2015 is the year that I retire from the Army, and it’s the year that we’re going to move to Portland, OR.
Portland. Yes, Portland.
1. My in laws are in Eugene, and my folks are in Spokane (and is my awesome-sauce sister & BIL). In In fact, we started thinking about being west of the Rockies when we realized that nearly all of our families are West of the Rockies, and we’ve spent most of the last 20 years not even in the same time zone. So, Portland has location, location, locations. Visiting family becomes an issue of a drive, or a flight or a flight with a connection.
2. It’s close to but south of the snow line. Having lived in Germany forever, we have no issue with the rainy northwest, but we’ll be damned if we’re going to live in snow. Snow is something one visits, not something one suffers through.
3. Portland is an artist city, and my wife is a hell of an artist. We can’t see retiring to some place that doesn’t match us, and Portland has the same art art vibe and same art community that we do.
4. Oregon has a state-level program called the Veterans’ Dependent Tuition Waiver. The state waived in-state tuition for the dependents for 100% disabled veterans; this is wholly separate from the federal Post 9-11 GI Bill program, and this makes sending our kids to Oregon state schools incredible attractive. Go Ducks / Beavers / etc.!
5. Oregon has the ORVET loans program. It is a (again) wholly state-run program wherein the state issues mortgages to Vets buying their primary residence in Oregon. This is different that the federal (and better known) Veterans Administration mortgage Loan Guarantee program, wherein the VA goes with Vets to banks to help secure a mortgage from a bank. Oregon actually issues the mortgage directly to the Vet, not a bank.
* 20-year fixed at 3.00 percent with a 1.375 percent origination fee, 3.356 Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
* 30-year fixed at 3.50 percent with a 1.375 percent origination fee, 3.742 Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
* 30-year fixed at 3.75 percent with with no origination fee, 3.88 Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
6. Oregon has no sales tax.
7. Oregon makes all of their tax revenue from property taxes, but the state has a program, Disabled Veteran or Surviving Spouse Property Tax Exemption, that will exempt disabled vets (40% or more disabled) from $19,001 or $22,802 of their property’s assessed value from property taxes.
8. Beer. And they de-criminalized pot, which kicks in in July 2015. Hell yeah.
9. There are three tracks within 2 hours of Portland. I can skip autocross and just track my Mini. Hell yeah.
10. There are about a dozen colleges and universities there, which is great for the kids when the time comes, but it great for me and job prospects for teaching – which is what I intend to do in this next phase in life. Stop laughing – I’m not being funny.