08-28-2010 09:20 AM
Here is another great source for community information. It is the principal web site for the Office of Neighborhood Involvement and includes neighborhood association news and events : http://www.portlandonline.com/oni/.
Here is a link to Portland neighborhoods map to help get your bearings: http://www.portlandonline.com/oni/index.cfm?c=3578
You picked well - I'm familiar with the Mt Tabor, Irvington and Laurelhurst neighborhoods and all have a wonderful, small community feel.
Good luck and happy house hunting.
08-29-2010 12:55 AM
I lived on the reservoir @ Mt. Tabor for years and we never had crime issues. There were occasional incidents. If you are looking in Portland. I recommend Portland maps to check crime.
You can check crime within a mile of an address. It has detailed per incident tallys for all the crime within a year. It will tell you how many larcenies, burglaries, assaults, rapes etc. as well as date and time and location (with somewhat of an exception on location for rape is kind of in an area).
I would not pay attention to whatever other statistics you find since these are direct from the Portland Police.
Hope that helps.
10-01-2010 01:21 PM
For the most accurate Crime Stats in Portland, Oregon, please click on the following link for the Portland Police Bureau neighborhood crime statistics information page:
Also, utilize the CrimeMapper to map crimes that have occurred around a specific address:
Hope this is helpful. I will research how these stats compare to our ZipRealty stats and report on any comparisns or discrepencies.
Please contact me if you have any additional questions @ email@example.com
05-25-2011 09:10 AM
I'm not sure if you moved to Portland by now (it's been awhile since you posted your question) but I wanted to share my experience. We moved here from Los Angeles in 2008. In LA we lived in a really cute area called Atwater Village. Although some houses on our block were valued at $800,000 or more, we still had enough gang related activity to make us nervous. Since we've moved to Portland, we have not seen anything even close to what we had experienced in LA. The newspapers here seem to announce gang activity more up here, unlike in LA, where it was so commonplace that the newspapers rarely reported it.
If you do decide to move up here, I recommend doing some research first. We moved to SW Portland where it's a little more suburban, but feels very safe. What's cool about Portland is that everything is so close. We live in avery safe area and are only 10-15 minutes from downtown. And nowhere in Portland have we experienced anything crime-wise like Compton or Pomona.
On a side note, it did take a couple years to get used to it up here. Maybe because it was a big change and we had to learn how to get around. If you do move up here and find yourselves asking "what have we done?!" don't worry, it definitely gets better. Then one day you wake up and say "Wow, we live in a really cool city!"
Good luck with your decision,
11-26-2011 04:32 PM
I just read your post... I live in an area of LA called Mt Washington - about 5 miles or so from where you lived in LA.
I am trying to transfer from the organization I work for to a position in Hillsboro Oregon.. What do you think of the area
and how re the schools.?
12-29-2011 01:59 PM
Hello, I also resisde in So. Cal (lived here most of my life) but i am considering moving up to Oregan early in 2012. Could you tell me the best and safest places to live there near or in Portland. I here Beaverton is nice. I appreciate any info...
03-05-2012 03:27 PM
Personally, I'm not crazy about Beaverton; it's pure suburban bleh. It is relatively convenient to shopping; there's only 2 malls with Nordstroms; 1 downtown and one in Tualitin. Beaverton is between them. It's also well connected to light rail, which is nice. There doesn't seem to be a lot of retail development West of Portland, other than mid-century roadside stores and 80s/90s strip malls, so shopping convenience is different from what I was used to in California.
If you do decide to move, here's what I've learned re: house hunting West of the river. There are a lot of natural hazards that I didn't have to worry about all in one place in California. First, flooding. Oregon has lots of natural creeks, river, and associated wetlands. Even relatively recent suburban type homes can be wetland/creek adjacent, and it's a good idea to check floodsmart.gov and the local maps (Intermap is great for Washington County, outside the city of Portland) for flood risk. I made an offer on a Fannie Mae home that didn't disclose flood risk and it turned out to be a serious flood risk. Virtually the entire yard flooded in the December rain, a good 10 feet above the creek banks and neighbors reported that was pretty normal for the area!
The earthquake risk is different from California. The hills have landslide risk (lots of water, steep slopes, and then add earthquake risk and I wasn't able to find any source of landslide insurance - so do your due diligence, especially re: non-permitted grading or sub-par retaining walls in those steep slope areas). Earthquake risk here is a different type from what I was used to in Californa. The fault line is off the coast, and it's relatively inactive. It seems to shake every several hundred years - but big, big quakes - rather than the frequent, but smaller quakes in California. The local GIS (government data maps) can include earthquake risk data. I've been surprised at how many houses are rated moderate to high risk. I suspect it's because of the high water table - earthquake waves behave differently in wet soil (more like a wave) than in the dry soil of California's more inland areas. Oh, and the GIS data is excellent here. You can search "[city or county] GIS" and find local gov't sites with maps showing natural hazards, crime rates, tax info, and lots more.
They usually include basements in the square footage here. A lot of supposedly 3000 sq. ft. houses are really 1500 sq. ft. with a full basement. I've even seen listings include basements where the ceilings were only 6 feet high. The upstairs rooms are often scaled like a 1500 sq. ft. house, so they can feel sort of cramped despite supposedly being large homes.
Another thing that I found different was the stability of houses. I went into contract on a house and discovered that it needed foundation work. Cost over $50k just to stabilize, over $100k after all the repairs related to foundation. I have seen a lot of houses with basements (yay!) but a lot of them had large cracks in the concrete (boo!). If doors and windows won't open and close properly, it can be a sign of foundation problems. My 1900s California house had a totally stable foundation a century later; I thought foundation issues were a rare sign of defective construction, but maybe the soils are different here? Anyway, now I carry a ping pong ball; if the floor feels "off" I set down the ball and see if it rolls. If it rolls fast, the floor isn't level.
The other major suprise was oil heating. A lot of the older homes have/had oil tanks, often buried underground, to hold heating oil. If the tank leaks, it can put oil into the groundwater and create a very expensive environmental mess. The house with the foundation issues - also had an oil tank leak. Perhaps the sinking foundation cracked the pipe going from the tank to the house. The Oregon DEQ web site has a search function for looking up reported oil tank leaks.
So insection can get really expensive here. Basic inspection, plus sewer lateral, plus soil testing around an oil tank (you definitely want the seller to pay for remediation if there's any leaking, so good to test before buying), plus radon tests, and then, if the basic inspection calls out anything unusual, they'll tell you to hire a specialized professional to look at it more closely. On a property with a steep slope, I'd also consider hiring a soils engineer, especially if the slopes are close to the house, and absolutely if the house shows any signs of movement (sinking foundation, for example). I've heard rumors that the fancy new development in Hillsboro has foundation problems, so it's not just older homes that can have issues.
Another thing that's different is land use planning and zoning. Google Urban Growth Boundaries. I prefer to stay close to Hillsboro, which is planning to grow, and I'm finding some of the larger lot homes are zoned for future Industrial development (like factories and warehouses). That can constrain your rights to make changes to the property - so make sure you understand what the zoning is and what it means (future development zoning means they've decided on a change, but haven't implemented it yet, but it still constrains your ability to modify the buildings). The Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) is part of the planning process. It results in a lot of infill development. There's a house in Hillsboro on an acre that has about 20 new 2-story neighbors looking down on their house; I doubt they expected that when they bought there. A lot of the lots here have minimum density in addition to maximum density. You usually can't split an acre in 2, you have to split it into 6 or 8 parcels (or at least build in such a way that it could be split up into tiny lots later). That beautiful orchard next door that makes a house charming today could be a townhouse complex in 5 years.
The GIS crime maps let you drill down to details on the types of crimes over the last year. It's a good idea to look at the details. One house I looked at seemed high crime, but, when I clicked through all the types of crimes reported, it was things like littering! You can't even make a police report on that in most parts of California! Heck, they don't even come out for burglaries or car break-ins anymore. So look at the details before you make up your mind.