Welcome to the ‘burbs

Downtown apartments are too expensive. The eastside is too shitty. Where does a college student live? Some facing this same dilemma turn to the dark side: The suburbs.

Downtown apartments are too expensive. The eastside is too shitty. Where does a college student live?

Some facing this same dilemma turn to the dark side: The suburbs.

Many aspects of the ‘burbs make them appealing: The rent is often cheap. The buildings are new. And there are lots of malls.
But the ‘burbs are also misleading. Rent is generally not that cheap and, although the buildings may be newer, it probably only means they were built faster and look like every other building in the ‘burbs.

Commuting costs are the main cause of a price hike when moving outside of downtown or the close-in eastside. For those lucky enough to own a car, the commute might seem like just a small hassle, but the cost of gas will inevitably add up. If you think public transportation is your savior, think again. TriMet does provide bus and MAX service to all of Portland’s ‘burbs, but most buses don’t run to the outskirts more than once per hour.

It’s highly advisable to stay close to downtown, unless you’ve found some way to get free rent (living with your parents) and have some way to get to PSU cheaply and quickly (teleportation). In the event that you do decide to cross over and move to the ‘burbs, use this as a guide of tips and tricks for living in the land of strip malls and Wal-Mart.

Beaverton/Hillsboro: Aching for the rich life
Anyone who commutes from Beaverton or Hillsboro should expect traffic when they leave for class in the morning and when they try to come home in the evening. Highway 26, the only logical option for getting downtown from these two havens of suburbia, is one gigantic traffic jam for most of the day.
The Red and Blue MAX lines and several bus lines run rather frequently through both cities. The key to living in either of these communities, depending on public transportation, is living near a MAX station or a major bus line (20, 58, 57). Without one or both of these nearby, you’ll be stuck with hours of commuting time.

Rent is often cheaper in these areas than most other suburbs. Your best option is finding a small community, like Breckenridge Apartments, where you’ll be able to find a perfectly average apartment for a perfectly average price.

Tigard/Lake Oswego: Those who are actually rich
If you’re taking classes at PSU and living in one of these two kingdoms of suburbia, the cost of rent may matter less to you than most. You, your family or someone you know has made it so you can live like royalty.

It still sucks to commute from these fringes of Portland. Unfortunately, your only public transportation options are sparse bus lines (like 12, 35 or 38) that only run a few times an hour or a few times a day. There is currently no light rail that runs to these communities. Although there are plenty of back roads and freeways that connect these ‘burbs to downtown, it is easy to get caught in a mess of traffic.

Gresham: The other city
Many look down on Gresham and, well, I can’t argue with them. It sucks. Even so, it may be the most realistic option for students seeking housing in one of Portland’s ‘burbs.
Apartments are cheap and you’re definitely paying for what you’re getting. Although you can find plenty of nice and suitable buildings, there are just as many that are sketchy.
You can find two-bedroom apartments on Craigslist for $600, three-bedrooms for $800 and houses for about $1000.
The MAX runs through Gresham multiple times an hour, and although the commute may be long, it is easy. Several bus lines run from downtown to Gresham every 15 minutes.