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Hi. Dh is looking for jobs and there is a good chance we will be leaving our current area (the upper peninsula of MI). We can go just about anywhere and internet searches have suggested that these two areas might be right for us. We are looking for pedestrian, vegetarian, unschooling, music, friendly areas. Basically places most MDC people would like. My big concern about these areas is the lack of snow. We are used to lots of it and dh and I are avid cross country skiers. Are there areas nearby for skiing? Anything I should know about these places? Is urban housing safe and affordable? Are there good co-ops and CSAs? Etc.....
 

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Have you considered Seattle or Bellingham, WA? Both of these areas are a short drive to skiing and snow in the mountains and have pedestrian-friendly areas, music, vegetarian-friendly restaurants and food coops. WA has easy homeschool laws for unschooling.<br><br>
Urban housing is not very affordable- but this is a problem up the west coast. Good luck finding your place!
 

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if you live close to one of the mountains (a string of stratovolcanoes stretches from seattle down to northern california) most of them would support cross country skiing during most winters. mt. hood is about an hour drive from the eastern half of portland, and you could live even closer to the mountain (fairview, sandy, gresham, welches) and still be close enough to commuting to the east side of portland.<br><br>
would you have the opportunity to come visit here to explore more before committing? because that might be the best way to decide if this is the place for you.<br><br>
portland is not like most cities in the u.s. in that it has had very active and deliberate urban planners, which has been both good and bad. good because there is not too much sprawl for the actual city limits, but bad because once you leave the portland city limits, the suburbs have some sprawl. within portland city limits, the urban transport system is quite good in most areas (buses and a light rail line), and portland is quite neighborhood-y with most areas having a grocery store within reasonable walking distance.<br><br>
as for affordability, that is a difficult question in the current housing market. portland has consistently ranked as one of the most desirable cities to live in within the past few years, and consequently the housing market (own and rent) has increased in many areas. there are areas that are lower cost that are changing in character and becoming safer, but even in those, some of the houses are being bought by investors, renovated and sold for a huge profit. again, this is where a visit would come in extremely helpful.<br><br>
portland is very homeschooling/unschooling friendly, very vegetarian friendly (a number of veg restaurants, many natural food markets), with quite a few food co-ops and literally dozens of farms just outside city limits. most notable are the farmers' markets in the downtown park blocks in southwest portland which happen on saturdays all the way up to thanksgiving and also on wednesdays during the summer. most of the suburban cities also have their own farmers' markets on weekends as well.<br><br>
hope that helps! please feel free to ask any more questions as they come up!<br><br>
by the way, what type of work is your partner looking for? 'cause some types of work are pocketed in different quadrants of the city and you'll want to live relatively close to that quadrant... (i.e. technology is definitely centered in the northwest quadrant and the northwest suburbs, and you don't want to commute from southeast to northwest -- blech!)<br><br>
warmly,<br>
claudia
 
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