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Opinions Needed: Possible move to Oregon

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

I am hoping some of you may be able to help me with my multi-tiered and somewhat complex question. First, a little background…I currently live in Wisconsin (have all my life) and am in my “mid 30s.” I am single, have a dog, and work in the information technology field. A dramatic series of “life events” over the past year have caused me to ponder what I really want out of life. What would it take to give me a sense of fulfillment? Etc.

 

After much soul searching i.e. daydreaming, I have started to consider the possibility of moving “out west.” On the geographical consideration list are the Durango area of CO, northern CA, and the Portland or Mt Hood area of OR. Lately, I think I have settled on OR.

 

I only have a few requirements of the area I choose. First, being a student of Brazillian Jiu Jitsu, I want to live in close proximity to a BJJ school/club. Second, skiing is my second hobby (first in the winter). I want to have easy access to quality skiing. I don’t need to ski every day but once a week would be great. Third, I don’t want to be too remote. I figure any town that has a Target store will be adequate. I am not necessarily against the city.

 

As far as lifestyle, I would like to have a decent job. One of the many lessons I have learn over the past year is that money isn’t everything. I would like to make enough money to live but I value time after work the most. Often times, big money is a result of many hours. I want regular money and regular hours. Despite being having degrees and experience in information technology, I don’t necessarily need/want a tech job. I am open to it though. Although, I am also open to working at a resort or coffee shop for that matter.

 

I appreciate it if you’ve made it this far through my ramblings. Anyway, here are my questions. What are your thoughts on the move as a whole? Based on what I have said above, what location(s) do you think will fit my needs the best? Also, I am planning a "pre-move" trip out in February of 2011. I was thinking of visiting Mt Hood to ski and scope out the area. What resorts should I look at visiting? I am an intermediate skier in WI. I don’t know what that makes me in OR. Since I am considering Portland as a possible home base, should I stay there for the visit or should I set up camp in Mt Hood as that is a consideration too? I understand Portland and Mt Hood are only about an hour apart.

 

I guess that is it. Thanks for reading and please ask any questions you may have. I am really looking forward to your responses.

post #2 of 20

I have lived in Oregon (Portland) for 25 years now.  It is a beautiful place to live and with tons of outdoor activities.  While Mt. Hood generally gets tons of snow it is not always of the best quality.  I see two main problems with your plan.  One, is finding a job.  Like many places the economy is bad here and unemployment is among the highest in the country.  Cost of living is relatively high, especially compared to the mid-west.  But then the cost of living is going to be high in any of the areas you mentioned.  The second problem you face is the weather.  All of that snow on Mt. Hood means lots of grey skies and rain in the winter down here in Portland.  While I am mostly used to it, it is very hard for some people to get used to.  I have seen many people move here from relatively sunny climates and leave after the first winter.  The beauty is fantastic summers with very mild temperatures, low humidity and minimal rain.  If all things were equal of the places on your list I would probably choose Durango.  Sunnier climate with great skiing nearby.

post #3 of 20
Quote:

Originally Posted by grambow View Post

 

Anyway, here are my questions.

1. What are your thoughts on the move as a whole?

2. Based on what I have said above, what location(s) do you think will fit my needs the best?

3. Also, I am planning a "pre-move" trip out in February of 2011. I was thinking of visiting Mt Hood to ski and scope out the area. What resorts should I look at visiting? I am an intermediate skier in WI. I don’t know what that makes me in OR.

4. Since I am considering Portland as a possible home base, should I stay there for the visit or should I set up camp in Mt Hood as that is a consideration too? I understand Portland and Mt Hood are only about an hour apart.

 

I guess that is it. Thanks for reading and please ask any questions you may have. I am really looking forward to your responses.

 

1. Assuming you can figure out a satisfactory job situation, go for it.  Other than that I didn't see anything you said that makes me think it's a bad idea.

 

2. I know zero about BJJ studios, and since that's one of your top priorities I'm gonna mostly skip over this question.  I have visited Durango and lived in Portland.  Both are nice areas that have very different pros/cons.

 

3. Mt Hood has 3 ski areas, Mt Hood Meadows, Timberline & Ski Bowl.  Meadows is the biggest, Timberline has the longest season (through the summer), and Ski Bowl has great terrain but the worst snow (lowest elevation).  None of them are even remotely destination resorts, with the exception of maybe Timberline in the summer for the ski camps.  Mt Bachelor is a few hours south and is a great mountain for an intermediate skier.  I did almost all my skiing at Meadows when I lived there due to the combination of proximity to Portland, terrain and snow quality.  Be warned that's it's brutally crowded on the weekends.

 

4. For all intents and purposes, there's nothing at Mt. Hood.  There's the town of Government Camp, but it's not really a town.  There's a gas station, a brewpub, and a motel.  I think that might be it.  I honestly have never stopped in Gov. Camp for anything except a beer after a day skiing.  If you want to set up shop outside of Portland, but close to Mt. Hood, I'd check out Hood River instead.  You could also check out Bend, also.  Both Hood River and Bend are very nice areas IMO.  Mt. Hood and Portland are potentially an hour apart from each other depending on weather, traffic, and most importantly, where in Portland you live.  It used to take me 1:45 pretty consistently to Meadows from my place on the west side of town.  I lived on the border between Portland and Beaverton.
 

Durango's also a nice area, like I said, pros and cons compared to the PNW.  You have Telluride and Wolf Creek within a couple hours drive too.  Durango itself isn't my favorite ski area, but would actually be a pretty good mountain for an intermediate.  If you like skiing bluebird days, no question, stay away from the PNW.  In CA, i've only skied Kirkwood once and that's it, so I'm not going to comment on pros/cons of there.

post #4 of 20

Plus in Oregon it's not Target, it's Fred Meyer you want, right?  Don't Oregonians like live for that store? 

 

I think you have to look at the job issue first, the BJJ second, then pick the ski area after that, because I think after you pick the first two, you'll be left with very few ski areas and I think you better widen that list a bit. 

post #5 of 20

An easy way to widen your search would be to include Washington.  The weather is similar, there is a lot of high tech going on, and there is plenty of skiing.  With jobs as scarce as hens teeth it's good to have a big target.

post #6 of 20
Quote:

Originally Posted by jaobrien6 View Post

 For all intents and purposes, there's nothing at Mt. Hood.  There's the town of Government Camp, but it's not really a town.  There's a gas station, a brewpub, and a motel.  I think that might be it. 

 

No, there's a gas station, a bewpup and TWO motels. And a Brazilian Ju-Jitsu studio, run by a fabulously wealthy and good looking woman who wears nothing but beach volleyball attire. And it's bottoms only. It's the best kept secret in Govy.

 

post #7 of 20

Hi there,

 

I live in Oregon since Feb 2007. Coming from very hot and humid climate I found it very nice here in PDX area. Yes it will be gray usually form the mid-October to the mid-May, but since skiing is up from November up to May if you go with mt. Hood Meadows (or September if Timberline) it leaves only November for the gray sky blues. Summers are great, we needed the AC only for hand full of days (this year less than 10 days). Late summer is mellow as well - with some showers but since the ground is not soaked - still nice weather to hike around.

 

Winters are not snowy (usually) but wet, temperatures are around upper 30's mid 40s. Gets icy on the hills though but not too bad.

 

If you find a job in metro PDX - you are set. For the IT guy there are the big guys and some small companies. Do some research and job hunting, something will probably pop up. I used to work for the big semiconductor company and was still able to accommodate weekend skiing despite the crazy work schedule.

Closest to the skiing more or less normal places are Hood River and Sandy - 35-40min drive to the mountain, but not sure what can be found there in terms of  jobs.Fred Meyer AND Target (hey now, sibhusky ) are pretty much everywhere here as well as many other stores so just choose were to live. 

 

If you find something in Bend - great, that area is a bit remote (3.5h driving from PDX) but skiing on mt Bachelor is awesome.Housing is also affordable - Bend's real estate prices dropped down significantly. But the BJJ is probably a no go :(

 

Not sure why no blue bird days here in PNW, this is how it looks like when the PDX area is all gray and rainy:

Mt Hood Meadows 020908_0021.JPG

post #8 of 20

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by VladL View Post

Not sure why no blue bird days here in PNW, this is how it looks like when the PDX area is all gray and rainy:


I didn't say there were none.  But they aren't the norm, and the elusive bluebird powder day is very rare around here, that's just not the way our weather works.  I stand by my statement that if you like to ski bluebird days, don't come to the PNW.  Durango would be *much* better for that.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by iWill View Post

No, there's a gas station, a bewpup and TWO motels. And a Brazilian Ju-Jitsu studio, run by a fabulously wealthy and good looking woman who wears nothing but beach volleyball attire. And it's bottoms only. It's the best kept secret in Govy.

 


Lol, I think we have a winner!

post #9 of 20

I didn't mean you didn't have Target, only that you guys think Fred Meyer RULES.  And maybe it does.  Haven't been in one.  Target is just....Target. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by VladL View Post
Fred Meyer AND Target (hey now, sibhusky ) are pretty much everywhere here as well as many other stores so just choose were to live. 

 

post #10 of 20

Fred's and Target really don't compare well.  When I was raising my teenage kids by myself and working full time I had a saying that went: "If Fred Meyer's doesn't have it, I don't need it."

post #11 of 20

Just an FYI. There are plenty of BJJ choices in Portland. A lot of high level fighters call PDX home. As for the snow. It's not that sissy snow they get other places. You have to work to get it when it's good. Often times if you wait until it gets sunny you missed out on the good stuff. I move here from Texas and I'm in love with the area.

post #12 of 20

Fool that I am, I'll throw in my two cents worth even though I haven't lived in Portland in 15 years. Nor am I familiar with Durango.

 

What I found so impressive about Portland (I lived in Lake Oswego, a suburb) was how exceptional and varied the recreational opportunities were. If you live in Portland you are close to absolutely beautiful Pacific beaches, with surfing down the coast, and cycling, the full length. If you are a cyclist, get ready for heaven on wheels. Portland is one of the most bicycle friendly cities anywhere; the cycling community is huge and well organized. Cycling friends from New England insisted that Oregon's back roads rival Vermont's for sheer beauty, quality of road surface, lack of traffic, even covered bridges. I miss the cycling most of all. Outstanding windsurfing is only a couple of hours away at Hood River. Then there are the brew pubs (sigh!) And the wineries (bigger sigh!)

 

As for the skiing, I have to agree with those who find Mt. Hood under-whelming. I preferred Bachelor, though it's a bit of a drive, to be sure. Bend is a lovely town and nearby Sisters more agreeable still, for those who like range land ringed by volcanic vents. Prior to moving to Oregon I lived in Whistler for nearly 10 years. Oregon's skiing didn't make a big impression on me. But a great deal of Oregon did. It's a great place to live.

post #13 of 20

A quick check of the Internet produced NO Fred Meyers or Targets in Hood River. There is a Fred Meyer in The Dalles, but the nearest Target is in suburban Portland. Bend, incidentally, has everything, including either a Costco or Sams Club (can't remember which) and a Trader Joe's, which puts it in the big time.

 

Using Target or Fred Meyer as a city indicator is not a bad idea, especially if you are coming from some place more densely settled. In the west what you often find are either very urban areas or very remote areas and little in between. Like, you will either find a city with all the services or one, like Government Camp, with little more than a coffee stand within a 30 mile radius. In a lot of the west (though perhaps not so much in Oregon for aesthetic reasons), towns would clamor for something as simple as a McDonald's. Seriously.

 

On the Fred Meyer locator map, there are dozens and dozens along the I-5 corridor in Wa and Or and just a handful east of the Cascades: Bend, Richmond, Yakima, Kennewick (3), Wenatchee, Klamath Falls, etc. That squares evenly with population density maps, too. So if you are just trying to eliminate towns off a long list of possibilities, and want something that has a bit of a metropolitan feel to it, the Fred Meyer rule is not a bad one.

 

Missoula, for the record, has a Target. Big time.

post #14 of 20

Hey, Cloudcult, get with the program.  Those of us in MT don't usually go out of our way to encourage folks to move here.    And remember, he wants a job in IT and his FIRST priority is Brazilian JuJitzu, not Target.  (Hmm, a link to that here.)
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cloudcult View Post

A quick check of the Internet produced NO Fred Meyers or Targets in Hood River. There is a Fred Meyer in The Dalles, but the nearest Target is in suburban Portland. Bend, incidentally, has everything, including either a Costco or Sams Club (can't remember which) and a Trader Joe's, which puts it in the big time.

 

Using Target or Fred Meyer as a city indicator is not a bad idea, especially if you are coming from some place more densely settled. In the west what you often find are either very urban areas or very remote areas and little in between. Like, you will either find a city with all the services or one, like Government Camp, with little more than a coffee stand within a 30 mile radius. In a lot of the west (though perhaps not so much in Oregon for aesthetic reasons), towns would clamor for something as simple as a McDonald's. Seriously.

 

On the Fred Meyer locator map, there are dozens and dozens along the I-5 corridor in Wa and Or and just a handful east of the Cascades: Bend, Richmond, Yakima, Kennewick (3), Wenatchee, Klamath Falls, etc. That squares evenly with population density maps, too. So if you are just trying to eliminate towns off a long list of possibilities, and want something that has a bit of a metropolitan feel to it, the Fred Meyer rule is not a bad one.

 

Missoula, for the record, has a Target. Big time.

post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 

Thanks to everyone for the constructive replies. I really appreciate your candor. Just after the first few posts, I could tell there is a lot to consider in the way of employment when moving to OR. The cost of living factor is something that I really need to bring to the forefront as well. I guess I am a little ignorant to that reality thanks to the relatively stable economy in WI. I am also surprised to learn that Mt Hood is not all us midwesterners think it is in the way of skiing. Sounds like I would have had a disappointing (scouting) trip.

 

Also, for the record, I was only using the Target store as a point of reference for the size of town I would like to live in. I did not intend on sparking such a passionate debate LOL.

post #16 of 20
The skiing would not be disappointing compared to WI. However, compared to the Rockies the snow quality is generally not nearly as good.
post #17 of 20

If you're a lower intermediate skier, then the Hood areas will be great, but when you improve, you'll want more.  That's the problem with skiing on volcanic cones, which is where the major Oregon areas are located, they don't have much change in pitch or contour.  Mountains formed by folding/upthrust have a lot more variation and interest to skiers who are more advanced.  That's why I mentioned Washington earlier.  But if your heart is set on Oregon, go for it.  It's a wonderful place.

post #18 of 20

FWIW, the PNW is crawling with folks from the upper Midwest/Great Lakes states and they all seem to love the weather (or at least have no problem with it). I'm told the gray and drizzle is a cakewalk compared to blizzards, heat/humidity and tornados. So you've got that going for you.

 

I'll reiterate the importance of finding a job before moving to OR. Even when times were good it had some of the worst unemployment in the US. I know quite a few people that have moved there in recent years but they're all musicians and artists from Seattle--the cost of living is less in Portland.

post #19 of 20

Ok, so you pretty much have everything you need to pull off a successful move.  You're not tied down, you have some portable skills but you're open-minded enough to be willing to take any employment.  You probably have a bit of money saved up.  

 

So, now quit talking and start doing.  Start putting your things in boxes and start selling the junk you won't be moving.  The hardest part of moving is making up your mind to do it, and that's what you still need to work on.  

 

You know what the best part about being unsure about Oregon is?  You can always change your mind.  If you're not happy there, next year you can always move elsewhere.  

post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinn View Post

Ok, so you pretty much have everything you need to pull off a successful move.  You're not tied down, you have some portable skills but you're open-minded enough to be willing to take any employment.  You probably have a bit of money saved up.  

 

So, now quit talking and start doing.  Start putting your things in boxes and start selling the junk you won't be moving.  The hardest part of moving is making up your mind to do it, and that's what you still need to work on.  

 

You know what the best part about being unsure about Oregon is?  You can always change your mind.  If you're not happy there, next year you can always move elsewhere.  

 

 

The unemployment rate in Oregon is 30% higher than Wisconsin, and higher than the national average. While things seem to be improving in some areas, they are not in the NW; in fact, unemployment in OR is climbing. Again.

 

Taking ANY employment assumes there's some employment to take. There's a lot of people who moved out this way because of the lifestyle; there's a whole lot of them on the breadline. I can't really say that it's to anyone's advantage to add to the breadline out here.
 

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