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  1. #1
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    Hood River / similar Oregon towns info

    My parents are considering a move to the PNW. There are a variety of reasons for this, with proximity to extended family, slower pace of life, and access to nature being the primary drivers. Hood River seems to check a lot of boxes. I read this thread and would love to hear some recent Hood River experiences.

    I'd also love to hear about other towns that they should be considering. Bring the wisdom!

  2. #2
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    Oct 2004
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    More info needed.
    What kind of outdoor sports are they into?
    Do they like wind? How ‘bout rain? Extended periods of snow on the ground?
    How big a town? Do they want to be close to a largish city like PDX? Why?
    Do they want to be near cannabis dispensaries? Answer = yes eliminates almost everything east of Bend
    On a spectrum from hipster to hillbilly, what kind of people do they prefer to be around?
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  3. #3
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    old school mag Natty Dread lives in Hood River and I think Tonghands does too. Natty checked in a few weeks ago, maybe send him a PM. Couldn't hurt to drop Tonghands one too.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by TBS View Post
    More info needed
    Good questions. Responses below.

    What kind of outdoor sports are they into? -- Hiking and mellow skiing.
    Do they like wind? How ‘bout rain? Extended periods of snow on the ground? -- Indifferent to wind and snow. They'd prefer more sun than rain.
    How big a town? Do they want to be close to a largish city like PDX? Why? -- Community vibrancy is more important than size. Being close to PDX is preferred for ease of air travel.
    Do they want to be near cannabis dispensaries? Answer = yes eliminates almost everything east of Bend -- Agreed
    On a spectrum from hipster to hillbilly, what kind of people do they prefer to be around? -- Somewhere in the middle

    Quote Originally Posted by iceman View Post
    old school mag Natty Dread lives in Hood River and I think Tonghands does too. Natty checked in a few weeks ago, maybe send him a PM. Couldn't hurt to drop Tonghands one too.
    Great call. I'll do that.

  5. #5
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    Newberg Oregon area is popular with retirees and in the wine country.

  6. #6
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    Sisters is pretty cool. They may want to check it out.

  7. #7
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    Maybe consider white Salmon, WA. It's just a 5-10 minute drive over the bridge to Hood River, but it's a little sunnier and drier than the Oregon side of the Gorge, and there's no state income tax. A little less developed / a little cheaper than Hood River too.

  8. #8
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    Oct 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnonSequitur View Post
    Sisters is pretty cool. They may want to check it out.
    Sisters sucks. There’s more drama per capita than any US town other than Washington DC. Coyotes feast on cats & small dogs. Cougars and bears roam the streets. The deer are so mean they curb stomp Rottweilers.

    There’s some sort of touristy event every weekend from Memorial Day until the week after Labor Day, snarling traffic so bad it’s impossible to make a left hand turn during daylight hours. Roving bands of post menopausal women wander the retail and art shops, drinking iced coffees and licking ice cream cones, clogging the sidewalks, unable to decide whether they should cross the street. Mountain biking is mediocre and good skiing is 45 minutes away - mediocre skiing is 20 minutes away. Massive forest fires make August’s air quality equal to the area surrounding a Chinese tire factory. The nearest cannabis dispo is 20 miles away - the voters rejected a bill that would allow them.

    I hear Corvallis is nice
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  9. #9
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    Eugene or Corvallis sounds more up their alley

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dan_pdx View Post
    Maybe consider white Salmon, WA. It's just a 5-10 minute drive over the bridge to Hood River, but it's a little sunnier and drier than the Oregon side of the Gorge, and there's no state income tax. A little less developed / a little cheaper than Hood River too.
    These are from a few miles east of White Salmon 2 weeks ago. Click image for larger version. 

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by thefortrees View Post
    Eugene or Corvallis sounds more up their alley
    These don't really meet the "more sun than rain" requirement.

    I'd say Bend should be on their radar. Also, Ashland is worth a look. Both have small airports nearby, lots of sun, skiing and good hiking. Ashland is similar in size to Hood River. Bend is bigger.

  12. #12
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    Ashland is completely different than the rest of Oregon. In a good way. Ashland is a great choice but make no mistake. You are relatively isolated 300 miles from Portland and 300 miles to SF. I could easily live there.


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  13. #13
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    Word to Ashland... Often underrated.

    White Salmon and Hood River are cool, can get nasty but generally great weather relative to PDX.

    Bend and Sisters are pretty blown IHO.

    Walla Walla might be considered, as well as Joseph (remote) or Baker City area.

  14. #14
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    If I wanted to semi-retire: Ashland

    otherwise: Hood River

  15. #15
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    Sequim WA!
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  16. #16
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    La Grand to Baker City area has a lot to offer: community college, decent hospitals, fantastic recreation access in Wallowas and Elkhorns.

    It is more rednecky than hip, and lots of Mormons, but there are open minded people too.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Reverend Floater View Post
    Word to Ashland... Often underrated.

    White Salmon and Hood River are cool, can get nasty but generally great weather relative to PDX.

    Bend and Sisters are pretty blown IHO.

    Walla Walla might be considered, as well as Joseph (remote) or Baker City area.
    Medford (pop. 83,000) is only 15 miles north of Ashland. Baker and Joseph aren't to far from Boise (2-4 hours) but far enough they feel more remote.

    Walla Walla is only an hour from Pendleton and they'd save the 10% Oregon income tax. There is sales tax though.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Utagonian View Post
    Medford (pop. 83,000) is only 15 miles north of Ashland. Baker and Joseph aren't to far from Boise (2-4 hours) but far enough they feel more remote.

    Walla Walla is only an hour from Pendleton and they'd save the 10% Oregon income tax. There is sales tax though.
    Washington is doing away with the Oregon sales tax exemption so no benefit there.

    I love Walla Walla but it does get cold and snowy here. If you live in town it's not a problem but if you're out it can be daunting. Most of the county is a min. 10 ag/res so you have a fair amount of land to deal with though there are farmers who will contract with you to take care of your place so you don't have the work but can still enjoy living on a large-ish parcel with no close neighbors.

    We have a great hospital here and lots of options for clinics, dentists and alternative care. We have a VA.

    There is a regional airport so you can get out to Seattle without driving. If you need to to fly somewhere else other than Seattle it's only a 45min drive to Tri-cities (I'm not sure if you still can but there used to be flights that stopped in Tri-Cities on their way to Seattle so you could transfer). Parking is free at our airport for as long as you need.

    There is a vibrant arts scene and plenty of good dining, festivals, fresh local produce and of course wine. Life is not slow here but not frenetic either. Just a nice easy pace.

    With two universities and a community college there are many options for taking in lectures or attending classes.

    If we don't have it you can find it in Tri-Cities and there are services that make runs there for Costco and other big box stores.

    I retired here so obviously I think it's great but I also retired at 45 not at 65 or older. I had more energy and different plans than your average retiree. Still I think it's great and have no plans to move elsewhere. I intend to spend my days here eventually selling my farm and moving closer to town.
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  19. #19
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    Agree with The Rev - Central OR is blown. Bend population has innreased like five-fold since 1990 and doubled since 2000. Real estate prices reflect the mass migration of early retirees from Southern California.

    Ashland and Rogue Valley gets hella hot in summer, and air quality is shitty June-Sept.

    As Buster points out Baker is a nice little town, Anthony Lakes is a fun ski hill and real estate prices are reasonable. It does trend to the redneck side of the social spectrum. LaGrande is OK but pretty windy.
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  20. #20
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    Never spent any time in Walla Walla. How is the skiing? Spout Springs?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Utagonian View Post
    Never spent any time in Walla Walla. How is the skiing? Spout Springs?
    SS is pretty dinky and flat. I think Bluewood is supposed to be better.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Utagonian View Post
    Never spent any time in Walla Walla. How is the skiing? Spout Springs?
    Oops - left that off! Yes, skiing! Bluewood located 45mins east in Dayton is a great little hill with access to back country Cat skiing. Second highest base elevation in Washington (Mission Ridge in Wenatchee is highest).

    Sprout Springs has been under renovations and has big (relative to its size and location) plans for the future.

    I guess another thing I forgot to mention is that we have great outdoor activity here with lots of options for hiking, biking, skiing, snowshoeing and exploring. There are many mountain and lake communities where people have vacation cabins so you could easily have a place in town and a place to get away from it all within an easy drive. Places like Lewis Peak or Tollgate Oregon or somewhere in the Wallowas.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by KQ View Post

    Sprout Springs has been under renovations and has big (relative to its size and location) plans for the future.
    .
    SS has big plans? I don't remember there being any significant vertical drop there.
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  24. #24
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    Hmmmm, guess I've confused Sprout Springs with the Alpine Outpost in Tollgate (formerly the Tamarack Inn Bed-and-Breakfast). Tollgate is reopening the B&B. They attract a lot of sled heads up there.

    Here's a relatively recent article on Sprout Springs and their snow troubles:

    https://www.eastoregonian.com/news/l...3f95bfd04.html
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  25. #25
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    My first experience in OR was a road trip from Seattle area back to Idaho (the long way) and we popped into OR along the way stopping in Hood River. I swore I'd move to this state one day with how pretty Mt. Hood, the Columbia, and surrounding fruit farms were on the back side of Mt. hood. Fast forward to now and I currently live in Corvallis!

    I really like the Hood River area but I've never spent more than trips passing through. As far as location goes, I think it's a great combination of close to mountains, eastern OR/high desert, while still being not too far from a major airport (PDX).

    I'm moving out soon though and likely won't be in Oregon. If I were to move back and didn't care much for social activities, I'd definitely consider La Grande/Baker City area. Much drier too than the valley. Elkhorns and Wallowas are some of the prettiest countryside and tons of outdoor access. Walla Walla in WA is another cool area for sure with wineries and close access to the Blue Mtns. I was blown away with that area when I did a bike race there last summer.

    I'm 50/50 on Eugene/Corvallis/Portland. I would definitely avoid Sisters and Bend at all costs. Fun to visit but I couldn't stand living there. Ashland would be sweet, though, as long as you are okay with being really far from major airports and any sort of city.

    Of all the above places, I can see Hood River still being a top contender...

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