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Living Across the River in Washington State

San Jose
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Living Across the River in Washington State

Hi - I am looking for a retirement home in the Portland area. I currently live in San Jose, CA. The cities of San Francisco and San Jose are very rich in cultural activities (symphony, opera, performing arts, etc.), and I'm a big city person at heart. That's why I am seriously considering Portland. It has the cultural amenities of a big city with the ambiance of a smaller city. However, I would like to live in Washington state where there are no state income taxes. Anyone have any comments about living across the river rather than in Portland (Oregon) itself? Any comments on Vancouver or Camas? I'm looking for a home in the $400K or less range. Any chance of getting a quarter acre and a 3 bedroom house for that price??

Thanks for any advise.

Portland, Oregon
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1. Re: Living Across the River in Washington State

As long as you're not traveling across the river on a freeway at rush hour, living in Vancouver and being part of Portland should be a wonderful experience. You can find a wonderful home for the price you mentioned. Check out listings on RMLS, then come to visit and get a feel for the neighborhoods. And find a real estate help. Hasson is a good realtor in the area, but I'm sure there are others as well.

Salem, Oregon
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2. Re: Living Across the River in Washington State

I am not discouraging your ideas at all. 400K would buy you a nice house in either area.

However, Oregon does have an income tax. What it does not have is a sales tax. This can add up in saving a lot of money. It may outweight the income tax idea. Just an idea.

Washington State
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3. Re: Living Across the River in Washington State

I have lived in Washington Sate across the river from Oregon all of my life (either in Vancouver, WA but mostly just east of the coast across from Astoria, OR). In the areas that you mentioned, I would recommend Camas. My brother and his family just moved there and we have good friends that live there as well. I live out in the country now (we are selling our house- email @ lotsofsunflowers@yahoo.com for more details), but if I had to live close to the city, I would choose Camas. It's close to all of the amentities, but has that smaller town atmosphere. You could get a beautiful home for $400K or less. Good luck on your decisions!

San Jose
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4. Re: Living Across the River in Washington State

Thanks everyone for the feedback.

I noticed on one of the Washington State websites that Camas has an exceptionally low crime rate, and I will look into housing in that city. I plan to take a week trip to Portland in late August to get a better idea what the various neighborhoods are like.

One other question for anyone in the Portland area who moved there from a sunshine state - how easy or hard is it to adjust to the weather?

Washington State
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5. Re: Living Across the River in Washington State

You might want to post this as a separate question to (maybe) get more feedback. I've never lived anywhere else and it DOES rain A LOT!!! It's dark and dreary during the winter months, but it seems like we have had better winters the last couple of years where it would be crisp and cold, but sunny.

Portland, Oregon
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6. Re: Living Across the River in Washington State

Mike:

You can typically expect 4 good sunny months (July-October), a few "iffy" months (May-June, Nov.) and 5-6 months where it will rain or be cloudy more often than not. I grew up in the South, so I wasn't really ready for the change in seasons like we have here. But one adapts & I actually really love it here year-round, summer and winter.

Annyka is right about the last couple winters. This past February & March were unusually warm and dry. It sure made for alot of good golfing weekends! :) Then in April & May it was very wet - rained almost every day. You just never know what the weather will bring.

It sounds like you plan on being very active (a patron of the arts, perhaps dining out, entertaining, travelling, etc.). Rain or shine, you'll always find things to do around town. When the days get short in the winter, people just attend more movies, see more plays or read more books. They also go skiing or some head to the Coast to watch the storms or migrating whales. Get the picture? ;)

As for Camas, it's a rapidly growing community with a small-town core. There are many developments spreading around the area, with moderate to very-expensive housing.

Best wishes on your visit and move!

Brian

Perpetually...
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7. Re: Living Across the River in Washington State

My husband and I moved to Portland from sunny CA about 3 years ago, and we both love it up here.

I had been living in CA for over 15 years, and my husband was born and raised in LA, and we adjusted pretty quickly to the weather. I won't lie, it does rain a lot during the winter months, which do seem to drag on endlessly. We have noticed that the rain does not prevent anyone from doing outdoorsy activities, and few Portlanders actually even use umbrellas. I just wear a hooded jacket, and that's usually enough. The rain is not necessarily heavy all the time, but there will be a lot of cloud coverage from about Oct through May/June. But the summer months more than make up for this. We have the most beautiful summer weather that rival anything you can find in CA. The air is cleaner, the grass is greener, the sky is bluer and the sun does not set until way past 9:30pm.

San Jose
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8. Re: Living Across the River in Washington State

Hi KeaGirl:

Thanks for the personal observations. I would be interested in hearing how others adapt to the winter rain and overcast. As you know, in California the summer weather is great but the winter grass on the mountains in the East Bay become dry straw and the hillsides turn completely brown in the summer. Portland remains green in the summer.

I will be visiting at the end of April looking at homes in Vancouver, Camas and other Portland neighborhoods.