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Oregon is calling

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 

Oregon has been calling to my heart for many years now and my family and I would all really love to move there in a year or so.  We are thinking Portland, Eugene, or Bend...  I was just wondering if anyone could offer any insights into what alternative parenting life in Oregon is really like, especially unschooling?  I'm also in search of a tribe, as parenting during the day while dh goes to work is really lonely.... and am interested in any info pertaining to groovy intentional communities/co-housing.  Any insights/info would be appreciated.


Love and Light! 

post #2 of 40

I lived on the coast of OR for a couple years prior to DS.  We always found ourselves in Eugene.  Love that town!  Lots of music, good people, etc.  I would always hit Sweetskins for clothes.  The vibe is great.  I didn't find much for kids/parents in a search but did find a meetup group. 





post #3 of 40

I am a fellow Missourian who moved to Eugene several years ago to apprentice with a midwife. I now have one babe and another on the way. I am also an unschooler and there is an unschooling yahoo group for families here in Eugene. I'm not very active yet as my 1st unschooler is just two, but it's a great resource. I love raising my family here and recommend Eugene highly!

post #4 of 40

Eugene is probably the crunchiest of the lot, being a college town + having a long standing tradition of being alternative in many ways. I don't think there's cohousing there. It has all the advantages and disadvantages of a college town; it's big enough to have OK public transportation, but small enough that it's not really a city.


Portland is obviously a city -- there are half a dozen cohousing projects around.  There's much more of a mix of people -- everything from fairly conservative to extremely radical. Homeschooling is common, unschooling is definitely known, but I don't know much about the groups as my kids don't fit that bill. Where you choose to live will have somewhat of an impact on your community. Each area has definite characteristics, and there are a few neighborhoods that I simply wouldn't live in. I like the Portland area because it's more diverse and has lots to do. I'm a city girl myself and so feel comfortable in the city and I like the range of transportation options.


Bend is on the other side of the mountains in the high desert. It's much sunnier (even in the winter), but it's also a bit touristy in the town itself, IMO. (I just got back from a weekend in Bend.) It's got much more of a rural feel to me, and yet sometimes the traffic can drive you bonkers during tourist season. I don't know about cohousing, and I suspect you'd have a decent, if smaller, unschooling community. It's a cool place to live (ranches and mountains close), but it's not great for getting anywhere else.


Anywhere you live in Oregon, I'd want to make sure that your income/employment opportunities are solid. Unemployment is always higher here than elsewhere in the nation. It's got much more of a boom and bust economy. It's never, as far as I can tell, figure out how to pay for basic services such as education and roads. On the other hand, it is pretty libertarian, and so live and let live. But I wouldn't come without a job lined up, and some indication that your skills are in demand.

post #5 of 40
Any reason why Ashland is not on your list? I loved living there.
post #6 of 40

Hi, move near me, I'm in Scio, SE of Salem. Which is near...nothing "cool."  Been here 2 years now.


We have friends in Portland - mom moved from Missouri.


post #7 of 40
Thread Starter 

I just moved to Florida from Missouri in February.  DH has family here and he got a much better job, but we knew Florida wouldn't be permanent.  Oregon has been where we've wanted to wind up since we got together.  I just didn't know how impermanent Florida would be for me---it's only April and it's much too hot, there's way too many bugs and I am not a beach/ocean/sunshine/sand person at all.  I want lush greenery and mountains and cooler weather.  Thinking of trying to move again next year, but I've got a 7 year old, a soon to be 2 year old, and a baby on the way in early August.....don't know if I want to move entirely across country with an infant, however, I'm unsure if I can stand another spring here in Florida (let alone a summer!).  If we move to Oregon it will have to be in or really close to a big city (Portland) or perhaps a University as DH is a computer programmer and needs to go where the jobs are.  @Wombato, where from in MO?

post #8 of 40
Originally Posted by lightinmyhands View Post

DH is a computer programmer and needs to go where the jobs are.

Yep, that's why landed in Portland. We loved the look of the smaller towns but the programming jobs are here.... both downtown and in the Beaverton/Hillsboro suburbs.

But we hike, bike, see free concerts, go to open air farmer's markets.... have our urban chickens and neighbors that have sheep. Everyone here has a college degree and everyone is a reader. You can ask any random stranger on the bus what they are reading and not get the "deer in the headlights stare" back at you.

However, it does rain nine months outta twelve.. that's why its so green. Retirees here hit the road in winter to warm desert places in their Rv's. If you like warm, sunny places you'll soon feel out of sorts here. Me and dh love old movies and are foodies. We hike in the rain and then cuddle up with amazing local gourmet foods.
post #9 of 40

We escaped the Florida ickies and moved to Oregon almost 4 years ago.  I'm in Bend.  I like it, but it's definitely not the lush green foresty rainy pacific northwest of Portland or Eugene.  We have trees, but it is high desert here.  Makes for lovely summers, but very long winters.  We don't have very much of a growing season and the farmers market only runs June to September.  I have to laugh whenever folks comment about it being touristy.  I'm from Orlando, suuuuuure it's touristy. ;)  Lots of homeschoolers, lots of outdoorsy stuff to do and not nearly the traffic or crowd of Portland.  But if you need the city for work, this is probably not the place, lots of unemployment, and not really many big employers in town.  The hospital, I guess?  My husband is self employed and flies back to FL and Montana to work, so I'm a bit out of touch with the specifics locally.

post #10 of 40
Originally Posted by Chamomile Girl View Post

Any reason why Ashland is not on your list? I loved living there.

yeah!! we live in ashland and love it here.

post #11 of 40

Glad to have found this post. We are also thinking of moving to Oregon, probably the Portland area. DH loves the northwest and has always wanted to live there. We are both born and raised in the Chicago area, and now that I have a baby the winters are horrible to me. I really hate them and would be happy to have more mild stable weather. I'll take rain over snow any day. But... I'm really connected to my family (though less and less now that I'm a mom actually) and I would miss them a lot. The in-laws talk of moving all the time though, so there's no guarantee they will stay here anyway. My Mom SHOULD move for her health, but won't as long as family is here. I'm actually wondering if I can convince her to come with. My son already loves his grandparents, and I would hate for him to have to see them only a few times a year... but if his life is significantly better, then maybe its worth it. We are in the process of starting our own business, and are planning a trip to portland to see if its a viable idea out there or if our market is already too flooded or if the cost would be too high. Its definatly a great idea where we are now. We need to decide soon, becuase wherever we start the business, we are stuck. We also don't want to move our son once he is old enough to be unhappy about it....


Does anyone know about waldorf schools in the portland suburbs? 

post #12 of 40
Thread Starter 

sk8, we recently moved to Florida from Missouri and my oldest daughter (7) and her grandparents were very, very, very close.  in fact, we were living with them.  it's been hard on her because she is so attached (i was a single mom for quite some time and so her relationship with them is closer, as they were who she had besides me for so long).  However, life is so much better here in Florida than it was in Missouri, it's obvious that in spite of missing them she is much happier here.  I take it your business won't be portable?  I'm trying to get my foot into the art scene in the Sarasota area and start selling my jewelry, digital work, and other various creations.  I do worry about just up and moving if I get comfortable here, however, art and jewelry making seem to be fairly portable so I hope it will be ok.... because there's no way i'm going to live in Florida for long, as I don't like extreme sun any more than I like extreme winter and snow and I long for the mild raininess of Oregon. I also miss greenery, goddess! do i miss greenery!

post #13 of 40

No, we are looking to start a late night cafe/small venue, which we actually think would do better there then here! I talked to my mom and she was very supportive!!

post #14 of 40
The Starbucks close here at 8 p.m. It would be nice to have a coffee and dessert shop that was open till eleven or even midnight so you could talk about the movie after you saw one.
post #15 of 40
Originally Posted by sk8boarder15 View Post



Does anyone know about waldorf schools in the portland suburbs? 

I don't know much about it (oldest is 4), but I live near the Portland Waldorf School, which is actually in Milwaukie (immediately south of Portland). It has a good reputation and is a good neighbor. :)

post #16 of 40

We moved to Bend in October and love it, nice balance between desert and mountains if you don't want a ton of moisture.  Possibly a bit touristy but also a strong feeling of community, especially on the west side.  Lots of outdoor activities very close by, mostly friendly in-town biking, tons of free concerts and events in town.  I've found a nice group of AP-style parents as well.  We're not going anywhere anytime soon, love it!

post #17 of 40

I've lived in Bend for almost 5 years, and tried Eugene for 6 months prior to that. Originally from North Carolina (Chapel Hill). 


I LOVE BEND, and agree with previous statement that west side has great community. The whole town has nice folks, outdoorsy, but the winters are loooong but often snowy and sunny whle in summer it's dusty but not horribly hot bc low humidity and cools off as soon as the sun sets. GREAT community activities like parades, art walks, free outdoor movies and concerts and tons of festivals. Check out the Waldorf School for "instant community". You can even do part time at the school--some kids are there a couple days/week. 


The hardest part about Bend is there is little industry and jobs are very hard to come by, especially good paying jobs with benefits. VERY hard to come by. Hence, we have to move bask east this summer. If you have a job that you can do anywhere. like a software designer or something, great. Otherwise, be warned! Also, the cost of living is relatively high here, and it's hard to find cheap airfare. But it is LOVELY and sunny and I wish we could stay! It's big enough to have a Target and small enough to take only 10 minutes to cross town. Ethnic diversity is very low, so if you are a minority, you may feel uncomfortable. Great library, great parks, great outdoor recreation!!! Camping or skiing only 30 minutes away. All summer long people float the river running through downtown.


Let me know if you have specific questions. If you're on Mothering.com, definitely look at Westside (if you can afford it). East side is typical strip mall America. Ironically, the Whole Foods is over there, but we also have an independent co-op called Nature's near center of town and an organic grocery called Devores on the west side. 

post #18 of 40

Portland Waldorf schools are secure.

post #19 of 40
Thread Starter 

because my DH is in IT, it is looking as though any jobs that would pay him anything at all will be located in Portland.  I am not really a "big city" kind of person, though I have heard that Portland is the best, and I have friends that live in and love Portland.  I am just not sure I want to destine myself to city life.  How far is countryside and beautiful places to hike and play outdoors from Portland?  

post #20 of 40

From what I can tell the countryside is very very close. We are looking for acerage, and can find it with in 10 miles (30 mins driving) of the city. Even the trains reach more open areas. That is what I'm finding I love as I do more and more research. We are visiting Portland in a month! 

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