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  1. #1
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    Better MTB location: Portland, OR or Vancouver, WA?

    Recently, I have been living in the East Sound area. I am familiar with Galbraith and Duthie to the north and east, respectively. I have also ridden in Bend, OR and Falls City, OR (Black Rock). However, aside from some Ape Canyon stuff, I have not ridden anything in the 'middle area'.

    I have an opportunity to work in Vancouver, WA and/or Portland area. Since, I prefer to pick a location based on play rather than pay, I am looking for the better location for biking. I do mostly light freeride stuff, no drops over about 6ft, no jumps more than about 10ft. I am not afraid of a full day's climb with my 45 lb freeride bike either, so local AM stuff would be great too. I am also training for an Ironman in Nov, but I don't usually do the roadie thing, so a 'Tri-culture' is not all that important.

    Any advice?

    ps: cross-post on WA boards
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  2. #2
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    As far as mt biking goes, both towns are about the same. Vancouver is a little closer to 3 Corner Rock, Tarbell and the Mt St Helens stuff but Portland is closer to Scappoose, the Tillamook, Sandy Ridge and the new to be built FR area at Stub Stewart. If Portland and Vancouver are your only 2 choices, I'd base the decision on the town itself rather than the available riding, both aren't that great in regard to the riding.

    If it matters, I've lived in both towns and prefer Portland over Vancouver.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  3. #3
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    I'd agree with OHM that it's pretty much a wash in terms of access to true singletrack. However, even though they're not real singletrack the fireroads of Forest Park still can be an enjoyable place to ride, and at least for me that tilts the balance in favor of Portland. (Plus, from a non-riding perspective I prefer Portland because it is an urb, not a suburb like Vancouver).
    "People like GloyBoy are deaf. They are partisan, intellectually lazy & usually very angry." -Jaybo

  4. #4
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    If you can live & work in Washington you will not have to pay state income tax. That will pay for a lot of gas to travel & beer to drink.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by gorgedon
    If you can live & work in Washington you will not have to pay state income tax. That will pay for a lot of gas to travel & beer to drink.
    Yeah, and I am already licensed in WA, so that saves me a bit of hassle. Another advantage to Vancouver would be housing and room for the dog. I would have to live outside Portland and commute a bit anyway, to reaping the benefit of the city center would be limited. So, I would have to deal with traffic more in Portland. I have no idea how much Portland suburbia housing is, but I would imagine much more than Vancouver.
    Regional Race Manager, Knolly Bikes
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdhfreethought
    Yeah, and I am already licensed in WA, so that saves me a bit of hassle. Another advantage to Vancouver would be housing and room for the dog. I would have to live outside Portland and commute a bit anyway, to reaping the benefit of the city center would be limited. So, I would have to deal with traffic more in Portland. I have no idea how much Portland suburbia housing is, but I would imagine much more than Vancouver.
    Remember, if you work in Oregon, you will pay state income tax, even if you live in Washington. Car and driver fees are lower and easier to deal with in OR, too. (I just moved from OR to WA).
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  7. #7
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    Yeah the GF will probably be going to school at OHSU. I can work either place. Working in WA would save several thousand in state taxes, it would probably pay most of a mortgage.

    But this isn't a decision based on money, I can weigh those decisions independently. What I don't know is whether there is significantly better riding in one location. Or perhaps a particularly good 'vibe'. So far is seems Portland would be a bit more freeride/MTB friendly. And I suppose I could run with the dog in Forest park (leash law I am sure)
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  8. #8
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    In my opinion, there is no reason to live in Vancouver if you are not going to work there, unless you like the suburbs, but then you could live on the west side of Portland and be even closer to the riding in the Tillamook.

    As Shiggy noted, if you work in Oregon and live in Washington you will still pay state income tax, plus your commute will suck, whether on bike or car.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  9. #9
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    Yep, if you are commuting into Portland City Center or to OHSU from Vancouver your commute will suck both ways. It's your choice, but I would rather spend commuting time on a bike navigating Portland streets rather than being stuck in a car on I-5.
    I ride at ludicrous speed

  10. #10
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    I live in North Bonneville, Washington. It's about a half hour into Portland or Vancouver but it's far enough out to be rural. Great trails nearby, killer brew pub & there are houses in town going for under $150K. Not sure how that fits your wish list but you could do a lot worse.

    Let me know if you want more info. No matter where you end up, I'll be happy to meet up for some rides in the Gorge & show you around a bit.

  11. #11
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    why would you want to live in the couv? that is a terrible idea.

  12. #12
    Afric Pepperbird
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReallyTightShorts...not
    why would you want to live in the couv? that is a terrible idea.
    Is that really the best you could muster, for your very first post on these forums??

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirt farmer
    Is that really the best you could muster, for your very first post on these forums??

    sorry bro, I didn't know that making a post on an low end internet forum to a bunch of strangers was a big event.

    besides this guy is considering the difference between living in a world class cycling city and a complete sh!thole.

    I just signed up so I can sell this frame from way back when I was a bike geek like you. Cheers!

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  14. #14
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    Hmmm... Live in Portland. GF has easy commute to OHSU, I work in WA. No income tax, and no sales tax, and I get to live in Porland. Would that work?
    Regional Race Manager, Knolly Bikes
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  15. #15
    MattSavage
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    30 Helens agree: Moving to the 'Couv is a terrible idea...
    There's nothing do there when you're not somewhere else riding a bike...
    30 Helens agree: Moving to the 'Couv is a terrible idea...

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  16. #16
    MattSavage
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdhfreethought
    Hmmm... Live in Portland. GF has easy commute to OHSU, I work in WA. No income tax, and no sales tax, and I get to live in Porland. Would that work?
    You'll still pay income tax in Oregon if you live here and work in Washington. As well as the Mult. Co. tax if you live in Multnomah county. But all the taxes on Earth beat living in Vancouver.
    "I wrote a hit play! What have you ever done?!"

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ReallyTightShorts...not
    why would you want to live in the couv? that is a terrible idea.
    I always refer to that suburb as "Vantucky".
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  18. #18
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    I have to be the counterpoint here. I grew up in SE Portland and Milwaukie, spent my early 20's in the Hawthorne and Inner NE areas before they were cool, in fact N of Burnside was downright scary. When my wife and I got together I did NOT want to live in Vancouver. NO. Never, wouldn't turn in my license for almost 3 years.

    After living here about 16 years and selling real estate in both states for nearly 15, if I had my choice of both where to live and where to work, both would be Clark County Washington/Vancouver. Specifically, I would live on the far East side of Vancouver, East of I-205, perhaps even a Camas zip code. The two cities are almost touching now.
    Here are my reasons, and I'll try to avoid opinions if I can. (I'm sure to fail)
    1. No state income tax
    2. Easy access to no sales tax if you want. You'll still pay it on cars, but the things you buy most (groceries) are not taxed.
    3. Just as much to do in Vancouver if you know where to look, as well as fewer other people crowding you out of doing it. ~OK, this is an opinion. Let's move on.
    4. Better traffic flow (example: 3 choices to travel from E to W, I-5 to I205 vs 1 (I84) in Portland. Trust me, this is NOT an opinion. I know I can travel 20 miles across town at 5pm on a weekday in 25-30 minutes in Vancouver. I know I cannot do that in Portland. Remember, I sold RE in both states and I know my way around.
    5. Housing prices are only about 10-15% below similar areas of Portland but property taxes about 25% less for a comparable home. The disparity is larger if you rent a house, meaning you can rent more house in Vancouver for the same money due to there being fewer jobs nearby. Apartments, oddly enough, have less disparity. 2 bed/ 1&1/2 bath duplex or apartment with garage in Vancouver is going to be $750 to $900, and maybe $25-$50 more in Portland, unless you are in a high demand location.

    6. Better funded schools, which means little to you if you don't have kids, but when selling a house it MAY mean a bunch to your buyer.
    7. Lower utility costs from a rate-payer owned utility company.

    AND finally, the reason you asked about in the first place (sorry to drag this out) you are about 50 minutes from riding Lewis River, 25 to Tarbell/Larch mtn, you can scoot out hwy 14 to Syncline in about 45 minutes, HERE'S MORE . When looking at that list, any trails to the East, like hood river, Syncline and Mt Hood, take about 10 minutes off of the travel time since it starts at the I-5 crossing of the Columbia. For weekday rides/winter training and dog running, there is Lacamas Lake and I think there are trails along the Washougal River but I've never been.

    If a commute to OHSU is critical, consider Downtown Vancouver or one of the close neighborhoods (Hough, Carter Park, Uptown VIllage). All of these will allow one to jump across the bridge on a bike (about 10-15 mins), get on the max and be at OHSU in 25 to 30 minutes without a car to park.

    I'm sure others will disagree, but if you are going to disagree, please have the respect to try and use facts rather than opinions.

    Best.

    FB
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  19. #19
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    From a mtb perspective, you'll end up commuting to play from either town. Portland would put you a bit closer to Falls City, Vancouver will put you closer to other trails. Either way, you're driving to get to the trails.

    I'd put way more emphasis on the other aspects of living in either place. Unless you have a particular trail that you are really fond of, I'm not sure the mtb difference would be enough to be a tie breaker.

  20. #20
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    Love all the uppity P-towners that hate Vancouver. Comedy. Like P-town doesn't have it's share of meth heads, homeless and white trash. Give me a break.

    Vancouver isn't anything special and I wouldn't argue that is has any real culture but it is not the "hell on earth" that some on here portray it to be.

    I have to agree with Fastboy...better schools(can't argue this Portland), better traffic, no income tax if you work in WA, no massive county taxes(Multnomah). The commute for your wife to OHSU could be problematic though if she doesn't like public transportation.

    You have to drive to all the trails from P-town just like Vancouver. Forest Park is not a valid mtb destination nor will it ever be. World Class Biking City? For commuters maybe but not for mtb's. At least in Vancouver you are 30 minutes from Tarbell and Cold Creek which IMO are better trails than the Scapoose network on either side of the road...real singletrack in a far more wild setting. Nothing in Portland is that close, including the new Sandy Ridge area.

    Neither place will you be able to ride singletrack from your doorstep....it's all a significant drive away.

  21. #21
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    You will probably end up doing the same rides no matter which city you decide to live in. Sometimes it will take you 15min more to get to them and sometimes it will take 15min less.

    I mostly wanted to pipe in to say that the commute from Vancouver to OHSU would be brutal. It is one of the worst in the area.

    Oh, there is currently NO Multnomah county income tax. Other posters are incorrect on that.
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  22. #22
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    There will be advantages and disadvantages to living anywhere in the Metro/Clark County region for biking access. As stated, living in Clark County means less traffic and shorter drive to Washington biking, but longer to Oregon. But the same would go for living in beaverton (closer to Tillamook County rides) versus living in Gresham (closer to Hood River riding). In my opinion, however, closer access to Larch/Tarbell/etc. is not worth living in Vancouver. But I would also never choose to live in Gresham just because its closer to Mt. Hood. I would really pick the city you would want to live in. The biking benefits of vancouver versus portland really aren't significant enough, imo, to tip the scale one way or another.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattsavage
    You'll still pay income tax in Oregon if you live here and work in Washington. As well as the Mult. Co. tax if you live in Multnomah county. But all the taxes on Earth beat living in Vancouver.
    The Multnomah county income tax was only in effect for 3 years. It expired in 2005.
    "People like GloyBoy are deaf. They are partisan, intellectually lazy & usually very angry." -Jaybo

  24. #24
    MattSavage
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    Quote Originally Posted by GlowBoy
    The Multnomah county income tax was only in effect for 3 years. It expired in 2005.

    No kidding...? Damn, I thought I was being sneaky and getting away without paying it.
    "I wrote a hit play! What have you ever done?!"

    Have Ashtray, Will Travel....

  25. #25
    MattSavage
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtpunk7
    World Class Biking City? For commuters maybe but not for mtb's.

    Agreed... When Oregon jacks up it's licensing fees to 200% the value of a new vehicle and throws in a $2 per gallon gas tax, then we can claim the right to compare ourselves to bike friendly Amsterdam or some Scandinavian city. For now we're just a severly confused and misguided city with the wackiest ideas for traffic control...
    "I wrote a hit play! What have you ever done?!"

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