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Where’s the love for Polk County?

Survey ranks two local cities low among others in Oregon

How Dallas and Monmouth stacked up in Movoto Real Estate's "Best Cities in Oregon" rankings.

Graphic by Pete Strong

How Dallas and Monmouth stacked up in Movoto Real Estate's "Best Cities in Oregon" rankings.

November 05, 2013

POLK COUNTY — Two Polk County cities have been ranked among the 50 "Best Cities in Oregon," according to Movoto Real Estate, based in San Mateo, Calif.

Wait. California? Why would a California real estate firm be judging Oregon cities?

Apparently, the firm has an ongoing series "exploring some of the best places to live in America, state-by-state." Oregonians, no doubt, would agree with the premise that Oregon is one of the best places to live in the country, but they might — and not that there should be any in-fighting — take issue with the order of placement on the list.

Movoto used eight measurements with which to officially label a city "awesome:" cost of living, crime rate, education, median household income, home value, amenities, distance to closest five-star rated hiking, and distance to closest ski resort.

Movoto

Graphic by Pete Strong

Movoto's Best Cities in Oregon

Once all the numbers were crunched, Bend — that recreational haven — topped the list, followed by the Portland suburbs of Sherwood, Beaverton, Milwaukie, Oregon City and Tigard. Portland itself ranked seventh — darn those big-city crime rates. West Linn, Lake Oswego and Happy Valley rounded out the top 10.

Salem came in 34th, while Monmouth and Dallas placed 37th and 41st, respectively. Sorry Falls City and Independence, you didn't crack the list (but you still are awesome).

"Well, I think it's great, but if we had gotten full credit for our goat museum, we would have been several notches higher," said Dallas mayor Brian Dalton, making a humorous reference to the recently opened museum dedicated to all things goat at Dallas' Fairview Farms Goat Dairy.

As far as recreation, Dalton takes issue with Portland's No. 1 rank in the skiing category, compared to Dallas' 44th placement.

Brian Dalton

Brian Dalton

"My feeling is I would much rather ski down Bridlewood hill than West Burnside," he said.

No. 37 Monmouth ranks four places above Dallas, so it can lay claim to being the second-highest rated city on Polk County - on a technicality as West Salem is indeed part of 34th-ranked Salem.

In the head-to-head matchup, Dallas won the amenities and median income ratings, while Monmouth took cost of living, crime, education, hiking, and, just barely, the skiing categories. The cities were dead-even on home values.

In response to the minor slight, Dalton had this to say - in jest, of course: "We have big shoulders. We can take it."

Speaking of big shoulders, Monmouth's Mayor John Oberst, who like Dalton took the results with the proper grain of salt, noted one of Monmouth's strongest asset was not mentioned on the survey - broadband access through MINET.

John Oberst

John Oberst

"If they had included quality telecom, we would have ranked higher," he said. "Try getting one-hour repair service out of one of the national companies."

Like Dalton, Oberst said his city's skiing rank should have been higher.

"We don't have to put up with the snow, but I can get to it pretty quickly," he said.

Hiking, well, not so much.

"I guess you can drive up to a logging road to go hiking," Oberst said, chuckling.

As to Monmouth's sneaking in ahead of Dallas, Oberst was a gracious victor.

"We sometimes refer to this community as the tri-cities (Monmouth, Independence and Dallas)," he said. "We work in each other's cities, shop in each other's cities and we have friends in other's cities. "We are remarkably close-knit. We don't always speak with the same voice, but often in things that matter, we do."

Dalton, in the meantime, has devised of a plan to boost Dallas' future ratings: "Maybe we need to send more cases of Dallas wine to the judges."

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