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Old 12-26-2012, 05:52 PM
 
7 posts, read 6,539 times
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Thanks in advance to everyone who reads this, I appreciate your time and the fact that this site sees a lot of traffic with people asking for relocation help. I've read a good number of those and still feel confused as to where we should start looking to relocate to Colorado. Some of our needs fit those of other posters while many do not, so I seek your help now.

We are a family of 5 with a Border Collie and a cat. We have lived just outside the Portland, Oregon metro area for almost 8 years now and are looking for a dramatic change in locale. After almost 20 years in Western Oregon I am definitely ready for somewhere that doesn't rain 9 months of the year. Before that I lived in Eastern Oregon (at 5k elevation) and really miss the sunny, arid, snowy, cold winters. I freeze to death here in the 39 degree rain and had no issue in Eastern Oregon when it was below zero. My husband is ready for a change in employers and so we sat down to compile a list of states we were willing to relocate to and found Colorado a good fit for job opportunities for him (he's in environmental compliance), weather likes, scenery, recreation, and availability of kids' activities. The kids love to travel and are up for an adventure living somewhere new.

*We homeschool, so schools are not a concern and the Colorado homeschool laws fit our needs.

*Living outside the metro area we have been used to driving an hour to do anything beyond grocery shopping and even then regularly travel 15 miles to do that but would prefer to have a closer commute.

*I have never been to Colorado but have always wanted to visit and/or live there since I can remember...so I know some of you will scoff at wanting to move without visiting, but the map hasn't been helpful for me.
*We plan to rent as there's no way we can sell our house in the current market where we live and plan to rent it out. Budget will depend largely on salary offered but thinking in the $1-2k range for a 3BR.
*Would prefer a smaller community and something if possible with an acre or two (not easy to find, but have seen some on Craigslist in our price range).

*We're used to big city traffic, it's just not our fav. Just not sure how to gauge what is doable commute-wise and what would be a nightmare.

*Must have snow! (Yes, I see the eyerolls now, hehe) But the few scanty snowfalls we get here are what I live for in the long dreary winters here. I know that the Denver/Boulder areas don't get a lot and that it primarily falls in the spring. But have seen on these boards all kinds of info, much of it conflicting on what is normal snowfall. The weather charts haven't been a lot of help either since they are saying like 6" which I can see from webcams is not the case this year. I'd like somewhere that might generally expect a 3-6" (more is ok too) most of the winter if possible.

*I prefer forested area to plains. Read that Colorado Springs is right up against the mountains but doesn't get much snow. Is this correct?
*Shopping. I don't do much, so it's not a priority though it is nice to have basic options (Costco, Target, Kohls...are they in Colorado?) but housing location is primary goal over shopping/activities.

*We're fairly conservative. We've been able to do just fine in ultra liberal Portland, but wanted to toss that out in case it helps.

*Don't plan to do this as an impulse. Putting a lot of research into this and most definitely wouldn't move without a job.

So given all that, I'd like suggestions on weather to start looking for jobs in the Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, or Fort Collins area and which surrounding communities might meet our housing needs while having a doable commute. We don't want the hubby to find a great job in say Denver only to find no areas around it that meet our desires for living. Thanks so much!
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:10 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 27,013,351 times
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I'd worry about finding the job first then figure out how to make it work. Most employers take into account the local cost of living when setting compensation so you'll likely be in the same situation wherever he gets an offer, unless he lucks out and finds an unusually high paying position in a low cost place. I cant' imagne finding a job in that field would be so easy as to allow you to just pick where you want to be, especially in a desirable area.. It's not like he's a car mechanic or grocery store checker or you're looking to move to Oklahoma or South Dakota. I wouldn't limit his job search just to CO.

I work in IT in one of the hottest job markets in the country and I don't feel like I could just waltz in somewhere and get a job.
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:21 PM
 
20,836 posts, read 39,046,511 times
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Ditto on finding the job, and on renting a year.

I could tell you Larkspur or Castle Rock or Parker for living, but if he gets a job in Golden or Boulder or Colorado Springs he's looking at a hellish commute.

Rentals are tight in the Denver Metro Area at this time, but use padmapper.com or realtor.com to see what is available in pricing and styles.

Give us the job location and we can zero in on good stuff.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:09 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,777,680 times
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A quick comment about the climate of Colorado. People always seem to assume that most of the state is snowy and snowcovered all winter. That may be true at the high elevation ski resorts, but the true fact is that most of Colorado's land area is brown and snowless most of the winter--and those places are where most Coloradans live and where most jobs are. Snowfall averages can be deceiving--many areas of the Front Range, for example, getting around 40"-60" of snow per winter and spring--but most of it comes in a few storms and, in between, temperatures are often warm enough that it melts within a few days.

One fairly decent source of snowcover information is the Western Regional Climate Center ( US COOP Station Map ). Some of the stations with data will show average snowcover for each month.

For some really good data out of a book source, try and find this one at a used book site like AbeBooks Official Site - New & Used Books, New & Used Textbooks, Rare & Out of Print Books : Weather America: The Latest Detailed Climatological Data for over 4,000 Places--With Rankings by Alfred Garwood. It was published in 1996, but it does give good climatic averages for places all over the country. For me, it is an invaluable climate resource. One of the things it shows is average number of days of snowcover of 1" (which ain't much) or more per month for many locales. Denver, for example, gets an average of 61.6" of snow per winter, but only shows the following number of days with snowcover of 1" or more: 2 days in October, 8 in November, 11 in December, 13 in January, 8 in February, 6 in March, and 3 in April. Not really very much.

Now, compare that with a place with "real" winter, like Minneapolis, Minnesota and snowcover of one 1" or more: 7 days in November, 21 in December, 28 in January, 25 in February, 16 in March, and 2 in April. And, yet, Minneapolis actually gets a little less total annual snowfall than Denver, at 57.2".

Yes, there are very snowy and very cold places in Colorado, and I've lived in some of them over the years, but they are not the places where most Coloradans are economically able to live. For most Coloradans, their wish for snow where they live often goes unfulfilled. Where I am right now, another "winter storm" appears to be fizzling out--a way too common occurrence in the last couple of years.

One final comment: Coloradans who live in the lower elevation areas of Colorado (below, say, 7,000 feet elevation)--be they native or transplant--that b**** and moan about how awful Colorado winter weather feels to them have, well, probably never lived someplace that has REAL winter.
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Old 12-26-2012, 09:07 PM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
4,873 posts, read 9,616,291 times
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Once you find the job, you should be able to find a community that meets your needs. Just realize that places like Denver and Colorado Springs are very spread out, and it may be difficult to find something that meets all of your criteria within a reasonable commuting distance. The rental market is very tight right now, and finding a decent 3br on an acre or two for less than $2,000 may be hard.

Last edited by Mike from back east; 12-26-2012 at 09:16 PM..
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Old 12-27-2012, 12:19 AM
 
2,253 posts, read 6,019,284 times
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Wink Snow, mountains and so forth

As mentioned, the Front Range communities you have in mind will see some snow, but it will come and go throughout the winter. If wishing snow of any depth that remains throughout the winter you'll need to be well within the mountains, and at an appreciably higher elevation. In just snow, you'd have better luck somewhere in the Cascade or Sierra Nevada mountains. Take Crater Lake NP, that is a place where it knows how to snow; although admittedly all the rest of your prerequisites might be hard to meet. Otherwise, if accepting the practical necessity of residing in the greater Colorado metro area along the Front Range with everybody else, with some variance from town to town, expect to enjoy occasional snowfalls of several inches to maybe half a foot, and if lucky that remaining several weeks. Beyond that it is often just patchy, but a good view of snow on the high peaks just to the west.

What is not in doubt is the prevalent sunshine. A distinctly different climate from western Oregon in that regard. As often advertised, the climate will be dry with little humidity, and the rare day when the sun does not make a notable appearance. If wishing for more snow, you might regret as many blue days.

In my opinion this state could use a kick-ass environmental compliance person. Hopefully your husband can secure not only a position but enough latitude to improve a few things. I'll point to the lackadaisical way they protect water resources as one thing that needs to be remedied. Most any of these positions will be along the Front Range, although you might get lucky or later work your way into something up in the mountains. Colorado State University in Fort Collins takes a lead in such things, with a lot of environmental science centered there. So Fort Collins could be one place to look. It is a community that many like, with the biggest ongoing complaint a lack of well paying jobs, and stiff competition for them.

The mountains are great, but often a challenge for those who must work rather than bring a bankroll with them. A different climate in several respects from the West Coast. Finding a way to live there probably anything but easy, if possibly—in personal assessment—worth it.
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Old 12-28-2012, 08:58 PM
 
Location: Ft. Collins
3 posts, read 5,991 times
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I'd recommend Fort Collins. It's a very affordable town while offering a very high, clean, safe standard of living. The town itself is beautiful and quaint. You get all the amenities of a big city, yet it's not one. Ft. Collins really doesn't have any run-down or sketchy regions, unlike some previous cities mentioned. The Springs might have the stereotype of being a conservative city, but I find that ever less. I'd describe the feel of Ft. Collins as very much non-political when you're in public.
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Old 12-31-2012, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
5,682 posts, read 9,417,164 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wanderlust97 View Post
After almost 20 years in Western Oregon I am definitely ready for somewhere that doesn't rain 9 months of the year. Before that I lived in Eastern Oregon (at 5k elevation) and really miss the sunny, arid, snowy, cold winters. I freeze to death here in the 39 degree rain and had no issue in Eastern Oregon when it was below zero.
That's the difference between humidity and lack of humidity. Something that I wasn't aware of myself for many years until I moved out of the Southwest and starting living in D.C.

Quote:
*Must have snow! (Yes, I see the eyerolls now, hehe) But the few scanty snowfalls we get here are what I live for in the long dreary winters here. I know that the Denver/Boulder areas don't get a lot and that it primarily falls in the spring.
Who told you they don't get a lot? Yes they do. They get much more snow than Grand Junction (western Colorado) where I lived a couple years ago and Grand Junction got more snow than what I liked to see.

You're not going to be disappointed in the amount of snowfall the Front Range gets.

Quote:
*I prefer forested area to plains.
Then the closer you live in the foothills, the better, although there's quite a bit of trees in Denver so you don't really feel like you're on the plains.

Quote:
Read that Colorado Springs is right up against the mountains but doesn't get much snow. Is this correct?
Not correct. It gets quite a bit of snow too. And yeah it's right up against the mountains, but so are parts of the Denver metro and so is Boulder.


Given your criteria, I'd say you should look at Littleton, Golden, Colorado Springs or Boulder.
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Old 12-31-2012, 05:45 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 27,013,351 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
A quick comment about the climate of Colorado. People always seem to assume that most of the state is snowy and snowcovered all winter. That may be true at the high elevation ski resorts, but the true fact is that most of Colorado's land area is brown and snowless most of the winter--and those places are where most Coloradans live and where most jobs are. Snowfall averages can be deceiving--many areas of the Front Range, for example, getting around 40"-60" of snow per winter and spring--but most of it comes in a few storms and, in between, temperatures are often warm enough that it melts within a few days.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 80skeys View Post
Who told you they don't get a lot? Yes they do. They get much more snow than Grand Junction (western Colorado) where I lived a couple years ago and Grand Junction got more snow than what I liked to see.
You're not going to be disappointed in the amount of snowfall the Front Range gets.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:30 AM
 
3,492 posts, read 4,932,778 times
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Time to help clarify some of the snow conflicts.

Snow falls a great deal. It doesn't last very long. Different people have different expectations. I live in the Springs at about 6900 feet. We have excellent weather, in my opinion. However, my front yard is entirely covered in snow. (House faces North) My neighbor across the street has only a couple square feet where there is any snow. (House facing south). There is a reasonable amount of snowfall, perhaps slightly more than that. If you are in an area with very few afternoon shadows the snow will be melted. If there is a great deal of shade in the afternoon, the snow will stick around. It is when the sun hits the snow during the warmest part of the day that it melts. I have a large snow sculpture in my front yard, it's been there for about a week, it is not in danger of melting because I intentionally built it in the shadows.

So for the OP, it depends on if you enjoy the snowfall or the accumulation. We don't have a great deal of accumulation in most population centers, but there is a great deal that falls. I like it that way. I don't know if it is right for you, but judging by the rest of your post it sounds like you will fit in great. Props on doing your home school research. That is always a great sign. Getting an acre can be tough, you'll really need to be in the outlying areas. Rent in the springs is much lower than in most Denver, but finding work for your husband in what seems like a relatively limited field will be the primary factor. Boulder may be out of your price range unless you compromise on the land requirement. I would definitely look at Castle Rock if he works on the south side of the city. --Note, I'm a "Springs person". I moved here and love it. I have a strong preference for the city, but even I adore Castle Rock. If I had to pick the number 2 city I would want to live in, in the entire world, it would be Castle Rock. (I'm living in number 1.) If he works in the springs I'd look at Monument. If you decide you really want more space, you might look at Falcon.

Also of note. Denver has considerable traffic. I'd say it is average to slightly below average congestion levels for a large city off the east coast. (East coast traffic sucks and breaks comparisons.) Denver traffic, in my opinion, is a little bit better than Portland traffic. (I lived in Portland for about 20 years, but some of that was as an infant.) The springs has the best traffic I have found anywhere in the world. Cedar Rapids, Iowa also had great traffic. (Not sure if you've ever been there) Compared to Portland, the Springs is vastly different. The culture, weather, traffic, etc.
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