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Thread summary:

Moving to Portland, Olympia: housing market, Ashland, golf communities, Vancouver.

Old 12-17-2007, 05:27 AM
12 posts, read 50,119 times
Reputation: 22


Last year I moved back to Ashland with my wife and newborn daughter. I had lived here 10 years earlier for a number of years and thought this would be a perfect place to raise my daughter.

Unfortunately, Ashland has changed a lot. On the surface - it is still a beautiful town and has a lot going for it. Once your here you notice that the community is missing something - basically people from the age of 25-40. Not to say that there is no one in that age group, but it is seriously thin and getting thinner all the time.

This is due partly to the housing market. Who can afford to live here? Some people suggest moving to Talent nearby, but then - if your not going to live in the small town you want, might as well move away. That is exactly what 2 out of 3 people in the 25-40 age group plan on doing that I meet. I would say a 1 out of 3 actually have plans to leave within the next 6 months.

Ashland is left with schools with declining populations - since I left and returned a number of elementary schools had to be closed - thus becoming less and less of a family town. It still has the college, but word is enrollment is dropping, but that makes sense as tuition has increased hugely and local rental markets are high too. That leaves the retirees, which Ashland now has plenty of!

On the business side of things, Ashland is lacking high-paying jobs and it seems that the town is not very encouraging/supportive of attracting business to the area. Mostly everything is centered around the Oregon Shakespeare Festival that brings in the tourists. A great source of revenue for the town - enough to pay for all the minimum wage jobs that make the town run for the tourists which are mostly student jobs. Also, because so many young-adults leave seeking their fortune, it is hard to find employees for my company (computer graphic design based).

My single friends tell me this: The girls say that all the guys are "peter-pan" type men (the few there are) and don't want to grow up. And the guys, well, they don't - heh. There seem to be more women from 25-40 than guys in Ashland, so the men play the field a little too much I think. But, again, more and more of the single people I meet are moving north to places like Portland.

That is my info on Ashland. In case your looking to move here yourself and ran across my post. I will always love Ashland - but I also need community - so I am looking to follow the masses somewhere where I can find other new families and friends in my age range (30).

My wife is interested in Portland, she is from San Francisco and we don't want to head down there. I am not that excited about the rain belt up there.

I was curious about Olympia, WA - only because I considered going to Evergreen and figured the town might be unique like the school.

I am curious about the other smaller towns in Oregon, but as a business owner that focuses on graphic design (my clients are nation-wide) I need to be able to find a town where I can hire designers which typically fall in the just out-of-college to mid-30s age range.

I guess I am lost. I had my blinders on when I came back to Ashland and now that my wife is unhappy here I am hoping to find another artistic town that is still alive and thriving - or have they all become retiree towns?
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:03 AM
Location: Central Oregon & Oregon coast
23 posts, read 88,929 times
Reputation: 25
Smile My suggestions...

I know what you mean about the changing....so many towns, not just in Oregon, are doing just that and the ones that aren't changing you wouldn't want to get stuck in anyway....But here's my thoughts on towns changing for the better...

Bend, in central Oregon is on a fast move. Trendy sections, fun little shopping districts, and business ventures have enough of a population base to actually make a go of it. Altho housing went up drastically because of its scenic and recreational aspects, there are still good homes and property to get into now in this buyers market. Schools are upbeat and there are still lots of kids all ages. Redmond to the north is only 18 miles away and is growing because of Bend and also LaPine, 26 miles south is starting to really take off (but LaPine is still a somewhat "frontier" town, no shopping malls or true downtown section, but the schools are good and its still a very small town feel.

I grew up in Portland, and my grown children and their families live in the Portland Vancouver area. They love it. Portland is a small town big city. Easy to get to know, everything you want to buy is there, plenty of jobs, just be selective on the schools. Private would be better in Portland I think, but someone else will have to tell you about that. The weather is no that bad.

I wouldn't move to Olympia if you paid me (well depends on how much!) (oh, and sorry Olympians, no offense). I travelled through from the Canadian border to central Oregon last summer and thought I was travelling mid morn a good time, but I never left bumper to bumper traffic until I was past Portland. No Thanks!

Well, this is long enough. Hoped that helped some.
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Old 12-17-2007, 08:05 PM
Location: Salem, OR
15,356 posts, read 39,564,712 times
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I currently live in Salem which is very family friendly. I also lived in the West Hills of Portland and I LOVED it there. I do miss being close to that environment. There is a great energy in Portland (like other large cities) that you don't get with a smaller town. In Salem, I like that I don't have to drive more than 20 minutes to get where I need to go. There is plenty of activities for young children as well.

I would think in order to hire some good people, you would need to look at Corvallis, Eugene, Salem or Portland area. That way you could pull from the universities as well as the general population.
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Old 12-21-2007, 08:05 AM
Location: Eastern Oregon
504 posts, read 2,146,110 times
Reputation: 259
Default hmmm

Hi there,

We moved away from Central Point a year and a half ago. We did for many of the reasons you listed... CP has plenty of kids though, but no support from all the retirees to build new schools. My kids were in classes with 30+ kids (my kindergartenter had 45 in his class!). Both of us had to work to afford our mortgage. I lived in the Rogue Valley for 16 years before moving, and saw a lot of change. When I first moved there in the early 90's, it was wonderful, but has slowly turned into something we weren't really crazy about.

Ashland I'm afraid is the worst, since it's so expensive. CP wasn't bad. You could move to Grants Pass, Roseburg, or further North to Portland. We still have relatives in Portland, and for a big city, it's really not bad. We'd never consider a big city, but if you can stomach it, it's nice. School funding in Oregon is a big pet peeve of mine. We have an aunt who left the school system early because of all of the funding cuts up in the Portland area.

I'm afraid as baby boomers get older, and have money to live anywhere they want, those of us in the "Gen-X" generation are being squeezed out of places we'd like to live, and getting little support from the older generation who no longer have kids to raise. We're also the ones who get less and less benefits as companies cut them for "new hires". OK... Off my vent. It's getting tough, expecially out West to afford a place as a family.

We moved to Michigan and like it here a lot, but miss the West. There are still a lot of families here with kids. Most retirees are moving South from here. The MidWest is a very family friendly place, with excellent schools and plenty of younger people. People here are VERY community oriented. More so than anywhere else I've lived. Elders (and others) volunteer at schools, and keep things like libraries and food banks open and full. It's different though.

Have you considered Boise? I hear it's a nice place. What about another college town out West? Missoula? Most of my friends from Medford moved East of the Cascades where it's cheaper. Klamath Falls, Chiloquin, Chemult...

Good luck.
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Old 12-21-2007, 10:26 AM
12 posts, read 50,119 times
Reputation: 22
Your point about the Baby Boomers - I often ask my parents why the hell they don't seem to care about our generation. Of course, they go on about how they love us kids, but their generation is definitely the generation of narcissism.

I think they had the first generation to have it "easy" in a way. Things were finally modern, the world got smaller, technology really sprung ahead, etc... and - well - they got caught up in the values of success over community. A generate before and you HAD to have support of your community to survive.

And now, the Gen-X and younger crowds are in a US that severely lacks community in so many ways, and with that a lot of caring for fellow people. It seems so many people don't even know their neighboors these days (or even care to). Heck, my neighbors sold their California house for 10x what they paid for it, took their couple million and bought a house in Ashland, one in So. Cal and another somewhere else. They are in Ashland a whole 2-3 months in the summer. Do they care a lick about Ashland as a community? Nope. They are exactly the type to vote down anything to do with property taxes that would support community as well.

I guess I feel the rant too. Most everyone I know under the age of retirement has the same rant.

What is up with the northwest too? I thought your supposed to retire in the south where it is warm and sunny all the time? Mexico seriously needs to tap that retiree money - and provide small towns with the relief they need from the constant retirees.

Or, another option is, if everyone under that age just leaves the town, then those retired will actually have to work at the stores they want to shop at. That would be justice.
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Old 12-21-2007, 01:16 PM
Location: Salem, OR
15,356 posts, read 39,564,712 times
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I don't really have that sense here in Salem. My son is in first grade in public school and his class is 23. His teacher is amazing with him (I volunteer once a week in his class).

I am a Gen-x'er and I think there was a shift with baby boomers to keep up with the Jonses, they carried into Gen-xer's. I know many Gen-X and Gen Y's now that consider their friends more family than family. I think if you are looking for a sense of community, then you need to find a specific neighborhood that embodies that.

I used to live in a Golf Course development here in Salem called Creekside. Very nice, and upscale and in the 4 years we lived there, I knew two people in the entire subdivision. I wanted a more community type neighborhood and moved into Sunnyridge, which is more middle class, mixed families and I know about 30 neighbors in the 5 years I have lived here. I live in a neighborhood that has block parties, people watch each others homes while on vacation, and generally watch out for each other. It's also a neighborhood with a ton of parental involvement in the school.

I think you need to decide what type of neighborhood you want for your family and then seek out those areas. They exist, you just need to know what type of pocket you are looking for.
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Old 12-21-2007, 04:06 PM
Location: Oregon
1,457 posts, read 5,937,638 times
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I lived in the west Portland suburbs, and plan to move back. Not that I don't like southern Oregon. But the westsite burbs are fine for me.

If I was younger with no family, I'd also consider Vancouver if I was starting business from scratch.

Vancouver is like a Washington owned north suburb of Portland.
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