Author Topic: Convince me that Bend, OR sucks  (Read 16566 times)

Enlightened Elizabeth

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Re: Convince me that Bend, OR sucks
« Reply #100 on: May 09, 2018, 03:11:00 PM »
Have you considered Eugene? We moved from the central coast of CA about 6 years ago. We have long time friends in Bend (with similar complaints as everyone else has mentioned) and family in Santa Cruz (we visit both Bend and SC often). Eugene has a similar vibe as Santa Cruz but more culture than Bend and Eugene definitely has a soul and very strong community no matter your side of the political spectrum- in fact the sides seem to get along great (which was weird to us at first, very respectful of differences). The drawback here is you are dealing with the same welcoming of panhandlers, lots of free social services etc. which is great for homeless in need who genuinely need it but attracts transients who take advantage (like SC).

Perks of Eugene:  Close proximity to coast and mountains (we've skied Saturday and surfed Sunday many a weekend). World class Mt biking in nearby Oakridge, world class fly fishing on the Mckenzie; Wine country is gorgeous, delicious and cheaper than CA; Mild climate, if you can get out to say Arizona for 1 or 2 months in the winter, its paradise especially if you're a gardener. If not, have a wood stove or fireplace and live the Oregon life ;). Lots of industry tech growth here. Thats my two cents on Eugene, it kind of sounds like it check s some boxes on what you're seeking. Check it out on your PNW road-trip. We enjoy spending time in Bend as tourists just as much as everyone else though- it is  a fun place!

*Also someone previously mentioned bilingual k-5, many good options here (our neighborhood has japanese immersion and spanish immersion k-5).

Cheers and best of luck!

Cressida

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Re: Convince me that Bend, OR sucks
« Reply #101 on: May 09, 2018, 10:58:57 PM »
Bellingham is a great little city, though there IS some enmity regarding Californication.  I didn't notice your comment on churches, though If you DO like that sort of thing there are plenty, and the town of Lynden just to the North is quite churchy

Can confirm. My mom grew up there. Churchy.

SnackDog

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Re: Convince me that Bend, OR sucks
« Reply #102 on: May 10, 2018, 03:38:40 AM »
You can really only answer this question by spending a *lot* of time there yourself.  What ever any random internet person hates or loves about a place may or may not apply to you.  Every place has compromises for everyone; there is no perfect place.  Be careful relocating to any place you have not already been vacationing or visiting part time for years.  It is a kind of silly American fantasy to want to choose a place on a map and move there with no firsthand knowledge. Many people leap into this and then end up regretting their choice and finding out that not only is the grass not greener, they don't know anyone in their new location and would prefer their original city, warts and all.  The Devil You Know, etc.  You seem to be running away from Santa Cruz (one of the better cities in the country overall) more than toward anywhere else.  Maybe you would enjoy life there if you just looked at it differently.

FINate

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Re: Convince me that Bend, OR sucks
« Reply #103 on: May 12, 2018, 08:37:36 PM »
Bend doesn't suck too much right now
Californians moving to Bend are the reason it sucks a little more each day
Maybe you're different, but if you're not please stay home

Hah! Well, that's funny. Many people in Santa Cruz are xenophobic and hate all the "outsiders" moving in. I often point out how unfair it would feel if the tables were turned and they relocated and were judged harshly because of nothing more than where they came from. The US has a long tradition of people moving around, blazing new trails. When did we become so unfriendly and fearful of others?

FINate

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Re: Convince me that Bend, OR sucks
« Reply #104 on: May 12, 2018, 08:41:29 PM »
Have you considered Eugene? We moved from the central coast of CA about 6 years ago. We have long time friends in Bend (with similar complaints as everyone else has mentioned) and family in Santa Cruz (we visit both Bend and SC often). Eugene has a similar vibe as Santa Cruz but more culture than Bend and Eugene definitely has a soul and very strong community no matter your side of the political spectrum- in fact the sides seem to get along great (which was weird to us at first, very respectful of differences). The drawback here is you are dealing with the same welcoming of panhandlers, lots of free social services etc. which is great for homeless in need who genuinely need it but attracts transients who take advantage (like SC).

Perks of Eugene:  Close proximity to coast and mountains (we've skied Saturday and surfed Sunday many a weekend). World class Mt biking in nearby Oakridge, world class fly fishing on the Mckenzie; Wine country is gorgeous, delicious and cheaper than CA; Mild climate, if you can get out to say Arizona for 1 or 2 months in the winter, its paradise especially if you're a gardener. If not, have a wood stove or fireplace and live the Oregon life ;). Lots of industry tech growth here. Thats my two cents on Eugene, it kind of sounds like it check s some boxes on what you're seeking. Check it out on your PNW road-trip. We enjoy spending time in Bend as tourists just as much as everyone else though- it is  a fun place!

*Also someone previously mentioned bilingual k-5, many good options here (our neighborhood has japanese immersion and spanish immersion k-5).

Cheers and best of luck!

Eugene was on the list, then off for the reasons you list, though the recent data that shows it to be not as bad as I thought has me reconsidering it. It does seem to check all the boxes, though the concerns you list do give me pause. I don't mind services, even if they become an attraction, as long as there's a general sense of law-and-order and with some expectations/strings attached.

Thanks for chiming in!

FINate

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Re: Convince me that Bend, OR sucks
« Reply #105 on: May 12, 2018, 08:50:39 PM »
Bellingham is a great little city, though there IS some enmity regarding Californication.  I didn't notice your comment on churches, though If you DO like that sort of thing there are plenty, and the town of Lynden just to the North is quite churchy

Can confirm. My mom grew up there. Churchy.

To be clear, not looking for a "churchy" place. Looking for an authentic community of believers focused on living life alongside each other as they try their best to follow Jesus. Not looking for places that just want to build buildings, or make a big deal about what Starbucks puts (or doesn't put) on their holiday cups, or insist that evolution isn't real and the earth is 6000 years old, or any of that stuff. It's really about quality, not quantity, and frankly some of the places with the most churches don't have what we're looking for. Fully expect that we will need to put boots on the ground and do our own research in this area since it's really something best done in-person.

FINate

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Re: Convince me that Bend, OR sucks
« Reply #106 on: May 12, 2018, 09:25:39 PM »
You can really only answer this question by spending a *lot* of time there yourself.  What ever any random internet person hates or loves about a place may or may not apply to you.  Every place has compromises for everyone; there is no perfect place.  Be careful relocating to any place you have not already been vacationing or visiting part time for years.  It is a kind of silly American fantasy to want to choose a place on a map and move there with no firsthand knowledge. Many people leap into this and then end up regretting their choice and finding out that not only is the grass not greener, they don't know anyone in their new location and would prefer their original city, warts and all.  The Devil You Know, etc.  You seem to be running away from Santa Cruz (one of the better cities in the country overall) more than toward anywhere else.  Maybe you would enjoy life there if you just looked at it differently.

Agree. Would never relocate to a place without first spending a good amount of time there. The point of this thread is twofold: 1) Narrow it down to a short list* and 2) increase our awareness of the things we should consider. For example, the whole "fakeness" issue. I would not have thought of that. I'm just now getting around to replying so some of the comments on this thread because I was out hiking/biking in Arizona. The "fakeness" thing was on my mind while hanging out in Sedona: beautiful place, great mountain biking and hiking, but yeah, I get the fakeness vibe there, which I think is just related to being ultra touristy. Touristy areas are touristy for a reason, they offer something special and so you have to take the good with the bad, so IMO it's a tradeoff that comes down to how touristy/fake relative to what makes it special. Sedona seems a bit too out of balance on the touristy side. Will need to spend a bit of time in Bend to get a sense for it.

Santa Cruz has many great upsides and relocation is not taken lightly. This is our home of many many years and there are many things we love about the area**, but there are also a number of very big downsides. The extreme HCOL and general crowdedness are the two biggest issues for us, and these continue to worsen with time. And the crime issue is rather bothersome. Don't know how to explain it if you haven't lived it day to day... just found that one of my properties had a couple aluminum window frames on the garage totally damaged by someone trying to pry the window open, and they cracked the window in the process. Thankfully they didn't get in because this was not the first attempt and the window was already property reinforced, but no fun having the structure damaged in the process. And there is existing damage from people trying to pry/force the doors open. Sucks to just plyboard up an otherwise nice window because it's not worth repairing it only to be damaged again. So are we running from Santa Cruz? In a way, I suppose, but obviously we would never consider moving if everything was already perfect. Perhaps to put a positive spin on it, when I consider the things that we really like to do (camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, mountain biking, road biking, backpacking)...it just makes a lot more sense for us to be in an area where there are more opportunities for these activities much closer and with fewer crowds, and at 1/2 the cost of living and where we're not always having to worry about stuff being stolen (recommended practice here has become to lock your bikes up *in* your garage because break ins are so common).

*Admittedly, this thread has added to my shortlist, so I guess it failed on this criteria. I'll count it as a positive failure.

**Also note that this thread is specifically asking for a bitch session since it's generally pretty easy to get info on what's great about an area

FINate

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Re: Convince me that Bend, OR sucks
« Reply #107 on: May 12, 2018, 09:36:53 PM »
We were pretty enamored with Bend but decided against it a few years ago for a variety of reasons. From our time there, I get the impression that there are a lot of people who retired or semi-retired with enough money, many from California, who enjoy the combination of outdoor activities, decent food and beer culture, and a dry climate. Totally understandable given the issues that you describe in Santa Cruz, which are probably common in many other places. But, you might also want to consider the likelihood that if you are moving to a place with a lot of retirees, a high quality of life, and expensive housing, then there is going to be a shortage of workers to get things done. Unless you are super self-reliant, you are going to be competing with all those other retirees for people to fix your plumbing, to maintain your roads, to feed you, to take care of you after a knee surgery, etc., etc. Mountain towns all over the west are facing these issues, and it seems like a growing retired population is just going to exacerbate them over time.

Good points. The bolded basically describes us. Other than medical care we are very self reliant. If there's a shortage of people to do stuff then could be a good part time side hustle :)

FINate

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Re: Convince me that Bend, OR sucks
« Reply #108 on: May 13, 2018, 08:01:51 AM »

ice_beard

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Re: Convince me that Bend, OR sucks
« Reply #109 on: May 13, 2018, 09:29:50 PM »
I actually travel down to Santa Cruz somewhat regularly for fishing and metal detecting (yes, seriously).  The vibe there of everyone trying to be so damn' skater/surfer is slightly maddening.  Even the visiting tourists all try to get in on the action by wearing Santa Cruz sweatshirts and ugly trucker hats.  I don't bother ever trying to drive home from the beach before 7p, 8p is better.  Most of the homeless folks I interact with on the beaches there are pretty nice.  I can sympathize with your complaints about SC.

A few random thoughts....

Regarding the homeless.... there is a significant homeless population in Anchorage, AK and even in Fairbanks which is probably the coldest "city" in the United States.  While areas that have near perfect climates for living outdoors year round, like the California coast likely attract more chronically "economically depressed" types, and especially so those communities that offer services for the homeless, a "real" winter season does not get rid of homelessness.   

Bend changed after the AARP named it the best place to retire in like the late 90s.  This caused a gold rush of sorts for retirees and it seems like the town has had rapid growth since then, but the economy has stagnated somewhat.  It used to be difficult to make a living there, not sure what it's like now.  I had a brief visit maybe 6 years ago and while the climbing at Smith Rock was really quite fun, the town left a bad taste in my mouth.  I couldn't really put my finger on it, but I remember being kind of let down by Bend after all I had heard and read about it.   I want to emphasize this was a brief visit, so everything I experienced was very superficial.  Hood River is DOPE.  Would be a great place to live. 

I personally am interested in Wenatchee and some of the other smaller cities in Oregon.  We almost pulled the trigger and moved to Spokane some years ago, but that didn't happen.  My cousin lives there and he seems to like it reasonably well.  It's unfortunate, but it seems like the PNW is much like California in that there is very little economic output outside of the biggest cities.  But if your FI, that doesn't matter so much.
 
Ashland has a small ski area but 2/4 really bad recent drought winters (2011-2015ish), the ski hill never opened.   



patchyfacialhair

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Re: Convince me that Bend, OR sucks
« Reply #110 on: May 14, 2018, 11:11:23 AM »
I'd reconsider writing off Colorado as a destination, OP. Fort Collins, for example, is its own distinct city, has fantastic weather, schools, etc. Also, Driving down to Denver International Airport (1 hr drive) to hop on a 2 hour plane ride back to CA to visit family is super easy, and flights can be had for very little money (Frontier's hub is Denver).

It's not nearly as crunchy as Boulder, and it's not Trumptown like Colorado Springs.

The cost of living can be high depending where you look, but it can also be much closer to "average" if you look hard.

FINate

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Re: Convince me that Bend, OR sucks
« Reply #111 on: May 14, 2018, 11:45:26 AM »
The skater/surfer vibe here cracks me up. More often than not folks are just trying to project a certain style... guess they think it's cool? Mostly harmless and humorous, though there's a small clique of locals who think they own the place who are very unwelcoming and generally unpleasant. This is probably true of most places, and easy enough to ignore/avoid. It helps that we don't surf or skate, nor do we go to the beach often. I expect Bend (and other mountain towns) have similarities with the REI set and dirtbags.

The homelessness issue is nuanced and multi-layered. I don't think climate can prevent homelessness, but it can discourage a certain and very problematic element. A retired ER physician recently wrote an excellent op-ed about his experience which resonated with those who've lived here a long time and have experienced the issue first-hand. My main issue are those who come here for the nice climate, drugs, free services, and lax law enforcement and yet have no plan for how to actually make it here - they can't afford it and just exploit free services while stealing to fund addiction - and there's no political will to prevent it. I suppose it's a case of "no good deed goes unpunished" as we are quite literally being overrun.

I'm looking forward to traveling through the PNW and checking out a few towns/cities. Will spend some time in Bend to get a sense for the vibe, not sold on it yet, pretty open minded at this point in the process.

wbranch

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Re: Convince me that Bend, OR sucks
« Reply #112 on: May 14, 2018, 12:28:46 PM »
The thing I have always heard about mountain towns is you either have 3 houses or 3 jobs. Applies more to areas with big ski hills like Steamboat, Sun Valley, Glenwood Springs/Carbondale/Aspen, Jackson Hole, Crested Butte, Big Sky. But definitely applies to other population centers in the Western US a lot more than what I was used to in the Midwest.

FINate

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Re: Convince me that Bend, OR sucks
« Reply #113 on: May 14, 2018, 01:36:45 PM »
I'd reconsider writing off Colorado as a destination, OP. Fort Collins, for example, is its own distinct city, has fantastic weather, schools, etc. Also, Driving down to Denver International Airport (1 hr drive) to hop on a 2 hour plane ride back to CA to visit family is super easy, and flights can be had for very little money (Frontier's hub is Denver).

It's not nearly as crunchy as Boulder, and it's not Trumptown like Colorado Springs.

The cost of living can be high depending where you look, but it can also be much closer to "average" if you look hard.

There's a lot we like about Ft Collins, was one of the first places we considered, would consider it again. But family relocating to PNW changed the calculus for us since being within 6-10 hrs drive is desirable. Air travel is such a pain in the ass: Drive time to/from airport, parking, TSA, checked luggage, flight time (incl. taxi), car rental. Can easily double or triple travel time for < 3 hr flight, and the cost for flights with a family of 4 + rental car gets expensive fast. If we don't love any of the places we visit in the PNW then we'll likely make a trip to check out the Front Range.

patchyfacialhair

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Re: Convince me that Bend, OR sucks
« Reply #114 on: May 14, 2018, 03:44:26 PM »
Fair enough. I missed the part about family in PNW, I thought I read that they were in CA.

I'm biased because I've grown to love CO since moving here 10 years ago and hope to never move. I also have family in CA, so I understand the hassle of being a little farther than a quick day-drive.

That said (and I'm not about to read through your post history...too lazy), if you're going from super-high property tax CA to super-low property tax CO, that in and of itself could cover the difference in travel spending. Property tax is just above 2k per year on our $400k+ house. Insurance is $2k per year.

Anyways, I'm sure you'll make the right decision in the end!

FINate

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Re: Convince me that Bend, OR sucks
« Reply #115 on: May 14, 2018, 04:35:32 PM »
Fair enough. I missed the part about family in PNW, I thought I read that they were in CA.

I'm biased because I've grown to love CO since moving here 10 years ago and hope to never move. I also have family in CA, so I understand the hassle of being a little farther than a quick day-drive.

That said (and I'm not about to read through your post history...too lazy), if you're going from super-high property tax CA to super-low property tax CO, that in and of itself could cover the difference in travel spending. Property tax is just above 2k per year on our $400k+ house. Insurance is $2k per year.

Anyways, I'm sure you'll make the right decision in the end!

Family in CA and PNW, so for us a question of being near some family vs. none. Depending on our visits we may yet decide to bite the bullet and venture further out, especially if we determine that quality of life is much better in Ft Collins, Boise or similar. After all, day-to-day life is more important than occasional travel.

Property tax on our primary residence in CA is $8000/year, so yeah, the difference would more than make up for increased travel expenses.

I'm confident we'll thrive wherever we end up. The crazy thing about the process so far is realizing how many great areas there are in the US. At this point I feel like I'm mostly optimizing the "nice to have" things. I don't understand the folks who struggle for years to scratch out an existence in Santa Cruz/SF Bay Area because they are in a career/industry that doesn't pay much of a premium to be here. I mean, the climate is great and it's beautiful and all, but what's the point if you can't enjoy it because you have to work 2-3 jobs just to share a room?

jscott2135

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Re: Convince me that Bend, OR sucks
« Reply #116 on: August 25, 2018, 08:12:58 PM »
I live in Bend, been here for a few years and we have so many Californians here now THAT FREAKING LOVE IT.  Like are weird obsessed with Bend.  I grew up vacationing here and always enjoyed it, now that I'm here I want to move back to Portland, but that's because I'm a weird Valley girl and miss the rain.   My beefs with Bend for the most part wont be yours, outside of lack of diversity, FFS would it kill someone to open a damn Ethiopian restaurant here.  Our rush hour from one side of town to another may take you 20 minutes tops, if it takes me more than 15 minutes to get from the east side to the west I get mad lol.  If you're into the outdoors, this place is amazing, hiking, waterfalls, kayaking, fishing, skiing, whatever you want they got it year round...I hate cold so I pretty much hibernate during winter, but hey at least its sunny most of the time even in winter so you dont get the blues.  People really are nice here, even my stick in the mud in laws love going to the food cart courts and talking to stangers while they enjoy food and brews.  Schools are great, biking is encouraged, and everything feels ridiculously close and easy to get to. I would bitch about the cost of living but you will laugh at me so I'll keep my mouth shut. It is becoming much more like a mini California, it used to be strongly red, now its turning blue much to my satisfaction lol, thanks Cali and PDX! From where you're coming, unless you have beef with snow or large lack of diversity then Bend is pretty amazing.  My reasons for moving back will be, snow sucks, I miss the rain and the green of the valley and salmon fishing...and I am a foodie, I miss cheap quality ethnic food so bad it hurts. But Bend is growing and with it will come more restaurants.  If you're into Microbrewies you cant swing a dead cat without hitting one here, and even though I'm not a beer drinker I like going to places like Crux just for the view and the vibe - huge grass area with food carts to the side, families/couples come here in the summer, eat drink, look at the amazing view of the cascades and play pop up games of soccer or bean toss with strangers and its all just chill and laid back. If you have an aversion to trucker hats, and beards and casual dress codes then definitely move along ;) Not sure about other cities on your short list but fair warning.  Bend housing market and rental market are TIGHT, you have to be on it to find a home you want and put an offer in. If you do decide you want to know more there are two great FB groups (one for bay area folks moving here and one for newbies or people feeling it out that will give you some fantastic insight, (and you can always ping me for recommendations or info on realtors or neighborhoods etc!)

« Last Edit: August 25, 2018, 08:24:41 PM by jscott2135 »

Arbitrage

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Re: Convince me that Bend, OR sucks
« Reply #117 on: August 25, 2018, 09:51:41 PM »
I've been narrowing down our RE destinations (moving from SoCal).  Lately, I've grown enamored of Bend, Bellingham, and Ashland. 

Visited Bend in June.  Loved it.

Visited Bellingham in mid August.  Loved it as well - it took more time than Bend to grow on me (less of a tourist mecca, and the city layout made it a bit more difficult to get a real sense of the place, but fell for it as time went on. 

Had planned to visit Ashland (did Bellingham instead), but in checking the daily weather for all three places, the summers there would be pretty miserable for my heat-intolerant son. 

Overall, I was 'wowed' more by Bend, but think that Bellingham might make more sense for us (climate, proximity to bigger cities and family).  Still have more time to decide - unfortunately!

FINate

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Re: Convince me that Bend, OR sucks
« Reply #118 on: August 31, 2018, 01:08:26 PM »
Thanks jscott and Arbitrage for the info, very helpful. Bend still sounds great despite the downsides detailed on this thread, though will have to visit myself to check it out. We also have time to decide as we wrap up financial and personal things in CA. Housing certainly isn't cheap, though some of the smaller homes away from the downtown are fairly reasonable by our current standards.

CanuckExpat

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Re: Convince me that Bend, OR sucks
« Reply #119 on: October 05, 2018, 11:10:01 PM »
Thanks, good rundown.

You guys are seriously making me want to go to ID. The Sawtooths, Bitterroots, and even Eagle Cap Wilderness all within reach. Pretty sure it's a breach of etiquette, however, for a Californian to move straight to ID without first living in the PNW ;-) Seriously, I would consider living a bit further from extended family for it. Just not sure I can convince DW just yet, though have some time so worth a try.

Wanted to point out, we've been spending about three weeks in Boise, and I keep running into Californian transplants, it's almost uncanny (in addition to being Canadian expats, we're also expats from San Jose).

I like Boise. It is dry, but like really fucking dry and brown. You don't notice in the city since it's irrigated, but it's brown all around. I'm trying to figure out if I could get used to that. The people are nice, the city has good services, it's got great access to a lot of things, including hot springs. Far from the ocean. And whiteness... I noticed but it didn't bother me, but my wife very much noticed the many clones of blondes in yoga pants in the more affluent areas. People are very nice. I have trouble getting used to it (why is everyone stopping to say hi to me??)

BuildingFrugalHabits

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Re: Convince me that Bend, OR sucks
« Reply #120 on: October 06, 2018, 06:37:17 PM »
That fakeness in Bend seems like a good problem to have.  I'd rather have that vs trails being overrun with hoards of people clogging roads, cutting trail, and leaving their trash everywhere.  Unfortunately, that's essentially what's happened to a lot of the public land near where I live in Colorado. 

BuildingFrugalHabits

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Re: Convince me that Bend, OR sucks
« Reply #121 on: October 06, 2018, 06:44:30 PM »
I like this thread because we've considered relocating for greener pastures.  Santa Cruz was considered briefly but ruled out for much of the same reasons the OP stated.  The drug needles was an automatic deal breaker for me. We looked at Bend as well but I think the climate is too dry and harsh with poor gardening options.  I also like Park City for the proximity to mountain biking and skiing. 

Telecaster

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Re: Convince me that Bend, OR sucks
« Reply #122 on: October 06, 2018, 09:00:21 PM »
Thanks, good rundown.

You guys are seriously making me want to go to ID. The Sawtooths, Bitterroots, and even Eagle Cap Wilderness all within reach. Pretty sure it's a breach of etiquette, however, for a Californian to move straight to ID without first living in the PNW ;-) Seriously, I would consider living a bit further from extended family for it. Just not sure I can convince DW just yet, though have some time so worth a try.

Wanted to point out, we've been spending about three weeks in Boise, and I keep running into Californian transplants, it's almost uncanny (in addition to being Canadian expats, we're also expats from San Jose).

I like Boise. It is dry, but like really fucking dry and brown. You don't notice in the city since it's irrigated, but it's brown all around. I'm trying to figure out if I could get used to that. The people are nice, the city has good services, it's got great access to a lot of things, including hot springs. Far from the ocean. And whiteness... I noticed but it didn't bother me, but my wife very much noticed the many clones of blondes in yoga pants in the more affluent areas. People are very nice. I have trouble getting used to it (why is everyone stopping to say hi to me??)

Boise is cool.  It is definitely on our short list for places to retire to.  Yes, it is definitely dry and brown.  Yes, compared to Seattle it actually seems odd there are so many white people.  I don't mean that  in a bad way at all (like Boise isn't diverse enough or something), it is just not what my brain expects to see. 

 But it is still on the cheap side, and it is really hard to beat if you want easy access to nature.  And downtown has its own cool, organic cultural thing happening.   One could do a lot worse.