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Old 06-07-2007, 01:50 PM
 
Location: Eastern Oregon
505 posts, read 1,950,928 times
Reputation: 257

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Hi there,

I've been lurking for a bit, and was wondering if there are any places in Montana that have lots of younger families. I grew up in the South, moved to Southern Oregon, and have recently moved to Northern Michigan to be closer to family, and for job reasons.

Both S Oregon and N Michigan are huge retirement areas, and frankly, I'm really wanting a place that has younger people in it. Not necessarily a college town though, but that'd be fine.

DH "does" wildfire for a living, and anywhere that has fires, he could work at. He fought fires in Montana a few years ago (near Glacier), and the pictures he brought back were incredible.

After living in N Michigan, I THINK I could stand the cold. Is it as expensive as Oregon? I really miss the mountains, although must admit that the lakes here are pretty neat. Family issues may keep us here for a while, but I can dream right? If the right job came along, I'd be willing to move again. TIA.
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Old 06-08-2007, 06:46 AM
 
Location: LEAVING CD
22,952 posts, read 22,452,692 times
Reputation: 15488
Blueird,
After living in many states and looking at Oregon I can tell you that expensive is relative to where you are. Where living costs are higher usually so are the wages so it kind of equals out. Montana is a strange duck though, the wages have not caught up to the rapid rise in housing,taxes,gas etc. but it is starting to. The area near Glacier (where I currently live) is in the start/middle of a big change from real rural to minor city and from the 19th century to the 20th. Development is happening on what would be called a rapid scale (for Montana) with more business moving in. IMO in order to live here you need to really want to take advantage of the outdoor recreational activities that are available to tolerate the long winters, low pay and lots of tourists. Most kids here that I know rarely play video games, instead they are outside as much as possible. During the summer they say it's too nice and during the winter they are on the mountain. That being said I don't think there are many prettier places to live. House rentals are hard to find (good ones) so shop around.
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Old 06-08-2007, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Eastern Oregon
505 posts, read 1,950,928 times
Reputation: 257
Default thanks

Sounds perfect. My kids would rather be outside too. Northern Michigan is very rural, and they have lots fo space to roam here. DH hunts elk every year since I've met him, and we both love the outdoors. Big city life is not for us, but is for our families, I'm afraid.

DH works for the feds, who have a pay scale, but it doesn't give much flexibility for locations. He makes the same amount here as he did in S Oregon, which makes our spending power greater than here, but I fear it'd be less in Montana. He'd pretty much make the same there too.

Do you know if the schools are good there? I have read good things about them. Is the meth/drug problem there as bad as it is in Oregon? Michigan doesn't even know what meth is for the most part, which is a nice change.

I actually loved the winter here... much more than I thought I would, having been raised in the South, and living on the West Coast for so long. I always have ruled out Montana because of the harsh winters, but after going through one here, I now don't want a winter without it. I loved it! Besides the beauty and light, I loved the way it made us slow down! We bought a wood stove and it was more than bearable. Although it is VERY flat here, which makes driving easier than there, I would think.

Are there good hospitals there? I work in the medical field, but have been at home with kids this last year, and hope to keep that option open.

TIA
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Old 06-08-2007, 12:30 PM
 
Location: LEAVING CD
22,952 posts, read 22,452,692 times
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Bluebird,
Let me take these one at a time, the biggest employer here is the government. They also (from what I understand) are the highest payers. I don't think you would feel any difference financially except you spen more here on outdoor toys.
The schools here depend on where you go, in the Flathead the schools are better in Kalispell or Whitefish, not so good in Columbia Falls. C-Falls are not terrible but do not have the honors classes the others do. There are terrific private schools here as well.

Winter here has changed over the years so the very bitter cold days are fewer than before. It does get down to -40 for a few days (not wind chill) but that is happening less and less. My only complaint about the winter is it is too long.

Drugs in schools, yes, we have that problem here. I just finished talking to my son's friend and he said it is pretty rampant, the kids go out to lunch and get high. I'm afraid that it happens everywhere and the places who say it doesn't just aren't opening their eyes.

Hospitals, there are 2 in the Flathead and both are top quality. I have personal experience as a patient and know a couple of docs. They just finished a brand new one in Whitefish and have expanded Kalispell Regional quite a bit. Kalispell is almost always hiring for something.

Hope this helps.....

While I am leaving the Flathead it is for health reasons, my body can no longer take the cold, not because of anything that is horrible here. Be sure and take a trip out here in the winter, everyone comes durring the summer and falls in love, moves here and then finds out they moved to the wrong place. Everyplace is great in the summer but some areas (and houses) are better than others in the winter when it comes to wind,snow and ice.
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Old 06-08-2007, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Eastern Oregon
505 posts, read 1,950,928 times
Reputation: 257
Default thanks again

Thanks again.

I know what you mean about houses. The house we chose here made last winter a pleasure. We have lots of big windows, which lets in lots of light. It's big too. Big's not great when it comes to paying the heat bills, thus the wood stove. Winter's long here too. For those of us who stick around though, it's a pretty tight community.
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Old 06-08-2007, 06:58 PM
 
Location: LEAVING CD
22,952 posts, read 22,452,692 times
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2500 sqft 158 a month for heat and electric.....
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Old 06-11-2007, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Eastern Oregon
505 posts, read 1,950,928 times
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Default wow

Wow, that's cheap! We have a gas pipeline 200 yards away from our house, and still the cost of gas here is so high ($1.26 per ccf)! Most people around here pay 400+ a month (I've heard of $800 from some for modest homes)for gas heat. Electricity is also very expensive (12+ cents a kwh). Most heat with wood. Interesting! Thanks.

Is it cheap to drive there? In Michigan it's VERY expensive to license, register and pay insurance... much more than it was in Oregon. That surprised us too. Electricity is very cheap in Oregon because of hydrodams.

Thanks again.
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Old 06-11-2007, 02:41 PM
 
Location: LEAVING CD
22,952 posts, read 22,452,692 times
Reputation: 15488
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebird39 View Post
Wow, that's cheap! We have a gas pipeline 200 yards away from our house, and still the cost of gas here is so high ($1.26 per ccf)! Most people around here pay 400+ a month (I've heard of $800 from some for modest homes)for gas heat. Electricity is also very expensive (12+ cents a kwh). Most heat with wood. Interesting! Thanks.

Is it cheap to drive there? In Michigan it's VERY expensive to license, register and pay insurance... much more than it was in Oregon. That surprised us too. Electricity is very cheap in Oregon because of hydrodams.

Thanks again.
We have people that pay $300 a month during the dead of winter but heat with gas forced air. Quite a few houses here use electric heat, either cadet heaters (my house) or baseboard heat. Radiant floor heat is another lower (run) cost but is expensive to install. The highest my bill ever got was $200 in the dead of winter so I switched to bill leveling which causes the bill to be about $150 year round. As for driving, that depends.... Used to be a lot cheaper until a couple of years ago. This year I paid $100 or so for a '97 Tahoe and $243 or so for a 2005 ford car. The Tahoe will be $60 next year and that is all we will ever pay again for that car. After 10 years you get a perm plate (for cars and trucks) and for trailers,boats and motorcycles no matter when bought. Insurance is cheaper than most other places we have lived but shop around for rates, some are way higher than others. Gas is $2.23 here now. Expect to crack a windshield at least once a year, they don't sand the roads they gravel them with boulders!
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Old 06-12-2007, 11:17 AM
 
Location: Eastern Oregon
505 posts, read 1,950,928 times
Reputation: 257
Default ha!

They use tons of salt here in Michigan, and sand. I'm not sure what's worse. Studs and chains are illegal here too. In Oregon we could use them during winter months. I assume studded tires are OK there.

We were lucky to buy a house with radiant heat floors, and concrete/styrofoam construction on the bottom, but the second floor is all wood, and I don't thing it's well insulated up there.

Gas is 3.29 today where we live. I guess Oregon takes the cake as one of the cheapest places to drive.
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Old 06-13-2007, 06:18 AM
 
Location: LEAVING CD
22,952 posts, read 22,452,692 times
Reputation: 15488
Blue, yes you can run studs here and while they don't salt here they do something IMO that is worse, they use a chemical ice melter that destroys your car, is hard to breath and there has been reports of skin burns. It eats through wiring and some say will rust rocks.......
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