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I take offense at the elitist attitude that someone who is proud to be an American or <GASP> voted Republican is lumped together with a lack of sophistication, education and world perspective (no, I'm not a Republican). I know some pretty stupid, non-intellectual, bigoted Kerry voters.
But enough of that....As for your question, Educator, I can onl speak to my experiences. I have many friends in Southern California still. Virtually all of them have been there for years so they were able to get into a house with a two person income when it was possible to do so. Of course, at the times they did so a home there was a quarter million dollars--a fortune at the time but common today.
Today many people took out questionable loans and too, you have to remember that there's a lot of international money coming into California because it always has been and always will be presented as Lotusland. The song of the Lorelei sings loudly and clearly from Hollywood. People who want the California mystique will see it when they arrive. I did. But it soured after a few years. I thank God I saw the light.
When I talk to my friends, I always ask, "How can you take it?" Many of them are vested; they can't up and leave their jobs as they approach fifty. They have family; they are entrenched. Too, if someone has been raised or lived there for years, the deterioration of quality of life comes at you slowly like the drip, drip, drip of Chinese water torture.
I fully believe (and fear) that as 78 million baby boomers retire, places like Oregon will be magnets. How many of these millions of elderly are going to want to put up with the crime, filth and congestion? I don't. Hell, I might even leave Salem. In twenty years it's going to be worse here although still not as bad as California.
And your comments are right. Some people are enamored with the image of California--"I can snowboard and surf the same day"! Big whoop. Like you said, who does it? Nevertheless, there's a snobbery that comes with being able to SAY that. Especially to friends digging out of 8' of snow in Chicago. Or friends living in no-man's-land in North Dakota. I know I did it when I spoke to my friends in January and they were drenched while I was lying in the sun in my Speedos (there's a visual for ya!)...when I was young and lean enough to wear Speedos!! LOL
Now you can add me to the list! I just moved from California to Oregon! Already I can feel the peace, it is just so relaxing being here! I had no idea how tired I was in the "hamster wheel" or "rat race"!
Hollywood and "the other Hollywood" (Adult Entertainment Industry or PORN) doesn't have such a large grip on the culture of Oregon (or even the rest of the U.S.) like it does in So Cal. Here it seems like those industries have such a strong grip on the culture, especially with the youth, that people can't even recognize it! Almost like they have blinders on their eyes. The Red Hot Chili Peppers even wrote a song about this called "Californication".
During the heyday of The Oregon Story, one popular bumper sticker was, "Don't Californicate Oregon." I'm sure we never expected the rise of MTV and commercial pornography for children being peddled on cable channels. It's hard to imagine what people are thinking, subjecting their children to such sexually loaded material.
I think urban areas in Oregon are slowly sliding into the California morass, but small towns and rural areas still offer real experiences for growing children. Before you develop a street culture, you have to have streets.
I grew up in the San Diego area and came up here for college about 4 years ago. There was definitely some culture shock involved. My first impressions were that nothing was here and that everyone looked like they got plucked out of the early 1990s regardless of how urban or rural the area was. A few colloquialisms too; I wasn't used to "buddy" being used in a nice way, or freeways not being referred to as "the (number)." As others have said, there's a slower pace of life, generally friendlier people (your waitress might actually talk to you instead of give you a dirty look with your bill), and the environment is far cleaner and cared for. I discovered stereotypical white trash and hippies are both real (I literally wasn't aware either truly existed before moving here). People are more aware of sprawl's bad effects, which is very refreshing. The job market's not as strong, but the cost of living is still much lower than in California.
Speed signs are also only suggestions of a sort - but instead of say, 80 in a 65 zone, you'll do 50-55 in a 65 zone here. 40 means 30, and in more than one case I learned 45 actually means 25. And everyone will stop - yes, literally stop and gawk - for an accident even if it's on the other side of the freeway. Not noticing when a light turns green also seems more prevalent here. I've gotten used to everything else, but Oregonian driving habits are still extremely frustrating at times.
All in all, I think I'm better off in Oregon. "Bad" areas are relatively safe, and I've discovered the TREE. I also found out firsthand that deer signs actually mean something here...
I don't have a solid answer for you. I have never lived in Oregon but, have friends and relatives all over the state. I grew up in Riverside, CA., lived in San Diego for 17 years until moving to Reno, NV. in 1997. I know exactly what you mean with all your reasons for leaving So. Calif. as those were all the same reasons we left in '97! Life has been good to us in Reno but it too is growing so fast that the developers have covered many of the canyons with high-density housing and the traffic gets worse every few months.
My wife and I have decided to leave here and move to southwestern Oregon since we visit her aunt in Medford several times a year. Every time we go there, my wife's respiratory problems, allergy symptoms and headaches disappear and she feels good. We live right at 5,000' altitude, in the middle of a 'sea of sagebrush' (she is severely allergic to sage) and the humidity stays around 15% most of the year. All three of those contribute to her health problems and all of those are eliminated by going to southeastern Oregon.
The big problem is finding work in my trade at a wage that I can afford to live on. With 32 years in my electrical wholesale trade and owning my own business for 8 years, I have plenty of experience and expertise to offer. It's too bad that most businesses are only interested in hiring for entry level pay and I can't afford to live on that.
Anyway, sorry to get carried away and stray from the subject. Several years ago, a former schoolmate and I talked about Californians coming to Oregon and it was difficult for many of them since Oregonians painted all Californians with a broad brush and were very prejudiced. They didn't want their 'excesses', cars, noise and most of all, pollution! Most business owners would simply not hire you for a job if they knew you had just moved to Oregon from California as they felt it was their duty to 'protect' their precious state from the "Californicators".... I don't know how much that has changed but, I am sure it still exists in many areas. It's the large companies that don't seem to mind, the smaller ones have the attitudes.... I can't even go to Riverside to visit any more because the smog is so bad my wife can hardly breathe and I have a pounding headache after about half a day....
It's too bad that so much of So. California is hung up on having all the "stuff" they can pack into a garage or storage unit. What a sorry way to build up one's self image! Then, it's only a matter of time until the illegal immigrants from Mexico and Central America outnumber everyone else and they finish taking back the areas they claim were "stolen" from them years ago by the Americal pioneers....
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