This week relocation expert Joel Skousen delves into the Pacific Northwest and outlines one of the top retreat destinations in America. For all its benefits, however, it does have some drawbacks, and Skousen brings those to light as well. In the end, whether you are looking to relocate in the Pacific Northwest, Pacific Southwest,Northeast, Middle America, or in the Southeastern part of the United States, Skousen makes it clear what you should be looking for. You’ll need an area rich in resources, a homestead that is outside of major population density zones as well as the thoroughfares they follow, and a property that is defensible in the event of a major calamity.
As always, though Joel’s focus may be on one specific area of the United States in this particular briefing, the insights into how you should approach your own Strategic Relocation property apply across the board and no one provides a better method of analysis and examination than the guy who literally wrote the book on the subject.
Finding the right balance between government regulations, gun ownership, resource availability, geography, proximity to cities and overall safety are all important considerations to make.
I grew up in Oregon and raised my family in the Cascades, so I know this area very well. I’ve always been active in the outdoors and Oregon state parks are numerous, well kept, and beautifully situated in both the Cascade Mountains and on the Oregon coast. The Oregon coastline is a wonderful mix of jagged rocks, cliffs, trees, and periodic fine sandy beaches with driftwood. The forestation in Western Oregon, which includes the Cascades, is a wonderful mix of firs, pines and deciduous trees. Water is abundant and pure, except in the major metros where it is chlorinated and often fluoridated.
Oregon is a breathtakingly beautiful state with somewhat better weather than Washington State. It has a Pacific West Coast maritime climate with mild temperatures and steady breezes west of the Cascades, with few major thunderstorms. But, you have to be prepared for 9-10 months of cloudy wet weather in the west, and periodic rain even in the summer—the price you pay for all that greenery. But this rain is often drained from the clouds as it passes over first the Coast Range and then the Cascade Range east of Portland. That leaves it a lot drier and more sunny East of the Cascades from June through September.
Oregon would be perhaps the best state in the country for preparedness and survival if it hadn’t been taken over by liberal/left environmentalists with a passion for controlling private property. A lot of these liberals moved up from California where government control is the norm. Ever since Oregon adopted a statewide uniform land use planning law, individual counties lost the liberty to make reasonable development decisions at the local level. Oregon was the original perpetrator of “Smart Growth” and its statewiderestrictive land use planning system imposed on local communities is the worst in the nation. Small building parcels can only be had in the restrictive Urban Growth Boundaries, which restricts supply and raises prices. When the citizens finally had enough and passed an initiative to allow aggrieved property owners to gain compensation for lost of property development rights, the liberal/Left courts overturned it—just like California judges did on many citizen initiatives.
Still, private land availability is good outside the congested Portland area. It’s just that outside the Urban Growth boundary you have to buy more acreage than you need to be able to build. Building permits are required everywhere and that is dictated statewide as well. But on the plus side, basements are possible almost everywhere. The soil is rich and the rainfall is good for growing most crops, although irrigation is needed east of the cascades, where the better weather is found.
Oregon has been at the forefront of many of the excessive land and environmental controls in the country—from demands to destroy all hydroelectric dams to save the fish, to almost total strangulation of the logging industry to save the spotted owls. The propaganda machine emanating from the single Leftist newspaper in Portland (the Oregonian) broadcasts its tainted opinions throughout the state, followed in lock-step by the major television stations. All of the universities are extremely liberal and continue to churn out advocates for state power.
That said, Oregon is a state of many contradictions. One would never know by listening to the media that almost half of Oregonians are very conservative—but they are a disenfranchised by the Left/liberal majorities in the Portland area, just like Seattle liberals control Washington State. Oregon has become a socialist state similar to, but not quite as bad as California, with severe budget problems, overly generous state worker pensions, and numerous welfare programs.
But for all this control, Oregon still requires no safety inspections of vehicles (a good thing), and it has no greater accident rate because of it. Then again, Oregon doesn’t consider it safe to let individuals pump their own gas at service stations. Once the safety excuse was debunked by the experience of the rest of the nation, the cry became one of “preserving jobs”—no matter how unnecessary. Car registration is every two years and has no property tax component—just one reasonable fee. Oregon has no state sales tax—a good thing, though state officials keep trying to convince voters to change that every few years. It does have a higher state income tax as a result.
There are no major nuclear threats in Oregon, especially in and around the urban areas—only a couple of secondary or tertiary targets in the East. The Backscatter Radar site in Central Oregon will be hit with something, but not necessarily nuclear. It’s so remote in location that it isn’t a threat in any case. In southern Oregon, there is Kingsley Field ANG Base, in Klamath Falls, an F-15C training base—a secondary target. What this means is that Oregon has one of the few coastal areas with no nuclear threats and where a person doesn’t even have to prepare for heavy fallout. But the coastal areas are very wet and cloudy, have few jobs and they are somewhat trapped between the higher populations of the Willamette agricultural valley and the ocean. For this and other reasons, I chose to live in the Cascades.
There are, however, several major volcanoes embedded within the Cascade Range that will someday erupt, like Mt. St. Helens (which erupted in 1980), Mt Hood, and Mt. Bachelor. I got to experience the eruption of Mount St. Helens first hand. Although the volcano is in SW Washington and most of the massive plume of ash went to the NE into eastern Washington State, on occasion, the wind would blow from the NW and would give us a problem in the Columbia Gorge area along the Columbia River which forms the northern Oregon border.
For safe areas in the Cascades, I’ll start from the north. After an extensive search I finally chose the Hood River Valley to settle down in and raise a family. It is a wonderful area on the Columbia Gorge about an hour from Portland. It is just to the East of the transition line between the wet and dry areas of Oregon, and there is a steady flow of coastal air moving inland through the gorge. It’s now the Wind Surfing Capital of the World. This e former sleepy orchard valley has now become trendy and upscale in price. So, while the lower valley is now pretty expensive, I recommend property only in the mid to upper valley centered around Odell and Parkdale—which still have prime forest and agricultural retreat properties. Hwy 35 gives you a back door over Mt Hood and into Eastern Oregon should the Gorge route (I-84) become closed, as it sometimes is in winter.
A few hundred people even commute to Portland from here, but for those that need to be close to the Portland area for work, the western slopes of the Cascades have a lot of suitable retreat areas. Check out the small towns of Sandy, Estacada, and Molalla. They get more rain there and are closer to urban unrest that may break out in Portland, but still if you follow my specific criteria in Strategic Relocation about siting a house off the beaten path and away from even secondary roads, most trouble will bypass you at this distance away from the city.
In Central Oregon, the most famous of the relocation and resort destinations is Bend and nearby Redmond. A lot of Californians have migrated north to these areas which have driven up real estate prices—taking away much of the earlier draw to the area for preppers. While I like the mix of the drier Pine forests and ranch country this area provides, both cities are directly East of Mt. Bachelor and the Three Sisters volcanoes respectively which puts them at high risk for heavy ash fall should these mountains erupt. You can survive the ash fall, and it turns out to be beneficial in the long term for the soil, but it’s a real mess to deal with when it happens. The town of La Pine to the south of Bend is slightly less vulnerable to the volcano threat if you want to be on the east side. There are also some nice spots on the western side of the Cascades, although you are vulnerable to the populations of Eugene. Check out the towns of Dexter and Lowell on Hwy 58 heading into the mountains.
In Southwestern Oregon, you have the Umpqua River Valley. This is the valley that extends east from Roseburg towards glide along Hwy 138. There is also a more remote tributary further south at Canyonville that goes up toward the Cascades through Day’s Creek. Or, for more farm country in the valley, check out Umqua and Elkton areas east of Roseburg–great growing season. Housing is much cheaper than in northern Oregon locations.
Southern Oregon: Further south in the Cascades is the traditional retreat area along the Rogue River made famous by Mel Tappan—the land surrounding Grants Pass and Medford. It is no longer so highly rated due to charges of corruption in the Douglas County Sheriff’s office and the influx of thousands of California transplants bringing with them many of their liberal ideas and biases. This is the home of the beautiful Rogue River Valley, which is located away from the freeway cities and offers great retreat sites on the river. It’s best to go east at a minimum to White City or Eagle Point.
I much prefer the areas more distant from the freeway corridor—Cave Junction to the West, and Klamath Falls area to the east, particularly the mountain country between Medford and Klamath Falls. The Klamath area has good water supplies and good soil with a decent growing season—but it is more remote.
In summary, despite Oregon’s Left/liberal ways, it still has some of the best geography and mild weather for retreats and full time residences in relatively safe areas. But, we have to keep in mind that virtually all states are gradually following that “progressive” direction, so it’s not as if it can be avoided entirely in any state.
Survival Retreat Consulting: Oregon is a favorite of ours, for many reasons and may be a great choice for you as well. Why? The bottom line is that during a major event that may push us into a socio-economic collapse, or worse, it will not matter what the laws are of that state, or any other. Especially in a nuclear first strike scenario, Oregon is a great place to be.
One area that both Joel Skousen and myself work heavily on with consulting clients is the choice of locale. There are many times when we have to calm a client down and talk about the balance between realistic preparedness and a doomsday scenario. I always try and convey to the client that the best property to buy is one that that they would be happy to have made memories at over the past twenty years if nothing happens, as well as a property that will be safe if the worst comes. This is a very hard balance. Some folks have children that need to be close to activities, others are empty nesters that want the ability to enjoy fine dining and a show but are within a reasonable distance back to the retreat.
Oregon is much better than California relative to gun laws. There is no assault weapons ban nor magazine size restriction. Except in major cities, it’s an open carry state, with a “shall issue” mandate for approval of concealed weapons permits, unless the Sheriff has good reason to suspect a problem in your background.
Two sources of Water are important along with some type of sustainable Energycreation, followed by the ability to produce nutrient dense food every day of the year, regardless of weather is third. Once you have these first three criteria met, then it’s worth defending, Period. Oregon offers spectacular growing seasons in certain areas along with abundant water; the rest is up to you to create through alternative energy systems and greenhouses built for colder climates if you’re in the snow belt such as a Walipini. So, in Oregon, you can still purchase semi-auto magazine fed center fire rifles, so you can stockpile all you want, and when you here the news of the coming collapse, it won’t matter anyway what the laws are, you’ll be completely self sufficient at your new retreat and have something worth sacrificing for.
The bottom line is that everyone has unique needs and I have never met a client that was happy buying a retreat so far away from town that they had to use a snow machine to access it. This works for the first year and then they realize it was just too far out. Oregon offers spectacular “Local / Remote” retreat properties, all without the worry of a major nuclear attack and the fallout. Give Oregon a second look if you have already discounted it, and for those of you new to Strategic Relocation, review Oregon with an open mind (no pun intended) and you’ll be pleasantly surprised what you find.