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Old 06-21-2010, 01:03 PM
 
32 posts, read 125,807 times
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Hey all,

Just returned from an awesome trip to Oregon! I have narrowed my search for a new community to Eugene or the Portland suburb area. I have lots of questions so please respond if you can. Planning to move this fall. BTW it rained the entire time I was there and I still loved it!

Eugene was amazing but didn't see many people, maybe that was because it was raining? Do people tend to stay home during rain?
I am looking for housing in a safe area maybe just outside of town, close to an excellent middle and highschool. I would like to be in a newer community but a well kept older one would be ok too as long as it was safe. The thing that I noticed about Eugene was that a street could look safe and then a couple of streets over kind of shady. I heard southwest Eugene was best but I think I'm looking for something maybe 5 min out of Eugene. Any ideas? Springfield is out unless Thurston Hills really is as amazing as it appears. If we choose Thurston Hills, what are the middle and highschools like?

Also interested in LCC for one of my kiddos. Any thoughts on it?


Portland questions next!
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:21 PM
 
Location: Beaverton
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I grew up in Eugene. People will usually be out and about regardless of the weather most of the time depending on where you're looking (and what kind of rain - drizzle is generally ignored, rain is avoided).

The best high school is South Eugene (my old school) and the whole area around there is really nice. The best middle school is Spencer Butte (same neighborhood).

I know it sounds strange, but even having lived there my whole life there are still so many places where I never went and couldn't comment on.

But, if you'll indulge me for a moment and imagine that a map of Eugene/Springfield is on the face of a clock with Skinner butte smack dab in the middle:

11:00-1:00 -- there's an o.k. neighborhood feel out there, maybe a little bit "middle america" for me.

1:00-4:00 -- Springfield.... Um... do they still have those toaster oven street lights? I wouldn't walk around there at night (lived there briefly too) and when I was in high school even the street kids I hung around with were embarrassed to be from Springfield. I don't think it's changed much. Seems like more rednecks lived out that way. BUT: the Thurston area seems nice. When I was growing up, we never really considered it to be a part of Springfield. It was almost like it's own little spot beyond the muck. Seems kinda "bedroom community" to me. I had a friend who lived out that way for about a year - she hated it because she was "trapped" out there and there was nothing to do. People in the PNW like to be able to get around without cars more than in other places. So anyway, she couldn't afford to take the bus (we were all poor) and nobody had a car, so she'd end up sitting around at home with nothing to do most of the time.

4:00-7:00 -- this is the best part of Eugene, especially the further out you go... Although I lived right down town most of my life and it's perfectly safe too. It fades from a more busy downtown area to quaint neighborhoods with homes and small shops together, to nicer more established residential streets, to densely wooded hidden homes to countryside and ranches.

7:00-9:00 - patches of bland residences fading into ugly streets and run down businesses. Seems like the strip clubs were always out this way. I'd avoid it.

9:00-12:00 - I still consider this the "new" part of town. I lived in an apartment out here once; the apartment was newer built, clean and livable, but we still went into town to do anything. (by "into town" I mean into the 4 o'clock to 7 o'clock area.

As it happens, I attended LCC: I liked it a lot, but what do I have to compare it to? The campus was clean, the bus was convenient, the students were studying instead of goofing around, the teachers were friendly and the "vibe" was one of studious productivity and a relaxed atmosphere. It reminds me of "The Graduate" when Ben goes to visit Elaine in Berkeley, except with more trees.

re streets looking "shady" just a couple of blocks over: Eugene tends to not keep up with gardening and that type of curb appeal much of the time (including repairing sidewalks and such), so you'd have to define shady because there are very few shady areas in Eugene.

re living 5 minutes out of town: If you choose to go this way, then at least consider looking south and living in the country/woods. A huge part of Eugene's appeal is in it's accessibility - living there is better when you are within a 10 or 15 minute bike ride to wherever the action is. If you live outside of town there's a good chance that you'll spend most of your time at home and if that's the case there are plenty of american small towns or cities where that would be a lot more affordable.
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Old 06-22-2010, 12:44 AM
 
32 posts, read 125,807 times
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Thanks so much! I don't think we visited 4:00 - 7:00, glad to know it's there. Where are the college hills everyone talks about? Relief to hear there are no "shady areas". I think what I saw was just lack of care more than anything. There was a large group of interesting characters under a bridge when we first rolled into town. That made me nervous about choosing a downtown/U of O location. I'm such a nervous nellie due to the fact that I have teens. Great to hear about LCC, that sounds perfect. Thanks again!
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Old 06-22-2010, 01:39 PM
 
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I went to Lane after not doing so well at UO. It was a wonderful place to go where I was taught by teachers with PHDs (not grad students) in a small classroom setting. Many people teach at both schools. I think Lane is an excellent choice because they can share some UO resources and they care about your education for a fraction of the price. If I could do it over again I would have simply started at Lane. I feel a much more prepared to go back to a 4 year school now and I am moving to Portland to go to Portland State University this fall simply because I need a change from this small town even though there is plenty to do here.

Also, there are TONS of bums/homeless in Eugene but they are not nearly as frightening as the ones I have dealt with in Seattle (where I am from originally). There are a lot of wandering homeless that are pretty tame not just crazy crack heads like you'd find in a bigger city. I feel very safe in this city and I used to live right by the bus station downtown. Just remember there is a high theft rate so make sure to invest in a kryptonite bike lock.
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Old 06-22-2010, 05:21 PM
 
Location: Beaverton
640 posts, read 1,481,672 times
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Oh, speaking of bike locks: there's big business in bike parts and tires etc... so when you lock up your bike you need the snake-like type of lock so you can snake it through both of your wheels and the frame and lock it to something that's not easy to lift or move. If you get the "U" type of lock you'll come out of the cafe and find the front wheel of your bike safely locked up and the rest of your bike will be in the back of someone's pick-up truck.
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Old 06-28-2010, 12:17 AM
 
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If you are a more progressive/liberal/crunchy/nature-oriented/global-minded sort of family then I second the Spencer's Butte and South Eugene High School area, which would also put you closer to LCC as well. IHS/IB got its start at South Eugene.

If you are more of a mainstream sort of family (do you shop at the mall? drink Starbuck's? Drive an SUV, crossover, or minivan?) and have middle school and high school kids who are into sports, then the Cal Young Middle School and Sheldon High School area might suit you better. Sheldon is known for sports.

We're currently in the Cal Young/Sheldon area and we feel out of place. We've decided to move to the Spencer's Butte/South Eugene area as we think it will be a better fit for our family. We're glad that we've rented all this time so that we had lots of time to get to know the different areas of Eugene before we bought our home.

Sometimes areas look run-down on the outside because there's a lot of people who believe in "food not lawns" or they don't want to use chemicals on their yards or homes or waste energy and resources fixing up the outside of their homes. Or because whatever they do the deer and wild turkey come along and undo it so they feel like, "Why bother?" I've been to many of these homes where from the outside I was a bit put-off and honestly a few times a bit worried.... but once inside I was amazed... Oregon is one of those places where you often cannot judge the book by it's cover.

Of course - in West Eugene, it's a whole 'nother story... usually what you see is what you get out that way. Unfortunately. I don't recommend West Eugene and Bethel is not much better though it tries to tout itself as being much better. (It has a long way to go. That's why it's still so affordable. The elementary schools are improving there but the high school is not good at all. I don't know about the middle school.)

I've taken classes at LCC and loved it. Wonderful experience and I'm looking forward to taking more. I was always a horrible math student, but a really gifted teacher at LCC has turned all that around for me. Finally, in my mid-30's, math makes sense.
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Old 06-28-2010, 12:33 AM
 
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I forgot to add... you know Eugene people give Springfield such a hard time. There are really bad parts of Springfield that we do avoid. But there are also really nice parts of Springfield that people tend to forget about. With kids, you're probably better off in Eugene or in the Lorane/Crow/Applegate schools (more rural area south of Eugene) but if my husband and I didn't have kids to consider we wouldn't mind buying in one of the nicer areas of Springfield. There are some really sweet little areas and it's much more affordable and taxes are much lower and it's a lot less full of itself than Eugene tries to be sometimes. Eugene does suffer from a big ego from time to time, Springfield is more aware of itself and a lot more humble.
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Old 07-01-2010, 02:17 AM
 
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Thanks for your help! We are the crossover types for sure! Kids are into sports big time so the sheldon area schools would work for us. I am also interested in being a few min outside of Eugene. Do you know anything about Cottage Grove or Cresswell?
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Old 07-02-2010, 02:09 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Can't wait for Oregon! View Post
Thanks for your help! We are the crossover types for sure! Kids are into sports big time so the sheldon area schools would work for us. I am also interested in being a few min outside of Eugene. Do you know anything about Cottage Grove or Cresswell?
You would probably really like Coburg. Even though it's about 5 minutes north of Eugene... the middle school is Cal Young and the high school is Sheldon.

Creswell, in my opinion, feels kinda blue collar and parts are a bit ghetto. If you're snubbing Springfield you prolly won't like Creswell, either.

I don't know much about Cottage Grove. Hopefully someone else can answer for you... when we've been there, it's felt kind of run down and empty. I know there's a lot of Buddhist activity there and I've also read that there is a large population of homeless youth there. But that's not very helpful, is it.

Check out Coburg. It's a sweet town with some really nice parts. Talk to a realtor, they can show you where the best parts are...
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Old 07-10-2010, 03:07 PM
 
32 posts, read 125,807 times
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Does anyone have information on the Danbo/Royal Avenue area? Willamette high school, Cascade middle? Remember, looking for a safe area, good/excellent schools, crossover type family!
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