Vancouver and Portland are quite the cities; full of great restaurants, plenty of exciting weekend activities, a vibrant music scene and lots of fun parks to explore. Unfortunately this comes at the cost of incredibly high rent or mortgages and the worst traffic in the Pacific Northwest outside of Seattle. Luckily living in the middle of one of these big cities is not required for enjoying them. In fact, The Oregon Employment Department’s Workforce and Economic Research Division estimates a whopping 57% of Portland workers live outside the city limits.
Clark County Commute Trip Reduction Office has made a wonderful website, https://clarkcommute.org/ to accurately calculate your commute time if you live in Clark County. Commuting to Downtown Vancouver from La Center typically takes just 25 minutes. Many Vancouver residents commute into Portland for work, and surprisingly, Vancouver commuters have some of the best travel times in the region according to US census data, which can be found here: https://www.census.gov/. An estimated 71 percent of Vancouver commuters had trips of 30 minutes or less from 2005 to 2009, which was better than even commuters living in Portland neighborhoods! In fact, The Columbian noted that most traffic along the border between Oregon and Washington is headed the other direction, with more commuters working in Washington while living in Oregon than vice-versa.
So if living in one of these smog-filled concrete jungles isn’t a requirement to work there, where else are people living? One option with growing popularity is the quaint little town of La Center. This little hamlet has just over three thousand residents according to the latest census information, with many residents choosing not to live in the few streets that encompass downtown La Center, and instead live on a larger lot a bit outside of town. This region is rapidly changing. Many farmers are selling parts of their land for new developments making the area full of fresh custom homes. La Center offers lot sizes much bigger than those that you’d find in Portland and Vancouver, which amounts to a great deal more greenspace. Around La Center that greenspace is typically incredible Washington rainforest, full of majestic Douglas Fir and White Oak, crisscrossed by creeks and streams with trout and spawning salmon. It’s a wonder this natural beauty can be found just 18 miles outside of downtown Vancouver! With rolling hills and, on a clear day, views of Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Hood, or else the towering beauty of some of the region’s incredible trees, incredible views abound in this region. The east fork of the Lewis River flows through downtown, while the main body of the Lewis river flows north of town.
At JB Homes, we are excited about the large number of larger lot sizes for building. With this added space, the custom homes we are able to build have so many more opportunities for customization. There are so many options with more land to work with, like adding a space for your aging parents, or a seperate studio to rent out, or maybe an adjoining shop for woodworking projects or car maintenance, or a pool and covered patio with built in barbeque for hosting summer parties. With so many incredible views on the many hills and creek banks that crisscross La Center, big windows highlighting the beauty of Southwest Washington is a must. We can help orient your home toward the best views, perfect for birdwatching or stargazing from a recliner. Larger homes in this area are substantially cheaper than those you’ll find in Portland or Vancouver. Many homes can be found in the $400-$480 thousand range, situated on expansive lots, with new building materials, a stark contrast to the tiny lots of the city and homes often one hundred years old and in need of substantial maintenance.
Many of us lack the luxury of working from home, and have to commute into a busy metropolitan center to make a living. Just because you work in a busy, loud, polluted urban center doesn’t mean you have to cram all your stuff and loved ones into a tiny walkup apartment in a seedy area of town. With a surprisingly short commute into both Vancouver and Portland, La Center is Clark County’s best kept secret for affordable and desirable living space.