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  1. #1
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    Considering moving to OR

    Hey guys, the wife and I are considering moving and are looking at the OR area as a potential fit for us. Wanted to create this thread instead of hijacking another thread. Also because we're looking across the entire state instead of a specific area We both work from home, so being near a city is not a requirement for us here. We currently are on the Front Range in CO. Population density is really challenging (trails are getting overcrowded). The riding season is a bit weird and can be a bit shorter than I'd like. There are a few things that we're both looking for.

    Low cost of living
    MTB trails right from the door (even if it's a few miles to the trail head, riding instead of driving there is preferable)
    I like big all-mountain riding. Currently my rides are 1,500+ ft to the top, then bomb down as fast as I can.
    Vibrant art community (art galleries, plays, festivals).
    Plenty of yard space for gardening and building pump track/dirt jumps.


    What do you recommend?
    How's the riding season? (I won't ride in below 40F weather or snow. Just not fun for me)
    How busy are the trails?
    How is population growth?
    How much does it rain?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by james.stoup; 06-13-2017 at 02:36 PM.

  2. #2
    Nat
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    NC = North Carolina? Kinda far from Oregon. Are you playing the field? Double-dipping?

  3. #3
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    I'm no Oregon expert for sure and quite frankly, don't know what you mean by "the NC area". I even pulled up an Oregon map and can't figure out what you mean. Anyway, I'd say Oakridge fits the low cost of living and MTB trails. You could even probably find space for a pump track but that's a no-go on anything art related, or a decent restaurant, or a "real" grocery store for that matter. Eugene is 42 miles west though and since the University of Oregon is there, I imagine they have some art/theater, etc...Oakridge is essentially empty and I don't think you'll see much growth anytime soon. We rarely see anybody else on the trails.

    Bend has great riding but I wouldn't call it big mountain by any means and it's the farthest thing form low cost outside of Portland. It's also crowded and still packing them in.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    NC = North Carolina? Kinda far from Oregon. Are you playing the field? Double-dipping?
    I guess I wasn't the only one that was confused.
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  5. #5
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    The OP got busted texting the wrong girlfriend. Double check before hitting send, amigo.

    Thinking about moving

    Look into Ashland, OR.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    The OP got busted texting the wrong girlfriend. Double check before hitting send, amigo.

    Thinking about moving

    Look into Ashland, OR.
    OMG! I'm devastated!
    =sParty

  7. #7
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    Derp.... Definitely meant to put OR not NC sorry about that! Looking at both OR and NC as potential options and messed up there! Edited the post to avoid confusion.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    The OP got busted texting the wrong girlfriend. Double check before hitting send, amigo.

    Thinking about moving

    Look into Ashland, OR.
    Thanks hadn't looked into Ashland, so we'll add it to the list of places to visit.

  9. #9
    Nat
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    Happy hunting, playah!

  10. #10
    meatier showers
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    Quote Originally Posted by james.stoup View Post
    Derp.... Definitely meant to put OR not NC sorry about that! Looking at both OR and NC as potential options and messed up there! Edited the post to avoid confusion.
    Oregon's pretty crowded anyway.
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  11. #11
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    Right off the bat, avoid the coast. No trails. That leaves you the Willamette Valley, the area east of the Cascades, and the south, where rivers run to the coast. The valley is rainy and wet. Central to eastern is cold and dry and depopulated and more so the more you go east. You're bound to be frustrated part of the year no matter what, by snow or rain or dust or... spiders... or crowds or money or ...

    Hm. So, trails right from the door. I'm thinking that list is:

    Ashland
    Bend
    Corvallis
    Klamath Falls

    Of those, Corvallis fails in arts unless you're willing to drive to Eugene. It's just too small and dominated by the university.

    Bend and Ashland tick all your points except for snow (Bend) and probably cost of living (both). I don't know much about KFalls but I have friends out there who are building trail every year.

    You haven't mentioned the Seattle area. Seems you might like Bellingham or Issaquah. Also isn't there a rad trail network sponsored by the Waltons (I.e. Walmart) in Arkansas or something? Also Tennessee, where that black diamond trail won the Bell grant.

    EDIT - so I live in Corvallis, which is in the valley. I don't ride when it's raining except maybe once on weekends if I want to suck it up, wash my bike and do laundry after. I try to stay fit from October through March (ish) by swimming and building trails. I go a little crazy doing nothing but riding bikes and ignoring my wife and family from July 4th to Labor Day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tbmaddux View Post
    You haven't mentioned the Seattle area. Seems you might like Bellingham or Issaquah.
    Houses in both start at 600 these days and get to 7 figures quickly, so while great, they fail big time on the low cost of living. Spokane is the only place in WA that meets all the criteria. Wenatchee rocks, but there's 3 months where riding is compromised (have to drive 45 min east to ride most of the winter)--if you are good with subbing snow activities for a few months (great xc and downhill skiing options nearby), it's a great option.

    Klamath Falls is a town on the rise--who would have guessed that 10 years ago!? The arts scene is not what it would be in the other places, but seems to be growing.

    Off topic: Reno is worth considering. I'm on sabbatical here now--I have to go back to WA in a couple months, but it has been an amazing place that meets all the criteria.

    Since NC was mentioned, I don't know what cost of living is like these days, but Asheville meets all the other criteria and is the only town on the east coast I'd consider having migrated west 20+ years ago.

    Since you're already in CO, have you considered Salida?

  13. #13
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    A decent house can be had in Oakridge, OR for $150k.
    =s
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    Ashland is rather expensive, but maybe also look into the City of Rogue River between Medford and Grants Pass. Mountain of the Rogue system is right there (and expanding).

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    What about La Grande? I recall a thread on here a couple years back of some guy boasting they have more singletrack miles than Bend, OregonTM.

    Never ridden there, but it's nice looking country, so I imagine the trails could be really good. Probably ticks the box for low cost. Don't know about the arts scene (cowboy art maybe?) and they do get a bit of snow.

  16. #16
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    "Low cost of living" is fairly subjective. Compared to the Front Range maybe all of Oregon applies?

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    Quote Originally Posted by twd953 View Post
    What about La Grande?
    Just from passing through on occasion it looks like it has a surprisingly good arts scene for a town of that size. It seems to be attracting artists (again, just from passing through). It would have an off-season, but you could go to Boise, Tri-Cities, or Walla Walla to get your mid-winter riding fix, or fatbike it.

  18. #18
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    La Grande rocks, but it won't fit the bill for the OP. I don't know of anywhere in Oregon that will for that matter. Not riding below 40 degrees and inclement weather??? Seriousuly?

    I think that somewhere like Tuscon is a better fit.
    Good friction shifting is getting hard to find nowadays....

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    "Low cost of living" is fairly subjective. Compared to the Front Range maybe all of Oregon applies?
    Oh god isn't this true! House prices have increased by at least 50k and they're still under contract almost as soon as they go on the market. With both of us working remote there's no reason for us to be in a HCOL area unless we love the lifestyle. We dont...
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  20. #20
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    Thanks for all the really great replies so far. It's definitely given us a lot to think about.

    We have been considering WA as well, but I didn't want to bring up other areas since this forum is OR. I guess I kinda messed that up when I mentioned NC. Oops!

    Year-round isn't that huge of a deal, and frankly is a pretty big ask. Ideally I'd like to be on the bike more often than not though.

    Driving to get to the art scene is not an issue at all. Right now we're doing about 30-45 minutes to explore those things anyways. If the time slips either way, it's not a big deal for us.

    Oakridge and Klamath Falls definitely looks promising.
    Spokane and Wenatchee look promising as well. The benefit here is being closer to B.C. when we want to explore. Working remotely does have it's perks .
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    Quote Originally Posted by unicrown junkie View Post
    La Grande rocks, but it won't fit the bill for the OP. I don't know of anywhere in Oregon that will for that matter. Not riding below 40 degrees and inclement weather??? Seriousuly?

    I think that somewhere like Tuscon is a better fit.
    I've no problem with inclement weather. Winter months that are cold and wet just aren't fun for me to be riding in. I'm totally fine with that though, there are winter sports and I can always churn away on a trainer when I need to pedal.

    If the riding season is below 40F, I'm not too interested. Off-season, well I'm already used to that
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by james.stoup View Post
    Thanks for all the really great replies so far. It's definitely given us a lot to think about.

    We have been considering WA as well, but I didn't want to bring up other areas since this forum is OR. I guess I kinda messed that up when I mentioned NC. Oops!

    Year-round isn't that huge of a deal, and frankly is a pretty big ask. Ideally I'd like to be on the bike more often than not though.

    Driving to get to the art scene is not an issue at all. Right now we're doing about 30-45 minutes to explore those things anyways. If the time slips either way, it's not a big deal for us.

    Oakridge and Klamath Falls definitely looks promising.
    Spokane and Wenatchee look promising as well. The benefit here is being closer to B.C. when we want to explore. Working remotely does have it's perks .
    Wenatchee, it's drier than Oakridge and is close to BC.

    KFalls is too far away if you're planning on visiting BC, I go to Oregon regularly from BC and Washington since I live in both places.

    Spokane would be a good fit too. The drive to BC and Alberta isn't that bad, but you still have to make it over to Rossland/Trail or Golden which is a bit further up the road.
    Good friction shifting is getting hard to find nowadays....

  23. #23
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    bend or a city around portland would be my vote. great trails in bend and around portland you have mount hood and on the west side stub stewart

    need to look at what you will be doing for work. if you're rich move to bend, if you need work there is a lot more around portland

    i live here. ride here. know the area pretty well

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by racebum View Post
    bend or a city around portland would be my vote. great trails in bend and around portland you have mount hood and on the west side stub stewart

    need to look at what you will be doing for work. if you're rich move to bend, if you need work there is a lot more around portland

    i live here. ride here. know the area pretty well
    Did you read his original post? 1st thing on his list is LOW COST OF LIVING. Bend doesn't fit that criteria in any manner. Quite the opposite actually and Portland isn't known for their bargains either but I imagine it has to be cheaper than Bend in outlying areas.

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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by k2rider1964 View Post
    Did you read his original post? 1st thing on his list is LOW COST OF LIVING. Bend doesn't fit that criteria in any manner. Quite the opposite actually and Portland isn't known for their bargains either but I imagine it has to be cheaper than Bend in outlying areas.

    They work from home.
    Bend is so crazy expensive now, I almost can't believe it. At last month's Chainbreaker we drove by new homes on the way to the race course that were starting in the low 600s, who the hell has that type of money there?! Surely not regaulr working people.
    Good friction shifting is getting hard to find nowadays....

  26. #26
    Nat
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    Dude wants to move to OR and I want to move to CO. Maybe we should trade houses?

    Say, I don't know about the arts scene there but have you looked into the Wydaho area (Victor, ID/Driggs, ID/Jackson, WY)? Jackson is expensive AF but Victor and Driggs aren't. The riding there kicks ass.

  27. #27
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    consider ABQ area. year round riding, low cost housing, close to Santa Fe forArts.




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  28. #28
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    Hey! Oakridge's grocery store is real!
    Boise?
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  29. #29
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    Not sure what you consider affordable, but Ashland definitely checks your arts and riding requirements, and the weather isn't too bad.

    I'd also look into Hood River/Bingen/White Salmon. It fits most of your requirements, but the weather kind of sucks in the winter.

    If you want to live in Oregon, you will need to compromise. If it's affordable, you aren't going to have a vibrant arts scene, riding out your front door, or nice weather 365 days out of the year.

  30. #30
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    I think you should add CA to the list (OR, WA, NC), either SF or LA. By the time everyone leaves and moves to Oregon, your population density issue will be solved!

    If you really want low population density and cost of living, it might pay to look beyond some of the trendiest current locals in the country to move to at the moment. Wyoming, East side CA/NV, Idaho.

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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by DriverB View Post
    I think you should add CA to the list (OR, WA, NC), either SF or LA. By the time everyone leaves and moves to Oregon, your population density issue will be solved!

    If you really want low population density and cost of living, it might pay to look beyond some of the trendiest current locals in the country to move to at the moment. Wyoming, East side CA/NV, Idaho.

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    Not sure if you've ever been to Oakridge, OR but they may have the lowest population density of any *true* MTB destination on the planet. The cost of living, at least from the housing prices aspect, is ridiculously low as well. I don't know what it's going to take to turn Oakridge around (obviously jobs would help) but I'm surprised it hasn't turned into the next Asheville, Bend, Fruita, etc...
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan View Post
    If you want to live in Oregon, you will need to compromise. If it's affordable, you aren't going to have a vibrant arts scene, riding out your front door, or nice weather 365 days out of the year.
    x2

    also the question of the job market. the more rural and low cost of living you get the less likely you will find a good paying job

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by k2rider1964 View Post
    Not sure if you've ever been to Oakridge, OR but they may have the lowest population density of any *true* MTB destination on the planet. The cost of living, at least from the housing prices aspect, is ridiculously low as well. I don't know what it's going to take to turn Oakridge around (obviously jobs would help) but I'm surprised it hasn't turned into the next Asheville, Bend, Fruita, etc...
    People have been saying Oakridge is the next Bend at least since I moved to Bend in 2002. I too wonder what's kept it from thriving.

    I predict Prineville could be the next Bend in 20-30 years. That place has it geographically, being at the foot of the Ochocos and the best mountains (IMO) in Oregon. The local population would have to change from who's there currently though. Now that they have a brewpub and a bike shop they've at least started inching towards that direction.

  34. #34
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    The number of these "So I'm thinking about moving to Oregon" Theads seems quite high. Go against the grain- Come to California !
    Last edited by DriverB; 06-18-2017 at 10:20 AM.
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    I moved from California to Oregon 19 years ago as I had to for work. It is not the state that it once was when I moved here however. Portland in particular has been getting bad press for a while now and for good reason. The homeless problem is outrageous and the local gov't isn't doing jack about it. Then you've got the protests that is allowed so long as you're on the right side of the argument in their eyes, blocking freeways, bridges etc. Traffic is a nightmare now and they're not doing anything about the freeway infrastructure here because they want everyone to take mass transit. The general feel there is that everyone is pissed off. Mainly pissed off white people lol. Portland is dead to me. I live a half hour away and try to avoid going there as much as possible.

    I love Bend. Bend is awesome. However, it's slowly getting ruined by people moving to Bend from Portland and Cali. There are no homeless encampments that I know of in Bend yet but for how long? When will the protests start there? When will the rude, entitled culture of Portland permeate the cool vibe in Bend? I think its happening.

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    If you come thru to check things out, I'm in Ashland (20 yrs). Happy to show some trails and have a coffee or beer

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    Oakridge is definitely changing...especially the last 3-4 years. To me, it is one of the best locations in the country and I've been around. An issue I see here is the traffic between Oakridge and Eugene is going to become a problem. 3 years ago I felt like I was the only car leaving Sun afternoon. Now it's a freight train. Also some of the trails were already blown out Memorial Day wknd. That's a first. Shuttling school buses of people has pro's and cons I guess.

    152 people move to the Portland zip code every single day. Yet the infrastructure is more or less unchanged. I think people recognizing the negatives this brings to a once wonderful place to live are kidding themselves on future livability. The party is over.

    Bend slowly getting ruined? Ha!

    Funny, as a gradeschooler It was beaten into my mind that there would be huge population decreases as the baby boomer population died. Supposedly this was going to be detrimental to the workforce. Infact this propaganda is still used toward the amount payers into social security vs collectors. Times, they are a changing.
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rated R View Post
    There are no homeless encampments that I know of in Bend yet but for how long?
    They're around. None are huge but there are encampments here and there.

    Has anyone else been around Bend long enough to remember the homeless dude who rode his bike around carrying the samurai sword dressed all post-apocalyptic? I wonder whatever became of him?

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    To the OP:

    I'm curious about your criteria of "big all mountain riding" as 1500+ ft. Are you talking per lap or per ride? If it's a combination of trails from the door, big vert and local art, Ashland and Hood River seem like the main places that satisfy that. Both places have amazing riding, great food/beer and local vibrant communities. Ashland you can get 5000 ft. per lap, and weather is so much better than Hood River. Ashland is really just an extension of Northern California, both in weather (mild) and in cost of living (houses not cheap).

    Other parts of the state you are looking at less technical riding, lack of art/food scene, or drive-to-biking with 30-45 minute drives.

    Have you guys considered Grand Junction? You've got local trails out the door, close to Fruita and Moab, still a decent economy and close to local art scene. Flagstaff is high on my list as well.

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