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Has Portland Oregon just become another California suburb?

Has Portland Oregon just become another California suburb?

Old Oct 24th, 2002, 07:28 AM
  #1  
Jerry
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Has Portland Oregon just become another California suburb?

I understand that Portland Oregon use to be a great town but friends who have visited it recently told me that in recent years it has become another California surburb.

I was told most of the woods in town have been converted into densely packed homes (big homes, small lots) or strip centers. One friend told me she actually cryed when she saw Portland after not visiting it for 15 years, it had become so ugly.

What is the story: is Portland Oregon paradise lost?
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 09:29 AM
  #2  
pdxer
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No,it's still a great place. Your friend must have spent all her time in Beaverton or Hillsboro, which do look a lot like California. But they have cut down any trees in Forest Park or anyplace else in the downtown core. Our urban growth boundary does require dense housing within the boundary, and that just pisses a lot of people off. Big homes on small lots are popular in the 'burbs for reasons I don't understand, but I don't really consider the 'burbs as "Portland." I think of the older, close-in neighborhoods, which are still the same, if not improving.
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 09:59 AM
  #3  
PDX
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Yep...it's become an extension of Southern California. Beaverton is a mall, tract homes and chain restaurants - same with Hillsboro. Even Forest Heights in Portland is a bunch of big homes smashed together on small lots. It's just like a master planned community that you'd find in Aliso Viejo or Laguna Liguel. Big strip retail centers popping up on all the corners. Traffic piling up on the freeways and skyrocketing housing prices. Yes, a few more trees than Southern California, but than we also have all the gloomy rainy days.

Less SUVS, more Volvo station wagens up here.
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 10:22 AM
  #4  
Andrew
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I am not sure what this has to do with travel to Portland, but...sure, Portland, like many other cities in the 1990's, grew like gangbusters, particularly in the suburbs. Hillsboro and parts of Beaverton certainly resemble the suburbs you'd find in parts of California, but the city of Portland is still a great place to live (and a great place to visit!).

Yes, traffic is getting worse (in which part of the US has traffic been improving lately, except in undesirable cities that are losing population?), mostly on Highway 26 to Beaverton/Hillsboro, but Portland is also aggressively building light rail trains and has a good bus system. It is quite possible to live in parts of Portland without a car - try doing *that* in Southern California!

There are plenty of wooded areas left - great parks inside the city, such as Washington Park and Forest Park - plus there are numerous terrific old urban neighborhoods, with loads of character. Not many slums in this city. And if you are worried about Sprawl, Portland has an Urban Growth Boundary, outside of which cannot be developed much. So 15 miles west of downtown Portland, you'll find yourself in the middle of beautiful farm country. Somehow I can't imagine *that* too far from downtown Los Angeles!

Andrew
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 10:23 AM
  #5  
Lance
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With 6 single family homes to an acre of land there is no room left for the beautiful pine and fir trees that use to be located where the cooker cutter homes are now being built.

I understand that traffic is terrible and the unemployment rate the highest in the nation.
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 11:00 AM
  #6  
pdxer
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Beaverton and Hillsboro are NOT Portland. Beaverton and Hillsboro ARE like "another California suburb."
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 11:16 AM
  #7  
I
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Oregon does have the highest unemployment rate in the nation. Housing prices are going up drastically and traffic is getting worse. True, you can live downtown and get by without a car, but it comes at quite a cost. A friend of mine just bought a loft in the Pearl District for $470K and no, it wasn't huge or overly fancy. Yes, he could go without a car, but then he'd be faced with buying all of his food at the grossly over priced Whole Foods.

600 sq. ft. apartments in nicer buildings in the downtown area are going for $900 and up. Given the lower salaries and high unemployment, this makes for an expensive rental unit.

Portland isn't what it used to be and there are fewer and fewer nice neighborhoods with streets lined with trees.
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 01:13 PM
  #8  
Brad
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$900 a month and your a complaining!!!! Thats a downright steal compared to what you will pay out East in Boston/NYC/Washington DC. For the same 600 sq. ft. 1 bedroom in Washington DC it would be $1400 a month. NYC $2000 per month. Quit your crying, I might move out there!
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 01:27 PM
  #9  
another
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$900 does sound like a steal until you realize that $40K is a pretty typical salary for a well educated person. My $110K salary in LA translated to $60K in Portland. So ultimately $900 a month becomes expensive for the lower salaries.
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 03:34 PM
  #10  
xxx
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I don't think the original poster wasn't asking about employment rates or housing cost. He was asking about how the city looks. There are just as many nice neighborhoods with tree-lined streets as there ever were.
yes, traffic is getting worse but it is still a far sight better than in Seattle or LA. The Pearl District is one of the most expensive areas of town. $470K would also by a damn nice house with a good-sized yard in Alameda, Irvington, Laurelhurst, Ladd's Addition or Eastmoreland (all beautiful, tree-lined neighborhoods on the east side). Why do people want to bash Portland, anyway? Yes, it has changed in the last 15 years. Name someplace in the US that hasn't. But it's still one of the nicest small cities to live in anywhere on the west coast, IMHO. But, hey, if you think it sucks you're more than welcome to stay away.
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 03:40 PM
  #11  
Portland
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I don't think anyone said that it sucks. It just isn't what it was 15 years ago and is pushing in the direction of another Orange County. I've lived here for 22 years and have witnessed the changes. Many of my neighbors are actually from Southern California. I moved to Forest Heights a few years ago and do enjoy the master planned influence, but so close to town. But my 5 mile commute is now taking close to 30 minutes due to the increasing population in the area.
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 04:25 PM
  #12  
Tom McCall
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Portland paradise lost??? well.......it was heaven, until those damn Californians started flooding in with all their $$$ and drove the housing prices thru the roof!!! They didn't listen to me when I told them to just come and VISIT!!!...DAMN!!!!!!!
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 06:41 PM
  #13  
I LOVE PDX
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Small world...we also live in Forest Heights in Portland and I have lived in Portland my entire life (my husband is an Idaho transplant). As I have posted on another thread that was about Portland, my husband and I are well traveled and can't find anywhere in this great country we would rather live!! This is a beautiful city and has the best of all worlds...four seasons (today is beautiful and the fall leaves and sunset are a vision), traffic not nearly as bad as Seattle or San Fran, the friendliest people you would ever want to meet, reasonable housing prices (comparatively), world class restaurants and shopping (yes, we do have a Saks), a beautiful and safe downtown area, one hour to the mountains and one hour to the beach...it just doesn't get any better than this!!
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 06:53 PM
  #14  
me
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Volvo wagons take up a lot less room and spew less crap in the air than those SUVs do.
 
Old Oct 25th, 2002, 12:58 AM
  #15  
Trevor
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I went to college in Los Angeles many years ago and since those days I have known 3 good pals and their families who moved from So. Ca. in the late 1990s to Portland. I've visited with the two who live in Lake Oswego. Both live in huge houses on tiny, tiny lots.
They can just reach out the window and shake hands with their neighbors, only they don't as they don't KNOW their neighbors evn though they have been there for 5+ years. Got a chance to really notice the house of the friend whom we stayed with for a few days and although the house is very large and "impressive" looking from the outside it's very cheaply constructed with all low end items like the countertops, bathroom fixtures etc etc.
Well, at least Portland isn't the traffic hell that Seattle has become.
 
Old Oct 25th, 2002, 09:02 AM
  #16  
xxx
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Trevor: so your point is that all houses in Portland are like the two you visited in Lake Oswego (another town that is NOT Portland)? If people want to live in big, cheaply-made houses on small lots, they will have that choice in Portland as I imagine they do elsewhere. They may also choose a smaller house on a larger lot, or even a large house on a large lot. There are all types of houses here. Your friends apparently chose poorly. It doesn't make Portland a bad place, does it?
 
Old Oct 25th, 2002, 09:54 AM
  #17  
Another
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My wife and I were transferred to Portland 3 years ago. The housing prices are less expensive than Southern California, but you get what you pay for. The quality of housing is definitely inferior, even in the high end homes. We had to rent for 6 months during the transition and we couldn't wait to get into our home.

To our great disappointment we've had a number of problems with our new home in Forest Heights. The singles had to be painted last week since they were not aging well and were turning black (some fear that mold was growing on them). The developer had to replace drywall in two parts of the home due to flaking. The countertop wasn't level (a 1-1/2" variance), so the entire cupboard and stove had to be pulled and rebuilt. I'm not one to normally complain, but chips of drywall falling to the floor and a tilted counter are not signs of good workmanship. And when I bought the home I was assured that the shingles were a typical element in the Pacific NW and would age well on their own.

Three other people at my office have also run into similar housing problems (we all paid over $450K for our new homes).

There are some nice aspects to Portland, but I definitely prefer Seattle and am hoping for a transfer up there in the next few months.

 
Old Oct 25th, 2002, 10:05 AM
  #18  
doc
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Portland transplant..Funny you say that. My brother lives in Portland and each time I'm there, I can't believe the poor quality of building materials,and general construction. Why would they use particle board rather than plywood in an area with so much rain? And poor shigles? If people are paying that much$$$for a home ,it should be well built.
 
Old Oct 25th, 2002, 02:07 PM
  #19  
No whining
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What's all this got to do with travel?

Small lots in Portland? Blame the urban growth boundary and City of Portland density requirements. Or else we could have sprawl...

Cheap construction? Every city in the country has both good and bad construction. The fact is, Forest Heights is a high end area, with expensive sloped lots that are expensive to build on. Throw on a house and stay under $500k? Face it, at that price, somethings got to give. Try a quality builder in the area. Oops, I forgot, you gotta stay around $450k...
 
Old Oct 26th, 2002, 08:01 AM
  #20  
PDXER
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Portland is the greatest city....we love it and love everything about it!!!
 

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