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Old 05-07-2015, 02:07 PM
 
12 posts, read 14,923 times
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Ok, I realize this will be a kind of a difficult thing to gauge based on these responses and I have to do my own research, which I have been.

My wife and I have been moving around a lot the last couple of years, trying to "find our place." We moved from Southern California where, as I'm sure most people here know, it's just FAR too expensive, FAR too crowded, the schools suck for the most part, and impossible to get a house unless you're making 6 figures. We moved to Chandler in 2013, and stayed there for about 15 months. Despite a couple of big picture things I took issue with with Arizona, (some kind of extreme conservative politics, I'm more in the middle... conservative about somethings, liberal with others), I found it to be comfortable, safe, and the people were nice for the most part. (You meet *******s and weirdos everywhere you go).

There was a great job opportunity for us up in Seattle, so we took it and lasted every bit of 6 months up there. It was gorgeous, with a lot of great outdoor things to do, but I took issue with the people up there. Very snobby and kind of rude, aside from a weird kind of haze (almost depressive) to them, maybe from the weather.... and nonstop rain. Also pretty pricey in the nicer areas. So, after a detour in California, we moved back to Chandler, and things are actually pretty good. She is in a good position at a major bank, working at a corporate office. She said that in a year, she would have the opportunity to transfer, and they have another site in Hillsboro, Oregon.. (back in the PNW)

We will be ready to buy a house in a little less than a year, and I guess I'm just freaking out a little bit as to whether this is the right place to permanently plant roots... or should we keep looking...because there's no real turning back after buying a house... we have a son who's going to be ready to start school soon (he's 2 and a half), a 2nd child on the way... all that sort of thing. So I'm trying to do research on schools, crime, etc. Chandler and Scottsdale seem to have pretty good schools, despite Arizona's reputation for bad education. How are schools in the PNW?

As for the greater Portland area, I've heard mixed things. I've heard it's horrible in some suburbs, and the nice ones are far too expensive (Lake Oswego, West Linn, etc). They legalized marijuana recently, and I am an on-and-off again MMJ patient (anxiety and PTSD from the military), and it's made a world of positive difference when I'm able to use it. That is something that I have a big problem with in Arizona, is they can't seem to get it together with some of the more common sense progressive things (this is just my opinion, of course, I'm not here to start a marijuana politics banter). I hope they legalize it soon but I'm not super optimistic about that. I do enjoy being able to carry a gun or a knife in Arizona, which wasn't so accepted where we were in Washington, and I'm not sure about greater Portland.

So it's a pros and cons game. The wellbeing and safety of the family obviously takes priority, but I guess I'm worried about making the wrong decision, or history repeating itself. Has anyone lived in both Phoenix and Portland and can give a somewhat objective opinion or advice? I appreciate anything anyone wants to say about it, and thank you!
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Old 05-07-2015, 02:17 PM
 
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I was born here, spent almost 9 years in Seattle with lots of fun weekends in Portland.

If you weren't a huge fan of Seattle, I'd be surprised if you like Portland much better. There are a lot of great outdoor things to do, but I don't think the people are all that different from Seattle. I don't think you'll have much better responses to being armed in Portland than you would in Seattle, unless you get out to the boonies a bit. That's one fun thing about Washington and Oregon. Hippies in the cities (they run the capitol, and it shows), rednecks in the country.

I can't really speak much about schools, except for that I think Arizona's bad rap on education is unwarranted. Many of the studies cite dollars spent per pupil, which is meaningless considering the potential for waste in a government run school system. Plus we have a good selection of charter and private schools, and many offer generous scholarships/grants.

Personally, I'd be interested in living in Portland if I were younger and single. Not so much now that I'm married and looking to start a small family. But there certainly are nice suburbs out there, and it's a beautiful place.
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Old 05-07-2015, 03:14 PM
 
824 posts, read 1,952,958 times
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"Unwarranted" bad rap on AZ Schools? AZ not only spends the least per pupil, has critically below average student achievement, but their teachers are among the lowest paid in the nation. AZ is 44th in the nation and that number is NOT based solely on spending per pupil.

Bottom line, if you're lucky enough to send your child to a top performing school, it's probably average compared to the better districts throughout the nation.

Personally, AZ would be a great place to live if the stingy hypocritical retiree's didn't have such a stranglehold on it. They got educated on the tax payers dime, as well as their children, but when it comes to paying it forward, they balk at the idea of paying their fair share to create a better class of citizens for AZ's future.
I'm sure you'll make the best decision based on what's best for your family, but the education system is definitely something to take into consideration.
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Old 05-07-2015, 06:01 PM
 
599 posts, read 658,561 times
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I have to agree on the schools here....they weren't all that great to begin with and then with the latest round of budget cuts, I honestly would be extremely hesitant of sending a child to the schools here going forward. That would be my biggest focus if I were you. People can say charter/private all they want but at the end of the day - the education system is just not valued in Arizona and it shows.

In terms of Oregon - I've not been there but I've heard nothing but good about it. However, that's based on other people's opinions...have you visited there for an extended period? That might be the next step, to feel out the area. Only you know if it's somewhere you'd like to be.
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Old 05-07-2015, 07:57 PM
 
Location: 98004 / 30327
555 posts, read 452,004 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trudawg View Post
"Unwarranted" bad rap on AZ Schools? AZ not only spends the least per pupil, has critically below average student achievement, but their teachers are among the lowest paid in the nation. AZ is 44th in the nation and that number is NOT based solely on spending per pupil.

Bottom line, if you're lucky enough to send your child to a top performing school, it's probably average compared to the better districts throughout the nation.

Personally, AZ would be a great place to live if the stingy hypocritical retiree's didn't have such a stranglehold on it. They got educated on the tax payers dime, as well as their children, but when it comes to paying it forward, they balk at the idea of paying their fair share to create a better class of citizens for AZ's future.
I'm sure you'll make the best decision based on what's best for your family, but the education system is definitely something to take into consideration.
For what it's worth, the link you posted which placed Arizona 44th out of 50 for education? Check out Oregon's ranking in the same report:

Education Week: Quality Counts 2012 - State Report Cards

Identical placement. I'm not disputing your points about the state of public education in Arizona. Only pointing out that Oregon is not a hair better.
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Old 05-07-2015, 10:30 PM
 
Location: Amongst the AZ Cactus
7,074 posts, read 4,571,682 times
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Arizona legalized medical Marijuana so not sure why you are concerned with that issue/bringing that topic up in regards to AZ as a "big problem".

Despite what stereotypes you hear about AZ, most of the people here I think you'll find are "live and let live"/independent mindset. And in my view, one of/if not the friendliest state I've ever lived in or visited.

Many of the suburban Phoenix schools in the good suburbs have decent schools, largely because they have parents who are engaged/put effort into getting their kids to succeed in school. I believe school grades/success are largely dependent on parents involvement, not the school district itself. A kid with parents who don't care about their kids education/the kid puts no to little effort into school work will have little chance of success in school. Be involved with your kids education, move to a nice suburb/stay away from the inner city districts, and you'll more than likely be fine here or in any other decent suburban school around the country.

On a personal note, I would stay far away from Portland given the weather alone. Far too depressing for me being cool/damp/cloudy/rainy so much of the time. Also, Phoenix to me has a new "gloss" to it, very clean, and with a highway system with some of the best roads I've ever driven on. In my view, too much of Portland frankly looks kind of dumpy/old to me though I do like the coast of Oregon and some of the mountains in the southern part of the state are beautiful. But again, the weather keeps me far away from the place except for a quick visit. As for Portland being "progressive", well, you might want to read this article about how much progressiveness you really want and the job situation there:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/21/ma...oung.html?_r=0

In the end, as I think you already know based on your comments, all you'll get is opinions here and what's most important is what place works best for you. Check out both places good, rent for a while which sounds like you already have done in the suburbs of Phoenix, and decide for yourself, and don't take what people including myself say as fact as everyone has a different definition of what's the best place to live. Thinking independently like that and you just might fit in best in AZ.

Last edited by stevek64; 05-07-2015 at 11:14 PM..
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Old 05-08-2015, 11:03 AM
 
1,333 posts, read 1,152,469 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trudawg View Post
"Unwarranted" bad rap on AZ Schools? AZ not only spends the least per pupil, has critically below average student achievement,.
First of all. yes I agree with the under-funding and teachers wages lack compared to elsewhere. But Arizona takes a hit because of the Native American and migrant population. Education just isn't viewed as highly in their cultures. There are tons of great schools in Arizona, but it is their demographics that make them good and not the funding.

There is a school on the Navajo reservation with a 40% drop out rate!
There are schools in the lower income areas of Phoenix with similar statistics, language barriers make it hard to learn!
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Old 05-09-2015, 05:58 PM
 
1,809 posts, read 2,889,491 times
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Portland no brainer. Too me Phoenix is one of the most undesirable cities in the U.S. Too hot, dry, boring, bland, cookie cutter, sprawl, brown landscape. Portland you have a vibrant downtown, OR Coast 1 hr, Mt. Hood snow capped mnt views, green lush landscape, nice rivers, skiing close, wine country, Bend OR, Hood River, Eugene college town...it goes on and on.
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Old 05-10-2015, 12:34 PM
 
Location: Amongst the AZ Cactus
7,074 posts, read 4,571,682 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctr88 View Post
Portland no brainer. Too me Phoenix is one of the most undesirable cities in the U.S. Too hot, dry, boring, bland, cookie cutter, sprawl, brown landscape. Portland you have a vibrant downtown, OR Coast 1 hr, Mt. Hood snow capped mnt views, green lush landscape, nice rivers, skiing close, wine country, Bend OR, Hood River, Eugene college town...it goes on and on.
Why then is there so much unhappiness/depression/a high suicide rate if it's such a great place to live?

America?s Unhappiest Cities: Portland, Ore. - BusinessWeek
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Old 05-11-2015, 11:22 AM
 
12 posts, read 14,923 times
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Thanks for the responses, everyone. Like I said, I lived in Seattle and it had it's problems, but it was livable. I guess the biggest issue for me up there is that it's an expensive part of the PNW, and difficult to obtain a house. There were nice people and snobby people, just like here in AZ in places like Scottsdale. Greater Portland is far cheaper than Seattle. From my own research, Oregon DOES have better school systems. Not a quantum leap better, but considerably better than Arizona or California.
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