Deciding whether to go back to Klamath Falls for EARLY retirement (Medford: sales, real estate)
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Deciding whether to go back to Klamath Falls for EARLY retirement
I am hoping to get some insight from others who are "in the know" about K-Falls. I am open for any discussion and would appreciate your input and advice.
I am 38 years old. My husband is 44 years old. We have three children. We live on the East Coast, though we used to live in K-Falls. In fact, my youngest son was born at Merle West in K-Falls. We were there as the result of a military recruiting assignment. We lived there from the end of 2000 to the middle of 2003.
We are in a position to start our retirement. In fact, my husband receives full retirement and our bills are all paid via his income. Rent where we live is not cheap. Our current home value (though we rent) is over 500K.
We'd like to change that and build a home on some land to call our own. We have never bought a home so we have no "ties" to any community. I don't have to work but I've been running my own business to keep me occupied. We are looking at where we wish to buy/build a home and officially have a place to retire. We want more "bang" for our buck.
We've been discussing going back to K-Falls. We need some place that allows us to remain active outdoors. We go skiing each year and are active in whitewater kayaking all year round. He loves to golf and rock climb. Some of his best years of rock climbing were in S. Oregon. We fill our summers with camping, fishing, hiking and other outdoor style activities. Oregon is perfect for that lifestyle.
Some of my fondest memories of K-Falls were being able to take day trips in any direction to see and participate in skiing, whitewater sports, camping, sightseeing, golfing, rock climbing, etc. and being able to take the Coast Starlight (Amtrak) up the coast through the mountains. I loved that! All the elements of our outdoor activities are within easy reach. The view is absolutely spectacular...I love the mountains and have lived in the Smokies, Rockies, Cascades, Wichitas, etc. The Cascades appeal the most to me.
I loved that we had no traffic jams. Considering we lived in DC for a few years, it's VERY appealing. Now I live in a smaller metro area and we still have traffic jams. I am sick of traffic!
I loved the YMCA there and have had a hard time finding one as good as that. I liked the atmosphere of feeling safe in my own home and not stressing about having to lock our doors at night. I loved the climate...LOVED it! I've lived in a lot of places and that, by far, was one of the best selling points. Also, the schools were outstanding for our children's special needs. They did more for our kids than any other school system we've been involved in so far.
We've lived in major metro cities for most of our married life. K-Falls is far from "metro" and has it's small town atmosphere, which can be bad for those who are used to going shopping, venues, finer dining, etc. That would require some travel to obtain, though it's not far out of reach.
It would make sense to go back to K-Falls, but I have a few reservations.
I remember some things about K-Falls that were difficult to overcome....no offense to anyone living there, but this is my experience:
1. Depressed economy. This does not affect our income or ability to pay bills, but it affects the community as a whole. The depression of our national economy must really be taking it's toll on the residents of S. Oregon. The more depressed the economy is, the more likely that drug abuse will rise. There is a level of "desperation" in the community. The more desperate people become, the stranger the atmosphere becomes. More on that issue below...
2. Meth production and trafficking. Yes, it was everywhere out there. It seemed to be very prevalent in that area and wonder if it has been reduced with the intervention of law enforcement.
3. Health care. My husband requires VA appointments for his ongoing health care. I remember while there we had a nurse practitioner as our health care provider. I was not very impressed with the fact that there were little or no providers (licensed physicians) to give our family the overall care we needed. Additionally, there were no pediatric dentists. We had to travel to Medford for a lot of specialist appointments. Now that my husband has been rated as disabled, there is a greater need for VA healthcare within our community. I read that the VA clinic in the area is run by a part-time physician. That's a concern for me.
4. The people. What I am about to describe is nothing short of bizarre in my mind. If I had not seen it for myself, I would question the sheer stupidity of it all. The people just aren't "right" in a lot of ways. Particularly the woman in K-Falls. We had incidences where my husband (active duty military at the time) was pursued as a "meal ticket" to get out of that town. Women of all ages were blatantly trying to get him...not just hit on him but to secure a future with him. Over the course of many years, I've seen woman inadvertently "hit" on him not realizing he is married (we don't wear wedding rings). Once my husband says, "Oh, let me introduce you to my wife" they typically apologize or leave quickly from embarassment. I take it as a compliment that my husband is desirable. However, everyone knew he was married (again, it's a small town) and didn't care. He was still fair game! (ETA: I just remembered a funny thing that happened....the first time I ever saw a woman spit (on the ground) was in K-Falls. I used to live in some of the most rural areas such as East Tennessee and in the midwest...but never would a girl cross that line by spitting in public. Well, it was common in K-Falls to see women spitting...ick!)
Here are a few incidents that I personally dealt with:
On one occasion, a lesbian couple tried to convince my husband that he was to be the father of their love child. Needless to say, I was not amused.
On another occasion, a 60-something woman was emailing nude pics of herself to his work address. Yeah, scary.
There were many emails he kept receiving from a 16yo high school girl. She wouldn't stop professing her love for him and he didn't know how to resolve the issue. I knew about her so there was no secret going on. She would call him day and night...she didn't want to take a hint! I talked to her, he talked to her...but she was insistent on making our life a constant drama. She stopped bothering him after we moved, thankfully.
On many occasions, mothers of recruits would ask him to be thier "bed buddy" on the side. I saw one in action so I know my husband wouldn't make it up.
While in public, teenage girls would overtly flirt and be disrespectful to me and my children while we were in the company of him. They would do devisive things to try to rock the marriage...and it sometimes worked! Rumors flew about town that some of the teens were claiming to be sleeping with him, probably fabricated as part of a "status" symbol or bragging rights. I have no doubt they are false.
When we addressed the stress it was bringing into the marriage, we went to the ONLY marriage counselor in town. Come to find out, she was a self-professed sex addict who was on her sixth marriage. She told us to get a divorce during our marriage counseling. This lady was NUTS! She spent more time talking about her own troubles than addressing ours. We gave up trying to fix anything through her.
The mother of our son's best friend (she truly had no boundaries!) would see us at a social gathering, then wait for me to leave the room to make her moves. She had no shame! LOL She'd corner him a lot of times when he was alone to convince him I was not the right "woman" for him. She would come to my house to see if I was home, then five minutes later would show up at my husband's office. We were onto her. LOL It got to be a joke after awhile.
I summed a lot of it up as starry-eyed girls wishing to run off with a man who was providing a good life for his family because they didn't have it for themselves. However, it was brutal how MUCH it happened on a regular basis. The argument that it was facilitated by my husband is actually a funny theory...it never happened again once we left K-Falls in any of the communities we've lived in. I truly believe it is the mentality there. We never had those problems before and certainly haven't had them since.
So...it left me with not-so-good memories based on the mentality there. I guess what I am trying to ask is this: Based on all the good we have to say about the area, would YOU move back again...? Have you ever witnessed what I am describing? Is it better or worse than a few years ago?
Is the housing market buyer friendly? We are looking at moving to the Running Y. Whatever neighborhoods we should consider, please let us know. We used to live in the Pacific Terrace area and prefer to live in an area with acreage or a large lot. I don't think there's many options for new houses up there.
Has healthcare improved?
Anyway, thanks for any insight or advice you may have.
Last edited by DragonFly757; 05-05-2008 at 07:36 PM..
As someone who lived in K Falls for many years and whose job heavily involved the public, let me respond to your 3 areas in your novel.
As to the things you liked about K Falls, they are still all too true and all valid erason for going back. There's always acerage in or above Keno and that would be as pretty a homestead as anyone could hope for.'
Next, as to the negatives, most of that is true and will remain so. K Falls is a depressed town, economically speaking. It's better, but still making the transition from a lumber town to a retirement community. And there's a lot of meth there (although not as bad as other areas of Oregon) as it's on the "meth pipeline"- hwy 97. And yes, VA care & pediatric dentistry may never be a part of K Falls.
Lastly, as to some of your personal ascertions, I don't believe most of it. I've lived there, probably met 60% of Klamath county and I don't think all of that is true. Period. Neither my wife (who is a strikingly beautiful woman) nor myself have ever so much as remotely experienced one of the things you mention and of I have never once heard anything like what your describing as a so common occurence. I think you've dome a grave injustice to the community as well as to anyone here reading about that town.
All that to say if I were you I wouldn't go back. To me it sounds as if healthcare is your over riding issue. Perhaps you could try a place like White City or some other community just outside of Medford. That seems like your best bet for your needs.
Thank you for your response. I am sorry for writing a novel. I will try to be more succinct in the future.
I figured some (if not most) would not believe my experiences. I couldn't make that stuff up even if I tried. Like I said, it was bizarre. Considering how astute I was in my other observations, it should hold some credibility. I am not here to bash K-Falls but share my experience. If others find this happening, I want to know. I am relieved to hear you haven't dealt with it.
Thanks for the suggestions on more appropriate places to live. I will look into those areas and weigh our options. Bless you!
You might consider another city in eastern oregon since you seem to like that climate. There's some affordable places out there. La Grande,Baker city or Burns would be a few of them. Once you go over to western Oregon the prices get higher.
All I can say is there must have been some poor deparate women out there in K-falls. I haven't been there in many years, so I couldn't say what goes on there. Since you did have those problems I'd think another location might be best. Good luck! Oh, Roseburg has a nice VA hospital.
I think the military guys get a lot of that out there. LOL
Really, I didn't mean to offend or stereotype anyone. It was just the strangest experience because it wasn't just one isolated incident. It happened consistently over the entire time we were stationed there.
I was hoping the health care environment had improved. I guess researching the Tricare provider list will help.
I was hoping the health care environment had improved. I guess researching the Tricare provider list will help.
Klamath Falls has a pretty full range of medical options, and as the connection between OHSU and SkyLakes increases, the options seem to increase as well. The phone book lists a few dentist who also do pediatric dentistry (usually as part of a family practice).
VA care I don't know anything about, but I've been able to find anything I need in-town.
The local YMCA has been expanding and has a bunch of new, fun, options.
As far as depressed economy, Klamath has been growing much more slowly than other parts of Oregon, and although Klamath had a bit of a real estate bubble, it wasn't as severe as other places. A lot of the real estate slow down here has been in the spec home category, although sales have certainly slowed here as well. Running Y is still there, still over-priced for the area (IMO) and still has all the restrictive covenants that make it either attractive or unattractive, depending on your point of view. Since there are a lot of vacation homes out there, Running Y has been very much a part of the local bubble - prices went way up, but presumably they'll come down. Prices are also way up on the ridge-tops and slopes up around the basin.
My construction and developer friends are still working on big retail/commercial projects, although it's slowed down a bit - but there are still plans being negotiated for some of the big shopping things that people go to Medofrd for.
Thanks PNW gal. That's good news to hear on the overall improvements in K-falls.
We are used to traveling for VA appointments. But we don't currently have to worry about impassable roads during the winter months.
Would you say that now is the time to buy out there, or should we hold out a bit longer for more of a dip? I understand you don't have a crystal ball, but is the trend showing that a "wait-and-see" method would be best?
We currently live in a neighborhood with convenants and restrictions. It has it's downfalls, such as when we have guests over and they have to park in the street, we are bound to get a letter from the HOA threatening a fine. Our boat is not parked properly and we expect some grief over that soon. Once while on vacation, we came home to a "mow your lawn" letter...our lawn was mowed just 10 days prior so it wasn't bad and just slightly higher than our neighbors. Yes, we get irritated with it but we tend to keep our nose clean. Overall it is a nice neighborhood.
Would you know if the Running Y has a militant attitude on their rules and regulations? I would like some privacy but still have neighbors, KWIM? The lots seem pretty large compared to where I live. I like that option.
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