Many people are facing a decision about a home that is impacted by the commute they will face when they own it. As prices rise the demand for houses further out from the city center rises. People often have to choose between a bigger and or better house out on the peripheral suburbs or something much smaller or lesser condition in close. Sometimes the magic is in the middle.
People that work in a place like downtown Portland have to carefully weigh the commute. Often times making a long drive in and out of work can seem like no big deal, but it will eventually start to become a drag on the quality of life. Living in a large spacious home in a suburban community like Hillsboro, OR or Woodland, WA can seem like a reasonable drive but a smaller home in Vancouver or SW Portland, might save an hour and a half each day. A lot can be done with an extra ninety minutes.
There may be other issues beyond the drive, schools, parks, and neighborhood quality may be of importance as well, but often these issues can be settled either in close or further out. The general advantage of going further out once someone is out of the inner city, is price.
Locally, Portland is the center of the urban core. In close to Downtown is mostly condos and apartments often in high rise buildings with limited parking and a fair bit of the city noise and issues. As you radiate out of the core you find an eclectic mix of many neighborhoods that offer the single family home with a yard experience but remain in very close to the city center. These are in high demand and are often excessively expensive. Moving out to the ten mile mark opens up NE Portland beyond I-205 and a sizable portion of Vancouver WA as well as Southwest Portland, parts of Tigard, and Beaverton.
Inside this ten mile circle, Vancouver is hard to beat. Traffic is better than most of the rest of the area in the ten mile circle and housing is still reasonable by comparison. There is something about bridges me thinks. Vancouver represents the magic in the middle for commuters to central Portland. A smaller home in the Heights might ultimately prove much better for quality of life than a really big house in Woodland.
Remember, a 30 minute commute versus a 60 minute commute is an hour each way saved! That's an hour a day, 5 hours a week, 21 hours per month. 260 hours per year. 520 hours, that's nearly 11 DAYS per year of extra time sitting in the car!
So if you want to get out of the city core but still want a reasonable commute and decent housing prices, look no further than America's Vancouver!