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Old 05-20-2012, 05:06 PM
7 posts, read 11,875 times
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I left Oregon a few years ago for work, and now I'm looking to come back.

My time in Oregon was spent between central Oregon and Lane county - about 15 years total. So I know some areas of the state extremely well. But as this question requires some more detailed local knowledge, I turn to you all for advice and a little help.

As the title suggests, I'm trying to find a place that is rainy, gets snow on a regular basis, and is either a logging town or at least has trees around.

Now, since I've spent such a large chunk of time living and working in Oregon, I know that these things don't necessarily go hand in hand. So please don't be tempted to write me off as just another foreigner with a skewed view of the northwest. But I figure that by telling you what my ideal is, I can probably find something between Oregon and Washington that gets close enough to make me happy. So here goes...


1. It'll be at least as rainy as Eugene (and preferably more like Astoria!)
-I love rainy, grey days. Even if it's not raining hard, my favorite days are misty and overcast. Like Eugene in November, or the central and northern coast during storm season. Drier summers are fine - Eugene, Oakridge, and the like all dry out a bit in the summer - I'm just tired of living in places with dry winters.

2. It'll snow regularly.
-I have lived in Oregon long enough that I know what to expect from most places, snow-wise. I know that the valley isn't going to get regular snows. Bend was certainly cold enough for snow, but there was so little precipitation that it wasn't something to count on, and it usually melted off within a few days anyway. It doesn't need to be on the ground non-stop from November to March, but the valley had way to little snow for my tastes. I'd love to be somewhere that freezes regularly again, where I don't get funny looks from people for putting studs on every year as soon as it's legal.

3. It'll be in logging country.
-I cut my teeth as a working man in the timber of Lane county. The woods are where I feel at home, and I'd love to stay there, so think Doug Firs or at least PondeBullBoxer31, and logging. I'd like to live somewhere that I don't have people laugh at me for wearing suspenders and tin pants. My corks have been in the closet for close to three years now, and that's just sad! It doesn't necessarily have to be an actual mill town, but I'm hoping to have some property with marketable timber for work purposes when I finish what I'm doing now, and any kind of forestry work is a lot easier to do in places where you can find the supplies you need without having to order it online or drive long distances to buy it.

If a place like this exists, my best guess is that it's going to be on the wet side of the mountains, above the snow line. I've checked everywhere I can think of, but I need a local's perspective on winter weather. I mostly used to stop driving the pass when the snows really hit, staying in Bend or Eugene or wherever else I was living until the end of the season. So I don't really know what exactly the winters are like in, say, McKenzie Bridge or Blue River or Rhododendron, or up around Detroit Lake and Idanha and Government Camp. Any thoughts?

I also don't know anything about this same windward-side of the Cascades area up in Washington, which would be my second choice. I understand the north Washington Cascades can get pretty socked in with snow, but it's hard to tell from all my research what the real story is.

Any help from the world at large would be greatly appreciated. I've done tons of research, but I'd be grateful for any suggestions on places I haven't thought of or just plain forgot about.

And for what it's worth, I'm willing to bend either way on this. If I absolutely can't find something like this, I'd give up some rain, as long as there's more snow, and vice versa.
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Old 05-20-2012, 06:02 PM
Location: Myrtle Creek, Oregon
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Sedro Wooley, Washington.
In Oregon, there is Mill City/Detroit out 22, Glide/Idleyld Park on 138, and places east of Silverton. Generally you are going to have to live rural, since west side settlement happened below the snow line before internal combustion and snow plows. Just forget living in town and you will find plenty of places with rain and snow.
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:27 AM
Location: the Beaver State
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It may be too big, but Sandy and East of there on 26 might be a looksie - I'm thinking up around Zig Zag or so. Oakland east of Eugene might be a go, and if you head south of Bend on 97 you've got some rural options that have a lot of snow (higher up then Bend,) but less rain and a bit of a drive to Bend.

Other options are Enterprise or Joseph in the Wallowa Mountains. You could also check out Sumpter or Greenhorn.

The problem is that historically logging towns didn't spring up in snowy locations in Oregon. Those were usually short term camps that were dismantled before the cold season. By the time logging was done in snow, the Internal Combustion engine was developed enough that loggers would commute the 30 or 40 miles they needed to get to a work site instead of living right there.

If you're going towards the more rainy route, look out in the Coast Range. Rainier and Clatskanie or further south like Coos Bay, Coquille, Myrtle Point. I wouldn't recommend those places for jobs, but it sounds like you don't need one.
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Old 05-21-2012, 11:28 AM
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Oddly I was going to say Sedro-Woolley, Washington, but Larry Caldwell said it before me. I'd look there if you want a wet, rainy mill town outside of Oregon. Also check out Concrete, Washington, Morton, Mossyrock, and Centralia-Chehalis. Washington coast has a lot of small logging places... Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Raymond.

Now back to Oregon mill towns.... I would look at the wettest places in Oregon, like Astoria, Rainier, Coos Bay, Newport, etc. Some of these places do have depressed economies, but the history runs through them so much. They are very unique and interesting places, all with considerable amounts of rain. What about western Columbia River towns like Scappoose? Would that work out? Hmmm, there are many very small rural communities.
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Old 05-21-2012, 11:48 AM
Location: Rockaway Beach, Oregon
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A goodly chunk of Tillamook county (and the parts of Clatsop and Washington counties that are in the range) fits that bill, though for snow you'll likely have to pick something a bit further inland (e.g. Jewell, Vernonia, etc).
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:32 PM
7 posts, read 11,875 times
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First, thanks to everyone who's helped so far! Your suggestions have helped me to get a better picture of what I'm looking for relative to what actually exists. Hopefully we can get it dialed in here soon...

Larry Caldwell: Thanks for the tip on Sedro-Woolley, WA. That looks nice, as do points east on the 20, like Concrete. Detroit is a good bet too, if my memory serves me - seems like most times I've driven through there it's had a foot or so of snow on the ground. But I worry that Mill City is too low in elevation to get good, consistent snow. Same thing with Glide and Idleyld Park (which I'd forgotten about - thanks again!). The city-data pages show exactly what I left in Eugene - a maximum of three inches of snow in the winter months, all of which tends to melt very quickly, as the overnight low temperatures stay decidedly above freezing, even in the winter. Is that accurate? I may be reading the weather data incorrectly, but it seems to me that the key to snow sticking around is good overnight lows and daytime highs that don't get too warm. Thoughts?

Also, did you mean Silverton, OR or Silverton, WA? I was reading about Silverton, WA and thereabouts on the Washington forum, and there are some really nice mountain towns, but given the choice I'll stay in Oregon if I can.

Hamellr: Sandy is a nice little place. I like the proximity to Portland, but I'm afraid that the same proximity will make large acreage prohibitively expensive. Also, I don't know how far up the mountains the winter snow line is - the three inches of snow maximum that Sandy, Oregon's profile page shows sounds a little low. But I may not have many options. As far as that area south of Bend, I'd actually love to find a place that gets the kind of snow that you find in, say, Crescent, but in a rainier overall climate.

And to address the suggestions of both NWbyNW and Random_Walk, the places you mention are some of my favorite places in Oregon - especially Astoria and Tillamook and Clatsop counties. But from my experience, there's just not enough snow to make those places a great option for me to settle in long-term. I've never been to the north Washington coast in winter. Do you know if it's any colder up thataway? Or does snow just come in on storms and then get washed out by rain and consistent temps in the 40s - 50s?

I'll only have one shot to buy a chunk of land, and I'd really like it to be somewhere I'll get the most enjoyment. I've learned the secret to being content regardless of where I live, but all things being equal, I'd sure like a place with a good amount of snow around! And I think a lot of you make a good point on the difficulty of finding logging towns above the snow line. But after thinking about it I figure that, if that's the case, I sure don't mind living higher in the mountains and having a bit more of a commute. Especially since I'd be travelling around site to site for work anyway.

Does that open up any other ideas in peoples' heads? My main concern is that I'll sink all my money into buying a piece of land, only to find out that the snow is actually 15 miles further up the hill, or that I live just too far south of the freeze line. I'll have to do a little more research on those areas around Detroit and Idleyld Park that Larry Caldwell mentioned, as well as some of the points around Sandy.
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Old 05-22-2012, 06:38 AM
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Does anyone know anything about Parkdale, OR? The weather and location seem nice, but I can't tell if there's logging there, or just farming.
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Old 05-22-2012, 10:01 AM
Location: the Beaver State
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Originally Posted by nwexpat View Post
Does anyone know anything about Parkdale, OR? The weather and location seem nice, but I can't tell if there's logging there, or just farming.
Parkdale has always been primarily a farming town, technically an orchard town. Apples and pears mostly. It's home to many of the stops along the Hood River Fruit Loop Tour, and is also the end point of the Mt. Hood Scenic Railroad (from Hood River.)

The only mill in the area closed down in the 1980's and has been abandoned since then.
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Old 05-22-2012, 11:09 AM
Location: Mountains of Oregon
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You mite like Butte Fall's bro. Butte Falls Oregon In Southern Oregon

Not very far to Crater Lake.


Best of luck finding your place...
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Old 05-28-2012, 07:53 PM
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Colville, WA gets plenty of snow and its economy has been based primarily off of the logging industry. It is on the East side of the state about 60 miles north of Spokane. It still has active logging mills. One is based right in town and you can see the wood piled up when you drive by. It does have its fair amount of rainfall and cloudy days, but they will be significantly less than on the West side of the state.
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