Oregon: Welcome to Roseburg!

For three years we've been living like nomads: Philadelphia, Dallas, Chicago, Fresno, Denver, Charleston, Anchorage. From the very beginning, the cities of Portland and Seattle have been at the top of our wish-list of places to live and now, we're here! Nearby anyway...

The closest we could get to Portland was Roseburg, OR; a small town of about 22,000 people along Interstate 5. From here it's about one hour to Eugene, two to Salem, three  to Portland, five to Seattle, and seven to Vancouver. We're planning to visit each of these cities for the first time. We'll also be able to spend time on the Oregon Coast, at Crater Lake National Park, and in the Columbia River Gorge.

Roseburg is one of the smallest and oldest populations I've ever live in. To give an idea, Clearwater has the oldest average age of any city in the state of Florida at 43.8 years. Roseburg's Average Median Age is 45.2! Sometimes it seems like there are more mobility scooters (many with sun shades!) in the crosswalks than people walking. Our apartment complex is bracketed by two retirement communities and a dozen medical complexes across the street.  Whenever I run errands in town, I've started carrying my kindle to have something to do in line during the inevitable dispute over coupons and senior citizen discounts. Not making fun. Just sharing the reality of the area. A lot of the older crowd I've come across in the cafes and local watering holes here seem like really fun and interesting people.

Wildlife Safari outside of Roseburg
Despite the older ages, there are things to do besides bingo. The city has a cute little downtown and a dog park in the shade along the river. There are a number of quality breweries with music and games. The local safari focuses on specific conservation efforts and was a treat to visit. Sure, we've exhausted our to-do list for the city in two weeks and have resorted to browsing the  aisles of the local dvd store ($1 movies for 5 days!), but we're excited to be here.

The apartment itself is fairly standard-- nothing like Denver or Chicago. My favorite part is the family of deer that comes out almost every night from the hills behind us. Like Fresno, we're here for the location and not the city itself,

Bailey watching deer

A few first impressions to finish out the post:

-- Oregon's minimum wage applies to all workers regardless of whether they receive tips or not.

-- Like New Jersey, all gas stations are full-service only. I've already forgotten once and tried to pump the gas, myself.

-- Despite being in wine country near the West Coast and Portland, it's surprisingly conservative, redneck, and overweight. I've seen a couple confederate flags. It's not what I expected.

-- Washington and California seem to be getting most of the coverage, but there are serious fires all around Oregon, too. We've seen helicopters flying with buckets of water from the airport. On a trip through the forest, we passed a camp of firefighters the size of a music festival. Just like Anchorage, the air can be hazy with smoke.

-- One of Roseburg's claims to fame is a huge truck explosion that leveled most of its downtown in 1959. The city has an app you can use for a self-guided tour of the event.

-- After living in a state without any snakes, it's a big change to be hiking through areas where rattlesnakes are a serious consideration. Many people here vaccinate their dogs against rattlesnakes and/or try to landscape in ways that discourage snakes from hiding out.