Check the precipitation totals between Seattle and Portland. Portland gets a lot more rain. It is a very cool city but a very wet one.
Look at the taxation between the two states. Washington no income tax but a fairly high sales tax. Oregon, a substantial income tax and no sales tax. Washington fits my situation better, but you should examine this.
Seattle Rain: 35"
Portland Rain: 38"
As far the tax situation goes, I'm one who figures state and local governments all have pretty similar needs when it comes to funding their operations, so they will get that funding one way or another. Some states do it differently than others, but I don't believe the overall tax burden varies significantly from most states to others. According to the Tax Foundation, overall state and local tax burdens are..
Washington: 9.4% of average state income
Oregon: 10.1% of average state income
Idaho is 9.5%
I looked only at closer-in housing ... where my maximum weekday commute would be about 30 minutes to downtown. You can find $300-400K housing that close in. I haven't looked at Gresham prices, but it wouldn't surprise me if that area was $100K cheaper.
I can't help with "progressive vibe, vibrant". I don't know what that means to you, or what it would feel like to me if I was in it. If "progressive vibe" is 1000 microbrews, 1000 wines, lots of bikes, ratty-looking beards, and getting to watch someone shoot up in a laundromat, Portland is your town.
When I speak of house size, I mean a typical, plain-jane house/condo. I've scoured sites like Zillow and Redfin, and found quite a bit within reach in Portland away from downtown and in the surrounding towns. I asked about Gresham for the very reason you suggested...closer to skiing, plus greater affordable housing availability. I can find affordable homes pretty easily online myself, but I can't know what the area is like where they're located without exploring it myself or some local guidance. Northwest Portland looks doable, too...but it adds to drive time to skiing.
Hmmm, progressive vibe...I know what it's not. It's not a plethora of camouflaged jacked-up pick-ups and even cars all about, it's not bible-thumpers constantly banging on your door at all hours wanting to save you...even outside of town, it's not the 2nd-reddest state in the nation by representation, it's not government separatists looking for armed camp sites to hold off the gumm'int during the coming race war/gun-grab war/tyrant-"Obummer" inspired insurrection, etc., it's not a place with an outsized population of blatant bigots (this area was the location of "The Order" back in the day and a lot of that outlook still lingers), it's not a place where the surrounding woods sound like gun-nut war zones on the weekends...much less hunting season!
So, the opposite of those things, I guess. I'm fine with what you listed and can even live with the occasional junkie as long as he/she keeps to himself, as most do in my experience. I hope that didn't sound like tooooo much of a screed and it wasn't questioning your question, but that's the best way I could think to put it at the moment. There's also the issue of better accessibility to a wider variety of health care and amenities. I couldn't get a 2nd neuro opinion, for example, in Spokane/CDA, because no other neuros were accepting patient consults!
Anyway, thanks for the tips. I'll check out Gresham area and east Portland.
Edited by Skierish - 4/4/15 at 9:40am