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Best places to live in the Southwestern USA

 
 
MireilleBelleau
 
  1  
Sat 17 Sep, 2005 10:02 am
More Advice on El Paso?
Hi, guys -

I've been enjoying reading your forum. Sorry if I repeat things at all, but I have a couple of things to add about my own city experiences, plus a question for y'all:

1. Portland, OR: I live in PDX right now. Let's not glamorize it any - yes, Portland is fabulous, IF you have a great job and enough $$ to afford a $400K home (built in the 1920s that needs WORK), which, although not the reported average price, is what you will pay in any decent neighborhood. I grew up here, and man, has it changed: a friend just paid $500,000 for a 2-bedroom CONDO - we're talking 1600sq. ft. - in the oh-so-trendy Pearl District. Folks, she has a view of our dirty Willammette River, and some other tall buildings full of condos. NOT Central Park West for that price, mind you! Yes, the quality of life is great here, and I'm just a bit bitter about losing my teaching position (oh, the schools are terribly poor within the city limits and we're laying off teachers by the ton). My husband, who has an MBA, had such a hard time finding a job after grad school (we have the WORST UNEMPLOYMENT RATE AFTER AK AND WA) to take a job that requires us to be relocated to El Paso, TX, which leads me to my next question...

2. El Paso: Thanks for the bit about El Paso being a military town, whoever said that. I figured as much. Can anyone else add anything at all about it? Has anyone lived there? Where are the "good neighborhoods"? Should we live in Las Cruces instead? What should we avoid (BESIDES El Paso itself - our other choice was San Jose, and I'd take El Paso any day over the overpriced muck that is the Silicon Valley!).

3. Lived in Phoenix for four years. It's fine if you want a cheap, new house, plenty of midwest-type-chain-restaurant-strip-mall culture...you have to search a bit for any true Southwestern culture there. But you can live much more cheaply there than, say, Portland, Oregon or anywhere in CA!

4. Santa Fe, NM: My parents owned a second home in Santa Fe for many years. Yes, it's expensive, with housing prices comparable to those in Portland... Lots of celebrities make their second or third (or fourth) homes there, and it's one beautiful town. THe artists have always been drawn to Santa Fe for its eerily beautiful light. I would live there in a heartbeat if there were any jobs. I agree with what someone said about the Navajo market being Disneylandish now. You will see tons of Range Rovers and otherwise overpriced SUVs tooling around a la Aspen, CO.

5. Albuquerque - Santa Fe's cheaper, less classy cousin. Come on, we can't all afford Santa Fe! Perfectly acceptable place to live. Those of us with families and only one income will appreciate the value of low cost of living that you can find in some of these Southwestern cities.

Sorry for the long-winded post. Thanks in advance for any advice on El Paso!
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Sat 17 Sep, 2005 10:11 am
MireilleBelleau
MireilleBelleau, welcome to A2K; enjoy yourself among the rabble.

Several A2Kers live in Albuquerque and we've formed sort of an elitist clique. :wink:

Albuquerque is only an hour's drive from Santa Fe any time we want to mingle with our betters.

BBB
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Sat 17 Sep, 2005 01:53 pm
Hi, MireilleBelleau. Welcome. There's somebody on this forum who lives in ElPaso but I've forgotten who that is.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Sat 17 Sep, 2005 02:15 pm
An aside:
On inner city schools, ay yi yi. I am reading an article in this month's Harpers - 'Still Separate, Still Unequal, America's educational apartheid', by Jonathan Kozol. I recommend the article, though I am only about half way through it. This link has the article, but I prefer reading it from the magazine because of the accompanying photos, and, I simply like holding a magazine in hand.

http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/2005/American-Apartheid-Education1sep05.htm
0 Replies
 
MireilleBelleau
 
  1  
Mon 19 Sep, 2005 11:37 am
Hi, Guys!
Hey, thanks for welcoming me. This is a fascinating forum. Yes, I know Albuquerque...my grandmother is terminally ill there right now. I didn't know her well, but I wish we were already in El Paso and could go visit her. I also have an aunt in ABQ, and really enjoy that city. Santa Fe is like San Francisco, in a way - great to visit, but too expensive to think about living there.

Yeah, if anyone remembers who is from El Paso or has other advice on the city, I'd really appreciate it! I did find an excerpt from Roy Gonzalez' (?) book "The Underground Heart," which is a story about his return to New Mexico and El Paso after years of absence...a great read for anyone who is interested in - or resides in - the Southwest. Very true, very "to the heart."

Oh, and please call me Mireille - it's just too long otherwise! Smile
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Mon 19 Sep, 2005 11:46 am
A2k's Amazon link for The Underground Heart

That looks good to me...
0 Replies
 
MireilleBelleau
 
  1  
Wed 21 Sep, 2005 02:22 pm
Hey Ossobuco, thanks for the link! That's great. I'm going to get the book pretty soon here and read the rest.

Thanks for that!
Mireille
0 Replies
 
Editor in chief
 
  1  
Thu 6 Feb, 2014 11:45 am
@Stray Cat,
I was born in NYC and grew up in Manhattan. Later I lived in Chicago and went to HS there. Chicago is way too cold for me and NYC although a very trendy place to live has gotten way to expensive and overly crowded. I also lived in the Monterey bay area in CA. Beautiful place but too expensive for my yearly budget. I been in El Paso for the past 25 years where I went to the University of Texas and worked as an editor in Ft. Bliss. El Paso is an OK sort of town where most of the population speak nothing but Spanish but regardless are quite nice. I should mention the a large number of Mexicans are moving here due to the extremely high crime rate and drug lord activity in Mexico and bringing some of those influences along. My wife, son, and I have been researching a suburb just North West of Albuquerque called Rio Rancho and although the housing is not cheap the school districts are superb and there is a decent amount of work. Albuquerque is alright but the crime rate is not one to wish for. We've been there a few times since it's only a four hour drive and can't wait to leave Texas. The H2O supply is running very low and yet builders continue to build housing. Seemingly ignoring the situation and minding their pockets instead. And, Ft. Hood Texas is closing down within the next ten years or so and the entire division is being transferred to Ft. Bliss along with their tanks and armored vehicles.( to make matters worse regarding natural recourses and the already fragile desert environment.) Texas may have nice people like you mention Cat but El Paso is like another extension of Mexico and I surely would not want my family to grow up among the ever rising crime rate and an overpopulated place where in a few years water would have to be brought over from up North since the so called Rio Grande is nothing but a dried up dirt trail. Don't take my word for it. See for yourself and stay the hell away from Texas
Editor in chief
 
  1  
Thu 6 Feb, 2014 12:37 pm
@MireilleBelleau,
Hi Mireille,
I was born in NYC and lived there during the 70's. Lived in Chicago and Monterey Bay, CA. during the 80's I moved to El Paso n the late 80's to go to UT El Paso. I've lived here ever since. Overall, it's a nice place to live. Low crime rates, affordable, and people are nice although around 70% speak nothing but Spanish since Mexico is just across the highway. I lived in the West side since that's where the university is located and it's nice, clean, but overly expensive. I currently live on the far East side of town where I bought a house in 1999. I could hear coyotes from my balcony at night and see jackrabbits, quails, and even horned toads from my yard. Unfortunately that's not the case anymore. I can no longer see the desert from my balcony since new housing has swept over the place like ants over an anthill. I have a major highway visible through my window which for some might be a convenience, and businesses are moving in at a dramatic rate. Of course, in order to serve the growing population. I work as an editor in chief in Ft. Bliss which is about 40 minutes from my place and traffic is still manageable. The cost of living although has risen quite a bit is still affordable in comparison to the rest of the nation. The sad story is this: I'm sure you've heard of the ever increasing violence in Juarez, Mexico which is one of the most violent places in the Americas. People are moving over from Mexico and some are bringing those influences along with their businesses and drug lord acquaintances. That in turn has caused the school districts and some areas to rot as well. Another one is the natural resources. The so called Rio Grande is nothing but a dirt trail and the underground H2O aquifers are drying up really fast. The problem is that builders continue to build homes at an alarming rate and not taking that into consideration. To make matters worse, Ft. Bliss is expanding as far as New Mexico since Ft. Hood , TX. is closing down soon and around 250,000 soldiers and their families are moving over not to mention the military equipment which is mostly tanks and armored vehicles which will put more strain on the already fragile environment. If you're a social person, all you'll find are bars and a word of wisdom, stay away from the streets after 2:00 am because all you'll find are drunk drivers. Regarding which areas of town are better: I would look into the West side and Upper Valley. The East side is like I mentioned over crowded. The Lower Valley is a slum, The North East is soldiers heaven, and downtown is really close to Mexico so stay away from there.
Lordyaswas
 
  2  
Thu 6 Feb, 2014 12:40 pm
@Editor in chief,
Hey Ed, I was wondering.

Should I go to Texas?
Editor in chief
 
  1  
Thu 6 Feb, 2014 01:06 pm
@Lordyaswas,
If I was you, I would stay away from the lone star state unless you are a loner as well. Don't take my word for it, see for yourself. Just bring your weapon and an English to Spanish translator. I can't wait to get the hell out as soon as I sell my place. Best wishes
0 Replies
 
gungasnake
 
  1  
Thu 6 Feb, 2014 01:38 pm
@kickycan,
Consider Victoria Texas for a moment. 25 Miles to the gulf of Mexico and still has 90' of elevation, basically immune to tidal waves or the worst damage from hurricanes, population something like 70,000, no real traffic but everything you'd ever need in the way of stores and businesses other than for Ikea and MicroCenter which are less than two hours away on the near side of Houston. Victoria is a hub city with the same basic 110 mile distance from your choice of Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi on roads with posted 70 and 75 mph speed limits.

Summers in Victoria are no worse than in D.C. or NY, winter is much easier to deal with.

0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  -1  
Thu 6 Feb, 2014 01:40 pm
@Editor in chief,
You just replied to a 8+ year old post [Fri 12 Aug, 2005 10:02 pm]]http://able2know.org/topic/56987-3#post-1510175 from a poster who hasn't been back to a2k (if the user is still alive) since August 2008.

I hope you don't expect a response.
0 Replies
 
jacksondisuja
 
  1  
Wed 21 Oct, 2015 03:12 am
I recommend to live San Diego , It was very beautiful place of living family , friends and lonely , Safe area within range of under your budget .
Linkat
 
  1  
Wed 21 Oct, 2015 07:54 am
@jacksondisuja,
See post just prior to yours and add a year and a half.
0 Replies
 
jacksondisuja
 
  0  
Mon 30 Nov, 2015 05:56 am
El Paso’s unspoiled natural beauty is a rarity in today’s fast-paced world. During the day, our mountains take on shades of purple, vibrant orange and pale green under a sun that shines over 305 days a year. Wide-open vistas, big skies and beautiful desert weather are the norm, and almost every day ends with a breathtaking sunset.
0 Replies
 
 

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