“We want you to visit our State of Excitement often. Come again and again. But for heaven’s sake, don’t move here to live.” – Former Oregon Governor Tom McCall (1967-1975).

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The sun is out. The rain is falling. The steam is rising off the concrete.

It’s just another sunny, rainy, steamy day in the State of Excitement.

Even though McCall and yours truly both earned journalism degrees from the University of Oregon and affiliate with the right side of the aisle, I suspect the dearly departed governor would be unhappy with me.

I moved from California to Oregon.

Yes, I am personally responsible for rising housing costs, freeway congestion and polluted campgrounds…even though I don’t camp. If you don’t believe me, just ask some of the Oregonians who don’t even know me.

Truth be known, I have lived in Oregon (second time) since 2010 and this time around I have not once heard any rhetoric about being a dirty rotten “Californicator.” There is a good reason for this absence of vitriol; the vast majority of Californians – despite the well documented problems in the Golden State – don’t want to move to Oregon.

It all boils down to what the Realtors call: Tradeoffs. Does a Californian want to trade a warm, sunny Mediterranean climate for a lousy temperate weather pattern, but in most instances a better quality of life?

When is it most difficult to live in Oregon? January and February, when the days are short and the weather is damp, cold and wet? Or May and June, when the days are long and the weather is damp, cool and wet?

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In Oregon, you expect January and February to be crummy and Mother Nature obliges. In May and June, you are looking forward to summer. Will summer ever come?

California became a state in 1849 largely as a result of the discovery of gold and the Iron Horse. Oregon became a state 10 years later. Long before, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark trudged more than 4,100 miles to discover a soggy spot (Seaside) in a wet place (Oregon).

Periodically, I am asked if I would ever go back to California. Anything is possible, but not probable. Why? Living in Eugene, Oregon is easy. Keep in mind, I have not shed my Type A personality. I will never subscribe to Doris Day’s Que Sera, Sera.

What I have no desire to do again is the East Bay’s Sunol Grade or the San Mateo Bridge and paying $6 for the privilege. The prospect of 45 minutes one-way on a GOOD day or about two hours or more of my time each working day is just not worth it. Life is simply too short to spend more than half-a-day out of each week behind a steering wheel. Oregon gives these hours back to me, every day.

That’s huge.

The other stunning factor of California reality are the real estate prices…$3,500 per month (or more) in mortgage payments or rent and another $1,000 a month for property taxes, let alone utilities…to live in an underwater negative equity McMansion, which serves as the base for your next mind-numbing commute. That’s a price that I do not want to contemplate, let alone pay.

My South Eugene tree house is valued just north of $300,000 and I own it outright. If you magically transported and dropped my house in Silicon Valley, it would be worth about $1.3 million. Maybe, some Silicon Valley stock-option millionaire could bail me out of my mortgage prison and set me free…or maybe not.

I have been there; done that.

Shhh!!! There are days in Oregon when the sun shines, the air is warm and skies are blue. When these days arrive…and they do…Oregonians (yes, I am proudly one of them) head out on the trails, barbecue on our decks, sit under Douglas fir trees…and marvel at the wonders of life.

We have seasons, real seasons. In LA, it was overcast in the morning, hazy sunshine in the afternoon, highs in the 80s or 90s; lows in the 50s and 60s day-in, day-out for months on end. I refused to breathe any air that I couldn’t see.

Give me the deer grazing under the deck of my house. Give me the leaves falling in football season and the Autzen Stadium tailgate party. Give me the longer days of spring and everything blooming. Winter is a drag, but with very little (if any) snow.

There are tradeoffs between Oregon and California. Yogi Berra said that when you come to a fork in the road, “take it.”

I have done just that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_McCall

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_and_Clark_Expedition

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Que_Sera,_Sera_%28Whatever_Will_Be,_Will_Be%29

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