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Old 05-22-07, 08:09 AM   #1
aikigreg
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Portland / Washington State Area FOO?

My wife and I are going to be spending a couple weeks in the portland area soon, with an eye towards moving into the area - currently we're thinking about Vancouver, WA specifically. We're both teachers, and the Oregon educational system is in the crapper at the moment, otherwise it'd be portland for sure. We're planning on renting or buying a townhouse if we move - so property values isn't such a big deal since teachers get paid diddly.

Essentiallly, we're trying to find somewhere my allergies won't kill me, but at the same time isn't freezing all winter. I hate the snow and when it gets below freezing.

In any case, if any FOOsters want to get together for a ride, can suggest places to look for potential moves, or if you just have a suggestion on what to do or where to eat, I'd love to have your opinions.

We're also thinking about various places in Washington and may be coming through Spokane as well.

Thanks yall!
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Old 05-22-07, 10:34 AM   #2
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Holler at Randya! You might get to experience a Zoobomber Ride!
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Old 05-22-07, 10:41 AM   #3
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I just moved to Washington State (East side of Lake Washington from Seattle). In this area at least, it won't get thaaat cold due to the Cascade Mountains keeping the snow away and the ocean tempering the climate. However, allergies might be pretty rough here. You may want to check online @ http://www.pollen.com/Pollen.com.asp to check allergy levels in some areas. I've noticed pollen is pretty bad here....I often can SEE it visibly floating in the air.
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Old 05-22-07, 12:16 PM   #4
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Your allergic reactions to local flora (including molds and mildews) will develop, on average, 3 years after moving here.
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Old 05-22-07, 12:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingTermite
I just moved to Washington State (East side of Lake Washington from Seattle). In this area at least, it won't get thaaat cold due to the Cascade Mountains keeping the snow away and the ocean tempering the climate. However, allergies might be pretty rough here. You may want to check online @ http://www.pollen.com/Pollen.com.asp to check allergy levels in some areas. I've noticed pollen is pretty bad here....I often can SEE it visibly floating in the air.
What you see in the air is likely cedar pollen, perhaps other trees, but mostly cedar pollen. Most trees around here are wind pollinated (all conifers are wind pollinated, as are maples, alder, etc). On a dry, windy day you can watch pollen blown around by the wind. It's pretty, yellow dustings on the ground, like fairy dust.
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Old 05-22-07, 12:42 PM   #6
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What you see in the air is likely cedar pollen, perhaps other trees, but mostly cedar pollen. Most trees around here are wind pollinated (all conifers are wind pollinated, as are maples, alder, etc). On a dry, windy day you can watch pollen blown around by the wind. It's pretty, yellow dustings on the ground, like fairy dust.
That's surely some of it. I've seen more white poofy looking particles though...still wind pollinated, whatever it is. Kinda like pieces of dandelion.


They look something like this:
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Old 05-22-07, 12:48 PM   #7
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The dandelion-like stuff is probably cottonwood. There are maybe two dozen maximum about a quarter mile from me and the day they started on their annual reproductive process, I looked out the window and (not yet fully awake) thought it was snowing.
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Old 05-22-07, 12:49 PM   #8
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The dandelion-like stuff is probably cottonwood. There are maybe two dozen maximum about a quarter mile from me and the day they started on their annual reproductive process, I looked out the window and (not yet fully awake) thought it was snowing.
That's exactly the effect. First time I saw them, I thought it was snowing.
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Old 05-22-07, 01:22 PM   #9
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Yep. That would be cottonwood seeds.

Look for the yellow stuff earlier, February/March/maybe April-ish.

And, before the cottonwood seeds start floating, remember to smell the air. Cottonwoods can produce the sweetest scents (esp true for black cottonwoods).
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Old 05-22-07, 01:31 PM   #10
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Vancouver, WA is suburban redneck pickup truck hell, I wouldn't wish living there on anyone. North Portland is close to Vancouver, still pretty affordable, much more urban and bike-friendly, and is a very close reverse commute to Vancouver, if that's where you'll be working. The only reason to live in Vancouver is lower taxes.

But if you're allergic to grass, trees, weeds and/or mold, you will not be happy. The Willamette Valley in Oregon grows the world's biggest grass seed crop, and the westerly prevailing winds blow the pollen north up the valley every summer. Plus, nine months of dampness each year grows a great mold, weed and tree pollen crop, also.
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Old 05-22-07, 06:35 PM   #11
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Clark County is probably one of the fastest growing areas in washington right now, so housing is getting expensive. Traffic into and out of Portland is also a pain with daily slow downs.

As for allergies....Kind of damp, lots of grasses and weeds that produce airborne spores...might not be the best place....I would consider south of Portland
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Old 05-22-07, 08:11 PM   #12
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I seem to remember reading somewhere that the Pacific NW is pretty much the worst place in the US for allergies, but I suppose it's what you're allergic to.

The weather's fantastic though...except in July.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cohophysh
I would consider south of Portland
South of Portland is where the grass seed industry is. Might be worse.


Aikigreg, rather than just making my post a bunch of raining on your parade, I figured I'd mention that there's a lot of great places to eat if you come by Portland, especially if you like beer. My favorite Brewpub is Widmer Brothers, although McMenamins is bigger and easier to find for an out-of-towner. McMenamins also has a restaurant or two somewhere around the Seattle area, I think.
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Old 05-23-07, 01:32 AM   #13
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No one's raining! We want y'all to come to PDX and ride yer bike!!! Just don't be deceived about Clark Çounty/Vancouver or the allergy thang....that's all...and IAL is right, there are lots of great restaurants, brew pubs and wineries in PDX, and lots of bike fun!!!
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Old 05-23-07, 06:51 AM   #14
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Thanks so much for the responses so far, y'all. That area of the country just seems like a haven for somewhat intelligent, independant individuals who are active and fun. I love Texas, but I'm kinda tired of the mentality that goes along with having a 4 door 6 wheel truck just because you CAN.

Though it's starting to sound like I'd be better off staying here. Might as well move to Austin and get it over with, but my wife thinks the pacific NW is going to be the shizz, so I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt.

Lucky 13 - I definately like beer!
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Old 05-23-07, 08:49 AM   #15
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Just in case you run out of things to do and places to visit,...
Keep Portland Weird!
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Old 05-23-07, 08:53 AM   #16
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Thanks so much for the responses so far, y'all. That area of the country just seems like a haven for somewhat intelligent, independant individuals who are active and fun.
Well....that's what brought me here...at least in part.

You might want to try a 2-week vacation here and see if allergies bother you in that time.
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Old 05-23-07, 10:02 AM   #17
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Quote:
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Well....that's what brought me here...at least in part.

You might want to try a 2-week vacation here and see if allergies bother you in that time.
What did you think the purpose of this thread WAS?

I'll likely be there June 3-20.
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Old 05-23-07, 11:25 AM   #18
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Austin, Texas was where I left to come to Portland. That was 20 years ago and I've never looked back or regretted it. The only thing I really miss in Austin is the music scene, but I can still follow that from here and Portland's got a pretty good music scene of its own.
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Old 05-23-07, 12:19 PM   #19
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We're both teachers, and the Oregon educational system is in the crapper at the moment, otherwise it'd be portland for sure.
I live in Portland and have taught in Gresham (east of Portland) for 17 years. I'm not sure I agree with the "crapper" assessment, and with the economy on the upswing and the Dems in control in salem, there's a fresh wind blowing education-wise in Oregon and Portland. We're hungry for fresh and innovative teachers, and as a parent of kids in Portland, I'd ask you not to write us off so quickly.

But there are good districts in the surrounding areas. Beaverton, especially, has probably one of the most innovative districts and probaly the best superintendent of any Oregon district.

As for buying, I agree that lots of folks are moving to Clark County/Vancouver area, but prices there are going high too.

You're welcome in my neighborhood - see this link for info on the food and culture in Montavilla
Open a new bikeshop please!

Also, Christian Ettiger, one of our local brewnasters, is opening a new brewpub around SE 29th and Powell that should be open by the time you arrive. He's a big-time biker and plans to make the place very bike-friendly.
http://bikeportland.org/2007/05/15/m...pub/#more-3660

Make sure you check out other stuff on
bikeportland.org

If I was doing it all over again, I'd also be tempted by Spokane - take a look on your way through. Great place for biking and lots of other stuff.

Good luck and feel free to PM me when you get here if you need any advice.
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Old 05-23-07, 12:47 PM   #20
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What's the weather like in Spokane? Much snow and cold?

Mtmann - I've read some serious horror stories about public school being so underfunded, the teachers in some places have to have fundraisers just to pay salaries and get textbooks.

I teach in the Ghetto, which can be rewarding, but I kinda need a break from needy agressive kids, you know? I can use any help and perspective you can throw my way. It's hard to separate truth from fiction. Maybe I should buy you dinner one night while I'm there and you can give me the lowdown?

I teach Spanish and coach wrestling, my wife teaches history, btw.
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Old 05-23-07, 03:20 PM   #21
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What's the weather like in Spokane? Much snow and cold?

Mtmann - I've read some serious horror stories about public school being so underfunded, the teachers in some places have to have fundraisers just to pay salaries and get textbooks.

I teach in the Ghetto, which can be rewarding, but I kinda need a break from needy agressive kids, you know? I can use any help and perspective you can throw my way. It's hard to separate truth from fiction. Maybe I should buy you dinner one night while I'm there and you can give me the lowdown?

I teach Spanish and coach wrestling, my wife teaches history, btw.
Things were bad here several years ago - My district lopped 8 days off the end of the year (and our paycheck) because the state literally ran out of money. it's still pretty fresh in peoples' minds and the legislature has addressed/is addressing the way schools are funded so it's not based on a boom/bust economy and there's a rainy-day cushion built in. I know that doesn't sound super-hopeful, but it really is pretty good now and the "horror stories" just that; more fiction than fact.

If you applied for teaching positions in Portland you would most likely be assigned a "low-performing" school. You can read between the lines on that one as to what that means and what you want/don't want to get into. I like the recent directions Portland has taken with reforms, but like any big district there are plenty of vocal opponents to change, so the wheels of reform grind oh-so-slowly.

As for Spokane weather, it is on the east side of the Cascades so colder and dryer in the winter, but I don't think too brutal. If you don't like snow or cold, Portland is a better bet.

I'd be glad to get together and talk more when you're in town.
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Old 05-23-07, 04:40 PM   #22
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Are you sticking to Portland? You could also check out Bend. It's grown a la California style, but, it's a great town to base in for getting out and about. Deschutes Brewery is there...mmm...beer. You won't have the allergy issues in Bend that you have east of the Cascades; it's high desert up there. If you don't like cold or snow, you won't like Bend. Not sure about housing costs; probably high, since Californians have settled and developed there.
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