December 11, 2013

The Rankings (A Place to Call Home, Part 6)

Hello all. If you have been following the Criteria for a Place to Call Home series you will know that Kristy and I developed an algorithm and point system for ranking different places we were considering making our home. Follow the following links for a review of what we have talked about so far:

Criteria for a Place to Call Home
Criteria for a Place to Call Home: Part 2
Criteria for a Place to Call Home: Part 3
Criteria for a Place to Call Home: Part 4
Criteria for a Place to Call Home: Part 5 

A map of some of the areas we are interested in

After adding all of the points together for each location, we came up with the following rankings.

RankingAreaPoints
1Sequim, WA220
2Port Angeles, WA218
3Prescott, AZ210
4Williams, AZ208
5Flagstaff, AZ206
6Port Townsend, WA205
7Bonners Ferry, ID201
9Porthill, ID 198
10Grangeville, ID 196
11Polson, MT193
12Coeur d'Alene, ID188
13Fort Collins, CO187
14Coupeville, WA183
15Colorado Springs, CO179
16Spokane, WA177
16Kamiah, ID177
18Bigfork, MT169
18Moscow, ID 169
18Orofino, ID 168
20Durango, CO166
20Oakridge, OR166
20Ashland, OR166
23Hood River, OR163
23Cheney, WA163
25Medford, OR160
25Milton Freewater, OR160
27La Grande, OR156
28Logan, UT149
29Corvallis, OR147
30Roseburg, OR144
31St. Maries, ID138
32Boulder, CO137
33St. Helens, OR136
34Molalla, OR132
35Drain, OR128
36Dallas, OR120
37McMinnville, OR117
38Cottage Grove, OR103

The point system was always meant to be just a starting point. It was meant to give us a way to compare different locations in a somewhat objective way.

There were three factors that had the most effect on the rankings:
  1. Annual moisture & factors relating to growing conditions
  2. Affordability of land and
  3. Proximity to recreation/public lands 
I believe that is why northwest Washington, north-central Arizona, and northern Idaho rose to the top. These areas did not rain too much for our liking, had reasonable enough climates for agriculture, had land available within our price range, and in general were within 10-20 miles of recreation/public land. Oregon on the other hand sank to the bottom because it in general rains too much, we can't afford the land, and it often takes a surprisingly long time to get to recreation opportunities (often 60 miles or farther away.)

From these rankings we decided to home in on the top 15 for more research.

RankingAreaPoints
1Sequim, WA220
2Port Angeles, WA218
3Prescott, AZ210
4Williams, AZ208
5Flagstaff, AZ206
6Port Townsend, WA205
7Bonners Ferry, ID201
9Porthill, ID 198
10Grangeville, ID 196
11Polson, MT193
12Coeur d'Alene, ID188
13Fort Collins, CO187
14Coupeville, WA183
15Colorado Springs, CO179

When we started doing more research we noticed something curious. Many of the places that ranked highest had relatively dry climates, sometimes too dry. When we looked at some places such as Arizona and Colorado, the land that was affordable for us was very much desert. So while Arizona ranked highly, we decided that it would be just too dry for us. This was the ultimate indication that our criteria are just a tool to be used in conjunction with other information in the homestead search.

Since narrowing down our our focus have made reconnaissance trips to the following communities:
  •   The rain shadow of the Olympic Pennisula in Washington State including:
    • Port Angeles
    • Port Townsend
    • Sequim    
  • Northern Idaho including the communities of:
    • Bonners Ferry
    • Porthill
    • Coeur d'Alene
    • The Chain Lakes (north of St. Maries)
    • Moscow 
Northern Idaho near Rose Lake

At this point we have not ruled out Coupeville, WA or Polson, MT, but we have not had a chance to visit either place yet. If we do not find the time or money to visit them soon, then we will continue to focus our search on places we have had the chance to visit.

So ultimately going through the trouble of the criteria was worth it. It helped us eliminate some areas and focus in on others. Now that we were done with this step we could start the fun part: Field Trips!

Next week I will talk about our first trip to northern Idaho.

2 comments:

  1. You might also look at the Republic/Kettle valley region in Northern Washington. Similar to the Idaho panhandle in climate and terrain. Probably cheaper land. We have been amazed by how much development there has been near Sandpoint. We don't know the area wll, just from casually traveling through.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We actually met a farmer from the Kettle Falls area. We were intrigued since they were even able to grow Peaches. I think that we are going to try to swing through there on one of our upcoming trips to the area.

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