Like I said in my previous post about a planned community in Monmouth, Oregon, almost certainly someday my wife and I will want to leave behind the large house on ten rural acres that simultaneously drives us crazy and makes us happy.
There's a lot of people akin to us.
Baby boomers (we're in our 60's) who are in good health, have lived in a non-easy-care home for a long time, aren't interested in a traditional retirement community, and are beginning to think about where they'd like to live when "let's move" becomes not just a idle thought, but an urgent need or desire.
Reading about the Edwards Addition Master Plan, the community in Monmouth, got us thinking about what other planned communities are near Salem, where we live now.
Some Google searching today revealed... surprisingly few. Kind of disappointing.
We'd figured that the green, hip, cool, cutting-edge Portland area would have more planned communities where green, hip, cool, cutting-edge older folks like my wife and me could feel comfortable.
"Planned" is the key word.
Northwest Oregon has lots of wonderful neighborhoods. However, we're inclined toward communities with some sort of master plan, preferably with strong sustainable, environmentally conscious, outdoor activity, and dog-friendly components.
Currently we live in a 70's era planned community, Spring Lake Estates. There are easements behind most of the small acreages that allow quite a few miles of hiking/riding trails. We also have a nine acre lake on common property, and a neighborhood association.
A planned community brings people together. It fosters more of a sense of, well, community. Without that, getting to know your neighbors and feeling like you belong is more difficult.
Though nowhere near ready to move yet, we've begun to explore options in our general area. Northward toward Portland, with all its amenities (yes, also headaches) draws us more than anywhere else in Oregon. We'd consider staying in Salem if a planned development didn't have the "blah" factor that curses this town.
Here's the communities I've found so far, along with my initial largely-uninformed snap judgment about each. If anyone has more suggestions, please leave a comment.
Edwards Addition, Monmouth. Nice vibe. Pleasant town. Just fifteen minutes away, though. Put this sort of development in a different location, and we'd be more intrigued.
Pringle Creek Community, Salem. We've toured this development several times. A lot to like here. Small, though. On the right track; just not the development we're attracted to at the moment.
Villebois, Wilsonville. I've browsed the web site, but never been there. Like the sustainable, green angles. Seems to lack nature trails and has a "snooty" air; but maybe it's just the regrettable French'ie name.
Fairview Village, Fairview. Quite interesting. Look and feel, based on web site, appeals to us. Proximity to I-84 and Columbia Gorge is worrisome. Windy? Plan to pay a visit one of these days.
Mountain Park, Lake Oswego. Beautiful area. Too country-club'y of a vibe, almost certainly. Strikes me as an old-style high-end planned community. We'd rather have a dog park than a staffed clubhouse.
Murray Hll, Beaverton. By and large, if a planned community web site features a photo of a stone wall with the development's name in big bronze letters, it's not for us. Enough said.
Orenco Station, Hillsboro. lt's won awards. Good place to live if you want to hop on a MAX light rail train and cruise into Portland. Seems overly urban for our taste.
As noted before, I thought there would be more choices. Maybe I've missed some planned communities. Perhaps Google failed me. Somehow I doubt it. Which means, there's a untapped housing market for a creative developer.
Could be wrong (an ever-present possibility). I just know enough baby boomers like us who don't want to grow traditionally old, yet realize that they are... growing old.
Living in a large difficult-to-maintain single family home is becoming less attractive to them. Yet they're active, energetic and nowhere near ready to enter a dreaded "senior" housing situation.
So where are the planned communities aimed, in part, at people like us?
We're not going to retire to a golf course community in Arizona. We want hiking, biking, and yes, skateboard/longboard trails much more than bingo and bridge in a social center.
Build it, and we will buy it.