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Are People in the Pac NW More Depressed?

When contemplating a move to the Pac NW, the benefits everyone envisions include being in the midst of the technological “Silicon Forest” while having easy access to verdant trails, a serene coastline, and the thrilling adventures that await in the mountains. So why would anyone hesitate moving here,?
Perhaps it is due in part to Oregon having the highest percentage of depression out of all 50 states (according to one 2019 study) even while it is also the second most popular state that people move to (according to the 2019 United Van Lines Survey). It’s no secret that in the fall and winter the percentage of rain increases, as does the fog or darkness. Residents don’t hide the fact that they mourn having to transition to activities that are primarily indoors (shout out to the ones who keep hiking, skiing, and more) or contemplate the purchase of a light therapy lamp (see @Beckspacnw on Instagram for the December 2nd post on light therapy lamps). Taking all of this into account, it wasn’t the largest shock to see Oregon’s ranking, though I will admit, it was a little bit of a shock to me. I have lived in the Pac NW my entire life, and people generally seem pretty happy. How was I missing this being prevalent in my state? Also, who wants to move to a state that has high rates of depression? Would it eventually cause their own mental health to deteriorate?
At this point you may be thinking, Beck, why would you write a blog that could completely put people off wanting to relocate to a state where you are trying to help them buy homes in? I can’t fault you for that thinking. From a business perspective it makes little sense, but please, hear me out.
 After the initial mini-shock of seeing my home state in the number one position, I looked at where the rest of the Pacific Northwest ranked as well as what other states made the top 10. Washington and Idaho, the two other states that form the Pacific Northwest, ranked #10 and #27 in this same study. Which means that 8 other states fell into the top 10, having the highest percentages of depression (From #2-#9: West Virginia, Maine, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Alabama, Vermont, and Tennessee). Do you know what I realized as I looked at this list? Not one of the 50 states had a percentage of zero. Not one. In fact, no state fell under 11 percent. I also realized that most of the states in the top 10 are located in the eastern states, one in the mid-west. It changed the way I started looking at this study.
Here at NextHome, we consistently tell you that we are #humansoverhouses. This means that we value you, your goals, and providing you impactful service over whether you actually buy a house from us or not. When you first look at this study, it is easy to focus on the numbers. To calculate the benefits for ourselves. How will this impact me? When you take a step back, a bigger picture emerges. You see, depression is not confined to one location. It is not confined to one group of people. Seasonal or not, depression has affected you or someone you know at some point, whether it be a temporary sadness or a lingering melancholy. This study is not something you should use to determine where you should move. It is a study that should bring a greater sense of awareness to what is going on inside of you and in those around you. It is a study that should create an opportunity for you to contemplate how you can seek out or provide resources for those in need. Here are a few national resources for depression to keep handy or to share:
Christmas Lights

How Many Lights Do I Need for Christmas?

Christmas lovers rejoice! Thanksgiving has come and gone, leaving us to the most wonderful time of the year! If you are one of those people who is ready to go with your lights out as soon as the turkey leftovers have made it to the fridge, today’s short blog might not be for you because you are a true Christmas decorating pro.

As much as I love the Christmas season, there is one thing that I can never get right. No, not the wrapping…..ok, two things. Make that two things I can never get right. The one I want to touch on today is Christmas lights. Who never knows how many they need? You? Ok! Here is the quickest way to know if you are set or if you need to run to the store for more lights:

For the Home:

When it comes to putting lights up on the outside of your home, you want to for sure (according to Home Depot) have 60 feet of string or icicle lights to start. Then add on 10-12 feet for each additional awning.

For an Indoor Christmas Tree, see the chart below:

Blue and Peach Concept Map Chart (1)


If you are looking to put lights on outdoor trees or shrubs, this chart will not work for that, but it has you covered indoors!

How many lights do you normally put up during the holidays?

Photo via Pregame Magazine

A Kids About Book Series Makes Oprah Winfrey’s Favorite List

Though I love the phenomenon that is Oprah Winfrey, I am not religious about following up with her latest book club reads or favorite things list. Yet it caught my eye when I saw an article that mentioned how a Portland, Or based company had landed on her favorite things list this year. So of course I had to see what had intrigued Oprah enough to talk about it.

What I found hit my heart. The Portland based company that made Oprah’s list is called “A Kid’s Book About.” A Kid’s Book About is a publishing company, founded by author Jelani Memory, whose mission is to “help kids and their grown ups have honest conversations by making books about challenging, empowering, and important topics told by diverse authors who know that topic first hand.” It all started when Memory, described on the A Kid’s Book About website as a black father with a blended family, wanted to find a way to talk with his kids about the topic of racism in an honest and connective way. Though he initially wrote A Kid’s Book About Racism for his kids only, one copy multiplied to thousands as more people who were also struggling to have that talk wanted a copy as well.

Currently there are over 20 topics that A Kid’s Book About has tackled. Some of these topics include: belonging, death, optimism, anxiety, feminism, shame, bullying, gratitude, money , failure, and many more. I have to say, it is so easy to see why this would be on a favorites list. Conversations with our kids can be hard, so having resources, written by real people who have experienced the topic is not only valuable,  but also provides a sense of support and community. Reading more about this business was such an honor because I was able to learn more about someone in my community who is creating an impact by creating a solution for something he didn’t even realize other people wanted. If you get a chance, check out and shop the A Kid’s Book About website by clicking here.

What topics would you like to see a kid’s book about?

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Hillsboro Is One of the Best Places to Live

When it comes to Hillsboro being one of the best cities to live in, I’m a little biased. Having lived in the area for the majority of my life, I love what this city has to offer, and I am thrilled that others are seeing the value of this community as well. In fact, Money Magazine recently released their “Best Places to Live 2020” list, and Hillsboro came in at #29.

It was no surprised that the first thing that Money Magazine mentioned about Hillsboro was the “Silicon Forest” that everyone has heard of. Intel, IBM, Salesforce, Oracle, and Genentech are several heavy hitters that people around the nation keep an eye on, and are consistently in the news here in Oregon, especially with the amount of jobs they provide. The number of breweries you may find also was not too much of a shock, as one of the fun facts about Oregon is that Portland alone has more breweries than any other city in the world. With Hillsboro being within 30 minutes of Portland (longer if during rush hour, shorter if the stars and moon align), one has access to not only the breweries like Vertigo, Ambacht, and 3 Mugs that are within Hillsboro’s city limits, but everything that Portland has to offer as well.

These are all lovely aspects of residing in Hillsboro, but here are a few more observations that may be added to the justification of why Hillsboro is one of the best places to live:

  1. Parks and Nature Preserves: One of the things I love most about the Hillsboro area is its walkability, not only in the neighborhoods, but in the numerous parks in the city. Hillsboro has over 1500 acres of designated green space, including the Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve, Orchard Park, Noble Woods Park, Rood Bridge Park, and so much more.
  2. Home of the Hillsboro Hops and Portland Timbers 2: Hillsboro is home to the only Portland Metro Area professional baseball team, the Hillsboro Hops. Hops games are generally always packed and are such family friendly events that you would be surprised if you went and didn’t see anyone you know there. Within the last year or so, Hillsboro also came to an agreement to be home to the Portland Timbers secondary soccer team, opening up new opportunities for Hillsboro residents to enjoy one of their favorite franchises without making the trek to Providence Park.
  3. Growth: Hillsboro has grown to be the state’s 5th largest city (home to over 100,000 residents), and has the 4th largest school district in Oregon. Not only am I a graduate of a Hillsboro School, but my children attend school in Hillsboro as well. Having the opportunity to be an active participant in the school district, I get the privilege of viewing how decisions are made, the amount of community involvement, and the amount of care that goes into providing opportunities to students. Hillsboro always has eyes on how to create a thriving community. Check out their 2035 plan here.
  4. Environmentally Conscious: Hillsboro has spent consecutive years at the top, and still remain, the national leader in green power usage, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The amazing thing about this is that this comes from residents voluntarily choosing to be environmentally conscious. Since 2012, the amount of green power used in homes and businesses in Hillsboro has increased from 39% to 64.8 percent in 2020.
  5.  City Pride: While Hillsboro is known for bringing in many new residents from out of state due to our abundant “Silicon Forest”, you will also find that many are life-long residents, or leave for a short time and then return. There is a lot of pride in living in the Hillsboro area, from the way the city works to provide opportunities to residents such as small business grants, voices in the community town halls over topics like police work, and  celebrating the diversity of cultures  to the friendliness of our community.

In Hillsboro, you have accessibility to Portland, the coast within an hour to an hour and a half’s reach, and just about the same amount of time to the mountains. We have the benefits of urban living in a suburban setting. Money magazine covered some of the basics of why Hillsboro is one of the best places to live, but in truth there are so many more reasons than what has been listed.

What attributes does your area have that make it your “best place to live”?