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  1. #1
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    Oregon Climate Questions?

    Hey everybody! I'm from Iowa and just had a few questions about your guy's climates. What are your summers and winters like? I'm going to college right now and will be graduating in about a year and a half and I'm looking to get out of this state. I want better mountain biking a better scenery. So give it to me. What's it like to live out there?
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  2. #2
    newfydog
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    Well, it is a big state with a huge range in climate. From the crest of the Cascades east one sees the steepest "precipitation gradient" on the continent. In 40 miles you can go from 20 feet of snow to areas so dry they are compared to the Australian outback.

  3. #3
    MattSavage
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonzi13
    Hey everybody! I'm from Iowa and just had a few questions about your guy's climates. What are your summers and winters like? I'm going to college right now and will be graduating in about a year and a half and I'm looking to get out of this state. I want better mountain biking a better scenery. So give it to me. What's it like to live out there?

    Pack up and find out!

    You're from the Midwest, not California, so you're welcome!
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  4. #4
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    You're from the Midwest, not California, so you're welcome!
    Lol, now thats funny.

    I wish I could just pack up and find out. Low on cash currently, maybe a year from now though. How hot are your summers and how cold are your winters? In Iowa summer days can easily reach over 100, then throw humidity in there and we can get days with heat indexes of over 120. And our winters are exactly opposite. On our worst winter days, highs can be -10, then add wind chill and we're down to -35.

    And I'm assuming you guys have all styles of mountain biking there, right?
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  5. #5
    MattSavage
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonzi13
    Lol, now thats funny.

    I wish I could just pack up and find out. Low on cash currently, maybe a year from now though. How hot are your summers and how cold are your winters? In Iowa summer days can easily reach over 100, then throw humidity in there and we can get days with heat indexes of over 120. And our winters are exactly opposite. On our worst winter days, highs can be -10, then add wind chill and we're down to -35.

    And I'm assuming you guys have all styles of mountain biking there, right?

    Well, it's like the other guy said... In a 45 minute drive you can have a radical change in climate, from a mild mid 80 day in Portland to scorching hot 100+ east of the Dalles. Or a mild 80 degree day in Portland to 55 and foggy and miserable on the coast. Western Oregon is mild. Rarely freezes in the winter with a constant drizzle, rarely hits 100 in the summer with little humidity. Central/Eastern Oregon, cold and dry, hot and dry. Oregon has 4 seasons... Wet, wet, mtb, wet...

    There are a few good mtb towns... Bend, Hood River, Ashland, Eugene'ish... If i wasn't superficial and shallow, I'd live in Bend, Hood River, Ashland, in order of preference. But, work is hard to find in those towns if you really want to make money. Bend went from one of the most booming towns in the state to one of the most economicaly depressed...

    What are you skills? Your trade or profession can dictate your region.
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  6. #6
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    Going to school currently for civil engineering. So I could pretty much go anywhere in the US.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonzi13
    Lol, now thats funny.

    I wish I could just pack up and find out. Low on cash currently, maybe a year from now though. How hot are your summers and how cold are your winters? In Iowa summer days can easily reach over 100, then throw humidity in there and we can get days with heat indexes of over 120. And our winters are exactly opposite. On our worst winter days, highs can be -10, then add wind chill and we're down to -35.

    And I'm assuming you guys have all styles of mountain biking there, right?
    You can find most any climate you want (or do not want). It is a big state with ocean beaches, near rainforests, high mountains and vast deserts.

    Look around a bit:
    http://www.planetware.com/oregon-tou...tions-usor.htm
    http://www.traveloregon.com

    Iowa = 56,272 sq.mi.
    Oregon = 98,466 sq.mi.
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  8. #8
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonzi13
    Going to school currently for civil engineering. So I could pretty much go anywhere in the US.
    Well, anyplace with jobs, which Oregon is short on ATM.
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  9. #9
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    Southern Oregon IE Medford, Ashland has great weather imo. We definitely get all four seasons here. Does not rain nearly as much as the rest of western Oregon. Medford gets an average annual 17 inches of rain compared to Portlands 38 in. We get snow and 110 degree days. Perfect autumns and warm springs. Overall pretty mild with wild extremes.
    We have a unique micro climate do to the mountains that surround our valley. Keeps most of the bad weather out of the valley. Brookings on the coast is located in Oregons " Banana Belt " where it can reach 100 degrees with the right weather pattern. Its the only area on the coast that gets that warm. It does see its fair share of rain and fog though. Head east to Klamath and its much drier not so hot but brrrrrr cold in the winter. They can get some big snows but get many blue bird days because the Cascades soak up much of the moisture before it gets to the basin.
    The riding is supreme as well. We have DG in many trails which is best ridden wet. Superb traction. Though very good dry as well. Ashland is home to the now famous 12 mile super d race that starts at Mt. Ashland ski lodge and ends in the city of Ashland. Not to mention one of the best and longest downhill trails systems anywhere. I wouldnt want to live anywhere else. Except maybe Whistler.

  10. #10
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    I wouldn't trade Oregon's climate for anything. Summers are typically pretty nice, contrary to popular belief, July and August and into September are dry and can get hot, we had a stretch this summer of something like 6 days over 100 and up to 106 in Portland, but this isn't normal. Fall and spring are nice, but can be a little damp and Winter is wet, it's nice to see the seasons change, but not drastically. If you partake in the snow sports, it makes a nice balance to the seasons with mt biking.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  11. #11
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    I love this state for its diversity in climate and terrain! Generally West of the Cascade Mtns. it is a moist climate 7 months out of the year but has very moderate temperatures. East of the Cascades is high desert and dry with more extremes in temperature.

    One of the great things about the state is that if you live on the West side of the mountains you can be over in the dry part of the state in less than a couple of hours when you get sick of the winter rain.

    There are many hundreds of miles of single track outside of the towns of Bend, Oakridge (Eugene) and Hood River, with many other areas that I am missing. Awesome freeride outside of Hood River and Salem (Black Rock).

    If you get tired of biking you can always ski, hike, fish, hunt, river raft, mtn. climb, 4 wheel, walk the beach, etc.

    Visit and ride the areas that folks have mentioned.....you will fall in love with Oregon!

    Paul

    PS Very rarely do we experience humidity like the Eastern half of the country....I don't think I could tolerate dealing with that all summer long.

  12. #12
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    Yeah, what sofarider1 said. I'd go there.

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  13. #13
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    I gotta agree with Sofa and Matt. Move to Medford/Ashland and then you're close enough to visit those of us shallow and superficial folks here in Bend. Then again, someone needs to move to California to replace all of us that have left.

  14. #14
    ronbo613
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    At times, Hood River seems to bear a downsized resemblance to SoCal. Only there you get cut off by Subarus instead of Mercedes.

  15. #15
    Daniel the Dog
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    Western Oregon

    Is very mild. Very little snow or sun. The weather is nice from roughly May through October but then turns to rat crap. The winter is chlly with tons of rain. No surprise.

    Jaybo

  16. #16
    Afric Pepperbird
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronbo613
    At times, Hood River seems to bear a downsized resemblance to SoCal. Only there you get cut off by Subarus instead of Mercedes.
    Hood River's got nuthin' on Bend's preponderance of Subaru's!

    Actually, to be fair, the whole state seems a conglomerate of Subaru, Inc.

  17. #17
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    Whatever your opinion of people on the road in Hood River and Bend...The people on the trails in the Bend area suck balls.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  18. #18
    Afric Pepperbird
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan
    Whatever your opinion of people on the road in Hood River and Bend...The people on the trails in the Bend area suck balls.
    I've seen you mention this before. There is therapy for this type of thing, you know? You can overcome this.

    I once saw a homeless woman pull down her pants and pee in a Burger King. You know what? I'll still enjoy a flame broiled Whopper now and again.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirt farmer
    I've seen you mention this before. There is therapy for this type of thing, you know? You can overcome this.

    I once saw a homeless woman pull down her pants and pee in a Burger King. You know what? I'll still enjoy a flame broiled Whopper now and again.
    Ah, good analogy. I guess I'll have to come back after they clean up the mess.
    I only ride bikes to fill the time when I'm not skiing.

  20. #20
    newfydog
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldHouseMan
    Whatever your opinion of people on the road in Hood River and Bend...The people on the trails in the Bend area suck balls.
    Seems I read somewhere that opinions are like buttholes.....

  21. #21
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    I'll just speak for the Willamette Valley, which includes Portland, Salem, Albany/Corvallis, Eugene and a solid majority of the state's population. You will find significantly different climates on the coast (MUCH wetter but otherwise even milder), Southern Oregon (much warmer in summer but somewhat similar in winter) or Central and Eastern Oregon (warmer in summer, colder and usually snowy in winter, otherwise much drier), but I'll let the people from those areas answer the question their way.

    By the way, I grew up in MN and have lived in Iowa, so I'm familiar with the transition you will make.

    Here you will find dry, fairly mild summers and cool (not cold), wet winters. Most summer days are in the 70s or 80s (average July highs range from 79 in Portland to low to mid 80s further up the valley) with nights in the 50s or 60s. We get anywhere from a half dozen to a dozen days in the 90s, and once every year or two we will get a stretch of 3-4 days near or above 100. It is almost always dry from early July (sometimes starting much earlier) until sometime in October. During that 3 month period it will usually just rain a couple times, and it will be nothing like midwestern rain.

    Another nice thing about the summers is noticeably less humidity than the Midwest (though still humid by, say, Southwestern standards). And very few mosquitoes, which in the Midwest pretty much count as weather. A lot of people around here don't even have screens on their windows. Screen porches are almost unheard-of, because they are not necessary.

    By the way, we only get thunder and lightning once or twice a year, and it's usually mild compared to the midwest. In 19 years of living west of the Cascades, I can only remember one really powerful thunderstorm to rival the ones you get regularly during midwestern summers.

    It's also generally less windy than the Midwest, although in the winter Portland often has a stiff breeze blowing from the east out of the Columbia Gorge. The rest of the valley is usually somewhat insulated from this.

    Winters are mostly 40s to low 50s for highs, and 30s to low 40s for lows. On days it's wet or cloudy it usually doesn't freeze. On days it's clear and dry there's usually a bit of frost. Once or twice a year we'll get a cold snap where it gets down into the high teens to mid 20s at night for a few days in a row. And once or twice a year (most years) we'll get a couple inches of snow. Every few winters it won't snow at all. And every few winters we'll get clobbered: last year Portland got 19" over 3 days just before Christmas. White Christmases are pretty rare here, although we did have one last year, and we had a light dusting the year before.

    Oh, also every couple of years we get a brutal ice storm that covers everything in a thick (often 1/4" to 1/2") layer of wet ice and everything closes for a day or two because you can't even walk down the sidewalk without falling on your ass. I have seen conditions of 22 degrees and raining on numerous occasions here. Portland is more susceptible to this than the rest of the Valley because of (again) its proximity to the Gorge.

    The rumors you've heard that it rains a lot here are true, but not in the way that a lot of people imagine. The annual 40" or so or precip that most Valley cities get is about the same as some east coast cities. Except for November and December we don't get a lot of hard rainstorms like you see in the Midwest. It's just a steady drizzle or mist, often not enough to require a hood or an umbrella. But sometimes it can be gray and drizzly day in and day out, so you'll need to get used to that. You've heard how the Eskimos (allegedly) have 20 different words for snow? Here we have 20 different words for rain. It doesn't rain all the time -- often it's just gray. The rains typically start in mid to late October, ease up a bit after the beginning of the year and continue until sometime in the spring. Sometimes they taper off in March, sometimes May or June.

    If you do find yourself missing snow, just drive an hour or two up to the mountains and you'll have more snow than you ever imagined in the midwest. Most of our ski areas get upwards of 300-400 inches per year, and snowy years can bring 600 inches. Do yourself a favor and buy yourself some tire chains if you plan to hit the mountains in winter, and consider a set of winter tires even if you have never done so in the midwest (and even if you have AWD, which doesn't help you stop -- an important consideration when you're sliding down a 6% grade on wet snow over ice). If it's raining and below about 50 degrees in the valley (which a lot of the time it IS), that means there's snow falling on the slopes.

    I think the biggest adjustments (weather-wise) for midwesterners moving here are:
    • You might be used to warm, summerlike temperatures starting in May, but you can't count on that here until early July. Summer starts much later here, but fortunately it also ends later.
    • There is WAY less variability in the weather from day to day, or week to week. Sometimes the SAME weather DAY AFTER DAY can get boring, for those who are used to a little more excitement.
    • Winters are GRAY. The sun comes out from time to time, sometimes for days on end, But just as often you can go for days, and occasionally weeks, without seeing the sun in the wintertime. Say bye-bye to the blazing sun you're used to for much of the winter, and get used to forgetting what phase the moon is in because you haven't seen it in weeks. If you're susceptible to SAD this will be very difficult climate for you. If not, you'll probably adapt because it's a lot milder than you're used to. And speaking of which ...
    • While you're going "my GOD, this climate is mild and/or boring" you'll hear constant whining from people raised in even-milder climates about how cold, brutal and awful the weather is here. You probably rarely encounter the species HomoCalifornicus in Iowa, but you will meet a lot of them here and most of them have no freakin' CLUE how most of America lives.
    • You'll be amazed how dry summers are once you get into July. Lawns here turn green in the winter and brown in the summer, the exact reverse of the midwest. In April and May your lawn will grow 6" or more a week, and by July it will stop growing.
    • You're gonna miss thunderstorms. Fortunately they're much more common east of the mountains, so you can still get your fix occasionally.
    Last edited by GlowBoy; 11-17-2009 at 11:19 PM.
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  22. #22
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    Hey moderator, can we get a sticky for FAQs on moving to or visiting Oregon and have this be one of the keynote essays?

    Quote Originally Posted by GlowBoy
    I'll just speak for the Willamette Valley, which includes Portland, Salem, Albany/Corvallis, Eugene and a solid majority of the state's population. You will find significantly different climates on the coast (MUCH wetter but otherwise even milder), Southern Oregon (much warmer in summer but somewhat similar in winter) or Central and Eastern Oregon (warmer in summer, colder and usually snowy in winter, otherwise much drier), but I'll let the people from those areas answer the question their way.

    By the way, I grew up in MN and have lived in Iowa, so I'm familiar with the transition you will make.

    Here you will find dry, fairly mild summers and cool (not cold), wet winters. Most summer days are in the 70s or 80s (average July highs range from 79 in Portland to low to mid 80s further up the valley) with nights in the 50s or 60s. We get anywhere from a half dozen to a dozen days in the 90s, and once every year or two we will get a stretch of 3-4 days near or above 100. It is almost always dry from early July (sometimes starting much earlier) until sometime in October. During that 3 month period it will usually just rain a couple times, and it will be nothing like midwestern rain.

    Another nice thing about the summers is noticeably less humidity than the Midwest (though still humid by, say, Southwestern standards). And very few mosquitoes, which in the Midwest pretty much count as weather. A lot of people around here don't even have screens on their windows. Screen porches are almost unheard-of, because they are not necessary.

    By the way, we only get thunder and lightning once or twice a year, and it's usually mild compared to the midwest. In 19 years of living west of the Cascades, I can only remember one really powerful thunderstorm to rival the ones you get regularly during midwestern summers.

    It's also generally less windy than the Midwest, although in the winter Portland often has a stiff breeze blowing from the east out of the Columbia Gorge. The rest of the valley is usually somewhat insulated from this.

    Winters are mostly 40s to low 50s for highs, and 30s to low 40s for lows. On days it's wet or cloudy it usually doesn't freeze. On days it's clear and dry there's usually a bit of frost. Once or twice a year we'll get a cold snap where it gets down into the high teens to mid 20s at night for a few days in a row. And once or twice a year (most years) we'll get a couple inches of snow. Every few winters it won't snow at all. And every few winters we'll get clobbered: last year Portland got 19" over 3 days just before Christmas. White Christmases are pretty rare here, although we did have one last year, and we had a light dusting the year before.

    Oh, also every couple of years we get a brutal ice storm that covers everything in a thick (often 1/4" to 1/2") layer of wet ice and everything closes for a day or two because you can't even walk down the sidewalk without falling on your ass. I have seen conditions of 22 degrees and raining on numerous occasions here. Portland is more susceptible to this than the rest of the Valley because of (again) its proximity to the Gorge.

    The rumors you've heard that it rains a lot here are true, but not in the way that a lot of people imagine. The annual 40" or so or precip that most Valley cities get is about the same as some east coast cities. Except for November and December we don't get a lot of hard rainstorms like you see in the Midwest. It's just a steady drizzle or mist, often not enough to require a hood or an umbrella. But sometimes it can be gray and drizzly day in and day out, so you'll need to get used to that. You've heard how the Eskimos (allegedly) have 20 different words for snow? Here we have 20 different words for rain. It doesn't rain all the time -- often it's just gray. The rains typically start in mid to late October, ease up a bit after the beginning of the year and continue until sometime in the spring. Sometimes they taper off in March, sometimes May or June.

    If you do find yourself missing snow, just drive an hour or two up to the mountains and you'll have more snow than you ever imagined in the midwest. Most of our ski areas get upwards of 300-400 inches per year, and snowy years can bring 600 inches. Do yourself a favor and buy yourself some tire chains if you plan to hit the mountains in winter, and consider a set of winter tires even if you have never done so in the midwest (and even if you have AWD, which doesn't help you stop -- an important consideration when you're sliding down a 6% grade on wet snow over ice). If it's raining and below about 50 degrees in the valley (which a lot of the time it IS), that means there's snow falling on the slopes.

    I think the biggest adjustments (weather-wise) for midwesterners moving here are:
    • You might be used to warm, summerlike temperatures starting in May, but you can't count on that here until early July. Summer starts much later here, but fortunately it also ends later.
    • There is WAY less variability in the weather from day to day, or week to week. Sometimes the SAME weather DAY AFTER DAY can get boring, for those who are used to a little more excitement.
    • Winters are GRAY. The sun comes out from time to time, sometimes for days on end, But just as often you can go for days, and occasionally weeks, without seeing the sun in the wintertime. Say bye-bye to the blazing sun you're used to for much of the winter, and get used to forgetting what phase the moon is in because you haven't seen it in weeks. If you're susceptible to SAD this will be very difficult climate for you. If not, you'll probably adapt because it's a lot milder than you're used to. And speaking of which ...
    • While you're going "my GOD, this climate is mild and/or boring" you'll hear constant whining from people raised in even-milder climates about how cold, brutal and awful the weather is here. You probably rarely encounter the species HomoCalifornicus in Iowa, but you will meet a lot of them here and most of them have no freakin' CLUE how most of America lives.
    • You'll be amazed how dry summers are once you get into July. Lawns here turn green in the winter and brown in the summer, the exact reverse of the midwest. In April and May your lawn will grow 6" or more a week, and by July it will stop growing.
    • You're gonna miss thunderstorms. Fortunately they're much more common east of the mountains, so you can still get your fix occasionally.

  23. #23
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    Damn! Now this is the explanation I was looking for! I think I would miss thunderstorms, but it sounds like there is a lot to make up for that. The drier climate, not as hot or cold extremes, less mosquitoes, etc. I do occasionally get SAD in the winter without the sun, but I think that is mainly my lack of being able to do things outside. But with skiing close (and I'm sure its some damn great skiing compared to Iowa), that would more than make up for it. I can only see positives to moving out there from Iowa. The biking has got to be way better and I'm into landscape photography. After more and more things you guys post, I'm wanting to do this more and more.

    What is the weather out there like right now, around this time of the year? Maybe next year I will have to make a trip out there for my Thanksgiving break and check it out. Are there any pictures some ppl would be willing to put up, either from biking or photog?
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  24. #24
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    Plenty of photos here. Most are from Oregon, riding with the Disciples of Dirt

    http://s239.photobucket.com/albums/ff60/sasquatchmtb/
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  25. #25
    MattSavage
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonzi13
    What is the weather out there like right now, around this time of the year? Maybe next year I will have to make a trip out there for my Thanksgiving break and check it out. Are there any pictures some ppl would be willing to put up, either from biking or photog?
    Hasn't been dry in weeks... Occasional sunbreaks, periods without rain, but generally wet with some occasional low level snow (+/-2000' elevation). In the 40's, low 50's... Typical start to our winter. Right around Christmas though, it should start to warm up... It's not going to be a good winter this year. I'm forecasting a marginal snowpack. Might break a 100" base at the larger ski areas, lots of rain at pass levels.

    I know this... The Swallows stayed too long... I saw a dead trout floating with it's head upstream... bad omens.
    "I wrote a hit play! What have you ever done?!"

    Have Ashtray, Will Travel....

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