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Old 11-09-2012, 09:50 PM
 
11 posts, read 76,690 times
Reputation: 22

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Hello,

I am in the process of narrowing down a list of potential places to consider relocating to. I have lived in quite a few places with my last job, mostly in the central US, but also in the Mountain West.

Over the years, I have also done some traveling, and met lots of people. Oddly, I have met and become good friends with four different families from the Portland area. On the flip side, I have sometimes struggles to make friends in the areas I have lived in the central US. My friends in Portland have often suggested I look into Oregon, but I have read a lot of threads and have some concerns.

My situation and lifestyle is somewhat unique.

Here the scoop:

I am a 32 year-old single male. I was born with an untreatable eye disease, but it is stable. I do not drive, so I walk a lot and use public transit. I do not need a great bus system, as I am used to living in places that only had buses til 6 or 7 at night. But I do need at least something. I often walk 2-3 miles each way on any given day.

I receive a disability check, and also work part time. Most of my work experience is in retail and hospitality. I choose to live a VERY simple lifestyle, one that most could not handle. But it also means I can survive on a lot less than most people. Politically, I definitely lean democrat. I do not agree with everything, but certain things like the environment, public transit, building the economy from the middle class out, and humanitarian rights are all priorities of mine. This may be why I have hit it off with people from Portland.

If I were to move to Oregon, I would not live in Portland. It is simply too big and spread out for my taste. I have been checking out several smaller cities in Oregon (Eugene, Springfield, Albany, Roseburg, Salem) I have been surprised to find that a simple one bedroom apartment can be found for roughly what I pay now for $500-600. I have seen numerous places in that range. So I am confident that I can find an affordable place.

Here are my concerns:

Jobs: I currently work for a national chain that is also there in Oregon, but it is no guarantee they would take me as a transfer or if I even want to stay with the company. Anyway, it is no secret that Oregon's unemployment is still high. It is hard for me to judge a place by unemplyment rate though, because many of those unemployed want full time work, and would rather collect unemployment than work part time. But I would need to only find part time work, basically your school age type job, like at a grocery or department store, or a hotel. So I guess I need to know how hard might it be to find something part time. I would still have my diability check, but would need to find something part time eventually.

Crime: From what I have read, violent crime is fairly low, but the two things I keep reading about are theft and meth use. I am used to living in high meth use areas, and basically I've learned if you avoid those people, it won't really affect you. As for thefts, I have read about a lot of car thefts in Oregon. Obviously, I don't have a car. But I will be walking a lot. Should I be concerned about my safety walking in any of the cities mentioned? Also, are there a lot of home break-ins?

Of all the cities mentioned, the city that looks best might be Albany. It is smaller, only 50,000, but has easy access to Portland via bus, train, and HUT shuttle. It has a decent size mall and other retail, and a simple bus system that covers the city well. It also has lots of sidewalks and I have found apartments in my range, some even on a month to month lease which is rare. But the unemplyment rate is just under 10%, so I again have concerns.

I'm just looking for any thoughts and/or suggestions to figure out if Oregon is even a possibility.

Thanks for your time.
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:58 PM
 
Location: Dallas, Oregon & Sunsites Arizona
8,000 posts, read 16,059,785 times
Reputation: 2814
You might as well give it a try. Oregon is full of people who have the same issues and needs. Many of the residents could have made this very post as a matter of fact. You have a more realistic expectation than most of the "I want to move to Oregon" Dreamers.
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Old 11-10-2012, 03:45 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,697 posts, read 26,305,541 times
Reputation: 35749
I have a friend who lives in Albany and teaches at OSU in Corvallis. She has lived in Albany for many years. I asked her about living in Albany and she gave me the following information.


Albany is actually pretty difficult to get around if you don't drive. Unemployment here is higher than in much of the state (a lot higher than in Portland for example) and the county is solidly Republican. Rents are rising, due to the overflow from Corvallis/Benton county, which has very high housing costs. I'm not certain what rental rates are, since I've owned this house for the past 15 years or so.

For getting around, and for a political climate more to his taste, Corvallis would be a better bet. The drawback being that the housing costs are high (among the highest in the state). There has been a housing shortage lately but they've been building a lot of new student housing so that may ease somewhat. Employment still isn't very positive, but probably a bit better than in Albany/Linn County (there's the university and HP). Bus service while not terrific is a whole lot better than Albany.

Me again. You mentioned that you get along well with people from Portland. You would probably get along well with people from Eugene and Corvallis. But people from Springfield, Albany, Roseburg, Salem maybe not so much. My friend is liberal and while she gets along with her neighbors, she does not claim friends in Albany. These towns tend to be more on the conservative side. Much of Oregon I believe is. That's fine if you don't mind the culture but you seem to lean more toward the left so that may be a problem for you.

Also, with the job situation being what it is, if at all possible, I would try very hard to get that transfer.
You mention that people would rather be on unemployment than take a part time job. That may be true where you live now but I don't believe it is here. People often simply cannot get the high school part time jobs you describe. They are very difficult to come by. When one becomes available it is snatched up immediately by one of the many who are waiting for openings. I think most have been unemployed for so long they would much prefer to have the job to unemployment benefit, part time or otherwise.

Anyway, if you want to give it a try, good luck to you. Hopefully, things will work out.
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Old 11-10-2012, 04:55 PM
 
Location: North Idaho
28,320 posts, read 38,880,525 times
Reputation: 62439
There is a public transportation system in Albany?

Oregon is actually rather conservative. We just get outvoted by Portland on every issue, so that we look like a Blue state on the maps.

Portland is liberal, and Eugene is rather liberal and Ashland (which is basically part of California) is liberal. The rest of us are Republicans.

From what you are describing, Portland is the place you want. To me, it doesn't feel like the size of city that it is. It has a medium size town feel to it and they get all the public transportation money, so they have the best public transportation.
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Old 11-10-2012, 05:35 PM
 
Location: The beautiful Rogue Valley, Oregon
7,785 posts, read 17,336,416 times
Reputation: 10701
Quote:
Originally Posted by oregonwoodsmoke View Post
The rest of us are Republicans.
This should probably be a separate thread, but let us take a look at this. Using Politico's numbers
Oregon Election Results 2012 - Map, County Results, Live Updates - POLITICO.com

Oregon (all)
Obama: 915,703 - 54.5%
Romney: 718,254 - 42.7%

Remove votes for Multnomah, Clackamas, Washington, Marion, Lane Counties (respectively), which is pretty much the Portland metro area, Salem, Eugene - Oregon's biggest cities.

Obama: (216,222) (94,013) (124,431) (53944) (92,980) 581,590 votes removed
Romney: (71947) (87331) (86551) (58032) (57258) 308,889 votes removed


Obama 915703-581590 = 334113 46% (was 54.5%)
Romney 718,254-308889 = 409365 54% (was 42.7%)

so while it reverses the results, it's still very close - indicating the "rest of us" who vote are NOT all Republicans, it's almost even split.
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Old 11-10-2012, 08:36 PM
 
11 posts, read 76,690 times
Reputation: 22
Thanks for all the helpful thoughts.

Please don't read too much into just the political side of things, because although I do have democratic views on certain things, I live a very conservative life. For example, I have one chiar, one lamp, no TV, sleep on an air mattress, and have very few high tech gadgets, although I do have my computer. The exact political views I have no longer fit any single party as they both become more and more extreme.

I have lived in states like Texas, Missouri, and Kentucky. They are in-your-face religious states and all about the military.

I also used to live in Colorado. The political landscape in Colorado reminds me a lot of Oregon. They have liberal cities on the front range, and conservative areas elsewhere. I lived in a conservative area, but made more friends than anywhere else I lived. It just seemed like a more open, moderate conservative attitude.

Like some have said, Corvallis would maybe be a good fit, but the cost and availability of apartments makes it an unlikely possibility. Right now, I am finding plenty of rentals in my price range in Albany and the other cities mentioned.

I am planning to visit next month, just to check some places out. I won't be commiting to anything. I honestly can't really go by someone else's assessment as to whether a place is "easy to get around", because what I am used to may not be what someone else is. People's mouths drop when I tell them where I walk in regards to where I live and work right now. They think it is crazy, although it is only a 30 minute walk which is nothing for me. So my trip will allow me to judge if I think I can handle things.

Any thoughts on the safety aspect?
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:36 AM
 
920 posts, read 1,683,116 times
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You'll be safe in Eugene. While dope is a huge issue, unless you're a tweeker and in that life, you'll be fine. I often walk the five miles from my house to U of O to work out or use the libraries, which are pretty good, and I'll do it late at night. Never had a problem, ever, even when I walk through the Whitaker District, which is supposed to be crime infested. People who say that haven't lived in NYC, South Central L.A. or Hunters Point San Francisco.

Public transportation is okay, the problem being that the city is getting poorer and more people need to use public transport, so the bus system isn't very good if you need to go anywhere other than the core. (Downtown, Valley River Center, U of O, or on to Springfield) Service to the southern Eugene is spotty. And it aint cheap, prices keep going up. But if you walk as you say you do, then this is great city for that. Time the bus service, walk a mile or two, and you should have access to anywhere you want to go.
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Old 11-11-2012, 02:39 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,697 posts, read 26,305,541 times
Reputation: 35749
I think you will find that your walking habits are very common anywhere you go in Oregon. It's a walking state. People here hike and walk everywhere in all kinds of weather. You will be in good company. Public transportation is not all that great anywhere you go. Even in Portland there have been big cut backs in TriMet and fares are increasing by the minute.

Not everyone can ride bikes. Or can afford them. So the best way to get around for a lot of folks especially in the various towns, is good old fashioned feet. And you will find plenty of good walking shoes to buy. No one will think a 30 minute walk is crazy, in fact they will probably ask you "Why only 30 minutes?"

Your description of your possessions is also about right for the typical Oregonian transplant and even many who have been living here for awhile. Don't be too concerned about it. You sound as though you will fit right in just about wherever you go.

Regarding politics, yes, some towns are more conservative than others. You mentioned you get along well with Portland people and I think that some of the posters here, myself included, were just trying to point out to you that many towns did not contain people similar to Portland people but that does not mean anyone didn't think you couldn't get along with them. Most people don't go around discussing issues and politics. In the smaller towns, they like to pretty much keep themselves to themselves as a rule. Not so much unfriendly, just kind of guarded especially when it comes to newcomers.

But as you mentioned, you are coming to take a look for yourself. That in my opinion is the only way to really get to know a place. You can get other people's opinions 'til the cows come home but the best way to find out about a place is first hand. Stay as long as you can and actually talk to people there. No better way to get a feel for a place.
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Old 11-11-2012, 06:33 PM
 
Location: Myrtle Creek, Oregon
15,293 posts, read 15,719,671 times
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If you walk at night, please wear white or reflective clothing. People get hit by cars all the time here. The rain and early dark hours in the winter make it very hard to see pedestrians. Be safe.
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Old 11-11-2012, 06:45 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,697 posts, read 26,305,541 times
Reputation: 35749
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Caldwell View Post
If you walk at night, please wear white or reflective clothing. People get hit by cars all the time here. The rain and early dark hours in the winter make it very hard to see pedestrians. Be safe.
Good suggestion. I used to have a have a little red light that flashes much like bike riders wear on their helmets or attach to their handlebars. I wore it on a hat. Too many drivers liked to run the red light on 27th and Hawthorne where the lighting wasn't so great.
A few years ago, Tri Met bus drivers were handing these out for free. I wore it in the dark as soon as I got off the bus as I walked home. It no longer works so I am going to head out to Fred's or a bike store and see if I can find another one.
Now with the big Safeway on that corner, it's pretty well lit and I don't have to cross that street everyday but I do find myself out after dark sometimes so why take chances?
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