Lace up those sneakers--not only is Beaverton, OR a sporty outdoor enthusiast's haven, it's also home to the Nike headquarters!
Beaverton got its name from the large number of beaver dams in the bodies of water near the settlement. It's these waters, along with the rolling hills and lush forests found within and just outside of Beaverton, that still attract newcomers yearning for the outdoors. Situated between the metropolis of Portland and the Oregon coast, Beaverton offers residents a full nightlife as well as plenty of lazy days by the sea. Within the city, more than 100 parks and green spaces, miles and miles of hiking trails, and bike paths galore have made an active lifestyle the hallmark of a Beaverton resident. Beaverton is just seven miles west of Portland, in the heart of the Tualatin River Valley, and is home to about 90,000 residents. It's the state's sixth largest city and is known as a family-friendly city for its many parks and well-planned neighborhoods. Plenty of Portlandites make the trek west, though, thanks to Beaverton's shopping district, which is the largest in west metropolitan Portland.
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Moving to Beaverton
Beaverton was recently named by Money magazine as one of the 100 "best places to live" among smaller U.S. cities. It has a higher cost of living than the average U.S. city, but is notably lower than San Francisco, New York, or Los Angeles; it's on par with cities like Denver and Seattle.
Most people who move here for work are employed in tech and bio science industries. This makes since, because Beaverton is in the heart of what's known as Oregon’s “Silicon Forest.” Major companies like Nike, IBM, Welch Allyn, and Tektronix have made their home here, so don't be surprised if you see even more smart phones and tablets around the coffee shop than you're used to. This also accounts for the fact that one-fifth of residents are foreign-born--if you hope to expose yourself and your kids to a diverse -- and well-educated -- population, Beaverton is an ideal spot to put down roots.
Beaverton has almost 100 miles of bike lanes for getting around town, and the MAX light rail makes commuting to Portland a breeze. While most residents own and use their cars often, if you're trying to cut down on your carbon footprint, you could conceivably get by without a car.
You shouldn't have much trouble finding a permanent spot to call your own as long as you give yourself about a week or two to look. Make sure you take along with you proof of income -- either pay stubs or a letter of employment -- that equals about two times the rent. A credit check is also likely, so make sure there are no obvious dings in your financial past.
Neighborhoods in Beaverton
Beaverton is divided up into 11 distinct Neighborhood Association Committees (NACs), each with its own culture and character. For those who rent, apartment complexes exist in every part of the city, although the neighborhoods listed below are the most popular for renters. The dollar ratings denote the relative cost of rent compared with other Beaverton neighborhoods.
Central Beaverton: The historic heart of the city, Central Beaverton is ideal if you plan on commuting to Portland for work, since this is where the light rails are. Lots of historic sites are spread throughout this area, but the Beaverton City Mall is what brings most of the town's residents here on a regular basis. Most of the residents are renters; while studios and 1 bedroom apartments dominate, a few larger units can be found. $$$
Denney Whitford/Raleigh West: Don't let the name fool you, this neighborhood is actually on the eastern border of Beaverton, but west of Portland (those urban folk are so city-centric!). Lots of open spaces and parks make it a popular spot for families with young children. Outdoorsy singles might also enjoy it here, though it is pretty quiet. If you do chose this neighborhood, be prepared to search long and hard for a vacant apartment -- renters don't give up their spot easily here! $$$$
Five Oaks Triple Creek: Just west of Central Beaverton in the northwest corner of town, the makeup of this neighborhood is similar to that of Denney Whitford, but on overdrive. Think snazzier parks, upscale walking trails and the like. Apartments run a little smaller here, which explains the slightly more modest price than in the Denney Whitford 'hood. $$$
Greenway: Located on the southern side of town, this area is popular with athletic people -- both single and with small families -- due to the 15-mile Fanno Creek Greenway Trail that snakes through the middle of the neighborhood. The multi-use paved trail is popular with walkers, runners, and bicyclists. $$
Vose: Straddling a major highway, Vose is best for people who plan on commuting. Bicyclists will find many kindred spirits here, since the northern part of the Fanno Creek Greenway Trail is in this area. $$
Living in Portland
Plan on meeting friends for a jog instead of a drink, or a hike instead of a fierce round of bad karaoke. The city itself is mainly flat, although there are plenty of rolling hills found all around, and Mt. Hood is a quick drive away. Regardless of where you choose to put down roots, you won't have to travel even a mile to find a park.
Forget everything you've heard about the dreaded Pacific Northwest rainy weather--we mean it when we say it's really not so bad. Beaverton's average of only 36 inches of rain per year is less than the average of both Miami and Baltimore. Average summer temps are usually in the 80s. Because of how far north Beaverton is, the summer sun can peek out as early as 5 a.m. and stay out until 9 p.m.-- you crazy kids can bike for 16 straight hours without putting on reflectors! Major snowfalls in the winter are rare, but occasional light snow isn't.
Getting out and about once you move to Beaverton isn't just a good idea -- it's essential to meeting new people. Head down to Beaverton's Farmers Market during warmer months, or visit the many recreational options the city offers. Whether you enjoy tennis, golf, softball, biking, or jogging and hiking, you're sure to find not only the perfect spot to indulge your sport, but a resident ready to play right beside you.