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Old 08-07-2018, 09:49 PM
 
12 posts, read 8,223 times
Reputation: 18

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I'm considering a move back to the west side of OR or WA. I'd like to be within an hour of Vancouver, WA, in a smallish town. Preliminary research has narrowed my focus to St. Helens, OR (or surrounding area) and Kalama, WA (or surrounding area).

Housing prices and job opportunities seem about the same. Does anyone know if it would be really difficult to find a living-wage job? I teach HS, but have done other jobs, as well.

It doesn't seem like either area has a crime or drug problem. Can anyone confirm?

I'd like something with a kind of quaint and cozy feel, community and art activities and festivals (not necessarily to the point it's just a tourist town all year, though), near to water for kayaking, a nice, well-kept downtown, and laid-back, friendly vibe. Basically, I appreciate a town that knows what it's doing and how to manage money and doesn't come off feeling neglected. If a place is working on a revitalization, I'm happy to help.

What I can't tell from websites is the feel of St. Helens vs. Kalama and the downtown vibrancy. Can anyone comment to that?

Does anyone know how badly congested Hwy 30 is from St. Helens to Vancouver and know if it's typically less than an hour drive? I'd be taking that route pretty regularly.

Thanks for your input!
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Old 08-08-2018, 12:57 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
26,919 posts, read 44,996,319 times
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If teaching, you want WA schools (better funded)
If working you want WA (in income tax)
If Vancouver, WA is a frequent destination you want WA

Kalama (smaller and near Longview and Woodland) has less 'happening' than St Helens,

But Kalama (downtown) is friendly and nice.

Look into teaching at Carrolls WA
Carrolls Calendar – Kelso School District
Carrolls Elementary – Kelso School District

Living / socializing / engaging / voting / serving in Oregon is VERY different than doing the same in WA. (IMHO)

YMMV
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Old 08-08-2018, 06:03 AM
 
1,689 posts, read 2,441,068 times
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I suggest applying to the Forest Service if you don’t mind other jobs at least to start with and the lower pay. It could open up other possibilities more related to your field. Perhaps Mt Hood Parkdale or the Columbia Gorge areas.
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Old 08-08-2018, 09:24 AM
 
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley, Oregon
7,785 posts, read 16,594,805 times
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If you are planning to commute to Vancouver for a job - ie a paycheck issued out of Washington state - then you'd pick Washington. Otherwise you'd pay Oregon taxes on your Washington income.

Unless you can pick your hours to come and go, you'd find the driving in from Oregon to Washington over the I5 bridge (even though you are in the opposite direction of most traffic) is well over an hour, it's 45 minutes or so without any traffic.

If you are looking at small towns in SW Washington, you'd be better off asking in the Vancouver subforum of Washington state.
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Last edited by PNW-type-gal; 08-08-2018 at 09:35 AM..
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:24 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
26,919 posts, read 44,996,319 times
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IIRC, the OP was posting regarding living 'downriver' from Portland (St Helens, OR or Kalama, WA) / maybe Longview bridge crossings more likely than I-5 (Minimal traffic)

I concur the USFS, USDA Rural Econ Dev, or Army Corp of Eng, / BPA , or National Volcano Research center (Vancouver) would be a worthwhile career pursuits (on each side of the River) https://www.usajobs.gov/

I have a couple friends working for Federal Highway Admin (@ Ft Vancouver WA,) They really like it, for a gov job... (maintaining roads and bridges in National Parks...)

Consider it is usually best to live in the state (and near) where you are employed. (biking / walking distance preferred.)

I meant to note:
No Income tax in WA (and more stable school funding, important for teachers) No sales tax on food ingredients . a Benefit during Income Years

No Sales tax in Oregon, could be important if you are in consumption mode, or prefer to often buy newer cars, boats, airplanes, motorhomes... OR has a very low income tax thresh-hold and high rate (9%), so no escaping the pain. (retired or working for wages). After all is said and done, the OR income tax seems to net out at about 5%
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Old 08-08-2018, 10:38 AM
 
12 posts, read 8,223 times
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Thanks for the quick replies!! I grew up in Vancouver, have lived in the South and Midwest for a while, and am now in eastern OR. I don't really want to live and work in Vancouver, but I want to be closer than a 6 hr drive from my parents and am trying to anticipate the point where they'll need me more regularly.

I had ruled out the Kelso/Longview area just because of the meth problems, although the house prices are best there, but Carrolls is a possibility. I ruled out much east of Portland because I'd like to be a little closer to the ocean and have a milder winter and lower elevation, and I'm tired of twisty, windy, icy roads in the winter, and Parkland seems like it might be like that. Correct me if I'm wrong!

The benefits of OR are mostly that I already have my teaching license for the state and St. Helens/Scappoose seem to have a little more going on plus more water access, but Kalama has a better drive. Over Christmas break, I hope to drive around and spend a few hours/day in the top picks.

This will be the first move by choice instead of for a job transfer, so I want to make sure I do it right!

(I'll post in a WA forum, also!)
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Old 08-08-2018, 02:47 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
26,919 posts, read 44,996,319 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiki9090 View Post
Thanks for the quick replies!! I grew up in Vancouver, have lived in the South and Midwest for a while, and am now in eastern OR. I don't really want to live and work in Vancouver, but I want to be closer than a 6 hr drive from my parents and am trying to anticipate the point where they'll need me more regularly.

I had ruled out the Kelso/Longview area just because of the meth problems, although the house prices are best there, but Carrolls is a possibility. I ruled out much east of Portland because I'd like to be a little closer to the ocean and have a milder winter and lower elevation, and I'm tired of twisty, windy, icy roads in the winter, and Parkland seems like it might be like that. Correct me if I'm wrong!

The benefits of OR are mostly that I already have my teaching license for the state and St. Helens/Scappoose seem to have a little more going on plus more water access, but Kalama has a better drive. Over Christmas break, I hope to drive around and spend a few hours/day in the top picks.

This will be the first move by choice instead of for a job transfer, so I want to make sure I do it right!

(I'll post in a WA forum, also!)
If you like water / the coast, you could have a LOT of nice places (OR and WA) within 3 hrs of Vancouver.

SIL (OR teacher) just moved from Klamath Falls to Yachats, (~3.2 hrs from Vancouver, WA)

Bonus (?), your folks can come visit your coast location, and possibly move there if they needed closer contact!

I became a caregiver for a disabled parent the day I turned age 18, and for subsequent 32 yrs, so... I insist on keeping a separate living space for boomerang kids or parents (or my own caregiver). Can happen anytime...
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Old 08-08-2018, 03:55 PM
 
12 posts, read 8,223 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StealthRabbit View Post
If you like water / the coast, you could have a LOT of nice places (OR and WA) within 3 hrs of Vancouver.

SIL (OR teacher) just moved from Klamath Falls to Yachats, (~3.2 hrs from Vancouver, WA)

Bonus (?), your folks can come visit your coast location, and possibly move there if they needed closer contact!

I became a caregiver for a disabled parent the day I turned age 18, and for subsequent 32 yrs, so... I insist on keeping a separate living space for boomerang kids or parents (or my own caregiver). Can happen anytime...

I completely agree about the separate residences, which is why I'm trying to be proactive to set up a new job and community on my own terms, before it becomes a scramble in an emergency.

I had considered closer to the ocean, which I would love, but I also like the one hour or less driving distance for several reasons, such as being able to pop over for the day while three hours means overnight and more "planning" for a trip, imo. I can also attend other family events more easily, and there is a built-in support network vs. moving the folks to the coast means I'd have to do everything myself without respite.

On the other hand, if you know of some good coastal communities, I wouldn't mind hearing about them! I have about a year to get my ducks in a row.
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Old 08-12-2018, 12:43 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
10,646 posts, read 18,002,565 times
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First, find a job within a couple hours drive of your parents.

Frankly, a drive from St. Helens to Vancouver can be beastly. If your parents live in Vancouver then I recommend you include the WA portion of the Portland Metro area in your search, don't overlook Ridgefield.

If you currently teach in OR maybe you want to stay within OR public pension system. If so I would look for a job east of Portland - Gresham or Corbett for example.

Last edited by Nell Plotts; 08-12-2018 at 12:52 PM..
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Old 08-18-2018, 08:18 PM
 
Location: Kalama WA
7 posts, read 12,359 times
Reputation: 11
Kiki9090,

I've lived in Kalama since 1993 and have really enjoyed it. Nice people, quiet and so much better than Longview/Kelso or Vancouver. Clark county has grown so much...that I wouldn't live anywhere south of LaCenter.

My wife and I are putting our house on 5 acres up for sale next spring. We hate to leave...but our house is large and the "honey do" list never ends. We're heading out in a motorhome...until we can't motor no more. Then we'll purchase a condo on the WA/OR coast.

I wish you luck in finding employment and a place to settle down but iMHO.... Kalama sure is a nice community to call home.
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