Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » So....how do you all feel about Oregon??


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Green Thumb
(greenthumb)
Only one problem with Bend... on 01/06/2013 15:44:29 MST Print View

I grew up in Bend and loved every minute of it. The only issue with Bend is the collapsed economy. So much of the population boom in Bend in the late 90's early 00's provided a glut of construction related work and very little in the way of real, sustainable work. If you can find solid work, Bend is a great place for those who love easy access to the outdoors. I miss the view of the Cascades from my front deck, the smell of sage on the brush covered High Desert, and cool afternoons floating the Deschutes.

I recall Bend being mix of people with a wide spectrum of personal and political beliefs. I hope you're not looking to move to an echo chamber. I'd love to hear Harald explain how Bend is oppressive. I guess it all depends on what you are looking for. I'd move to Bend in a heart beat if there was work for an RF Engineer.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
So....how do you all feel about Oregon? on 01/06/2013 15:54:41 MST Print View

Interestingly, I haven't seen a lot of what Mr. Hope is talking about in the 14 years I've lived in the Portland area. There is lip service paid to getting people out of their vehicles but at least 90% still commute by car. The freeways here during rush hour are just as jammed as those in Seattle. I see more and more crowds, I have to drive farther and farther to find uncrowded trails, etc. I'm also seeing more and more taxes while the local schools are deteriorating. The only reason I decided to stay in this area when I retired is that I developed vision issues and wanted to be where public transport is good and where I have access to high quality specialized medical care. I'm not too sure this was a good decision because my vision issues are now stable and even more so because public transit, especially the light rail, has become so crime-ridden that I don't dare ride it at night. (Sorry, Jennifer, I should have mentioned this in my PM, which was rather hastily composed.) Of course the Portland area is also rather convenient to most of my family (Seattle and the SF Bay area). I therefore probably won't move until I get too feeble to live alone.

As for year around hiking in the Gorge, the place has been iced up for well over a week, with more freezing rain forecast for tonight. A few intrepid hikers are slithering out there to see the icy waterfalls but are bailing on their hikes because conditions are too dangerous. Hopefully things will melt soon, but not in the near future.

Now that I've finished my doom and gloom for the day (partly due to a sick, possibly terminally so, dog), here's a positive piece of advice: Take trips now (not in spring and summer!) to the places you're considering and to some of the other places suggested in this thread or any others that appeal to you.

Edited by hikinggranny on 01/06/2013 15:58:46 MST.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
So many things to think about!! on 01/06/2013 16:47:36 MST Print View

And here I thought no one would really respond to my original question...ha!

I honestly don't know how I'd do in a rainy winter...we haven't had a proper snowy one here in Chicago in years, and I kind of like dreary weather. Not sure if I would like it day after day after day after day...much like being a lifelong cubs fan, I guess.

I do have two trips planned to Portland coming up, one in February and one in April...and I do have job contacts and meetings already set up. I honestly am not at all worried about employment - I am very lucky that orthopedic physical therapists are quite in demand all over. And the pay ain't bad, either.

I am grateful to everyone for the push more towards Portland rather than one of the smaller communities; as a big city dweller for close to 20 years I do need some vibrancy and grittiness and culture and diversity that you're right, I probably wouldn't find in a truly small town. And those of you who reminded me that once I'm out there I can still hire a truck and relocate to smaller places - absolutely! It's nice to be reminded of that. I do wish Washington had better laws for physical therapy practice, as it does limit me a bit to Oregon.

I hadn't looked into Montana at all...I guess I'm thinking that as a single person looking for a more appropriate social life (yes, I'm hetero...where's the guy from Scotland??) I thought heading to a busier city might be more my speed. At least to start...

This is quite fun...I knew I could count on you folks for a, um, wide variety of opinions!

And Mary, I am SO sorry to hear your dog is ill :(

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: So....how do you all feel about Oregon? on 01/06/2013 17:48:08 MST Print View

Yeah, so sad that Hyson is ill.

We had 13 cats. Now we have 4, so we have had to go through that multiple times.

But they provide so much enjoyment when they're with us.

I use Portland mass transit a little.

Max (light rail) is pretty good. Interesting mix of people but I feel comfortable.

I took a bus on N.E. 82nd street. I felt like someone might mug me or something, but that's probably just my own bias.

S.W. Garden Home bus - I felt like MAX, only problem is it only comes once every 45 minutes.

Maybe you'de like N.W. Portland the best. Like "The Pearl" district or around N.W. 20th or whatever.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Re: So....how do you all feel about Oregon? on 01/06/2013 18:02:16 MST Print View

Yeah where Mary lives is nice, but you got go straight through the crappy area to get to the good. Public trans out there would be scary but the closer you get to the city the safer it is. IMO stay west of 205 (or out in troutdale) and east of 217. North of... mmm maybe well Johnson Creek for sure. Sellwood is cool. Westside is allgood IMO till you get round 217 and west of there. There are pockets of ill willed people in the N and NE but its not as bad as you may hear. St Johns is really cool but sorta inconvenient to get in/ out of it.

If you live in nicer areas and dig the city life I say go straight Pearl Dist. Especially if you work at OSHU. I bet you could ride to the waterfront and up the river to the bottom of the tram and ride it right up. I'd be fun!


This is merely one man's opinion.

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Earth (mostly)
Portland vs. Chicago on 01/07/2013 12:14:51 MST Print View

Go with what feels best as we can get bogged down in minutia. Every city and even small town has its ups and downs. Think the advice to visit Portland in the "off-season" winter is good but winters in Chicago aren't really balmy either. Crime-wise it all equals out as Seattle and Portland have their crime (being next to a fatal shooting in the pier district of the former myself) but Chicago isn't exactly peace, love, and granola either; I remember a few blocks off of fairly ritzy hotel row on Lake Michigan, having my restaurant order exchanged through bulletproof glass while visiting Chicago .

Big thing is bankroll. Having a large chunk of cash will help ease the transition obviously, so maybe getting a cheaper living situation in Chi-town til you are ready to move. An added bonus is then spending that money in your hopeful Shangri-la. Just my 2 centavos, seƱorita.

chris Nelson
(Nel250)

Locale: San Francisco
San Francisco on 01/07/2013 16:51:39 MST Print View

I'm going to have to throw out SF/Berkeley. It is a big city with a small town feel where you are free to express what every you want, especially if you are liberal. With a 3 hour drive north, east, or south you have great backpacking.

Richard Scruggs
(JRScruggs) - MLife

Locale: Oregon
Re: San Francisco on 01/07/2013 16:58:09 MST Print View

A BIG +1 for San Francisco/Berkeley!!!

Steve S
(idahosteve) - F

Locale: Idaho
what about Boise? on 01/07/2013 17:11:40 MST Print View

I'd throw out Boise..... even with that stupid award about being the best place to move to this year, there still aren't many folks here, the economy is picking up very well, and the outdoor access is minutes for the most part....
plus, we tend to leave each other alone.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
So....how do you all feel about Oregon??" on 01/07/2013 22:52:20 MST Print View

I've posted earlier about the motives for and advantages obtained from our move from Chicago to Portland 26 years ago.

That said, had I been able to get the same job that I had in Portland, I would have MUCH preferred to have relocated to Idaho or Montana. Wyoming was a distant third as there was absolutely NO chance of equality of employment in my industry.

Boise is the "banana belt" of Idaho. Everywhere else in the state you have far nicer scenery, higher elevations, and a boatload more snow and ice to deal with. As in many NE states, you learn to drive and handle the snow/ice. Oregonians have to learn to deal with 9 months of almost constant, incessant rain. Native-born Oregonians are born with webs between their toes; transplants eventually grow them if we stay long enough. RIBBIT!

A serious point for older folks, OR and WA both have an estate tax, while ID. MT, and WY do not. If you have kids to whom you wish to leave a significant financial legacy, you need to seriousy consider this when relocating. The federal inheritance tax carries a 5 million dollar exemption; each state has their own levels. OR allows only 1 million before Salem holds out its hand.

OR and MTR do not have sales taxes. WA and WY do not have a state income tax. In both OR and ID, your social security income is not taxable by the state.

Having graduated from the Univ of Montan (Missoula) and lived in ID for many years, I can say without reservation, that ID would be my personal preference over MT and WY, mostly because of the ease of air transportation between us and our grown kids.

Edited by wandering_bob on 01/07/2013 22:57:44 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: what about Boise? on 01/07/2013 23:07:32 MST Print View

I love Boise. Had to work there a few years ago, making several 1 week trips over a 6 month period. At first I wasn't excited about going there -- guess I should have done some research first. Anyway, I found it enchanting. Even has a theatre in the round in a most wonderful downtown environment.

One warning though; I found the populace to be infatuated with broncos; not the four-legged species, but the gridiron species.

Very easy to get around in a car, unless the broncos are engaged in combat. Easy in and out of the airport too.

It would be a great place to relocate to.

Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: 10T 524631m E 5034446m N
Re: So....how do you all feel about Oregon??" on 01/23/2013 14:20:06 MST Print View

This map is relatively accurate (although I have no idea why Gresham is doing so well):

Edited by ChrisMorgan on 01/23/2013 14:24:37 MST.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Vancouver, WA on 01/23/2013 16:03:45 MST Print View

Move to and work in Vancouver, WA. so you can enjoy 0% state income tax but Portland is just across the river where you can get your bigish city fix and enjoy Oregon's 0% sales tax for when you need to buy gear.

Vancouver is not too far away from St. Helens and the Cascades in general.

You can't go wrong with either state but I'm biased towards Washington.

P.S. Voodoo Doughnut is reason enough to move to Portland though.

Edited by IDBLOOM on 01/23/2013 16:47:17 MST.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: So....how do you all feel about Oregon?? on 01/23/2013 16:09:49 MST Print View

As another very liberal person, but one who started in the SF and ended up in a very small, rural, conservative Alaskan town, here are a few thoughts.

I've always like mid-sized college town, especially those with pretty elite schools. Northampton, Amherst, Ann Arbor, Madison, even Lawrence. Eugene in Oregon. There's a lot going on culturally and intellectually without the traffic, dirt, and crime problems of big cities. Also, property values aren't so crazy so you needn't work so many hours each week to pay the mortgage.

Although Seattle and Portland have big recreation (overnight stuff and skiing) closer than the Bay Area does, the regional parks in the SF area are real gems. To take a 3 or 5 or 10 or 20 mile hike before or after work from a trailhead 20-30 minutes away (0 to 3 minutes if you find the right location) is not available to most people. And as much as I self-identify as a backpacker, I have to admit that more of my miles each year are on day hikes and day ski trips.

I'd also point out some of the advantages of smaller more rural towns: Housing and really spectacular land is far, far cheaper. We know MD - MD/PhD couples who struggle with their mortgage for a very boring SF house. They aren't on the 13 acres of spruce forest with 700 feet of sandy beach and views across the salt water of glaciated volcanos that we have. And our house payment looks more like the electric bill than a CA or WA house payment. On top of that, professions pay better here. Sometimes a lot better. That seems backwards, but it is supply and demand. Docs, lawyers, engineers, etc, gravitate to the big cities and there is an oversupply. Any professional with a pulse can hang their shingle in a small town and one with some skill and dedication is quickly fully booked and greatly appreciated. We each work about 3 days a week and therefore have time to be with our kids, volunteer, exercise, and travel. That wouldn't be so easy in a metropolitan area. Sure, I'm the only un-armed, truckless guy I know, but I still get invited on hunting trips because I'm a heck of a sherpa. And while there aren't many liberals, we got to know them all very quickly so we actually felt much connected after 6 months in town, than after 3 years in Seattle.

Chris Morgan
(ChrisMorgan) - F

Locale: 10T 524631m E 5034446m N
Re: Vancouver, WA on 01/23/2013 22:46:47 MST Print View

While I'm sure the Vancouver comment is well intentioned, don't move to Vancouver.

(See the above map, at the bottom of the key)

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Don't move to Wasington on 01/24/2013 08:51:18 MST Print View

I don't trust the people, especially those in Seattle.

I have been to Seattle many times. It is always raining. Very little visibility. I find that depressing. Now the people in Seattle always brag about Mt. Ranier. But it doesn't exist. You can't see the supposed mountain from Seattle, because it is always raining. Ranier is an urban legend created by the Seattle visitor's bureau. I am sure of this. Oh, they will show you "PhotoShopped" pictures of Ranier.

But if you like to paint houses in the rain, re-roof houses in the rain, pour cement in the rain, or enjoy moss and fungus growing on your roof, then Seattle is for you. And if it isn't raining, it is overcast. Depressing. On the other hand, if you like rain then move to Alabama - they get a few more inches of rain than the gazillions in Seatte. Where I live, we measure annual rainfall in inches; in Seattle they measure annual rainfall in feet.

I enjoy the 360 sunny days per year where I live, plus some years we have zero measurable inches of rain. Makes backpacking shelter choices simple.

Tommy Franzen
(Tomlike) - F

Locale: Pacific Wonderland
rain.... on 01/24/2013 09:16:30 MST Print View

Inches of rain per year is a little deceiving. New York, Washington DC, Miami, New Orleans, Atlanta, Boston, Tampa, Houston, Hartford, etc. all get more inches per year than Seattle. That being said, Seattle does get some of the most rainy days per year, it just drizzles a lot instead of pours (Seattle is also one of the cloudiest cities). We're a little better off down here in Portland, but not by much. That being said, I go backpacking 20-30 nights a year in Oregon/Washington, and rarely get rained on during those trips (the PNW summers are some of the best on earth). Aside from tax cheats and legal weed, I agree with Chris, stay away from Vancouver...

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Don't move to Wasington on 01/24/2013 10:01:47 MST Print View

"people in Seattle always brag about Mt. Ranier. But it doesn't exist. You can't see the supposed mountain from Seattle"

LOL.

I always see Rainer when I go to Seattle. From 31,000 feet. Maybe that's why they make Boeings there? So they could have a view?

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
re: So....how do you all feel about Oregon?? on 01/24/2013 10:55:34 MST Print View

Truthfully it isn't the rain that is hard about spring and early summer in the PNW. It's two things:

(1) the low-level grayish-white "ceiling" of clouds. This is what, in my opinion, is sometimes a little depressing. Everyone gets used to the rain, but coming from the mid-west with big open skies can take some adjustment.

(2) the late snow melt-off. When the rest of the country has dry (maybe too-dry!) trails, we are still waiting (and waiting) for forest roads and THs to melt-out. The thick forests here keep the snow from melting until well into July. If you are coming from another part of the country, where kids are in tank tops and shorts by late March, this can take some adjustment.

HOWEVER, we DO have green grass and trees, even in winter. We don't have the dry brown grass and trees that the rest of the country has. We do have the Pacific Ocean an hour+ away. We do have skiing a hour+ away from both Portland and Seattle. We have great fireroads and trails for snowshoeing and cross-country. And, like Tommy said, we have the best summer weather, from around mid-July to late October.

And we do have an airport (the best in the country is Portland, in my humble opinion) with cheap(ish) flights to CA, HA or Las Vegas if you need a little sun!

By the way, don't listen to everyone about Portland. It is actually more than 12 square blocks around the Willamette. If I was single and young, I'd want to live in the Pearl District or Inner Eastside, too. But there are wonderful normal people who live around the city, towards Beaverton and North Portland and SE. It just depends on what you want for your life.

Michael Gillenwater
(mwgillenwater) - M

Locale: Seattle area
Re: re: So....how do you all feel about Oregon?? on 01/24/2013 11:51:31 MST Print View

Having just moved to Seattle and grown up in the sunny southwest, one way to handle the grey is to live with a view. I am looking out on the Puget Sound and snow capped Olympics now. You pay for a view in housing cost, but the grey does not get to you near as much, from what I have found.