U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Washington > Vancouver area
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 09-05-2018, 10:28 PM
 
Location: Monterey County, CA
5,480 posts, read 12,306,057 times
Reputation: 5808

Advertisements

I wanted to share some info from a scouting mission for a potential move we just returned from. I also want to thank folks here on CD for the guidance and tips which have been very helpful.

We stayed in Washougal near the Waterfront Park. What a beautiful spot! As is almost always the case, things are a lot different when exploring in person as opposed to simply online. But online research does provide an initial data set to work from such as the areas with better school districts, etc...

First of all, the geography varies a lot more than we realized within a short distance up from the river. I think what surprised us the most was the variation in neighborhoods even several blocks away. There was a significant enough contrast that we literally would not want to live on one side of a particular street vs. another due to obvious negative factors. Its not like one side is ghetto or anything like that. But the entire neighborhood vibe and livability seems very different. One development can have tight streets with a bunch of cars and big trucks all lining the driveways and streets. Then locals are frantically racing around the narrow streets too fast with kids playing nearby. It makes one question the level of drug use, sheer lack of common sense or similar things of that nature.

By contrast, one can enter another nicer neighborhood within close proximity and its completely different. The streets are quiet, kids are playing 'safely' outside (or not), the streets are wider with few cars parked along them. Some even have speed bumps. The overall design of the neighborhood looks much better thought out and appealing. Kinda weird, almost like schizophrenic city planning or something else strange occurred. Here's an example from Fisher's Creek. That's our rental parked on the corner.





There were other streets where I'd be concerned with getting run over when stepping out of the car. I think its both a different demographic combined with really crappy city design and planning in those cases.

On a whim we ventured up to Camas High School at sunset and then wandered over to the Washougal 'heights' area off of Lookout Ridge. Wow, what a gorgeous spot!! Everything else pretty much paled in comparison after that. Well, actually there are other equally high end beautiful locations we saw in Camas with sweeping views as well. But my gosh, these areas are pricey with some mansions up there. Though honestly, compared to locations in CA they are a steal all things considered.





After exploring many locations with our criteria in mind (4+ br home for family of 5, proximity to amenities for teens such as Clark College, not 'too' old) we basically narrowed it down to parts of Camas, Fisher's Creek and Fisher's Landing. We also have relatives who live in Fishers Landing and Brush Prairie. They moved up there a couple of decades ago from CA and really like it. One family raised their kids in Brush Prairie, the daughters horseback ride and really enjoyed going to Hockinson High School. But we prefer being closer into town and suburbia where the others live.

We also drove up around up around Felida, Salmon Creek and Lake Shore which was generally nice. But we prefer eastern Vancouver/Camas if we can swing those nicer areas. Then there was the new construction. Honestly, most was pretty bad, ok, really bad. I don't know of a way to sugar coat it. The homes are mostly built right on top of each other with narrow streets and some even had alleys for parking access to the rear because they were so squeezed together. Who comes up with these designs? That's not saying there aren't some upscale areas with newish, nicer homes. But we do not want to live right on top of our neighbors. For us, the nicer, more mature neighborhoods (~10-30 y/o) with larger lots are best. They also seem to be the more expensive. So, we'll have to watch and see what becomes available in these more desirable areas.

Lots to think about, that's for sure. In the meantime, we did take some time to enjoy the great outdoors.





Derek

Last edited by MtnSurfer; 09-05-2018 at 11:08 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 09-06-2018, 05:20 AM
 
69 posts, read 36,327 times
Reputation: 41
Regarding this part of what you wrote, Derek:
"That's not saying there aren't some upscale areas with newish, nicer homes. But we do not want to live right on top of our neighbors. For us, the nicer, more mature neighborhoods (~10-30 y/o) with larger lots are best. They also seem to be the more expensive. So, we'll have to watch and see what becomes available in these more desirable areas."
You might take a look at The Highlands at Pleasant Valley in the Barberton/Mt. Vista area right next to WSU-Vancouver. I felt the same way when I toured around out there but really liked this older subdivision a lot.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-06-2018, 09:57 AM
 
Location: WA
2,835 posts, read 3,943,513 times
Reputation: 3431
Washougal and Camas are both older blue collar towns that have slowly evolved into upscale Portland suburbs. The I-205 bridge to Portland was not completed until 1982. I'm not sure when Highway 14 was expanded into a freeway. But at one time both Camas and Washougal were fairly remote logging and mill towns that weren't really connected to the Portland metro area at all. At one time you would have had to drive 15 miles on the 2-lane evergreen highway all the way from Camas to the I-5 bridge just to get to Portland.

What that means is that the older parts of both towns were built basically has housing for unionized blue collar mill workers so lots of modest 3br/1ba cape cod and bungalow style houses on older narrow streets oriented towards the mills and downwtown. Thousands of unionized blue collar workers used to work in the local mills. Since the 1980s after the I-205 bridge was built both areas, but especially Camas have exploded into suburbs of Portland that are oriented towards commuting and the number of local mill workers has dwindled to a few hundred, most of whom probably don't even live in the area anymore. So there are subdivisions scattered all over that are marketed towards Portland commuters rather than connection to downtown Camas or Washougal. A lot of them were built on land that was actually outside of Camas and Washougal at one time but has since been annexed.

I think that accounts for the schizophrenic feel you got. The area developed at two different times under two completely different sets of economic influences and pressures.

The difference between Camas/Washougal and Felida/Salmon Creek is that the Camas and Washougal were once independent small towns with historic downtowns and such so they have a greater sense of place and community and still maintain their own independent school districts. Felida and Salmon Creek are really just part of the northward sprawl of Vancouver and don't have their own historic downtown areas or much of anything other than a collection of older and newer subdivisions and the big box retail around the I-5 and I-205 interchange. They are also just part of the greater Vancouver School District so don't even have the local schools to provide a sense of local community. The sense I get driving around Felida and Salmon Creek is that you bounce around from newer upscale subdivisions to older more modest subdivisions at random with no real logic as to why neighborhoods are as they are. I think there are less geographic features to define neighborhoods compared to Camas (less shorelines and hills with expansive views) so the development has just been more random as sprawl has crept northwards. Not saying there aren't lots of nice areas in Felida and Salmon Creek. Clearly there are. It just doesn't seem to have the same sense of "place" as Camas though. And the shopping and restaurant options in Camas and East Vancouver along 164th and 192nd are superior to what you have in Salmon Creek and especially Felida.

One thing I have noticed. Subdivisions built before the 2008-2012 crash seem to have more expansive lots than those built since. There really wasn't much construction at all between 2008 and 2012 so that is a clear dividing line. All the stuff like the big developments going on around Woodburn Elementary on the east side of Camas are all postage stamp size lots with barely any yard or trees unless it the development is a really upscale one like the Pahlisch Homes subdivisions on top of Prune Hill and along the lake. And even those high-end subdivisions tend to have smaller lots than what was built pre-2008.

Last edited by texasdiver; 09-06-2018 at 10:05 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-06-2018, 10:25 AM
 
Location: Monterey County, CA
5,480 posts, read 12,306,057 times
Reputation: 5808
Quote:
Originally Posted by Farmer15 View Post
Regarding this part of what you wrote, Derek:
"That's not saying there aren't some upscale areas with newish, nicer homes. But we do not want to live right on top of our neighbors. For us, the nicer, more mature neighborhoods (~10-30 y/o) with larger lots are best. They also seem to be the more expensive. So, we'll have to watch and see what becomes available in these more desirable areas."
You might take a look at The Highlands at Pleasant Valley in the Barberton/Mt. Vista area right next to WSU-Vancouver. I felt the same way when I toured around out there but really liked this older subdivision a lot.
Hey Farmer15,

Thanks for the tips on the WSU-V area. Its kinda funny that you mentioned it because we actually visited WSU-V among other colleges with our son while up there. What a beautiful campus and location!





We looked around and said 'I bet there are some nice homes around here.' Upon leaving the campus I tried to find an entrance to one of the neighborhoods but could not. So we drove a bit further west toward Salmon Creek and Felida near the lake.

Derek
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-06-2018, 01:50 PM
 
Location: Monterey County, CA
5,480 posts, read 12,306,057 times
Reputation: 5808
Quote:
Originally Posted by texasdiver View Post
Washougal and Camas are both older blue collar towns that have slowly evolved into upscale Portland suburbs. The I-205 bridge to Portland was not completed until 1982. I'm not sure when Highway 14 was expanded into a freeway. But at one time both Camas and Washougal were fairly remote logging and mill towns that weren't really connected to the Portland metro area at all. At one time you would have had to drive 15 miles on the 2-lane evergreen highway all the way from Camas to the I-5 bridge just to get to Portland.

What that means is that the older parts of both towns were built basically has housing for unionized blue collar mill workers so lots of modest 3br/1ba cape cod and bungalow style houses on older narrow streets oriented towards the mills and downwtown. Thousands of unionized blue collar workers used to work in the local mills. Since the 1980s after the I-205 bridge was built both areas, but especially Camas have exploded into suburbs of Portland that are oriented towards commuting and the number of local mill workers has dwindled to a few hundred, most of whom probably don't even live in the area anymore. So there are subdivisions scattered all over that are marketed towards Portland commuters rather than connection to downtown Camas or Washougal. A lot of them were built on land that was actually outside of Camas and Washougal at one time but has since been annexed.

I think that accounts for the schizophrenic feel you got. The area developed at two different times under two completely different sets of economic influences and pressures.

The difference between Camas/Washougal and Felida/Salmon Creek is that the Camas and Washougal were once independent small towns with historic downtowns and such so they have a greater sense of place and community and still maintain their own independent school districts. Felida and Salmon Creek are really just part of the northward sprawl of Vancouver and don't have their own historic downtown areas or much of anything other than a collection of older and newer subdivisions and the big box retail around the I-5 and I-205 interchange. They are also just part of the greater Vancouver School District so don't even have the local schools to provide a sense of local community. The sense I get driving around Felida and Salmon Creek is that you bounce around from newer upscale subdivisions to older more modest subdivisions at random with no real logic as to why neighborhoods are as they are. I think there are less geographic features to define neighborhoods compared to Camas (less shorelines and hills with expansive views) so the development has just been more random as sprawl has crept northwards. Not saying there aren't lots of nice areas in Felida and Salmon Creek. Clearly there are. It just doesn't seem to have the same sense of "place" as Camas though. And the shopping and restaurant options in Camas and East Vancouver along 164th and 192nd are superior to what you have in Salmon Creek and especially Felida.

One thing I have noticed. Subdivisions built before the 2008-2012 crash seem to have more expansive lots than those built since. There really wasn't much construction at all between 2008 and 2012 so that is a clear dividing line. All the stuff like the big developments going on around Woodburn Elementary on the east side of Camas are all postage stamp size lots with barely any yard or trees unless it the development is a really upscale one like the Pahlisch Homes subdivisions on top of Prune Hill and along the lake. And even those high-end subdivisions tend to have smaller lots than what was built pre-2008.
Thanks for the insights, TexasDiver. That history helps explain the differences in subdivivions even when they are close together. We also met a resident in the Fisher's Creek development who works in Real Estate. He said the city is forcing some developers to build on the smaller lots due to UGA requirements. Maybe they are required to provide for more homes in a smaller space going forward. I'm sure the laws have changed over the past few decades regarding zoning, lot sizes, etc...

Derek
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-07-2018, 12:23 PM
 
Location: WA
2,835 posts, read 3,943,513 times
Reputation: 3431
Quote:
Originally Posted by MtnSurfer View Post
Thanks for the insights, TexasDiver. That history helps explain the differences in subdivivions even when they are close together. We also met a resident in the Fisher's Creek development who works in Real Estate. He said the city is forcing some developers to build on the smaller lots due to UGA requirements. Maybe they are required to provide for more homes in a smaller space going forward. I'm sure the laws have changed over the past few decades regarding zoning, lot sizes, etc...

Derek
It's probably a combination of factors. I know some towns like Ridgefield have increased the green space and trail requirements in new subdivisions (increased the percentage of the subdivision acreage that must remain green space) which has resulted in smaller lots if they want to build the same number of houses per acre. I don't actually know if anything has changed recently in Camas or Vancouver but it wouldn't surprise me. The upscale subivisions that sell at higher price points like the Pahlisch subdivsion on the top of Prune Hill called Belz Place? still has larger lots than the cheaper subdivisions down along Crown Road so who knows if it is actual zoning requirements or economic decisions by the builders as to what kind of development to make.

However there is absolutely no doubt that the existence of the UGA has raised land prices within the UGA so builders may simply be forced to build on smaller lots to maximize their profits.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-07-2018, 01:20 PM
 
Location: Monterey County, CA
5,480 posts, read 12,306,057 times
Reputation: 5808
Quote:
Originally Posted by texasdiver View Post
It's probably a combination of factors. I know some towns like Ridgefield have increased the green space and trail requirements in new subdivisions (increased the percentage of the subdivision acreage that must remain green space) which has resulted in smaller lots if they want to build the same number of houses per acre. I don't actually know if anything has changed recently in Camas or Vancouver but it wouldn't surprise me. The upscale subivisions that sell at higher price points like the Pahlisch subdivsion on the top of Prune Hill called Belz Place? still has larger lots than the cheaper subdivisions down along Crown Road so who knows if it is actual zoning requirements or economic decisions by the builders as to what kind of development to make.

However there is absolutely no doubt that the existence of the UGA has raised land prices within the UGA so builders may simply be forced to build on smaller lots to maximize their profits.
Yes, I thought of profitability first when seeing all of those smaller lot new homes. Of course economics play a role and let's face it, its a business for developers. They can probably get more more $$ from smaller lot houses than even the more higher end homes within the same acerage. Though in those cases it seems they try to go really Big and fancy to maximum returns. Whereas in the majority of other cases they seem to go in the opposite direction with almost all the homes looking identical to keep it as affordable as possible like an assembly line of widgets.

It would be nice if there were more 'middle ground' neighborhoods like the subdivisions you mentioned built before the 2008-2012 crash. We don't need a mansion nor do we necessary want a tiny lot clone.

Derek

Last edited by MtnSurfer; 09-07-2018 at 01:32 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-07-2018, 02:33 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
77,936 posts, read 69,884,727 times
Reputation: 75704
Neighborhoods where the houses are "right on top of each other", with alleys in back, for parking, are usually "affordable housing" developments; they're for lower-income people. I live in one right now, in NM; there are no yards to speak of, just a narrow strip between the houses, with some privacy, but there's often a big park in the center of the development for kids to play, or some open space, for residents to enjoy. They're not middle-class housing. The houses have no crawl space; only a cement floor with tile, or carpet, on top. IDK about Camas, etc., but in Santa Fe, the neighbors in those developments are all pretty good people, and in some of the developments, they look out for each other; they have an informal neighborhood-watch thing going on.

Anyway, keep us posted on your move. I hope things work out for you and your oldest college-bound student.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-07-2018, 06:27 PM
 
Location: Monterey County, CA
5,480 posts, read 12,306,057 times
Reputation: 5808
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Neighborhoods where the houses are "right on top of each other", with alleys in back, for parking, are usually "affordable housing" developments; they're for lower-income people. I live in one right now, in NM; there are no yards to speak of, just a narrow strip between the houses, with some privacy, but there's often a big park in the center of the development for kids to play, or some open space, for residents to enjoy. They're not middle-class housing. The houses have no crawl space; only a cement floor with tile, or carpet, on top. IDK about Camas, etc., but in Santa Fe, the neighbors in those developments are all pretty good people, and in some of the developments, they look out for each other; they have an informal neighborhood-watch thing going on.

Anyway, keep us posted on your move. I hope things work out for you and your oldest college-bound student.
Hi Ruth, yeah, I realize there needs to be more affordable housing options especially as prices rise in and around Vancouver/Camas. I just wish there weren't such stark extremes with the newer construction. Based upon what some others have said certain builders like Manor Homes allow for a bit more flexibility. We're not looking for million dollar luxury homes, that's for sure. I guess we're just looking for a bit more land with room to breath.

Where we live now in Monterey the million+ $ homes are on small lots especially close to the beach where real estate is prime. However, while living in CO we did have a larger lot with more space which we enjoyed. For us, a suburban lot somewhere between 5.5-7K+ SF would be ideal.

Derek
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-10-2018, 04:14 PM
 
59 posts, read 18,696 times
Reputation: 27
We've been looking for two years and the subdivision we liked the best was Belz Place. While it didn't quite fit our criteria of wanting a .5 acre+ lot, it offers almost everything else we could want including a completely unheard of amenity in Camas: a community clubhouse with pool. I was generally very impressed with the quality of the Pahlisch product and the lots there are larger than most developments in Camas.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Options
X
Data:
Loading data...
Based on 2000-2016 data
Loading data...

123
Hide US histogram


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Washington > Vancouver area
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top