General Cycling Discussion - Paging Seattle/Pacific NW Folks-->>
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02-02-04, 11:49 AM
My wife has been offered jobs in a few different places in the Pacific NW... Seattle, Portland, Eugene and Salem...
Any opinions on the plus' and minus' of any of these areas?? Mostly we are interested in which offers the best cycling-roads, bike paths, bike-culture, etc and also offers a culture rich for general day to day living, schools that are forward thinking (arts-based education philosophies) and generally speaking... just a great place to be!
02-02-04, 12:35 PM
eugene rocks.....lots of bike paths, big university, relatively cheap to live in, cultural stuff does happen because of the university
salem sucks....few to no bike paths, little culture (though it's 45 mins to portland), but does have a low cost of living
portland rocks.....lots to do, lots of bicycles, but quite expensive in the housing market, and schools can be dodgey
seattle.....out of control housing market prices, lots of hills, horrible traffic
my vote: Eugene or Portland in that order
02-02-04, 12:44 PM
Portland has routinely been rated one of the best, if not the best city in which to raise a child. I'll post a link if I have time later and can find one. I've also heard that it's got big city conveniences without the big city feel, although I can't vouch for that claim.
02-02-04, 03:57 PM
I love Seattle. Sure it has lots of hills and it is certainly America's worst kept secret (ie everyone is moving there), but it's a beautiful city, it has lots of scope for long rides both in and out of the city, I'd move there in a heartbeat if had the chance.
Unfortunately I've never beem to Salem or Eugene, and not to Portland since I was 12, so my arguement is a bit one-sided. On the other hand, have you considered Vancouver BC? Obviously work is the primary factor here I think, but Van is a wonderful city, perhaps even better than Seattle (it's in Canada, good or bad I can't decide :) ).
02-02-04, 04:26 PM
Portland is nice, it provides the cultural aspects only a city can provide, but can still feel "small." Music and art are prominant and would think they are certain to be incorporated in some school programs.
Eugene is much smaller, cozier and, being a college town, offers a more youthful and laid-back atmosphere.
Biking is predominant in all forms in both Portand and Eugene.
Seattle is Portland's larger, faster, louder, scarier sibling.
Salem, well, who knows, I think they burn witches or something. . .
And contrary to what most Pacific NWers think, you'll actually encounter LESS rain here than in NYC by about 1/3. It's rainy, but a little known fact to most people here is that it is less so than in New York.
02-02-04, 04:45 PM
If you are used to and need the hectic bigger-city feel, go with Seattle. Otherwise, what everyone else said so far is right on. I'd go Portland, then Eugene, and definitely stay away from Salem. Corvallis can be nice, as well as some western Washington towns.
02-03-04, 04:52 AM
i agree with almost everything people here have said.
when i first moved to the pacific northwest, i had a job in Salem. and i really wanted to live nearby and bike to work... i visted Salem and had a cute place picked out about 1 mile from my office... but i ended up finding a place in NW Portland (21st and Glisan - awesome location) and did the car commute for 6 months until i found a job in Portland. in retrospect i made the right choice.
anyhow it all depends on what you guys want. for someone wanting a "city" or fun, excitement and all, Salem sucks (don't move there as a single!). but if you have a family, who knows? it is affordable and is quite bike-friendly although as far as bike clubs an training and all i think the cycling "scene" is lacking in Salem, but i never really looked, so maybe i am wrong.
Portland is all-round awesome. no matter who you are you can find something great there (except for right-wingers or REAL big city people or people annoyed by environmentalists or Republican/Bush-lovers). it has a small, safe, comfortable feel and is close to outdoors/nature, while still offering most of the good things of a big city: jobs, culture, social clubs, arts, etc. --- bicycling is SO strongly supported by the government, companies, the local community and the local people! even if you live in suburbs like Beaverton or even Gresham or Vancouver, cycling is still pretty viable - of course the city and close-in suburbs are pretty good. (actually Beaverton itself for a suburb is pretty cycle-friendly). so unless you are expecting a New York City, you will love Portland.
i have never lived in eugene, but it is a cool place. smaller, less "city-like" than Portland... a college town... also good for cycling (government/community support for cycling about equal to Portland), outdoors and all, and has a lot of culture/things to do becuase of the university. also because of the university it is a little more culturally extreme: granola or hippie or whatever you wann call it - not bad of course if you like that (i kind of do)
Seattle: is basically a bigger Portland: more traffic, higher prices, more people, more sprawl, harder to get to the outdoors, more rich stuck-up city-types, more sprawl, more sprawl... (ok, you can see my bias too) -- it also is more of a "real city" with more big city things like professional sports teams, HIGH paying jobs, more urban feel, etc.
as i don't have kids, i can't really give the family angle, although i'm pretty sure Portland is much easier than Seattle due to costs and sprawl and crowding in Seattle... but Portland is very family-friendly as are Eugene and Salem. (Salem is small and boring which for families is not always bad)
i also agree with gonesh9: if you want something smaller and Eugene is too "wild" for you, Corvalis is cooler than boring Salem.
but in the end, for cycling you really can't go wrong with any of the 4 choices... if you want to "utility" cycle meaning as your primary transportation (bike to work and shopping, etc) then Seattle is more of a challenge but still possible. Portland, Eugene or Salem should be pretty easily attainable.
02-03-04, 04:56 AM
On the other hand, have you considered Vancouver BC? Obviously work is the primary factor here I think, but Van is a wonderful city, perhaps even better than Seattle (it's in Canada, good or bad I can't decide
i agree. i would choose Vancouver over Seattle for all kinds of reasons (more affordable, less sprawl, less crowded but with all the benefits, closer to outdoors, etc)
but Vancouver wasn't in your original list of 4...
I would say any of the 3 Seattle, Portland and Salem. I lived in Seattle and Portland and have been to Salem. The majority of Eugene is filled with people who give the PNW a bad name. Lets put it this way....if Eugene was on fire I wouldnt bother pi$$ing on it. Other than that, its a pretty nice place... :rolleyes:
As far as price goes...I would go with Portland. Seattle is pretty high and housing is way out of control. As far as schools go....Oregon has a very low ranking in school systems as far as the nation is concerned.
02-03-04, 01:04 PM
Portland's housing prices are getting pretty out of control, too. Also, TLN is right that the school system is lagging here as well. Bad politics have stripped public schools of necessary funding. There are still good schools, though- they're just dealing with a budget shortfall.
Having lived all my life in Seattle, I have grown quite fond of it.
“Seattle: is basically a bigger Portland: more traffic, higher prices, more people, more sprawl, harder to get to the outdoors, more rich stuck-up city-types,”
I don’t know how you can say that its harder to get outdoors while living in Seattle, just an hour to the east is one of the west coasts predominant mtn ranges, The Cascades, and then just across the sound are the Olympics. As for ridding its good, drivers are generally OK, and there is the paved Burke-Gilman/Sammamish River Trail which runs the length of the city and then some. It’s a nice flat alternative.
Having not been a homeowner/renter I can not comment on housing.
However I just recently relocated North to Bellingham, WA. And after living up here, and ridding around I am not sure if I ever want to go back to Seattle.
I have lived in Eugene, Portland and Salem and have spent quite a bit of time in Seattle. I agree totally with what pdx_gay_guy says about each and my personal ranking would be Eugene, Portland, Seattle (all three are wonderful in my opinion) and only move to Salem if you have to.
02-03-04, 11:01 PM
Seattle is a mixed. Great climate (I love the PNW weather), lot's of hills to climb, lot's of things to do. On the other hand, people have a weird aversion to straight coffee, and always seemed a little uptight. Traffic is terrible. I'm afraid I don't know about the biking atmosphere.
Eugene seems too left-wing for me, but based on your criteria it might be good for you.
Salem, incredibly, I've never even driven through, but haven't been inspired by what I hear.
Portland, aside from the fact that Oregonians aren't very familiar with blinkers, lane control, stop signs and speed limits and refuse to believe that AA baseball is better than the majors, is a good city. Bike lanes are pretty pervasive and Forest Park is a nice place for gentle riding.
02-03-04, 11:42 PM
I raised my family in West Seattle, lived in: Portland & Poulsbo/Kingston (other side of Puget Sound from Seattle) before we came to Olympia. My oldest son now lives in Salem after moving from Portland. Seattle is much more expensive to live in than years gone by & Portland housing is also getting expensive. Both are great places for cycling but traffic is a major problem. Salem has more affordable housing & pleasant, affordable neighborhoods walking distance from downtown. It is similar to Olympia, Wa for cost of living, not much traffic & short commute times but Salem is a larger city that has a more pleasant downtown core. Salem is the most liveable for a family but might not be very satisfying for singles. Don
02-04-04, 04:04 AM
I don’t know how you can say that its harder to get outdoors while living in Seattle, just an hour to the east is one of the west coasts predominant mtn ranges, The Cascades, and then just across the sound are the Olympics.
Seattle is hard to get to the outdoors ONLY relative to Portland, Eugene, Salem, or pretty much anywhere else in the Pacific Northwest...
1) driving out of Seattle on a saturday morning in January to Crystal Mountain = traffic vs. the same from Portland to Mt Hood Meadows
2) to get to great MTB trails, you can be out of the Portland fast (or even reach them by train/bike) whereas Seattle you have to drive further and face MUCH more traffic
but there are definitely GREAT weekend destinations in the Seattle area, they're just a little harder to reach b/c of all the traffic.
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