SW Washington area--your thoughts?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by MichelleB, Mar 2, 2005.

  1. MichelleB

    MichelleB Well-Known Member

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    After reading the thread about the Albany, OR area, I thought I'd ask those of you who live in SW Washington (West of I-5, south of Olympic NP). I want to avoid all the Superfund sites along the Columbia, of course, and the pulp mills Bergere mentioned (yuck) as I hope to a) breathe and b) add B&B facilities at some point.

    Ideally, I'd be within 90 minutes of PDX.

    I know property taxes are lower in WA then OR, but are there other benefits or, of course, drawbacks?

    Thanks in advance!

    Michelle
     
  2. deberosa

    deberosa SW Virginia Gourd Farmer!

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    Lot's of nice places down that way, but watch for flooding. Much of that area is low lying and has water on it part of the year - look for land during the wettest season! I live where I do because of my job in Olympia, but would move South if that were not a limitation - the closer to the coast the better, but not right on the coast - the wind and harsh weather is a bit much out that way....
     

  3. crashy

    crashy chickaholic goddess

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    I agree...becareful We are in Vancouver well actually Orchards and its really growing fast here. The flood prone areas around here are starting to get houses on them people don't look I guess....The Columbia river gorge would be a good place to look its not quite city yet about 30 ish miles up the river its so purty.
     
  4. kabri

    kabri Almst livin the good life

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    Don't forget the ashfall possibility from Mt St Helens! I don't think she's done errupting yet. I have friends that live in Winlock, they have beautiful soil, no rocks... all courtesy of the volcano hundreds of years ago.
     
  5. crashy

    crashy chickaholic goddess

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    I can see Mt. St. Helens out my kitchen window I am glad it blew out on the north side instead of the south side. All in all it is a beautiful mountain I love to watch her "smoke"
     
  6. MichelleB

    MichelleB Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, you guys...how about the Montesano area???
     
  7. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

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    Montesano is a nice area as is Satsop, Rochester and all those little towns. They are close to Olympia for shopping, close to the ocean for recreation, but inland enough to have summer heat that is not found on the coast.

    We live way up the Peninsula, we moved here from Pacific county. Pass on any property that has skunk cabbage growing anywhere except along the creek.
     
  8. SherrieT

    SherrieT State of Confusion

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    We moved to the Raymond-South Bend area last year and LOVE it. My partner retired and I'm just getting around to looking for a way to bring in some extra cash. Not too many tourists come this way, don't know how great a B&B would do. Property prices are very reasonable. We got a 120-year-old farmhouse and 5 acres for 80K. The reason we got it so low was we let the previous owner have tenancy rights for 18 months (only 9 more months to go) and the house just needs remodeling (not rebuilding :) )

    Drawbacks are:
    lousy restaurants
    groceries are expensive

    Benefits:
    $4.50 first run movie theater
    Clamming and crabbing year round
    Laid back life styles
     
  9. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    :) I will give you my thoughts on this for what they are worth. When my dh and I started coming up to the Northwest to look for a town to fall in love with for when we retired we started with WA. We headed up to the Olympic Pn. and then down the canal and around and headed up past Lk WA and checked out Bellingham etc. Then the cute little towns of Enumclaw and Puyallup. And MT St Helens too of course. Fell in love with Mossy Rock! We just loved it.

    But you know what? No matter how rural we got, no matter how far off of the beaten track we got..there was NO getting around that horrible traffic! It was everywhere and inescapable. If you wanted to leave a little town and find a place to shop...gridlock! So, I said "no way" and we came to Oregon and started looking here for a place to buy. Found it. NO traffic! LOL

    Just my input. You might not mind all of those cars and trucks but it drove me crazy! I still love Mossy Rock but we just visit it when going to "The Mountain" and up to the Penninsula to The Lyre River Resort.

    Good luck with your search....LQ
     
  10. SherrieT

    SherrieT State of Confusion

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    We have no trafftic problems whatsoever here..........

    Sherrie
     
  11. cast iron

    cast iron Well-Known Member

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    Clark county seems to be popular with the meth heads.

    http://www.house.gov/baird/011900.htm

    http://www.ci.vancouver.wa.us/vanpd/meth/methwatchagain.asp

    Hmm, looks like the whole darn state has problems with meth heads.
    Washington state ranks third behind CA and Missouri for number of meth lab busts.
    http://www.tri-cityherald.com/tch/local/story/3234160p-3264168c.html

    The problem with "meth labs" is they can be so mobile. You often find them in the rural areas. I race cars on the weekends, and many of us use enclosed race trailers to transport the race cars. We have an inordinate amount of race trailers stolen each year. Most of them get towed out to the rual areas and the meth heads set up shop in them.

    Wayne
     
  12. SilverVista

    SilverVista Well-Known Member

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    FWIW, The monster property tax in Oregon can be eased if you can qualify for the farm deferral. You have to have farm sales (not profits, just sales) of some ridiculously low amount -- haven't looked it up recently, but we do it selling about 20 lambs and a couple of calves a year. And then, we STILL have no sales tax. It gets discussed every single legislative session, but hasn't made it to the seriously possible stage yet. There's no way to stop people in WA from coming down to shop tax-free for most things, but the WA DMV is really cracking down hard on people who buy their vehicles in OR and register a fake OR address to avoid paying the tax when they bring it home to WA. It's to the point that they're driving around neighborhoods in Vancouver, Longview, etc, in the late evening/early morning, looking for Oregon plates on cars parked in people's driveways!

    Susan
     
  13. crashy

    crashy chickaholic goddess

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    Yes Wayne you are right there is a lot of crack heads here seems the law enforcement has a lack of control of important issues like that. You can find nice places to live in the Vancouver area you just got to check to see where they are I.E. Apartments, low income communities places like that. And if you smell cat pee thats a good indication there is one around that stuff stinks!!! In fact I drove by westfield mall today and could have sweared I smell one.
    I guess all in all every state has some bad things but this state is so purty...the green grass the trees and if you live in the Vancouver area with in an hour you can be at the ocean or the desert or the mountains great places to go!!!
     
  14. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

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    HA! Oregon is a whole lot more spendy than WA.
    Heck the car license fees are outrageous, property tax is really high, and I live in the middle of no where, the goods are not cheaper in Oregon. Like my Horse guard vitamins,, they were $16.50 + tax in WA, here they are $21.00 and no tax,, they are still cheaper in WA even with the tax!
    So we don't have any sales tax in Oregon, but they make up for it by charging more straight up.
    Oregon may have been a good deal 20+ years ago, but it sure is not now, not here anyway.
    My darling Husband did not want to believe me,, now he does, as he learned the hard way.

    I bought my car in WA, where we used to live,, though we did look in Oregon too. Same car, make,.. model ..year.. even with the Tax was cheaper to buy it in WA.

    Maybe things are different in the city like Portland,, but not here.

    Don't get me wrong, I love our new Farm,, but wish we moved to SW WA instead. Is almost funny, think my Hubby, wanted to move down here because his mother lived in Dallas, now she is living up in Battleground WA. And not just because of the job. Ironic I'd say.

    Forrest deferral is a joke,, and for the Farm deferral here.. with all the requirements after talking the the County Tax people,, ha,, that will not happen.
    What is scary, is if we wanted to retire here in 15 years, I doubt we could afford to keep the place because of the high taxes.

    As as for the Meth people, they are everywhere. Oregon news says they have the worse Meth problem in the country. WA tries to hide it, however we had Grandparent aged Meth people next too our old Farm up in Kitsap county, WA. From what we could personally see, it is just as bad up in WA.
    It is everywhere,, which is very sad.
     
  15. cuphalffull

    cuphalffull Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad to see this thread - the Raymond/South Bend area is where I am hoping to move (possibly!) in the future. I know South Bend and surrounding areas have the oyster industry. Anyone know if there are jobs to be found in that?

    I found http://www.pacifictransit.org/, and see that it has connections north to Aberdeen and south to Astoria. But no connections east to the I-5 corridor?

    Anyone know what the libraries in the area are like? Any online links to them?

    Would love to hear more on the area - anything at all. Likes, dislikes, favorite things, recommendations, etc.

    Thanks!
     
  16. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

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    Bergere-(howdy neighbor :D ) Sometimes this world seems so small, lol. My mom and all my relatives are over in Battle Ground. I also grew up there from gradeschool-12th grade, then moved over to this side of the river when I got married.


    Michelle, from what I hear lately, building codes are getting really tough over in Clark County and Cowlitz county. I think you would run into a lot of B and B's over their too. Skamania county has a couple too.

    On the Oregon side, if you go NW of Portland, the only B and B I have heard of is N of Scappoose, but it is very small, but very busy. I'm sure there could be more that I am not aware of.

    If the mountain wasn't a concern of yours, looking into the Toutle area would be a nice area. A few campground areas, and a cabin/yurt side that draws crowds in because they offer a logging show every weekend during the summer, and tours of Mt. St. Helens. A B and B would be another option for tourists to take advantage of.

    Personally, for people in Oregon ( I don't know if Wa is like this) I wouldn't put my farm in any of the programs for deferel (farm, forest, ag) It's not worth it, plus you have the gov. telling you how you can use it.

    As for weather, you either love it or hate it. For how much I complain about the rain getting to me, it's also one of the reasons why I live here. Today when it should be rain season, we are having temps in the 50's with sunny skies.

    I do all of my shopping in Wa, as a Oregonian, because that is where the closest stores are for me. Gas is cheaper over there, sometimes by 5 cents, and clothes are cheaper, groceries run about the same.

    Deb
     
  17. SherrieT

    SherrieT State of Confusion

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    The Timberland Library system is FANTASTIC!!! It is paid for with a small amount of property taxes. Here is the link.

    http://www.trlib.org/


    Sherrie
     
  18. manygoatsnmore

    manygoatsnmore Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'll second the Timberland Libary System being superb! I live in the Toutle area, which is in Cowlitz County and I pay the $70 or so per year for the out-of-service-area card. Well worth the money. Nearest branch is in Winlock (where I also have friends!) in Lewis County, about a 30 min drive. Since we homeschool, we make full use of the library. With a multimillion budget each year and covering most of Western WA, if they don't have the book you want at the closest branch, you can order it on-line and they'll have it for you in a few days. Lots of homesteading type interest in the area means you can get Backwoods Home, Countryside, and lots of books on farming, gardening, animal husbandry, building, etc. Down toward Vancouver and up the Gorge, there is the Fort Vancouver Regional Library (someone help me out on the name - I don't think that's quite right). In the Longview/Kelso area there is a smaller library system. Out of area cards to that system are a lot more expensive for less service. Can't really recommend that one as a first choice, even though I work in Longview and it would be a more convenient stop. They just don't have the buying power that Timberland does.

    As far as building in Cowlitz County, the Building and Planning Dept is notoriously difficult to work with. Lewis County's B&P Dept is supposed to be easier. Be aware that most of SW WA is falling under growth mgmt, making it much harder to do what you want with your own property. Mound septic systems are being required in many areas. I live in an area with sandy, light soil, and yet the last 2 houses I've seen build out here have mound systems. $$$

    Yes there is a meth problem. Anytime you have a highly addictive drug that can be cooked out of common ingredients such as Sudafed and Drano (why would any sane person put that in their body :eek: ) there is going to be a problem with that drug. I don't think that the meth problem is confined to our area, but it is a major factor in the rise in crimes against property here. Tweakers will even unbolt bridge railings and sell them for scrap to buy meth.

    Property is less expensive than California, but more expensive than Eastern WA. A lot depends on where you build. Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties are pretty reasonable, as is Lewis County. Cowlitz Co is getting more expensive as more commuters from Portland move here, and Clark County is quite expensive. Of course, the job situation has a lot to do with the land prices, too. More jobs, higher land prices.

    We do have good health care systems here and a fairly large number of retirees choose this area for that reason (good job security for nurses :D ). It does rain a lot most years (not this one), but we also have a dry season in August/Sept when we may not get any rain at all for 2 months. All in all, it's not a bad place to live.
     
  19. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    I think the meth problem is all over the west coast. My folks down in CA are having problems with mailbox theft and odd trailers parked in out-of-the-way places. I know here in Whatcom Co. the meth problem is bad. When we moved here the maillady told us flat out to get a PO box. Locked mailboxes on the road just get broken into and the mail gets stolen no matter what they try. It hasn't hit the little valley I'm in yet, but I sure wouldn't buy property in the valley just to the west of us.

    For the traffic, I guess it depends on what you're used to. Bellingham is nothing compared to living and driving in Seattle for 10 years.

    The weather is just something to get used to. The rain can be a bit much sometimes (not this winter, tho!), but that just makes it nicer to cozy up inside with a hot fire and whatever sort of craft things you like to do.
     
  20. cast iron

    cast iron Well-Known Member

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    Yup, the rough estimates we have received so far on a mound system for our Lewis county property are in the 18-20K range.