Thank you all! After another trip to Portland and much research on-line we've very much changed what we are looking for.
We are looking in SE Portland for a large yard, not true land. We realize that opening up a rescue is more of a distant future thing and more kids are more likely than more dogs right now.
Our budget is lower than originally expected, which isn't a huge deal since the housing market is tanking and home prices are DROPPING. We are looking at homes from about 170-220. We now have someone willing to rent our home here near Chicago while its on the market so we may actually be putting in an offer on a house south of the Woodstock area.
We can't afford to fly out to see a house AGAIN. We already did back in April when we had a contract signed on our house. By the time we got on the plane the house we were going to look at was already under contract... and by the time we found a house we liked our the buyers of our home broke the contract. :(
We did however build a relationship with a Realtor and saw lots of houses all over Portland and Milwaukee (what is the Oregon spelling? Sorry I'm from an hour south of the Wisconsin Milwaukee!) And got a feel for a lot of neighborhoods and she really helped us to hone in on what was most important in a house and we decided that was the neighborhood. We'd rather have less land and be closer in and in a decent area (the really nice areas are too expensive, since apparently its harder to get a mortgage than it was 4 years ago!) We also decided that we don't need an actual 3rd bedroom as long as the house has a basement/den/loft pretty much any extra space somewhere!
Now I'm trying to figure out if this is for sure the house we want! We are flexible people and honestly we roll with whatever comes pretty easy so if there are a few hitches we don't care that much. The things this place has that I love are
1. the yard 1/3 of an acre for my dogs and kid(s?) to enjoy.
2. Location. Just a few miles from great shopping and eating not sure how much is walkable but its only a short drive/bike ride. Also only 7 min drive to my sisters apartment.
3. It has an old feel/old details but remodeled. Its not old and falling apart, it has the old cuteness, but new floors/roof/paint/etc...
4 Its already fenced! It only needs 1 gate installed to be totally fenced in!
Its missing a few things that are important to me, really only one I can't change though and I'm trying to figure out if its a big enough deal to not put in the offer.
1. No view of the yard from the kitchen. This is the BIG one. My son plays outside A LOT. And I try to cook at home as much as possible. Right now I have a window over the sink and a slider to the back yard in my kitchen and can see almost the whole yard while I prepare food so he can play on the back porch whenever the bugs aren't too bad. In the house we are looking at the only kitchen window looks at the neighbors house.... I'm pretty sure the only views of the back are from the bedrooms.... which means for the next few years I'd have to go out with him every time he goes out (he's 1). But looking back on our experience most of the houses we saw either had no view or a street view from the kitchen. There are huge windows to the front yard (which is also fenced) from living room so there's the possibility he could play there and I could check on him constantly....
2. Few trees. We love our mature oaks here. There are 7 on our 1/4 acre lot. There are only 3 trees on the lot there. We can buy a few bigger trees but it will still take years for them to mature.
3. No real deck/porch. This is the most easily fixable. There is a small deck that's in terrible shape (its the only thing they didn't replace in the remodel) off the dining room and that's it. First order of business will be to get a front porch!
Anyway, this is the first house we saw and really though it could be our house! I'm very practical so I don't get stuck to a specific house and think its my house, I slowly come to love and make my own whatever I got due to the practicality!
Also can anyone actually help me find the law that limits people to 4 dogs? If its actually there (I can't find it) I plan to break it and hope my neighbors think its as dumb as I do. Then I plan on working to get it changed. Dog limit laws do nothing, but keep responsible people from saving lives. Backyard breeders already break 100 other laws, so do hoarders, they don't care about a dog limit. A law isn't going to stop them. Its just going to stop people like me from giving the dogs sitting in shelters due to the irresponsible people a good home.