th largest city park in the contiguous US which has more than 80 miles of trail.

I make some new friends by inviting them backpacking. You get to know folks quick when you spend all night with them trapped under a tarp with a generous serving of bourbon.


Edited by kylemeyer on 01/03/2013 10:10:56 MST.

George Davis
(nsiderbam) - M

Locale: mid-Atlantic
Re: do you all feel about Oregon?? on 01/03/2013 12:08:17 MST Print View

Check out Bend, Oregon. It's a gorgeous outdoorsy town surrounded by snow-capped mountains and I believe that the PCT passes right through (or at least very close to) it.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
So much love for the PNW!! on 01/03/2013 13:29:48 MST Print View

Mostly anyways...

Thanks SO much for all the input! As many of you may know - or realize - it is terribly difficult to uproot oneself and move across the country. I am lucky in my choice of profession in that jobs are plentiful, well-paying, and relatively easy to come by. But for those of you expressing concern about my economic worries, I have no intention of going anywhere without a job in hand. I will still have a mortgage here in Chicago and I am much too old to be living on strangers' couches.

With few exceptions there seems to be a lot of love for Oregon...yes Washington would be great as well but unfortunately it's not the best for physical therapists...

And to the poster who complained about having to ride 15 mins on blacktop to get to a mountain bike trail I sincerely hope you are kidding...I have to drive 2 and a half hours just to see something green. And even then I am sitting in stop and go traffic, the trails are where the mob buries its bodies, and they generally are paved. The view from the generally gorgeous National Lakeshore has nuclear cooling towers on either end, and a string of steel mills churning out nastiness in between. I would LOVE to ride 15 minutes on asphalt to see some trees.