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My family and I are relocating to OR in early August. Anchorage, Alaska's housing market (and rental market) is just too expensive for us.
We love Oregon - when compared to Alaska, we'll feel like we can get in the car and drive anywhere! How liberating that will be!
I'm from the Pacific Northwest (I'm very used to the rain), still have many friends and family in Humboldt County, CA. My husband went to college at Oregon State and really loved the area. We also love the idea of central OR with all the sunshine.
We've searched and researched many different areas in OR and we can see that many towns and cities have better options for us (compared to AK.) We're hoping to move into a rental home and take a year or so to decide if we want to establish ourselves and purchase a home in that area.
We're a young family with a new baby. My husband is fortunate enough to take his stable, computer-based job with him. I taught elementary school in Alaska, but I'm planning to take at least 1 year off to stay home with our young baby.
We DO have a town in mind (Bend) because of it's seemingly affordable rental market (I see affordable as less than $1000/mth for a 3 bedroom home). We've read articles that describe Bend's high unemployment rate, but because my husband will still be working for an Alaskan company via the computer, that doesn't concern us too much since we won't be looking for a job to survive. I love the idea of Bend's warmer weather and all that sunshine...
But I can't help but feel worried about Bend's current economy. Like I said earlier, I do want to return to teaching elementary school (in a year or 2), and I'm not certain I could find a job in the Bend area.
Can you think of any other suggestions of places to live in Oregon? We've certainly fallen in love with all Bend has to offer (weather, outdoorsy-ness, and it's cost-of-living compared to AK...), but we haven't moved yet. I'm wondering how other, larger, cities compare. Places like Eugene, Salem, and Portland are appealing simply because I assume that the job market for teachers has a wider range. I understand the geographical location of those cities (in regards to being on the more rainy side of OR.) But like I said earlier we're fine with the rain. Just curious: Which city (Portland, Salem, Eugene) has the nicest, longest summer? I can live through a long rainy winter if I can anticipate a great summer. I like the heat... anywhere from 70 and above sounds like heaven
Perhaps I'm just having cold feet about this HUGE MOVE! I'm very happy that we've decided to move out of AK. I'm enormously happy that OR will soon be our home. But now I'm somewhat second-guessing our decision to move to Bend... is it just cold feet?
Thanks for taking your time to read this. Any thoughts or feedback is welcome...
The climate differences between Portland, Salem and Eugene are very minimal.
Your best hope for a teaching job is probably Portland area but not in the short term.
As long as your husband can work from home and you plan to rent then you're not tied to a location so if Bend is not what you're looking for then you can easily move.
Your best option might be to take some time and explore each city before you decide. I'm not really a fan of Bend. It has more sunshine but I prefer the green even if it means more rain.
Bend also seems to lack something. It's grown so fast and now is in economic collapse and I don't think it'll ever really rebound because there is no economic base other then tourism. There's just no warm feeling of community. It just seems like a city in constant transition. (boom, bust, tourism cycles, etc). It's hard to explain. It a nice place to visit but not where I'd choose the settle but it's totally subjective.
Redmond? It might have a more family type of feeling to it. Great summers as well.
I live in both Central Oregon and SE Alaska. I can certainly see why you would want to get out of the Anchorage area. You're lucky; your husband can work from Bend and you can take some time off. It's worth a try. As long as you're renting you'll be able to keep your options open with regards to other parts of the state. You might look into Ashland as well; the summers there really can't be surpassed.
If you want a combo of significant "green" and the hot summer weather that no place in Alaska ever sees then the Medford-Ashland metro area and Grant's Pass are just about unbeatable. It's also a lot closer to Humboldt County than Portand, Salem, Eugene or Bend. Mind, it still rains in the winter in southern Oregon and the continuous drip from November to April can be nerve racking - even here. But summer starts earlier, gets warmer, and sticks around longer than anywhere else in the state.
The only "Aw, s**t" I can see here is the same, more or less, as anywhere else in Oregon. People are just not hiring - for anything.
Just about anywhere in Oregon will be hard hit by our economic malaise. We won't be coming out of it anytime soon, either but I also don't think it will get much worse.
Any place will work out for your husband as long as he can telecommute. Davefr called it right in suggesting Portland might have more to offer. But there are more people vying for those jobs there as well and teaching positions are hard to get and easy to lose no matter where you go. My daughter-in-law got laid off from two different teaching positions in the space of three weeks and was very lucky to have scored a third in the school district right next door. Taking a year off may well be a wise choice for any number of reasons right now. If nothing else you can get any certifications you need during your sabatical. All of the communities (except Grant's Pass) you and I have mentioned have four-year institutions where you can polish your resume if you need to.
Hope this helps and if you decide to make the jump, welcome. FV.
My DH and I relocated to Grants Pass last year after 16yrs on the Kenai Peninsula. We love it!!! Like you, we both brought home based computer jobs with us, so employment was not an issue. You are right, one of the greatest parts of living here is being able to just get in the car and go some where!!! It is indeed very liberating!!! We are 1 1/2 hours from the coast, 3 hrs from faminly in CA, the moutains and crater lake are 1 hr in another direction. The Rougue River is said to be one of the best salmon river in the NW (hard to comare after AK fishing though ) Our favorite saying about the "cold rainy winters" in OR is that it just like the "summer" in AK We have friends in Medford that moved here from AK over 2 years and they still say it's the best thing they've ever done.
We loved AK and it was a hard decision to leave, but it was time and we love our new life in Oregon and I hope you will too!!!!
I moved to Bend last July from Colorado and absolutely love it. Compared with the city I moved from, the sense of community here is fantastic. My husband is a nurse, so he was fortunate enough to find a job. I was a teacher in Colorado, but have not found a job in Bend. It is a tough place to find a teaching job, even if you have years of experience. In this economy, I doubt the school districts will be hiring much in the next 5 years. However, we are able to make it off his salary, so I can substitute when needed and try to get my foot in the door. We love the climate of Bend and all that it has to offer.
I know Redmond was suggested as well, but their economy and school district is in the same boat as Bend. I also feel that Bend has a better sense of community than Redmond. My personal opinion would be to relocate to Bend since you are not planning on returning to work for at least a year, and your husband's job can move with you. Find a nice place to live and work on obtaining your Oregon teaching license (it was quite a process for me coming from Colorado). Then start applying for jobs all over the state. If you get a job, then you can always relocate again since you will be renting in Bend (I know moving stinks though). Chances are, it will take you a few years to land a teaching job.
Like others have said, I would also look into southern Oregon. I don't know much about the area, but I have heard great things about Ashland.
I moved to Oregon from the midwest 5 years ago and I can't wait to get out of here. If you feel you must move here, the northern part of the state is my suggestion. Southern OR is very isolated and lacks vision. Also, no retail sales tax. Yeah, it's nice but that means NO social or educational support. I totally love the climate in So. OR, but the culture could be more progressive and place a priority on education. Like I said, no "big picture" visiion.
I have lived in Bend since 1992.
It's ok, I don't plan on living here forever but my son's dad lives here, so for the next 9 years probably, LOL.
Anyway, some people love the 'community' and some don't think there's any community at all, so I think you just have to try it and see, because it depends a lot on what type of people you are and what activities you are into.
A LOT of things have gone out of business in the last 6 months. Tons of restaurants, tons of shopping, there are empty commercial buildings all over town. it is NOT the bustling resort town it was even 18 months ago. So if anyone hasn't been here in the last 6 months....it's not the same.
The school district in Bend just let go 40 teachers for the next contract period. Redmond has gone to a 4 day schoolweek for next year, due to budget cuts. Neither has guaranteed there won't be more teacher cuts. I know people who are certified teachers with experience who have lived here 3 years who can't even get in subbing, because there are so many teachers who had contracts that have been let go, and they are on the sub list first.
I absolutely WOULD NOT count on getting a teaching job here in the next 5 years. Obviously, who knows, but not only do we have the above situation, but our local college has a limited # of degree options and the most popular program is the Master of teaching, there are 3 diff. colleges that offer it here, so we have teachers coming out our ears and no jobs for them.
I would strongly suggest coming here for at least a week, hang out, see what you think. make sure you spend time on both the east and west side of town, they are very different.
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