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Astoria Oregon experts please

Old Feb 4th, 2006, 05:41 AM
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Astoria Oregon experts please


Dear Oregonians,

(I myself being one, albeit my parents moved when I was 4)...

I would love to hear from locals and those in the know, the real scoop on Astoria as a place to live. I read a comment about serious mudslides - but how have those Victorians stood all those years?! For some reason, the town is haunting me and I am planning a trip in April. I am a writer and artist, and I like rain. But I would start by living there 3 mos out of the year.
I live in a big city and am used to big cities like New York, but I'm really tired of it, and raising 2 young children. I can contribute to a small town like that, as I teach Shakespeare and direct theatre.
Who has opinions about this town?

Much appreciated
Blair

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Old Feb 4th, 2006, 06:31 AM
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Hi Blair,
Here's my view, based on 15 years or so of visits-
Astoria got discovered! It was a Cleaveresque town
stuck in time, with downtown department stores
and dime stores, and looking like San Francisco if San Francisco had 20,000 people. Now a new set of folks have arrived and sparked new businesses and
Cafes. All good, I think, allthough it was cool before. Be sure to stop in at Lindstrom's Danish Maid Bakery to get some cookies and bread, and to get the pulse of the town.
You originally were moving to Portland. Decided against that?
We escaped Phoenix and big city life and settled in the Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon in 1989 for it's beautiful setting, Theatre,
http://www.ashlandchamber.com/Page.asp?NavID=296
art, and music scene, outdoor recreation, Skiing above town + having much better weather. We have two kids and I can't imagine raising them in a big city. We're two hours to the Southern coast, where it's called the Banana Belt, for it's warm winter temps.
Here's some reading material for you from an Oregonian
special series, where they took the model of "The Nine Nations Of North America" and applied iit to the state.

http://www.oregonlive.com/special/ninestates/

It explains the different regions of the state and the varying attitudes within accurately, in my eyes. It'll give you a good feel for everything.
The Bend/Redmond/Sun River Area is actually the fastest growing area in the State. It's nice over in the High Desert at the base of Mt Batchelor.
Sounds like you're itching to get on with your escape from California.







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Old Feb 4th, 2006, 08:41 AM
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Hi Blair,
Since I am a newbie to Portland, I cannot say much about Astoria but I do know that during our househunting, we have come to find out that many many Californians are buying homes here. The real estate market is sweet compared to that of Ca and the cost of and quality of living is supposed to be more favorable in Or.
I have heard many stories of people from Ca, coming to Astoria and buying an old home and fixing it up, as second homes and rentals. This ends up driving up the cost of living and results in some resentment from Oregonians (that I have talked to and read about)..
On the news and in the papers, you can see the newer homes in Astoria sliding, I have not heard of any of the old ones going.
Personally, with small children, I would prefer Portland itself or one of the communities right outside, enabling you to take them to the museum and shows and concerts, while still having very much of that feeling of small town life.
I am sure Astoria is charming but I feel that it is mostly a second home/summer community ..
Now these are just my thoughts based on time spent in Portland and with real estate people..
One last thing-I wish that I had lived here when my children were young
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Old Feb 4th, 2006, 12:47 PM
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Scarlett, that's where Astoria is different. It's a real working town, the entrance to the Columbia. It has never been a tourist or beach town, making it rare along the coast(It's actually a few miles inland. Scandinavian roots still run deep.
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Old Feb 5th, 2006, 06:41 AM
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Thank you both, I remember your help before. Yes, bbq boy, I am torn between Portland and Astoria. I know they're both so very different. Because I make my living as an actress I would have to live in Astoria 3 mos out of the year for now. Now, I first wanted to move to Ashland (my mother always wanted me to go to school there). My theatre background fits perfectly with the arts in that town - my husband wants to be near water. oy!

Scarlett, Oregonians resenting Calis is sad to me - aren't there pros to coming in and fixing up old houses? I am a contributor in my community, so if I were in AStoria for the summer months, I would be attempting to either teach yoga or Shakespeare to kids in whatever community center is there.

I am planning a trip in April. Can't wait. I'd love to meet you too for coffee!

blair
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Old Feb 5th, 2006, 01:44 PM
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Oregonians resenting people from California is nothing new, that has been going on for decades. I remember back in the 70's some small towns actually had posters that said something along the lines of "From California? Leave your money and than go home!"
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Old Feb 5th, 2006, 02:46 PM
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Speaking as a non-native Oregonian (I didn't move here from California), I think the basic argument is that Californians move here with big money from selling a house in the expensive markets down there and are driving the prices way up in Oregon. So Oregonians who do not have your advantage of that huge appreciation have a much harder time affording a house, because their wages are not going up nearly as fast (if they go up at all) as the cost of housing.

Can you understand why they might resent you? They'd rather you stay in California and still be able to afford a home than have you come to Astoria for three months a year and teach yoga.

There's also a popular perception - right or wrong - that California is a "consumer car culture" where as, in Portland at least, people are more bike-friendly and public transit friendly, more into outdoors than consumerism. Portland hasn't built a new freeway in over 20 years, and as the population increases, the traffic continues to worsen. No doubt Californians are blamed for that, too...

I do not resent anyone who moves here for any reason - it's a beautiful place, and of course I was not born here, either - but I do understand where some of the locals are coming from.

Andrew
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Old Feb 5th, 2006, 05:52 PM
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Blair, I would only sat that your husband seems slightly misguided as to the important things in life. Being near the ocean is a strange thing to rank first in your list of priorities, given that you have kids.
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Old Feb 5th, 2006, 06:59 PM
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Wow, those last two posts are more opinion than I needed, but thanks for taking the time. BBQ - The water actually produces negative ions and is good for adults and children.

Andrew, I get the "other side" all too well; out of towners came and ruined the city I live in, the city where my family goes back 4 generations (after moving from Oregon where they co-pioneered the Oregon Trail, look it up: Joseph Watt).

Big money? Personally, I've never had a lot of money in my life; my father died 8 weeks ago and now I can finally afford a house, but not in the city where I live because people from ALL OVER the U.S. came to MY HOMETOWN CITY and virtually ruined it. 90% of the residents here are not from here.
I don't feel entitled. I would just like a nice life for my children.

My father and I made a documentary on Lewis and Clark; we were to film a historic site on the Columbia - at the entrance was a sign "GET THE F--- OUT" I vowed then never to move to Oregon. Scary.

I think I'll go with my original vow and teach yoga here to inner city kids that will never know what a crashing wave sounds like. At least they're kind.

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Old Feb 5th, 2006, 08:01 PM
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Portland is surrounded by water, the Willamette River and the Columbia River, living along the coast is not the only way to get your ions.
Housing costs are lower than California, it only makes sense people will want to take advantage of that. It has happened in other states/cities and the resentment of some of the locals has been the same. But there are plenty of locals who could care less.
Families live here who want the best for their children, young people live and work here and want a future here. They are building all the time and the city is changing daily.
Moving a family is a huge step and scary.
It needs plenty of time to think and research and figure out exactly what you want out of a new home and what you need.
In my mind, Astoria is more of a summer place unless you have a job that you could get there for sure, it does not strike me as a place full of business opportunities. They are reviving all the time, with this Cannery Pier opening, it is obvious they are striving to be a large draw to tourism.
If you want jobs, schools and opportunities, it makes sense to me to go towards a larger more established city.
There are lovely towns on the outskirts of Portland that have good schools and they are pretty..hell, everywhere I go here, it is pretty!
It is really up to you to decide what you require. Try not to take offense at the answers you get, it is not really personal, but sometimes the truth is sort of harsh.
Good luck.
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Old Feb 5th, 2006, 08:23 PM
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California resident here. (Sonoma County)non-Native.
I would LOVE to move to Portland
so I could escape the ridiculous cost of living here and retire at a reasonable age. I would LOVE to have
access to reliable public transportation. We haven't built a freeway in 20 years either, and all these people keep moving HERE congesting the SF Bay Area and driving up MY housing costs! Are their statistics that show it's all horrid Californians moving to Oregon?
It just sems silly to blame anyone from ANY specific state. Perhaps I'll have to take a poll, except they're all sitting in traffic talking on their cell phones and they just ignore me when I try to ask where their from.

R5
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Old Feb 5th, 2006, 08:30 PM
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razzle,
Survey on my floor of this bldg, Wisconsin, NY, Boston,Califonria, Oregon and NJ. I trapped them on the elevator, the cell phone won't work there lol
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Old Feb 5th, 2006, 09:06 PM
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Blair, no matter what your story is, if you say you are from California, people are going to assume you are another one of those rich Californians ruining Oregon and driving prices up. I'm just trying to explain the attitude you should expect to encounter. And it's not like everyone will act that way. Some people aren't so hung up on it, and others are other transplants like me.

Andrew
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Old Feb 5th, 2006, 09:31 PM
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Blair, I have 2 kids, soon to be 13 & 15. I was serious, not trying to be negative. What will the opportunities be for your kids as they progress through the School system in Astoria? Are you a pioneer, or do you want to merge into an already vibrant place? Just thoughts to consider if you move. It sounds like I was right in my feeling you'd enjoy The "Marin suburb" feel down here. which doesn't exist in large parts of Oregon.
I grew up
in the Shadow of L & C too; it's how we ended up at the other end of the trail. I would like to see your documentary some time.
I would urge you to read that 9 part series, scope out the different regions you are excited by, and compare. Generally, where there's an institution of higher learning, you'll find your arts communities. Not saying Astoria isn't one of them, but there are a lot of" regular towns", far fewer "enchanting" places.
I don't see the Anti-Cal sentiment as much as described, maybe because we're only 20 miles from the border, but
I do have enough experience with Astoria to know if you say "The water has negative ions; it's good for children and adults", you will, at the least, get quite a few raised eyebrows. It is NOT a new age community; it's a working seaport in transition.
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Old Feb 6th, 2006, 05:38 AM
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The old Oregon-California rivalry could probably be more accurately described as a one-sided resentment, stemming from an inferiority complex, on the Oregonians' part. (It's hard for a state to have self-esteem when 90% of the inhabitants of the nation can't even pronounce the name of the state right.)

But it actually started back to the Oregon Trail days, when those get-rich quick Californians used to ride out to the California cut-off on the trail with flyers trying to entice Oregon-bound travelers to California. It's quite amusing how much they griped about it in the newspapers of the day. Times never change.

Oh, and the new age thing? Might not fare so well in the far eastern half of the state, but western ORegon is inhabited with enough hippies that I think it'd fly most anywhere.
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Old Feb 6th, 2006, 10:36 AM
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You guys are all great. I like that this has stirred up some good discussion. I just came back from shooting "Commander in Chief" in the heart of Hollywood and took a survey myself, Scarlett. I was the only native Angeleno out of 14 crew, cast. The only one.
Now the "ion" thing? That's just science, however I see how people mistake it for new age when coupled with "yoga" in the conversation (even though yoga is also a science and thousands of years old, I really get the cliche thing. I'm not one of those people who goes to Paris wearing white tennis shoes. When in Rome...

Having weighed it all...
I think the only place for us is Ashland or Portland. Or in L.A. until I can't take it anymore.

PS: My Oregon trail relatives are buried in Yamhhill, FYI.
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Old Feb 6th, 2006, 10:49 AM
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"The old Oregon-California rivalry could probably be more accurately described as a one-sided resentment, stemming from an inferiority complex, on the Oregonians' part. (It's hard for a state to have self-esteem when 90% of the inhabitants of the nation can't even pronounce the name of the state right."
Statement such as these might fuel resentment but as for being a total out-of-towner, I have never personally met anyone that is not kind and friendly here in Portland.
But whenever I hear the discussions on real estate prices, California comes up..So I as well as most people, probably take negative remarks with a grain of sand, figuring you have to see where they are coming from.

Portland has sooo many neighborhoods and possibilities! I think a visit in Aptril will help you so much.
Yes, yoga is very popular here, we have a new friend who just moved here ( a NYer) who teaches and there are some great studios where you can do it or teach it nearby.
Ions I don't think about (perhaps that is very blonde of me lol)
Good luck Blair~
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Old Feb 6th, 2006, 11:00 AM
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As a born and raised Oregonian, yes, that statement just fuels the fire.

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Old Feb 6th, 2006, 07:04 PM
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Blair, have you actually spent time in Astoria to know you don't want to try there? I hadn't gotten that impression...

I have had the fantasy of moving to a town like Astoria or a coast town like Newport, but I always realize how much I enjoy city life and how quickly I'd probably get bored there. I know of someone who tried moving to Newport but he was very disappointed. At least the coast is close enough that we can visit easily even for the day.

Andrew
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Old Feb 6th, 2006, 08:44 PM
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Anderew, the same thing happens to me.
I fantasize over the idea of a little house by the ocean, waves and seagulls..then I go out my door here in Portland and have to decide what to do of the multitude of things to choose from..so yes, we have the best of both worlds, the beach is 90 minutes away!

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