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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
what's it like there? Is it AP friendly? How 'bout organic vegan friendly? Lots of public nursing? Lots of unschoolers there? We may be moving there in the next month or so and I have really no idea what it is like (we are in Albany, OR right now), except that housing looks outrageously expensive, possibly unaffordable for us, but is it worth it to live there? We are just really looking for more family friendly things to do and see... we are always driving to Salem or Corvallis, even just for grocery shopping (to get locally grown organic produce -this is top priority for us, food first! any CSAs?). We also go to OHSU for medical care... so it just doesn't seem like there is a whole lot keeping us here, however I know that I find Portland just too busy, overwhelming, expensive, crowded, etc. We are heading up to Vancouver tomorrow just to get a feel of what it is like, any suggestions on best places not to miss or what areas should definitely be skipped. Anyone move there and regret it? We really want someplace safe for families, with lots of family friendly things to do (we are a family of soon to be six and we always do everything together), but also lots of daytime activities for the kids (my 11yo is starting to get to the point where her evenings are getting packed with activities and I'm hoping Vancouver would have more activities available during the daytime school hours so we can have our family evenings). We also enjoy hiking... we love Silver Falls, is there anything like that in the Vancouver area?

I'm planning a homebirth with this latest baby, are there plenty of great midwives there (we can have homebirths in WA, correct?)... what's the cost of gas like there? Food is exempt from sales tax, isn't it? Are there city income taxes? I don't even know what to ask or what to look for at this point... any and all input is greatly appreciated, we have to make a decision fast and we are feeling so overwhelmed. We definitely aren't *unhappy* where we are (we could easily see staying here forever), but we could certainly be happier.... mainly I guess we are just looking for more things for our kids to do during the day as they get older and not having to drive so far and so often to find those things and maybe also to find more like minded folks to hang with.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Ygle View Post
what's it like there? Is it AP friendly? How 'bout organic vegan friendly? Lots of public nursing? Lots of unschoolers there? We may be moving there in the next month or so and I have really no idea what it is like (we are in Albany, OR right now), except that housing looks outrageously expensive, possibly unaffordable for us, but is it worth it to live there? We are just really looking for more family friendly things to do and see... we are always driving to Salem or Corvallis, even just for grocery shopping (to get locally grown organic produce -this is top priority for us, food first! any CSAs?). We also go to OHSU for medical care... so it just doesn't seem like there is a whole lot keeping us here, however I know that I find Portland just too busy, overwhelming, expensive, crowded, etc. We are heading up to Vancouver tomorrow just to get a feel of what it is like, any suggestions on best places not to miss or what areas should definitely be skipped. Anyone move there and regret it? We really want someplace safe for families, with lots of family friendly things to do (we are a family of soon to be six and we always do everything together), but also lots of daytime activities for the kids (my 11yo is starting to get to the point where her evenings are getting packed with activities and I'm hoping Vancouver would have more activities available during the daytime school hours so we can have our family evenings). We also enjoy hiking... we love Silver Falls, is there anything like that in the Vancouver area?

I'm planning a homebirth with this latest baby, are there plenty of great midwives there (we can have homebirths in WA, correct?)... what's the cost of gas like there? Food is exempt from sales tax, isn't it? Are there city income taxes? I don't even know what to ask or what to look for at this point... any and all input is greatly appreciated, we have to make a decision fast and we are feeling so overwhelmed. We definitely aren't *unhappy* where we are (we could easily see staying here forever), but we could certainly be happier.... mainly I guess we are just looking for more things for our kids to do during the day as they get older and not having to drive so far and so often to find those things and maybe also to find more like minded folks to hang with.
we moved to portland from battle ground, WA (just north of vancouver) because we found very few of the things you describe in vancouver .. .sorry to be a wet blanket .. . there are lots of individual nice and interesting people in vancouver, but on the whole the area felt very conservative, car oriented, and boring to me .. .


L
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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Originally Posted by lylawolf View Post
we moved to portland from battle ground, WA (just north of vancouver) because we found very few of the things you describe in vancouver .. .sorry to be a wet blanket .. . there are lots of individual nice and interesting people in vancouver, but on the whole the area felt very conservative, car oriented, and boring to me .. .


L
Oh, no, I'd much rather know these things now, than find out after we move... we are pretty conservative ourselves, and I don't mind driving too much, I just don't want to have to drive at least an hour everyday just to get groceries or take my daughter to ballet or to play with friends, etc.... 5-10 minutes would be perfect. And I don't mind boring either, I'm a total homebody myself and like to just hang out in the quiet surrounded by greenery, really boring stuff. If there's not a lot of organic locally grown produce, or there's a lot of hostility and disrespect towards children though (or unsafe for them), it would definitely be out for us... how much of a drive to portland is it? If that's only 20-25minutes away then it still might be better for us, having something closer with options. Thank you so much for the input!
 

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We are in Vancouver and love it. I can't help much on some of the points, but I've found that Portland is only about a fifteen minute drive {and that's with some traffic, though if the traffic is really bad it can take half an hour} away if you need something you can't find in Vancouver.

We're unschoolers and have no trouble with the requirements in Washington. They're a lot easier than they seem. It's definitely AP friendly, lots of people NIP both here and in Portland. Housing is cheaper in Van. than in PDX, but it is pretty high if you're used to a low cost area {we were ~ it was a big shock to move here and see the high prices}.

I get overwhelmed by Portland, too. It's so big! Van. is a bit smaller and more comfortable, and close enough to PDX that it's not a big commute to participate in things down there. Dh works in PDX and says the drive to and from work is pretty easy. We're down in the city at least once or twice every week for different things.

There are quite a few MDC families in both Van. and PDX.

Groceries are exempt from sales tax, but restaurants and everything else isn't. We haven't done a lot of exploring in Van., but what I've seen I've really liked. It seems a bit more close than PDX ~ not as big, a little more space between buildings, a little more of a friendly and open feel. More trees than PDX, though Portland is a very green city, too. There are a lot of things to do here, plus like I said it's a very short drive down to PDX and there is a huge amount of child friendly activities there.

All in all, I love it here. We moved from a small, very conservative city and have loved every minute of living here.
 

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Originally Posted by Ygle View Post
what's it like there?
Vancouver is a little more conservative than Portland. It is very car oriented, but easy to get around. I much prefer driving in Vancouver than Portland. A lot fewer one way streets!
It's not very walking friendly, unless you live right downtown. Otherwise, there are pockets of suburban homes, then retail areas, then homes again. I don't find very often that shopping and such are ever mixed into the neighborhoods. Most neighborhoods will have a small park, though.

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Is it AP friendly?
It isn't anti-AP, but not pro-AP either. You'll mostly see stroller-wielding, bjorn-wearing mamas at the mall and such. I'm the only one at playgroup who uses a sling (that I've seen so far). We have a very active LLL group that meets twice per month, and I've met quite a few like-minded mamas there! I get compliments on my sling when I go out, and I've never had anyone say anything to me while nursing in public. We also have a very active NINO (babywearing) group that meets once per month. I drive across the bridge to Portland to go to Cloth Diaper Circle meetings. It's about a 20-25 minute drive.

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How 'bout organic vegan friendly?
There are chain stores like Trader Joe's and Wild Oats. There is a farmers market (http://www.vancouverfarmersmarket.com/), but I've never been. Fred Meyers have a small natural food section and a small selection of organics which is where I do most of my shopping, as they are very close to my home.

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Lots of public nursing?
Not so much that I've seen.
I've met many nursing mothers at LLL but few outside of the meetings. Many moms hide in the women's lounge room at Nordstrom.
But their babies are little. I did meet a homebirthing mama at Nordstrom once, though.

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Lots of unschoolers there?
My son is still very young, so I haven't looked into the unschooling/homeschooling crowd yet.

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We may be moving there in the next month or so and I have really no idea what it is like (we are in Albany, OR right now), except that housing looks outrageously expensive, possibly unaffordable for us, but is it worth it to live there?
I really like it here, but I'm not ubercrunchy or anything.
Housing does get cheaper the further out you get from Vancouver, in the outlying towns like Battle Ground, La Center, or Camas/Washougal.

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I'm planning a homebirth with this latest baby, are there plenty of great midwives there (we can have homebirths in WA, correct?)
Yes, homebirths are ok. Homebirth VBACs, however, I hear are harder to come by (but not impossible). There are some midwives who practice in Portland who will come to Vancouver, and there is also a midwifery center in Salmon Creek just a few minutes north of Vancouver.

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... what's the cost of gas like there?
I'm trying to remember what I last paid. $2.40 or a little higher? I can't remember.

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Food is exempt from sales tax, isn't it?
Yes.

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Are there city income taxes?
Not that I know of.

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I don't even know what to ask or what to look for at this point... any and all input is greatly appreciated, we have to make a decision fast and we are feeling so overwhelmed. We definitely aren't *unhappy* where we are (we could easily see staying here forever), but we could certainly be happier.... mainly I guess we are just looking for more things for our kids to do during the day as they get older and not having to drive so far and so often to find those things and maybe also to find more like minded folks to hang with.
What I like the most about Vancouver is its proximity to Portland. If there is something I can't find or do here, I just drive 20 minutes to cross the bridge, and there we are. There's some great children's museums, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), the Oregon Zoo, the Chinese gardens, etc. Tons to do. I tend to think of Vancouver as almost a suburb of Portland.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
wow, a farmer's market open every day, all year round? I definitely have to check that out tomorrow, thank you so much for the link!

And local LLL meetings, twice a month, sounds fabulous... well, there is a once a month one here, but the one time I went besides the leader there was only one other person besides me and she was from Salem.

We paid $2.69 for gas the other day at Costco, so if gas is cheaper and we don't have to drive so far for activities that will definitely save us money. I find it much easier to drive anywhere just so I can bring all my own food, supplies and kiddums with me... I just don't want to have to drive long distances, so a car friendly town is definitely for me... as long as there are plenty of parks and trees and outdoor areas to explore (I'm thinking the weather won't be much gloomier than Albany? I know northern Washington is just a little too gloomy for me).

Sounds like this *might* be the place for us? Do they have a bad meth problem there? There was just a large bust in Benton county and we see a lot of meth related problems here in Albany, but it seems like it's everywhere anymore. Are there a lot of resale shops? We also don't vaccinate or circumcise, is that a problem there? Are there many kids playing in the parks during the school day... they always seem so deserted here (but we do have lots of playgrounds in town which is great)

Thank you so much for all the feedback, jessielove and chickieleighc!
 

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Yeah, I love the LLL meetings. It's not uncommon to have 8-10 moms there. This week there were only five of us including the leader and we were laughing about how small the group was. One of the meetings is in the late morning, and the other is in the evening, so there should be a meeting to match anyone's schedules. There are lots of young kids at the meetings, so it's a fun time for them to play together.

We've also started having monthly MDC playdates! The thread should be somewhere nearby.

I'm not positive gas is much cheaper, my husband just told me that he thinks he paid $2.80 yesterday. Keep an eye out for the gas station signs so you will know for sure. The price depresses me so much, I tend not to look.


We've just started taking our one-year-old to the parks, so I don't know much about how crowded they usually are, but I was at Marshall Park (http://www.ci.vancouver.wa.us/parks-...r/marshall.htm)for a meetup.com group this week and there were at least a dozen kids there, and only about half were from our playgroup. I don't know how they usually are, though, as it's just becoming a regular thing for us to do.

If you want to explore a great park, you could head north to Lewisville Park (http://www.co.clark.wa.us/parks/lewisvillepark.html). It's just a couple of minutes north of Battle Ground on Highway 503, probably 20-25 minutes north of Vancouver, and is absolutely beautiful this time of year. They may or may not charge admission, if they did it would be something small like 2-3 bucks per car.

Yes, there is meth here, but I don't think it's any bigger of a problem than anywhere else. I've lived here for all but 2 years of my life, though, so I'm not the most experienced there. You'll want to make sure to check out any neighborhood well before you move in. Talk to the neighbors. In my experience the ones who will be a problem LOOK they they have a problem. Watch for homes with a lot of traffic coming in and out. Through the grapevine, I've heard Hazel Dell can have some really bad drug areas, especially in the less expensive apartments. Although I'm sure the less expensive apartment complexes everywhere probably have that problem.

We haven't vaccinated DS in a long while, but we haven't been to any well baby visits in a long while, either. He has an appointment on the 4th of next month, so we'll know then how much crap we'll get. I did have some problems with his family practitioner trying to retract DS's foreskin, but I think that was just because the guy was so old school. We've switched to someone new, and hopefully more with the times.

Enjoy your visit, I hope you find what you're looking for.
 

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I moved to Vancouver last June and we really like it. We are close to Orchards but in Vancouver. I can get to parts of Portland in about 10 minutes and the zoo and OMSI are about 20 minutes with good traffic. I don't know how AP it is I have not met very many non MDCers. But we have been having great Vancouver playdates lately.
PDX has cloth diaper circle meetings, as well as NINO. And there is an abundance of Midwives. And YES to HB in WA. It can get tricky with HBAC's but they are doable. In Vancouver there is Trader Joes and Wild Oats (I think). There is also the farmers market and Portland has one too. There is also at least one farm in the actual city, it is just up the street from me. I have yet to go but it looks great. I have seen lots of slings but more strollers and baby buckets. I breastfeed everywhere and have had no problems. I did get A LOT of looks at winco the other day when I wore my got breastmilk shirt.
I homeschool and lean towards unschooling. There are lots of other HSers in the area. Some groups are harder to get into and seem very cliquish (that so does not look right but the spell check says yes ???) there is a unschoolers group in Portland that meets and an abundance of playdates. There is also Vancouver parks and rec and PDX parks and rec which have lots of activities.
As for areas to live that can really vary by block. One block nice the next block not so nice. I like where I live but we happen to be in one of the areas without a park with in walking distance.
they are building a new one soon though. There are tons of parks in the area though. And in the summer Cottonwood beach is really nice only about 15 minutes away in Washougal. As for cost I think it depends on the area. We pay 945 for a 3 bdrm 2 bth, dbl garage with a great yard. There were cheaper ones but no yard which meant no garden. So we though the little bit extra was worth it.


Let me know if you need pictures of an area or anything and I would be happy to swing by and email them to you.


Allison
I am on 124th off 28th if you want to live close to me.
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