Pacific Northwest Tour

mumusha
By mumusha on Mon, Jun 10, 2013 - 5:10pm

 

I'm planning to do a road trip around the Pacific Northwest (specifically, Northern California - Shasta, etc. Southern Oregon - Bend area, Washington -Spokane and Idaho - Corte de' Alene, Moscow area). I've come across one PP member in Shasta who I'm going to visit, and am hoping to meet more people to chat, exchange info, and just to get a general feel of the ground. I'm hoping to do this road trip in August. 

Does anybody live in the Pacific Northwest? 

Also are there places you would recommend I visit? (Relocation purposes) 

I'm in my mid 30's, active, happy, and eager to find a community to set roots in. 

Any comments appreciated. Thank you!   

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22 Comments

Doug's picture
Doug
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Pacific NW

I lived in Seattle, Burlington and Kennewick, WA as a child.  There is a reason the permaculture movement began in the Pacific NW, its really easy to grow food there.  Plenty of rain and moderate temperatures.  Of the three places I lived, I would recommend the Burlington area, assuming its still as rural as I remember it.  My grandfather would get 3 or 4 hayings a year off his small farm.  His garden was always abundant and there was wildlife everywhere.  Beautiful country and close to Puget Sound.

I would stay west of the mountains if you don't want to be dependent on off site irrigation.

Pay attention to politics, particularly in eastern WA into Idaho and Montana.  The "great inland empire" tends to be pretty extreme in places.

Doug

LogansRun's picture
LogansRun
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Sand Point, ID

or anywhere in N. Idaho/NW Montana are good.  Yes, winters can be tough, but soil, planting seasons are good, and there's always an abundance of meat (Moose, Elk, Deer, Rabbit, Turkey, etc....).  

Omak area of Washington State is a good location as well.  Water isn't as good, but everything else is excellent.

IMO, Bend OR you'll be dealing with mostly tourists, and then you're in high desert as well.  

I wouldn't live in California if you paid me.:-)

tricky rick's picture
tricky rick
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great NW

Coming up I5 from CA, stop by Ashland, OR for the shakepearen festival (get tickets early) and spend an afternoon in Lithia Park (right next door). 

Check out Ashland, Talent and Medford area (but don't move there!).

Head to Eagle Poirtn and up 62 to Crater Lake...  deepest freshwater lake in the world (I guess) but stop at Becky's in Union Gap for pie!

Right about BEND... too many tourists but if you stay there, check out the PINE restaurant in old town (that's a fav).   Heading North take the back way up to Hood River and Portland area (east side of the CASCADES... beautiful until they erupt)

Matter of fact, guess when you are there YOU would be a tourist so, as we used to advertise on the freeway at the California border...  don't move to OREGON...   hahaha

treemagnet's picture
treemagnet
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I would

take note of nuclear power plants, wind direction, etc.  History of a states politics as well as its current fiscal condition too.  Site specifics, like Doug mentioned, for sure.  IMHO, I would stay away from large metros - at least a full tank of fuel away.  Rural areas have real opportunities for you to become part of, but you've got to make the first, second, and tenth effort - since you're the new guy and they know everyone.  But, it pays dividends now and no matter what.

dhusch's picture
dhusch
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Vashon, WA.  Everyone has 5

Vashon, WA.  Everyone has 5 acres with a garden and fruit trees.  farmers market, artists, and craft workshops.  its an island, but close to Seattle.

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
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NW Tour

I used to live in Portland OR.  In the 3.5 years I lived there I made extensive use of the outdoors.  If you are into widsurfing, the gorge on the columbia river is not to be missed.  I you like rock climbing, Bend OR and Smith Rocks are a msut see.

If you want communities to visit, try Ashland and Bend, both are hopping.  Ashland has the distinguishing characteristic of having a mayor that is actively trying to draw resilience minded people.  Bend is cool and all, but I woudl not want to live in the desert as a permanent idea...

On the OR coast there are a few, small patches of untouched old growth forest.  I can still recall one which was so much like a temple that I've not forgotten it in 30 years.  Hunt them down, take a walk, settle in.

Of course, there's lots and lots of hiking, paddling and other activities in the national forests surrounding the entire cascade range, with Mt Hood being my old stomping grounds.

Overall I give the NW very high marks for climate, community, and agricultural capacity.

 

.

RoseHip's picture
RoseHip
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Northwest

I have lived in multiple locations in the Northwest and currently call Boise home. I would be happy to help or assist in anyway possible. I am a huge fan of northern Idaho, Walla Walla or South Eastern Washington and if your looking for some of the most amazing potential for agriculture nothing in my opinion can beat the areas surrounding La Grande or Baker City as well as Hagerman Idaho which has some very plentiful Geothermal and ground water.

Rose

dhusch's picture
dhusch
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A few more comments. People

A few more comments. People have fruit trees and gardens in most rural areas and outer suburbs of the northwest.  But these places also tend to be very conservative politicly, lots of strip malls, big box stores, and everyone driving a giant pickup. The islands are special because they have the agriculture without some of the ugliness of modern america.

mumusha's picture
mumusha
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Thank you

Thank you everyone for the comments. Yes, politics and nuclear power plants / nuclear waste storage is something to consider, as well as water source. This is gonna be a fun trip!

 

nimsdf's picture
nimsdf
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The banana belt

Might I suggest Walla Walla WA. East of the Cascades and out of the rainy weather, but at the foot of the Blue Mts. Four seasons, but spring comes early and fall lingers late. I had a banana tree in my back yard for several years.

The oldest US community west of the Mississippi. Home to two colleges, three hospitals, the oldest bank west of the Miss. and numerous commercial companies. Home to world famous Walla Walla Sweet Onions and a major wine region. An upscale community in the midst of down to earth country folks. 

Any property in the valley is a productive agricultural site (large or small). When teotwawki happens, this is where food is grown, not a place that depends on food shipped in. 

The north boundary of the county is the Snake River with mulitple dams, and hydro-electric plants. The ridges are covered with wind turbines. No gas, oil or coal assets, but plenty of potential for bio-diesel or ethanol.

All in all not a bad place to consider to relocate to. Let me know if you plan to visit. I'll show you around.

Peak Prosperity Brother Dan

 

badScooter's picture
badScooter
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Where I've been in the NW

I've lived on the Kitsap Penninsula, in Bremerton, WA, Renton (outside of Seattle), Spokane, WA, Vancouver, WA (Near Portland), Lewistown, ID, and have run a business about an hour east of Portland, OR, near Mt. Hood.  I've pretty much grown up around here, and consider myself a "Washingtonian".

I love the geography.  The weather west of the Cascades is generally excellent if you want to grow things; the Willamette Valley (Portland and points south) is some of the best small ag land, anywhere.  No water worries on the west side.  One really does not have to worry about freezing to death in an emergency.  There is a "rain shadow" desert that extends a good hundred miles into central WA, then one starts to get some precipitation again but with wider temperature swings.  Power is plentiful.  There is some high-tech industry here that supports pretty good salaries; Portland is, in my opinion, the microbrew beer capital of the United States, which I heartily appreciate.

Having said that, I am currently considering land in or about the Moscow, ID area.  I have become increasingly uneasy next to large cities for reasons I'm sure anybody who listens to Chris or JHK can understand.  I also find the politics of Oregon and Washington are becoming increasingly reckless and irresponsible; I'd dispute the earlier post about the nutters to the east of the Cascades...mostly these are folks who are plain sick of Seattle and Olympia dictating things to points east...there is a serious cultural discontinuity between east-side small-towners and Seattlites.  Similarly, I'm very leery of both OR and WA implementing draconian taxation schemes in the middle future to support their socialist/liberal/cryptocommunist/plain-out-stupid agendas, raging inability to spend within means, and complete inability to read a balance sheet (flame away, I don't care, I really think that).  

I personally would not consider voluntarily moving anywhere in CA under any circumstances.

For those that don't like nukes, there are no nuclear power generating facilities in WA, but there is a Trident submarine base in Bangor (Kitsap Penninsula), and major naval facilities at Bremerton and Everett.  I used to be a nuclear operator for the navy, so that part never bothered me much other than the fact you're a tier-1 target on the other guys' SIOP.  There is a large nuke facility at Hanford, WA that rumor has it is pretty "dirty" (breeders making Pu for bombs); not sure if it is still in operation but there is lots of waste stored there.  Only ID facility I'm aware of is the Navy's prototype reactors in Pocatello, ID...not sure of their status but it is also a waste storage site.

mumusha's picture
mumusha
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interesting how

California's not so popular, is it the overbearing politics / tax, LogansRun and badScooter?

Politics wise, I lean towards social libertarianism, a Ron Paul fan, although I'm leery of the Laissez-faire fervor the movement has taken (funded by Koch brothers). Naturally, I'd like to be around like-minded people, whether this is the West or East of the Cascades I'm yet to find out.

Nuke is a worry for me, as I have relatives in Japan (radiation level in Tokyo is as bad as Chernobyl, but covered up by gov for obvious reasons - Tokyo goes, economy goes-. Nose bleeding is not uncommon, and cancer is sure to skyrocket. I worry sick, I have freinds there.)

FYI I've attached maps of US with nuclear waste storage / reactor sites.

Also, I'd like to be near a University, eps. one that's strong on engineering / green energy / farming, etc. Probably not a University town, but I like the idea of being close to a pool of robust, active, talented people. (Even if students go home, there's the infastructure, and professors. Central meeting point for innovative discussions)

Great insights about the PNW ! Cheers!  

mumusha's picture
mumusha
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badScooter's picture
badScooter
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Hi Mumusha, The university

Hi Mumusha,

The university town/small town idea appeals to me as well, that is one of the reasons I've taken to considering Moscow ID.  I have two brothers in postgrad engineering studies there, yet it is a small city of 30k or so with many smaller outlying towns.  Another comment earlier pointed out the very good hydroelectric power available from the Snake River.

You're going to find the whole spectrum of politics on both sides of the mountains, but the big metro areas tend to dominate the rest of the state; in our case, Portland OR and Seattle WA.  There's a saying in Washington electoral politics:  "If you can't see it from the top of the space needle, it doesn't matter"...that attitute tends to show.  This is an illustrative map, although curiously the authors chose to reverse the traditional red and blue color coding:

http://www.uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/state.php?fips=53&year=..

I'm not by any stretch an apologist for the GOP establishment by the way, but the map does point out a discontinuity in paradigm...

You're right, CA in my opinion has very overweighted special-interest laden politics on the left running things, and has shown itself to me to be very capricious legislatively as well as extraordinarily spendthrift.  I know enough people in CA to not even consider it as an option.  To paraphrase John Mauldin, I think they're a bug looking for a windshield, longer term. I feel that WA and OR have collectively chosen a similar path, although not nearly as far down that road.

badScooter's picture
badScooter
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nukes in NW

Hi Mumusha,

I noticed on one of the maps you posted that Spokane is listed as a nuclear weapon site...no longer true.  For the past decade+ Fairchild AFB has been home to a in-flight refueling squadron, that's about it.  It used to be a Cold War B52 base, but has not been used in that role for some time.  Officially, at least.

treemagnet's picture
treemagnet
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Posts: 344
Dog rental

Could be a new venture at Cali borders for truckers!  Why?  How?  For what its worth, CA is the only state our firm doesn't serve - we stopped going there.  The rules, laws, ordinances, fines, crime, rates, traffic and more just make it a mirage of opportunity.  Not if you're in tech I guess, but hauling tonnage in and out of that godforsaken hell hole is just insane.  For example, if you idle your truck for 5 minutes and one second - that one second will cost you, at minimum a fine that STARTS at $1000.  Run an APU (alternate power unit) - nope, it doesn't have a particulate filter and use DEF (diesel exhaust fluid).  Now if you have a small dog or such in the truck with you, then its fine.  The life of the animal suddenly trumps the driver and well, idle on.   In fact, 2007 tractors - regardless of condition cannot enter, I believe this year.  They have requirements for which type of tires (greenway certified - low rolling resistance) that are weak and wear out - sidewalls especially.  My God, they've got aero requirments for flatbeds comin'!!!!!!  And more, much more.  You enter with a brand new tractor and get tagged for some made-up b/s, turns out.....the officers got a shop you can call with the right part, and they're always really, really, really expensive....hmmmm.   On top of this crap, each officer seems to understand the law completely and uniquely.....differently.  I could go on but you get the idea.  So, thats my take on an otherwise beautiful state.

Thetallestmanonearth's picture
Thetallestmanonearth
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Posts: 320
Snohomish County

Following hwy 9 North from Woodenville you drive right through some of my favorite farm land on the west side of the mountains.  Snohomish County is highly populated along the I-5 corridor, but further east it becomes much more rural.  Beautiful country. Far enough from Seattle, but still close enough to have access to services as long as they remain available.  Dirivng north you pass through several small scale towns that mirror JHK's vision of proper scale.  First is Maltby, then Snohomish, then Lake Stevens, and Arlington.  Further north is Mt Vernon and eventually Bellingham.  If you're thinking west of the Cascades, this area is great and has less environmental risk than South Sound communities which are right in the shadow of Mt. Rainier (an active volcano).

Most of the towns along hyw 9 were founded as timber towns using the rivers and eventually the railroads to bring the product to market.  That infrustructure still exists in many places.

rayne's picture
rayne
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Posts: 33
WA

I would look up near the canadian border.  Maybe outside Bellingham towards Mt. Baker?  All in all avoid the I-5 corridor from Everett down.  Too many people.  Horrible traffic.  The Islands are nice but you would need to rely on an aging state ferry system.  Also, they are too close to nuclear military installations in my opinion.  Ellensburg (100 mi E of Seattle) has a university and even though it is "red" politically the town has a strong sustainability movement.  Rossland would be a cool place to live.  The thing I would worry about the most in the pine forests east of the Cascades is the forest fire risk.  Especially if you want an off-the-grid homestead.

We currently live in the suburbs of Seattle (the "eastside", AKA Microsoft land).  There are a lot of people here but there are also a lot of jobs.  As soon as we are in a possition to move we are going to look at either NW Montana (Flathead Valley) or up by Mt. Baker.

If you want to try Seattle I think the best neighborhoods are Fremont, Ballard, Wallingford, Green Lake, Upper Queen Anne, Ravenna, West Seattle.  There are many homes in these areas with cultivated front yards (including the planter strip!) and many people keep chickens and/or bee hives.

Also: WA has no state income tax and OR has no state sales tax. Many people live in Vancouver, WA and shop in Portland but the states should be replacing the I-5 Colombia river bridge crossing in the near future which will make bad traffic unbearable.

 

mumusha's picture
mumusha
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Posts: 13
Tax

 

Thanks Rayne, yes taxes.

This info might need updating but it's what I gathered online. 

Wyoming looks great tax wise, but the Shale gas industry is taking root, and I don't like earthquakes.

 

Property Tax

Washington 0.92% 

Oregon 0.87%

California 0.74%

Idaho 0.69%

Wyoming 0.58%

 

Sales Tax

California 6.25%

Washington 6.5%

Idaho 6%

Oregon 0%

Wyoming 0%

 

Income Tax

Oregon 8.56%

California 5.8%

Idaho 5.38%

Washington 0%

Wyoming 0%

badScooter's picture
badScooter
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Posts: 152
sales taxes in WA

Please be aware, in WA, counties also levy sales taxes.  As an example, in Vancouver, Clark Co (near Portland) combined sales taxes amount to 8.2% currently.  I imagine this is similar elsewhere.

I am not aware of anywhere in OR that charges sales tax, but I'm sure there are local property taxes that are location dependent.

Other thing to be aware of, as I alluded to in a prior post, is the likely behavior of the respective gov'ts going forward.  A few years ago in OR, they instituted a retroactive tax on C-corps of several percent (forget the exact number).  They did this at the end of the calendar year, which left quite a few businesses with their hair on fire trying to raise the cash before Guido busted their kneecaps.  They did this mainly to support a ludicrously overextended public pension system, that would of course not budge.  That was the biggest single wakeup call for me;  they try and pull that stunt on S-corps (which I imagine they will when they get desperate), I'll be renting a flatbed to move my business the very next week.  To Idaho.

waynecbyrd's picture
waynecbyrd
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Posts: 2
Reconsiderring my Northern California move...

Thanks for all of the information! I am going to look closely into all of the areas you have mentioned outside of the California borders. I have a lot of research to do. I am encouraged to hear that a mayor in Ashland is looking to recruit "resillience minded people." I would love to be surrounded by folks like you!

mentalarson's picture
mentalarson
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Posts: 7
Great feedback. Generally,

Great feedback. Generally, where did you land when you moved away from WA/OR? We're leaving Western WA North of Seattle, and would like to live in a financially responsible state with more sunshine. Boise is the simple solution, but I'm not convinced I'll appreciate the brown hills around the city.

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