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Question about Portland and Eugene OR
Old 04-13-2008, 09:21 AM   #1
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Question about Portland and Eugene OR

I've been researching alternative places to live in the US (let me add this board has been very helpful for that).

Portland and Eugene Oregon have a lot going for them. Low cost of living, inexpensive housing, mild winters, mild summers, reasonable literary/artistic communities, urbanish culture, etc. (all this from my NYC frame of reference).

One problem. Relatively few sunny days.

I've noticed that the rain comes mainly in the winter. Thus if someone intended to travel a few months out of the year they could miss much of that if they chose.

How about the sun? Is that seasonal? Are most of the sunny days in the summer and most of the overcast days in the winter? Or is it more evenly distributed?
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Old 04-13-2008, 10:24 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maurice View Post
I've been researching alternative places to live in the US (let me add this board has been very helpful for that).

Portland and Eugene Oregon have a lot going for them. Low cost of living, inexpensive housing, mild winters, mild summers, reasonable literary/artistic communities, urbanish culture, etc. (all this from my NYC frame of reference).

One problem. Relatively few sunny days.

I've noticed that the rain comes mainly in the winter. Thus if someone intended to travel a few months out of the year they could miss much of that if they chose.

How about the sun? Is that seasonal? Are most of the sunny days in the summer and most of the overcast days in the winter? Or is it more evenly distributed?
I've lived in both. I think the weather is one of the strong draws to the area. Yes, we have a lot of gray days during the winter. But it's not overcast every day. And we don't have to worry about nasty snow storms shutting down the city.

Oregon's best kept secret is May through (most of) October. The weather is beautiful, and we don't have any of the humidity 90% of the rest of the country has to deal with.

If you're looking for urbanish culture, and you're coming from NYC, I'd lean towards PDX rather than Eugene. Eugene is nice, but if you get away from the college community, it tends to look like any other small town american community.

Also, check the cost of living. Though cheaper than NYC, for sure, I wouldn't say either city has a low cost of living.
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Old 04-13-2008, 12:27 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Maurice View Post
I've been researching alternative places to live in the US (let me add this board has been very helpful for that).

Portland and Eugene Oregon have a lot going for them. Low cost of living, inexpensive housing, mild winters, mild summers, reasonable literary/artistic communities, urbanish culture, etc. (all this from my NYC frame of reference).

One problem. Relatively few sunny days.

I've noticed that the rain comes mainly in the winter. Thus if someone intended to travel a few months out of the year they could miss much of that if they chose.

How about the sun? Is that seasonal? Are most of the sunny days in the summer and most of the overcast days in the winter? Or is it more evenly distributed?
The sun is seasonal, but in my experience the seasons of its reliable appearance are quite a bit shorter than what Niko in the post above states.

When I first moved from California to Puget Sound I could handle winter, I expected it to suck, but it really got old setting off July 4 fircrackers in the mist. So I always planned a summer vacation to the south . We would drive with kids, and the plan was to go as far as needed to find sun. Ashland/Medford was the answer. Portland and the entire Willamette Valley was not much different from Western Washington.

Summer weather has improved over the past 10 years or so, and I have acclimated better, so I love Seattle summers and Portland is not much different.

However, from what you have written you are well financed, so why marry the ugly sister? Come all the way to Seattle. You'll pay a little more for property or rent, but no income tax in WA. And it is a bigger city with quite a bit more to offer.

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Old 04-13-2008, 01:27 PM   #4
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I was born in Eugene, graduated from the UofO, lived most of my life in Portland, now live on Bainbridge Island (just west of Seattle). After graduation worked for several years in NYC.

From a tax standpoint you really need to consider the character of your earnings. What I recommend is that you buy TTax with the Oregon return and run through a couple scenarios to determine if it makes any serious difference. My own theory is that nothing comes from nothing, for a given level of services income must be generated. The current choice for residents in states with sales tax on the Federal return is not written in stone.

If I were to retire in Eugene I would live in biking distance to the UofO. There is a lot to do at the U and down town that is available to non-students. Most of the town is very bike-able. Eugene sits at the south end of the Willamette Valley, they rarely get any snow. When grass farmers burned their fields air quality was sometimes an issue (I don't hear many complaints about that now).

I love Portland, particularly the inner west side where I lived for over 50 years. Portland has a core area condo glut but the sellers haven't capitulated price-wise. PM me if you want my opinion of specific advantages/disadvantages.

We moved to Bainbridge in part because we expected our children to live in Seattle after college graduation. Bainbridge is a great place to live and is just a ferry-ride away from down town Seattle. The ferries appear to be the only public transportation system that works. Seattle metro has major transportation issues.

When I lived in NYC I was surprised to learn that their weather is not much different than Portland's (same parallel) except NYC has more snow in the winter and is humid in the summer.

The Pacific Northwest has micro-climates because of convergence zones. A home with south or west exposure gets more light in the winter. Paying attention to those details can make a difference in how you perceive the weather.

Real estate is just beginning to adjust in Seattle, Portland and Eugene. There are bubble blogs focusing on those areas if you want to watch folks kick that subject around. It is always wise to plan on renting for a year before buying in any case.

Note the comment by the Seattlite about Portland. Typical at several levels.
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Old 04-13-2008, 05:50 PM   #5
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My mom lives a couple hours south of Eugene. A couple of years ago she had surgery in Eugune so I had spent about a week there. An old family friend also lives there I must say I was really impressed with the place, nice college town feel, decent selection of restaurants and cultural ammenities. But mostly the parks, rivers, and recreational area I thought were terrific. While I was there the newpaper had a article about all of the best place to live lists that have highlighted Eugune.

For me the weather would be a major drawback...but I am clearly spoiled.
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Old 04-13-2008, 06:07 PM   #6
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Portland perspective:

Yes it mainly rains in Winter. Lots of folks have a home in Palm springs for those with SAD. This winter has not been bad (notice I still reference Winter when we are a few weeks into Spring?) Some Winters you can get 30-45 straight days of precip.

Typical weather pattern is overcast 1st day. Showers next. Hard rain for 1 or 2 days. Then showers. Rinse & repeat.

And sun is mainly in the Summer. Rarely above 100. Few days over 90. but Summer doesn't really start till July. At all other times be prepared for "unsettled" weather.

If you love outdoor activities it is really hard to beat. We've picked up snowshoeing the last few years. And this year was fantastic. Hiking. Water sports. (maybe not swimming in the ocean though)

Seattle area in my experience about 4-5 degrees cooler. And then there is traffic.

I lived in Eugene about 25 years ago. Could not comment on it reasonably
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:10 PM   #7
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Seattle area in my experience about 4-5 degrees cooler. And then there is traffic.
Seattle is cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter because the Sound acts like a heat pump, moderating temperatures.

One thing nice about rain: you don't need to shovel it.
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:50 PM   #8
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Note the comment by the Seattlite about Portland. Typical at several levels.
Oh Brat, you are just too sweet!

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Old 04-13-2008, 09:19 PM   #9
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Old 04-14-2008, 04:57 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the advice and info. One thing that has made me consider Portland (besides the stats on cost of living, etc) is that is seems to have some of the things we love about New York, just on a smaller scale. It'll be hard to take DW out of here, but if I could find a somewhat bohemian, urban environment I might be able to.

We'll probably visit the area in the next couple of months.
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Old 04-14-2008, 10:08 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the advice and info. One thing that has made me consider Portland (besides the stats on cost of living, etc) is that is seems to have some of the things we love about New York, just on a smaller scale. It'll be hard to take DW out of here, but if I could find a somewhat bohemian, urban environment I might be able to.

We'll probably visit the area in the next couple of months.
Not everything is on a smaller scale:



How big are NY rats?
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Old 04-14-2008, 11:36 PM   #12
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Not everything is on a smaller scale:



How big are NY rats?
Were these trapped in the outflow from a nuclear power plant?

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Old 04-14-2008, 11:37 PM   #13
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calmloki, that was not nice.
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:00 AM   #14
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Ok, truth is precious and should be kept close and rarely spent. No? Maurice - after Mother's day Oregon is beautiful. Safe for planting and visiting both. And those are nutria my neighbor pegged, not rats. The rats we're breaking to harness. For the Rose Parade Princesses' Pumpkin carriages.
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Old 04-15-2008, 12:11 PM   #15
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Oh yea, I could throttle the person(s) who released Nutria (a non-native species). Nutria try to den under floating homes, and I have seen them on the banks of the stream that runs through the Tektronix campus and NIKE's pond.
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Old 04-15-2008, 07:13 PM   #16
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I had never heard of Nutria before. At first I thought they were Agouti, which I've seen in Brazil.
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Old 04-15-2008, 10:12 PM   #17
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Eugene is great but if you live near the university, houses are expensive, old, and highly taxed. Lane County is in trouble: the federal government is cutting off federal timber land subsidies. Cops, jail space, public transit and other county funded services are on the chopping block. At the same time, meth is a huge problem and petty crime is growing.

Rain? Yeah, we have rain all winter, if by winter you mean late October to June. East Coast transplants are usually shocked by how little sun there is during that period. No snow to speak of, usually; we had some this winter. And winter seems to be hanging on this year; it's reverted to 30s/40s after one sweet day of sunlight this weekend.

More downers: pollen of all kinds for allergy sufferers in the spring through summer. The Willamette Valley is the allergy capital of the world.

There are upsides ... I live 5 miles from a gorgeous trout stream. I can get to the beach in one hour, or to the nearest ski slope in the same time. Summers are short but hot and dry. It's beautiful here. Not too much field burning goes on any more.

I love Lane County and I plan to retire here, but I also plan to spend Nov-Mar in sunny Mexico.
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Old 04-15-2008, 11:15 PM   #18
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Nutria are a non-native pest that eat wetlands vegetation. I very much would like seals and eagles to develop a taste for them and lay off salmon. They thrive in areas that are also attractive to beaver, from a distance they look alike but beaver have flat tails and buck teeth.

All the critters mentioned frequent Portland.
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Old 04-16-2008, 09:20 AM   #19
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The sun is seasonal, but in my experience the seasons of its reliable appearance are quite a bit shorter than what Niko in the post above states.
Agreed. Sunshine is not reliable or consistent in May and October. But then again, May and October tend not to be to bad. For example I watched the sunrise on top of South Sister in the middle of October a couple of years ago. I wouldn't have been anywhere near that mountain had the weather not been great.

June through September are 90% sun and great weather. May and October can be either nice or crappy, depending on the year.
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Old 04-17-2008, 08:23 PM   #20
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Thanks for all the advice and info. One thing that has made me consider Portland (besides the stats on cost of living, etc) is that is seems to have some of the things we love about New York, just on a smaller scale. It'll be hard to take DW out of here, but if I could find a somewhat bohemian, urban environment I might be able to.

We'll probably visit the area in the next couple of months.
We live near NYC and just loved Portland. The downtown made me feel at home. The weather didn't.
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