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Old 12-18-2006, 04:23 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
22 posts, read 190,162 times
Reputation: 20

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I'm looking for a small-to-medium-sized 'walking city' in Oregon that allows one to safely stroll around town during the day and evening, enjoying sidewalk cafes, good restaurants and culture, and blocks of solid Mom & Pop stores. I currently live in Denver, which is a great place to live and work, but I'm wanting to spend less time driving all over town for the things I need and live in a smaller community where everything is accessible on foot or bicycle, with a lively, hip downtown, and the diversity and amenities of a city. Can anyone provide some info on life in Corvallis, Eugene, and Ashland?
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Old 12-18-2006, 08:39 PM
 
Location: Oregon Coast
1,845 posts, read 6,833,003 times
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Ashland is the smallest and the most expensive. Ashland is easy to walk around. You can look at the pictures that Clear2land posted of Ashland and Corvallis to get an idea what those towns look like.
Eugene is quite a bit larger and Springfield adjoins it. You can walk in Eugene but some of the shopping areas are spread out like in most large cities.
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Old 12-18-2006, 10:27 PM
 
Location: Escondido, CA
331 posts, read 1,845,241 times
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I agree with Waterlily that Ashland is what you are looking for but you don't have to live in downtown Ashland to enjoy it's shops and the like. We found some small homes on the North side that were less expensive and within walking distance of town. You could ride bicycle around as well. Prices for homes start climbing up as you go up the mountainsides that surround Ashland. A bit further up the road are the cities of Talent and Phoenix. Give that whole area a look before scratching Ashland off your list.


Dan
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Old 12-18-2006, 11:45 PM
 
Location: where you sip the tea of the breasts of the spinsters of Utica
8,298 posts, read 14,106,966 times
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Ashland is beautiful but hard to find housing unless you're willing to fork over some serious cash.

Eugene might still be a drug hotspot, but from what I remember the surrounding natural beauty is exceptional.

Corvallis I don't know about, except I've heard it's rainy and also a sort of mecca for people who are into ecology/environment.
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Old 12-19-2006, 05:23 PM
 
Location: Albany, OR
540 posts, read 2,166,607 times
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Corvallis is a fairly typical college town. Historic buildings, plenty of cultural opportunities on campus, downtown offers many "boutique" type stores. As a city, Corvallis has been very "non-growth" oriented and you have to travel to Albany, Salem, Lebanon, and other areas for big name shopping (like Lowes, Home Depot, Costco, etc...).
Corvallis has a reputation for being fairly liberal in their views, due in large part to the population of academics there, but the reputation is significantly less liberal than that of Eugene.
Crime is not a huge problem, typical to what you see in most college towns, although Corvallis did make the national news last year with the Brooke Willburger abduction. Still and all, not a dangerous place to walk at night, especially along the river.
Great location with regard to recreational activities; located midway between the mountains and the coast. Weather in the mid-Valley is pretty temperate. Not much snow, winters (Nov-April/May) can be pretty wet and gray but the summer months are unbeatable.
Bike paths are everywhere! You could do fine in Corvallis with a bike or on foot for day to day life.
Housing prices...very expensive for the region. We are seeing values in excess of $165-170 per square foot pretty regularly with appreciation continuing in the near future. You can mitigate this somewhat by moving toward Albany (better access to I-5 but still a nice small town), or to the west toward Philomath and Alsea...but housing prices are continuing to rise (hey, supply and demand rules, right?)
I worked at OSU for 4 years and loved it. Go Beavers! Its a great place to live and to raise a family.
Send me a private e-mail if you have questions on specific areas, affordability, schools, or recreation here in the valley.

Good luck!

Dave
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Old 12-19-2006, 06:13 PM
 
1,312 posts, read 6,448,960 times
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All three are bike-friendly, walkable cities. Eugene will probably be the most appealing to someone coming from someplace the size of Denver. But in Eugene you also have the highest probability of ending up with housing that is somewhat remote from the city core. Ashland has the best restaurants and the best art scene. It also has hotter summers and colder winters, but with less humidity and a little more sunshine -- it's in a transition zone between the interior northern California mountain climates and the river valley climates that most people associate with the PNW. So Eugene and Corvallis actually have "milder" climates in the sense that there is a less dramatic range between summer highs and winter lows. Corvallis has a "gold" rating for bikeable communities and the best public school system of the three. I would favor Corvallis over Eugene for its civic planning, housing market stability and overall character. Corvallis is off the I-5 corridor and that gives it a special quiet hometown character (it's also why the big-box stores have focused on Albany and Salem, instead). Considering that Eugene is just 42 miles to the south...you can be there in less than an hour...and Portland is 90 miles to the north...you can be there in less than two hours...Corvallis is well-positioned in the valley ("corvallis" means "heart of the valley" in Latin).
Ashland has the most expensive COL, the highest property taxes, and the most tourist traffic. During the summer, it almost seems to me that the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the Britt Festival overwhelm the city. A big plus for Ashland is the Bear Creek Greenway. Even though you might have to go to Medford for some things, you will be able to ride all the way there on a stretch of asphalt where motorized vehicles are prohibited. There is still some engineering and construction going on between Medford and Talent, but soon the greenway will extend all the way to Central Point. Ashland also has quite a good inventory of homes for sale at the moment. There are some years when there is almost nothing on the market. Any of the three should meet your needs if you are in a position to pick and choose. If landing a job and finding affordable housing are concerns, than Eugene is strongly favored just because of its size and economic base.
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Old 12-22-2006, 12:52 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
22 posts, read 190,162 times
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Wow, I just love this feedback!! These forums are great for sharing info! Thank you all so much!

I think Eugene is out -- too big and sprawling. Corvallis sounds nice, especially since it sits away from I-5, and is close to some great wineries in the valley. Ashland looks like it sits in one beautiful setting and the smaller population is a definate plus (and is also close to wineries).

I should probably mention I'm looking at Oregon as a place to RETIRE in about 4 years, and I'm hoping to glean some useful info on some prospective places so I can visit them in the interim. It's not just a matter of moving out of a big city -- Colorado has lots of quaint little towns that one would LIKE to call home but the entire state is pricing itself out of everyone but a millionaire's reach. Of course, by the time I retire, who knows what Oregon will be like?

I hope to find a place with comfortable humidity (because Colorado's dry climate is hard on my eyes, hair, and skin). It'd be great to live on a river or lake, but not necessary, while being within day-trip driving distance to the ocean. Are insects a problem in Oregon?
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Old 12-23-2006, 08:57 AM
 
Location: Albany, OR
540 posts, read 2,166,607 times
Reputation: 359
rosanielle,
You should check out the areas WEST of Corvallis (along HWY 20 or HWY 34). There are some small towns (Alsea for example) on the way to the coast that sit along the river. Beautiful areas if you want a slow lifestyle, don't mind being too far away from I5, and are ok with a drive to the bigger cities.
As far as insects...maybe a relative question I think. We moved here from Hawaii; those big centipedes, the ants, and the scorpions were a bit disconcerting until we made friends with them) . Therefore, I don't see any problem here with insects here in Oregon.

Dave
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Old 12-25-2006, 12:18 AM
 
103 posts, read 501,916 times
Reputation: 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by rosanielle View Post
I'm looking for a small-to-medium-sized 'walking city' in Oregon that allows one to safely stroll around town during the day and evening, enjoying sidewalk cafes, good restaurants and culture, and blocks of solid Mom & Pop stores. I currently live in Denver, which is a great place to live and work, but I'm wanting to spend less time driving all over town for the things I need and live in a smaller community where everything is accessible on foot or bicycle, with a lively, hip downtown, and the diversity and amenities of a city. Can anyone provide some info on life in Corvallis, Eugene, and Ashland?
Rosanielle - None of the above. Check into McMinnville before taking one more step in the process of relocating. If you want to know more, please let me know.
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Old 12-26-2006, 06:52 AM
 
Location: Denver, CO
22 posts, read 190,162 times
Reputation: 20
Dave -- I like the idea of living more rural since I grew up that way and my heart's still there. But my husband has some arthritis in his knees and he's more comfortable walking on level surfaces like city sidewalks and park paths than country trails or hikes. Heavy sigh! But I've learned to enjoy the amenities and sights of the city, and I'm not as country-arrogant as I used to be! And the insect question is also for his benefit.... he gets eaten alive by mosquitoes and chiggers everytime we go back to see our families in Ohio and Illinois, and we need to avoid such places (beautiful or not!).

Washington Native, I've actually read a bit about McMinnville in a book on Oregon's wineries and it sounded like a possibility. Any particular reason why you favor it?
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