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Last Post 23 Nov 2010 12:23 PM by  dhrmx5
Oregon / Washington area move
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dewme5
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01 Nov 2010 09:56 AM

    I know this is sort of open ended. I'm hoping to just get a few suggestions to guide my own research. I'd like to find a decent location, that is centered between personal interests. Racing, and mountain biking. So far as racing goes, I like it all, and will be starting fresh after the move. Road racing is my primary interest, but may find my way into rally.

    I'm down in Florida at the moment, and we are contemplating a move to the pacific northwest.

    What I'm looking for:
    Easy access to some decent Mountain bike trails.
    abundance of Motor sports. Rally, SCCA road racing.

    What I have:
    Family. Schools are a concern, no gangs, low crime.

    What are the suggestions for places in the Washington / Oregon area.

    I'd prefer not to be in the heart of a big city, but don't want to be in the sticks.

    What are some suggestions for good areas to look at. Maybe two or three cities or areas, and I'll take a trip to scout the ones that sound the best.

    Thanks.

    GlennAustin
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    03 Nov 2010 11:28 PM

    I'm not a mountain biker, but I see a lot of them around both the Seattle and Portland areas. On the east side of Washington, there are a lot more places to ride because people there don't tolerate living on top of each other, and I imagine that it's the same for eastern Oregon.

    Portland has PIR and Grass Valley (Oregon Raceway Park) fairly nearby. Portland probably has marginally more rally than Seattle, but I may be mistaken. Seattle has Seattle Raceway (marginal safety at best), and a couple of other tracks in the planning stages. Unfortunately, PIR is threatened by people living nearby (who were able to find a nice house at a reduced price due to the house's proximity to PIR), Oregon Raceway Park is a distance away from everything. I've heard rumors of other tracks being proposed.

    Both Portland and Seattle areas are EXPENSIVE for cost of living, especially housing -- even in this market. It's just not quite as expensive as it was 12 months ago. The east side is far more affordable.

    Crime is going to be a challenge in both the Seattle and Portland areas. Not bad, but where there are a lot of people (especially when you have people who think that environment is the problem that leads to crime), you get gangs. Gangs aren't as much of a problem east of the Cascades (at least I haven't seen that much) with the exception of Spokane (see previous sentence for reasons).

    West of the Cascades, winter can be quite gray (and sometimes white). East of the Cascades, there's more sunlight during the winter (Richland/Pasco/Kennewick, for example, gets a lot more sun, not as much snow) -- but also colder temps and more of the white stuff, but it's an easier snow to drive on (the ground is usually frozen by the time the first snow hits, where on the west side we get snow on top of slush on top of water on top slippery leaves or ice).

    If I had an option of where I could live, I'd look very closely into the Richland/Kennewick (WA) area. Vancouver, WA is just across the river from Portland, OR and is pretty nice. I once thought that living in the Seattle area would be OK -- and it is as long as you take the time to find compatible neighborhoods.

    dewme5
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    08 Nov 2010 01:00 PM

    Awesome Gene, that is exactly the kind of information I'm looking for.

    What do you mean by marginal safety at best for Seattle? I can handle being a little ways from a track, if I can be located to more of them.

    What's with all the crop circles around Kennewick?

    Job availability is going to play a part of things of course. I'm not really interested in living in the middle of Portland, or Seattle. Some place a little smaller fits us better. I'd rather commute 20 min to work then to live in a tight apt. complex with difficult parking. I've been eyeballing the Enumclaw area, just east of Tacoma, but that doesn't help with being located near a track at all. 3hours to PIR is a bit much for what I want. Time to start looking more towards Vancouver I guess.

    sti4rs
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    08 Nov 2010 01:11 PM

    Not sure if Eugene is too far away from PIR (about 2 hours and is the closest track) for you but I love it here for so many reasons.

    GlennAustin
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    08 Nov 2010 02:32 PM
    dewme5 wrote:

    Awesome Gene, that is exactly the kind of information I'm looking for.

    What do you mean by marginal safety at best for Seattle? I can handle being a little ways from a track, if I can be located to more of them.

    What's with all the crop circles around Kennewick?

    Job availability is going to play a part of things of course. I'm not really interested in living in the middle of Portland, or Seattle. Some place a little smaller fits us better. I'd rather commute 20 min to work then to live in a tight apt. complex with difficult parking. I've been eyeballing the Enumclaw area, just east of Tacoma, but that doesn't help with being located near a track at all. 3hours to PIR is a bit much for what I want. Time to start looking more towards Vancouver I guess.

    There are places at Seattle where the trees are only 15-25 feet from the track surface in places, and there aren't a lot of places with a lot of runoff.

    The area around Kennewick (actually the entire Columbia basin) is heavily irrigated (it is a desert, after all). Those circles are where the sprinkler systems operate.

    dewme5
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    08 Nov 2010 03:56 PM

    What are the reasons. Looking at real estate around there, I'm finding some pretty nice deals. I push towards the Tacoma area, since I have one long time friend their already. I'm not going to let one friend be the one deciding factor amongst everything else.

    Driving two hours south, or north, is really the same. I would hope to be much closer to a track.

    What is the situation with PIR. Is it in danger of closing down in the next 5 years? If it closes, will it be rebuilt somewhere else, or is the new Oregon track going to be it?

    How is the autocross in Eugene?

    Ralt25
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    08 Nov 2010 05:18 PM

    As far as PIR, there have been gripes about the noise for 30 years, but it is the only department in the City of Portland that makes money.

    The autocrossing is quite good in Eugene. We usually have about 120 competitors each event. Lots of mountain biking trails around here.

    sti4rs
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    08 Nov 2010 07:25 PM

    Eugene is big enough to have the things you need in a city (decent schools, college, stores, shopping, night life, concerts, etc) yet without the draw backs of a large city (crime and traffic). I lived in LA for a while and moved to Cottage Grove (small town south of Eugene with a pop of 8,000), lived in Portland for a bit too. LA is too big and I like seasons. Cottage Grove is too small for a young adult. Portland ... my only real grip is traffic. Eugene is perfect for me.

    I don't mind driving (even in a city you have to drive) but within 90 minutes of Eugene you have PIR/Portland, Florence/Oregon coast, Mountains/Snow/Willamette Pass/Hoodoo. It really puts you in the middle of everything. Granted a lot of that you get from most metro area in the northwest but Eugene does it without all the people/traffic/crime. Being a metro area of about 200,000 it still feels like a small town. People are nice, you run into friends when out, waiters learn your name, people hold the door, that small town feel.

    As Jim said, Eugene has a great autocross scene with even a few national drivers. We were very fortunate this year to have access to the largest lot in Oregon to hold autocrosses. Portland and Seattle both use Packwood for a lot (most) of their events. Packwood isn't really close to anything but many Eugene people make it up to those events too.

    From within 2 hours or so of Eugene you have the Medford (large outdoor kart track), Bend (held at Hoodoo), Salem, Portland, and a few hillclimbs. Packwood is about 4 hours away but a very short drive for a national tour/pro considering the other tours/pros are 14 hours and 18 hours away for SD and Wendover, respectively. Even without Packwood you can race at least 3 weekends a month and drive anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours to get there....

    Granted I have considered moving somewhere south of Seattle but for now Eugene is great. Here are some local Eugene links that might interest you:

    http://www.hultcenter.org/ (Venue for Performing Arts)

    http://www.eescc.org/ (Local autocross/hillclimb club)

    http://lanemetro.com/ (Local business info)

    adhowe70
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    08 Nov 2010 08:09 PM

    I live in Silverton, Oregon which is northeast of Salem and south of Oregon City. It is a quiet town of about 10,000 which has good schools (we moved here from Salem for the schools). I'm about an hour from PIR and 1:15 from Eugene. Bend is a hair over 2 hours away.

    There is a track now in Grass Valley (South of The Dalles). I expect PIR to stay for the next 5 years, but the 5 after that are more cloudy. If PIR closes, another site for a race track will be hard to find inside an hour of Portland.

    Andy Howe (soon to be former director of Oregon Region Solo)

    GlennAustin
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    08 Nov 2010 10:18 PM

    Just be aware that Eugene has a pretty high pollen count during the year (at the time I lived there, they were #5 in the nation multiple years).

    For the most part, we enjoyed living in Eugene -- except for the allergy problems. We even got permission to give our 3-month-old (at the time) very light doses of Benedryl to counter his allergic reactions to the pollen. We haven't had the same problems with allergies in Vancouver or Maple Valley.

    dewme5
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    09 Nov 2010 10:18 AM

    Ahhh.. My wife has allergies, I do not. Certainly a consideration then. Of course, I'm not sure if here allergies here would act the same there.

    That is a good mental picture of the Eugene area. Population is 40,000 where I'm at. Finding a place with a little more culture would be a good thing.


    GlennAustin
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    09 Nov 2010 07:56 PM
    dewme5 wrote:

    Ahhh.. My wife has allergies, I do not. Certainly a consideration then. Of course, I'm not sure if here allergies here would act the same there.

    That is a good mental picture of the Eugene area. Population is 40,000 where I'm at. Finding a place with a little more culture would be a good thing.

    If she can tolerate the Atlanta area during pollen season, then Eugene should be OK -- allergy-wise at least.

    dewme5
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    10 Nov 2010 07:46 AM

    We are a little worse off then Atlanta looking at the pollen maps I could find. Looks like she would be fine.

    So far, Eugene is starting to look like a winner. I'll have to go there for sure on our trip.

    GlennAustin
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    10 Nov 2010 12:15 PM
    dewme5 wrote:

    We are a little worse off then Atlanta looking at the pollen maps I could find. Looks like she would be fine.

    So far, Eugene is starting to look like a winner. I'll have to go there for sure on our trip.

    That's why I suggested comparing against Atlanta, since we did that comparison as well (I've had offers to move to the Atlanta area).

    dewme5
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    11 Nov 2010 06:45 PM
    I don't like the Atlanta area much myself. Some love it. I've been in the south for 11 years, and that's just a little to long for me.
    mcolangelo2005
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    16 Nov 2010 08:23 PM

    I live just south of Seattle. I moved up here from southern California just over two years ago and have grown to like the area. The first winter was the roughest for me, especially since I came from the Mojave desert area of California where it rained maybe 10 days a year. Rainy season here is from October - April. Most of the time it's a light drizzle or mist type of rain. Some times it pours. During rain season, if it's not raining then it's usually gray. But I've learned to adjust and, really, it's not too bad.

    There are lots of things to do here. Arts, music, sports, universities, etc. .... pretty much whatever floats your boat. Mountain biking is big here, as are road cycling, soccer, skiing/snow boarding, etc.

    I'm single with no family here but this area always struck me as a good area to raise a family. Far better than most parts of SoCal, IMHO. Family-friendly towns near Seattle - but not too far away - include Issaquah, Maple Valley, Woodinville, etc. Do your homework, I bet you'll find something you'll like. The cost of living is fairly high here, though.

    I'm involved in both road racing and stage rally and dabble in the occasional autocross (and it shows!). The two major road racing organizations here are the SCCA (Oregon and Northwest Resgions) and the International Conference of Sports Car Clubs (ICSCC). People just call it "Conference" for short. I road race with Conference but will probably road race with the SCCA a bit next year, too. Between both the SCCA and Conference races, you will have a LOT of choice.

    In the Northwest, there are five road racing tracks that I'm aware of. Four of them are within a 3 hour drive from Seattle. They are Portland International Raceway (PIR), Oregon Raceway Park (ORP), Pacific Raceways (PR), and Mission Raceway Park (MRP) in BC, Canada. I like them all but Pacific is my favorite. It's in Kent, WA and is about 30 minutes from Seattle. The back part of this track cuts through a forest and it feels like you're doing a hillclimb. I don't think it's unsafe. Granted, I don't think it's as safe as PIR (with all of its runoff room) but you really need to screw up to hit a tree. There's plenty of runoff in the areas that you will most likely have an off. The fifth track is Spokane Raceway Park (SRP), which is about 5 hours from Seattle.

    Rally. Stage rally is pretty big here and the rally community is pretty active and welcoming. There are stage rally races from March through October in northern Oregon and western and eastern Washington. Plus, the Idaho Rally isn't too far away. Plus, our neighbors in British Columbia do a lot of rally racing, too. I just completed my first stage rally race at the Mt Hood Rally in Oregon. It was a one-day race and I had a blast. My next race will be the Doo Wops Rally in western Washington (just outside of Seattle) in March and I can't wait. There's a stage rally race in BC in December but I won't be there.

    TSD rallies are popular here, too. Both in the Portland and Seattle areas.

    Hope this helps!

    dhrmx5
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    23 Nov 2010 12:23 PM
    mcolangelo2005 is right on the money. I grew up in Kent and as long as you are out to the east it is still great with great schools. Enumclaw is another area that is rural but is within an hour of the Seattle/Tacoma metro area. Enumclaw is 35 minutes from Pacific Raceway and 1.5 hours from Bremerton Raceway (small airport track). Lots of karting (indoor/outdoor) and the best thing about the Seattle/Tacoma area is you don't have to drive more than 2 hours to find any kind of recreation imaginable.
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