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Tell me about Reno & Portland - Page 2

post #31 of 48
When I ask about the Reno area, what I'm really saying is something in the vicinity of a decent drive to North Shore skiing. We don't have to live in Reno proper.

You've given me a lot to think about. Looks like the area is getting expensive to live in.
post #32 of 48
Reno to Squaw Valley from West Reno , NW Reno, Somersett -50-55 minutes in normal driving conditions. Heavenly - 60-90 minutes you have to drive through Carson City, at times ridiculous traffic. South Reno, Double Diamond, Arrow Creek to Squaw Valley 55-65 minutes, Heavenly 60-90 minutes. Spanish Springs and the North Valley's have terrible commuter traffic and are about another 5-10 minutes to the mountains. The biggest plus when commuting from Reno to the ski resorts is that the traffic is very minimal until you get to Truckee or South Lake Tahoe.

Love all the Truckee transplants who diss on Reno. What makes Truckee so attractive? Is it the real mountain town atmosphere of Commercial Row, the Strip mall at I-80 and 89 or maybe the Outlet malls on Donner Pass Road by the bug station? Oh I know it's the quaint mountain subdivisions of Tahoe Donner and Hirshdale. I particularily enjoy the summer traffic and the winter yahoos who don't know that 4WD doesn't stop a vehicle any faster than 2wd. If Truckee is a mountain town than Reno is a gambling mecca a la Las Vegas, be serious.

The best thing about Reno is that we get to play in California and not pay any of their taxes to do so!! You must take Reno for what it is. Geographicly one of the best locations on the planet for year round outdoor recreation. A major drawback are the hoardes of people moving here who want to transform this place into where they just came from. Why don't they just stay where they came from if they miss it so much?

El Chup is bang on with the real estate info. There are now zero lot lines in Somersett (Del Webb) $300K will get a 1200-1400 sq ft home in a tract neighborhood, 350-400K, 1400-2000 in the same. 400-500K 1800-2200 sq. feet in tract and semi custom housing, some with 1/2 acre lots. Plenty of housing in the 500K to 1M range as well. Remember this is Reno,CA after all.

There are plenty of negatives, the area has grown way to fast and shows no sign of slowing down, traffic is bearable but we do now have the rush hour syndrome that affects suburbia. Many people complain about the lack of culture, we're small town and cowboy. Still plenty to do in that respect. Casino's and the people they bring in are a non factor to most locals. I haven't been to a downtown casino in over a year. In reality the casino industry is flat or dying in the Reno/Sparks area. To me crime isn't a factor. There are parts of town you have to exercise more caution but overall it's a low crime area in my opinion. It amazes me how many people move here who don't take advantage of the outdoor recreation. It really is a medium size town with a small town atmosphere, that won't last for too much longer though.

OTHGIskier-just a side note. Reno averages, within 1/2 inch or so per year , the same amount of rainfall as San Diego.
post #33 of 48
Originally Posted by OTHGIskier
Nevada may be in our future for retirement, likely within a couple of years. Would you be more specific about the pluses and minuses of Reno and the other areas you mentioned?

I would prefer to be as close to North Shore skiing as possible, but don't think we can afford to be in Tahoe itself. Seems like we wouldn't be far in Reno.

BTW, anyone know what the housing prices are close to Mammoth?
Reno housing prices have gone up significantly in the past 2 years.
post #34 of 48
Originally Posted by desertdawg
OTHGIskier-just a side note. Reno averages, within 1/2 inch or so per year , the same amount of rainfall as San Diego.
I understand what you are saying about the weather being similar to San Diego where you will find millions of lawns. I grew up there and was endoctrinated with the idea that it is a desert environment that is only green because of imported water which is now becoming more scarce and difficult to get.

Is the water in Reno imported or are there enough local sources? Still, my personal preference is drought tolerant landscaping. I don't have kids and I don't play on lawns. Lawns either suck up your time maintaining them or your money paying for someone else to do it.
post #35 of 48

About Portland, Oregon...

I live in Vancouver, Wa, just on the other side of the Columbia River from Portland, so I thought I'd weigh in with a couple of opinions...


* Its cloudy, if not raining for about 8 months out of a year.

* If you like professional sports, we have only one team, the Trail Blazers, and its owner has run that organization into the ground

* Nearby skiing at Mt Hood and Mt Bachelor isn't that great - its too flat.

The ski experience at Mt Hood Meadows can be described as "long flat run, nice little hill, long flat run, stand in a long lift line". Yuck. Mt Bachelor is 3.5 hours away from Portland, and while it has a great lift system, all the terrain but on the summit lift is very flat.

By the way, I did a lot of skiing at Lake Tahoe this year, and the weekend lift lines at Meadows is worse than anything you'll see at Tahoe.


* Summers & winters are pretty mild. Every other year we'll get 4 to 6 inches of snow in the winter, and maybe a handfull of days over 100F in the summer. Everything everywhere outside is green.

* We have everything for recreation: Great beaches on the coast, white water rafting and wind surfing a couple of hours east of Portland, and a lot of great hiking through out the Pacific Northwest.

3.5 hours north of Portland is Crystal Mt, which has excellent skiing (except this last year due to no snow).

* If you like college football, the Ducks & Beavers have been a lot of fun to watch lately. Portland does have either a AA or AAA baseball team, a soccer team, and a junior hockey team.

* Portland is big enough to have a good offering of the arts, and there's all kinds of live music to be had at clubs around town.

However, as another poster pointed out, why not Seattle? Seattle is nearby to Crystal Mt and Steven's Pass for some great weekend skiing. Whistler is a half day drive away. Seattle has pro football, baseball, and basketball. And if you like sailing, the San Juans in the Pugid Sound is a great place to go.
post #36 of 48
U'll follow up on Dave's comments about Portland and Seattle:

Sports--Both cities have just about the best all season outdoor sports opportunities available in a North American major metro area (and Vancouver, BC makes it a trifecta for the Pacific Northwest). Of course, nothing can beat Salt Lake City if you want mountain sports on a public transit system. As between Portland area skiing and Seattle area skiing, my sense is there is more choice in Seattle.

Economy. Portland has had the highest unemployment rate in the west for the last five years. It is not a good place to come looking for a job, but if you arrive with one in your pocket that isn't such a major consideration. Seattle has more going on, but it has gone through the best in the same time period. Housing is cheaper in the Pacific Northwest than in California, and my sense is that Portland is a shade cheaper than Seattle, but not much.

Culture. Either Portland or Seattle has much more going for it than the Reno Tahoe area in terms of urban culture, of course. Educationally, in Seattle UW is one of the best big public urban universities in the country (nothing can touch it north of Berkeley or west of Ann Arbor), and in Portland Reed College is probably the best small liberal arts college in the same quadrant.
post #37 of 48
I think sno'more captured the comparison reasonably well. One thing I'd point out is that the Seattle area has come through the "bust" fairly well. In part because a number of Seattle's dot coms were real businesses and continue to operate and grow on their own - or have been acquired, but remain very much alive. is bigger and stronger than it was 4 years ago. Microsoft remains strong. Boeing still builds planes in the area. And so on. Probably a reasonable place to look for work.

Housing is cheaper than CA or NYC -- but it is far from cheap these days (although that could change if the housing bubble pops).
post #38 of 48
I moved to Reno Dec 03. I think I won the lottery.

I'm building a house 1/2 between Mt Rose and Reno. So it's 12 minutes to work or skiing Mt Rose, 20 minutes to Lake Tahoe's northern shore. I have about 10 other ski resorts within 45 minutes of me and 6 more within 90 minutes. Great seasons and outdoor activities.

Housing is expensive but not totally insane like CA or NY.

Great entertainment is the trade off for the casinos. No state income tax.
post #39 of 48
In Seattle's skiing favor don't forget Alpental. It may be small and it may be low, but when it's right it is one fantastic place to ski, and it's only 45 minutes from town.
post #40 of 48
Originally Posted by Jim S
I'm building a house 1/2 between Mt Rose and Reno...Housing is expensive but not totally insane like CA or NY.
Do you know what its costing you per square foot to build? Did you hire a contractor to do it? Happy with him?

If my questions are too nosy, just tell me. I'm trying to get the best idea of what it costs to live there.
post #41 of 48
I am building in one of the more (not the most) exclusive areas in SW Reno called St James Village. There the price is about $260 sq/foot but it's going to be a verrry nice house. Last year I bought a 1.02 acre lot with great views for $319k and now it's valued at about $390-400k. But this is one of the more expensive areas. can do well or poorly in any city. We're just starting to build so my fingers are crossed. Here are views to the south from my land:

post #42 of 48

More on Portland

ScotsSkier, Dave86 and sno'more have very accurate comments about the Portland area. I’ll add some more.

I lived there (first in Vancouver, WA), for a few years in 96-98.

Vancouver WA is definitely a suburban community, everything you’d need if you were raising a family and wanted all the traditional soccer-mom amenities (grocery stores, Wal-Mart’s, Home Depots, Costcos, etc.). There are jobs on that side of the river, too. Clark County was at one time the fastest growing county in the US.

But if you’re younger, or single, and not into the suburban cookie-cutter housing developments/apartment-townhouse complexes, then Portland is the place to live. It’s the difference between urban and suburban. In the city of Portland itself, everyone rides bicycles for example, and there are bicycle lanes on all the streets. Not so in Vancouver. In fact, I remember one bicycle shop in Vancouver, but six or seven in Portland (same for ski shops/outdoor gear stores).

If you want to hang out in cool bars, listed to live music, or go for an afterwork happy hour somewhere, everybody in Portland does that, but in Vancouver everyone would drive to the bar, and then have to leave after an hour to get back to the wife/hubby/kids. Not that it’s a bad thing, it’s just how the demographics work out.

Portland is also very liberal-ish. It’s kind of hard to describe exactly, liberal in the traditional sense, very user-friendly, very livable, very walkable. But there’s an added component that makes it hard to really classify. If you read the local papers, the daily, and the A&E weekly,, you’ll get an idea. They take a different approach to their local community issues, public schools, city government, community and neighborhood issues, the famous growth boundary, etc.

I always thought of two distinct seasons there, a nine-month rainy season -- which doesn’t stop anyone from doing outdoor activities, people still hike, bike, run, paddle, surf, ski (above the snow line and on the water) -- and a three-month sunny, dry summer season (with really gorgeous, clear, dry days). Do not give short shift to your ability to adapt to the dark, grey days in the winter and spring months, they last for days on end, it’s a psychological thing, and lots of people have trouble with it.

What really struck me when I first moved there was, all the cars with all their recreational gear in tow. You could go on I5 (the main N-S interstate highway for WA, OR and northern Calif.) and almost every other car or truck had a camper shell, a trailer, was pulling a boat, or had a roof rack with kayaks, canoes, bicycles, surf gear, skis and snowboards lashed to the roof racks.

There’s an island in the Columbia River between Portland and Vancouver, -- Jantzen Beach I think it’s called -- that has an exit for I5, (it’s on the OR side, so no sales tax). In the summer months it’s a popular stopping off and meeting up point, for traveling north or south into the Cascades, east into the Gorge, or west to the coast. It had a Safeway store, an REI store (since moved), some gas stations and convenience stores (pic). And it was so cool just to walk through the parking lots of any of those stores, seeing everyone stocking up with food, ice and supplies, and listening to them talking to their friends about where they were going and what they were heading out to do (climbing Mt. St. Helens, wind surfing or hiking in the Gorge, sea kayaking along the coast, mountain biking in the Pinchot). I always thought that scene, especially on a weekend in the summer, condensed the culture and mindset of Portland and the PNW into what it really was all about, outdoor recreation and the environment.

Two more things before I forget, a big OR-WA difference is that WA has no income tax, but a sales tax, and OR has no sales tax, but a high income tax. The others correctly said the downhill skiing is average at the close by Portland places. That is true, but the XC skiing is pretty good there. Get above the snow line and loads of great trails on national forest lands.
post #43 of 48
Originally Posted by spindrift
Besides no traffic, that'd be no fog, glaze ice, ground blizzards, or Teton Pass avy issues

HB lives there so he should know better than I do, but I've never ever made it from Idaho Falls to GT or JH in less than a couple of hours plus. Of course that could be because I've generally ended up in Idaho Falls when diverted there

HB - what kinds of jobs will the new GT expansion bring? That is not a small project!
Spindrift, It's taken me a while....

IF to GT is only 75 miles. Timing depends on road conditions, which are usually good. Winds (drifting snow) are what close roads. It usually takes my a little over an hour to get to IF. It rarely takes me more than 2 hours to get there.

The GT expansion is years (minimum of 5) off. The expansion will bring typical construction riff-raff. New lodges, support buildings, a courtyard and new lifts are in the plan, along with condos and trophy homes. 900 sq. ft. condos will probably go for $200k, while the trophy home sites (just the lot) will go for $500k+. I would expect sales to rival Tamarack (selling out in 1/2 a day).

Taylormatt, with a background like the one you gave (Industrial Design, basically most of my experience is in trade show design & fabrication work, with a bit of theatrical/movie sets and even Architectural Signage thrown in), I'm not sure if there is much around here. But I'd start looking at the DOE site ( for job postings that you might be applicable for. It's the largest employer in the area and something just might fit.

post #44 of 48
I chose to live here because, when I bought my house, houses were cheap compared to other places and from North West Suburban, where I live, it's about 45 minutes (during good weather) to the major Tahoe ski areas including Mt. Rose. I often amuse fellow lift riders, when they ask me how I like Reno, by saying, "Reno has a lot to be ignored". Another of my quotes is, "In Reno, if you don't smoke, they think it's because you're stupid" and "in Reno, classy people are like the quail; you never know where you'll find them; trashy people are like the sage brush; they're everywhere". One of the most popular restaurants around here is named "Bullies". In Reno, we usualy dress for dinner but if you don't have a baseball cap we can lend you one. Oh, by the way, we have the worst drivers here that I've ever seen; even the cops don't know how to drive. We don't have a tenth of the traffic here that the bay area of California has but we have as many or more accidents and they're usualy terrible ones like roll-overs where the occupants are all ejected (not wearing seat belts) and killed or collisions at intersections where somebody ran a red light and, again, occupants ejected and killed. They don't seem to be able to drive down a roadway between two white lines without running into one another. Personally I detest the casinos and their TV commercials make me sick. However, I knew all this before I moved here and I still moved here because I like the four season climate and, even when it's hot as hell, the humidity is usually realy low; like 10 to 15 percent. You need air conditioning; I don't see how people who don't have it can stand it. There is plenty of great hiking and the sunsets viewed from my master bedroom are sometimes absolutely stunning. We also have a pretty good college and a Reno Symphony. I've read the descriptions of Reno submitted by others in this thread and they're pretty accurate. One more thing, in most of Reno, there are NO mosquitoes. We do, however, have black widow spiders but they don't usually enter houses past the foundation.
post #45 of 48
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that Jantzen Beach is on Sauvie's (sp?) Island. Good duck hunting on the island, if that's your bag.
post #46 of 48
The August issue of Outside Magazine has their somewhat-annual list of good places to live if you like the outdoor lifestyle. Portland is listed, and has an insightful writeup. No mention of Reno, though.

Outside must recycle these lists every three or four years, as I recall Portland being listed a while ago, ... and vaguely recall a mention of Reno a few years back.

Switching to opinion-mode, these lists are the only time I bother to read Outside anymore. They make it sound so grand on the cover, the writeups are inspiring, and they always have great pictures of the cities or towns. But, years ago they got addicted to elitist adventures that are out of touch for the average Joe, and that you'd have to get some kind of sponsorship to even contemplate. They've completely changed their focus from when they began as Mariah magazine.
post #47 of 48

cheaper than Seattle
a bit less to do, but it's a smaller metro area.
less traffic than Seattle (which is absolutely atrocious).
and where else can you view five volcanoes from your backyard?
one hour from Hood, the Gorge, the beach, the high desert area around Bend is amazing.
post #48 of 48
What's wrong with all you guys?

Have you forgotten Auburn, CA or El Dorado Hills?

About 45 minutes to the slopes and 45 minutes to sacramento. Better MTBing than reno. Arguably as close to the mountains.

Reno's nice, if you're in the "right" area. I've lived there.

Traffic is even WORSE now that the sac valley.

Then again, I really like gardnerville too. But you're only close to heavenly and kirkwood.
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