Moving to Clackamas, OR: 10 Things to Know [2024 Guide]

Moving to Clackamas, OR Living Guide

Clackamas, Oregon, is a gem nestled in the scenic beauty of the Pacific Northwest, offering a blend of tranquility and community spirit. Known for its lush landscapes, outdoor activities, and friendly neighborhoods, the Clackamas community attracts those seeking a peaceful yet vibrant lifestyle. From exploring the natural wonders of the surrounding areas to enjoying the local amenities and community events, Clackamas provides a fulfilling living experience. Get ready to embrace the calm, inviting atmosphere of Clackamas, where nature's beauty and community warmth meet.

10 Reasons to Move to Clackamas

  • Short commute to Portland-Vancouver
  • Surrounded by natural outdoor beauty
  • Growing job market
  • A multitude of shopping, dining, and entertainment venues
  • Clackamas Town Center
  • Good public transportation options
  • Diverse housing options, from single-family homes to condos
  • Plentiful access to healthcare
  • Year-round local events and festivals
  • Many nearby parks and outdoor green spaces

Cost of Living in Clackamas

The cost of living in Clackamas is higher than the national average when it comes to housing and transportation, but it’s right on par with the cost of living in Portland. Average home prices tend to be higher, but that shouldn't discourage anyone from trying to find a home here. Single-family homes typically range from around $400,000 to $700,000. Luxury homes in Clackamas range close to $1 million in value, while gated community homes are in the $700,000 range. Condos and townhomes typically run between $400,000 and $600,000.

Renting a home in Clackamas is well above the national average. People can expect to pay around $2,300 to $4,000 per month for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Clackamas. 

Clackamas residents tend to pay more for transportation, especially if they have to commute to Portland for work. While the distance is not far (10 to 15 miles to Downtown Portland, depending on the route), the commute can take longer than expected during rush hour. 

Finally, costs for healthcare, groceries, and utilities in Clackamas are about average for Oregon.

Clackamas Job Market

The two largest employers in Portland are Intel and Providence Health and Services. Each of those companies employs over 20,000 people. 

Other notable employers include: 

  • Oregon Health and Science University
  • Nike, which is headquartered in the city of Beaverton 
  • Legacy Health System and Kaiser Permanente

Legacy Health System and Kaiser Permanente are two healthcare companies also among the top ten largest employers in the area. 

Education is also a major sector of employment in the area around Clackamas. The largest district is in the big city, so Clackamas residents regularly work at schools in Portland. Several educators and administrators are employed in some of the larger school districts, colleges, and universities within driving distance of Clackamas, including:

  • Portland Public Schools
  • Beaverton School District
  • Vancouver Public Schools
  • Portland Community College
  • Portland State University

There are also quite a few federal jobs available in the Clackamas area. The US Department of Veterans Affairs and the US Postal Service in the Portland Metro area both provide jobs.

Popular Industries in the Area

Finding a Job in Clackamas

The Portland Metro area now has a fully diversified economy, where someone with skills and training can tend to find work in virtually any field. The tech sector, in particular, has been growing in recent years in this area. Many jobs are now available in STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Healthcare and education are also major components of the economy.

Things to Do in Clackamas

Living in Clackamas: The Great Outdoors

People in Clackamas enjoy a great quality of life because of the city's location. The area is bordered by the Clackamas River to the south. Its western boundary is I-205, which serves as a gateway to many of the region's incredible state and national parks. The area is an outdoor paradise while remaining close enough to a major metro area—and there are tons of outdoor activities in Portland, too. 

Outdoor Activities

Clackamas County extends beyond the city's boundaries and has numerous county parks for the public to enjoy. 

  • Madrone Wall Park: one of the few locations in the US where Peregrine Falcons can be viewed nesting 
  • Feyrer Park: a public boat launch for those wanting to enjoy the Molalla River 
  • Hebb Park: a boat launch on the Willamette River and a large fishing dock
  • Mount Talbert Nature Park: a great place for hiking and wildlife viewing 

Golfers moving to the Clackamas area will want to know about the Sah-Hah-Lee Golf Course, considered one of the top golf courses near Milwaukie. It's an 18-hole, par 3 course with a sizable practice facility for golfers to practice year-round.

Local Attractions

Willamette Valley Wine Country

The North Clackamas Aquatic Park is a local favorite, featuring water slides, swim lessons, open swim times, aquatic exercise classes, and much more. It’s located in the nearby city of Milwaukie.

There are more than 400 wineries in the Willamette Valley. Backcountry Wine Tours offers a way to view many of these with a knowledgeable guide and tastings.

Multnomah Falls is the tallest waterfall in Oregon at over 600 feet. It's less than an hour’s drive northeast of Clackamas, along the beautiful Columbia River. It's well worth taking a day trip to view one of the state's natural wonders.

Restaurants & Nightlife

  • Oswego Grill: Local steakhouse chain with a location in Clackamas
  • Claim Jumper: Upscale steakhouse and bar
  • Akira Sushi: Wide selection of sashimi, sushi rolls, and more
  • Dean's Homestyle Café: Classic diner for breakfast and lunch
  • McCool's Pub & Grill: One of the best Irish pubs and sports bars in the Clackamas area
  • Wichita Pub: Diner by day, bar and grill by night

Clackamas Climate

Clackamas, OR Weather

The climate in Clackamas is generally warm and wet. There are four distinct seasons, but winters are characterized more by rain than snow. While Clackamas experiences snowy conditions in the winter, the total snowfall is less than the national average. When it does snow, it tends to melt off quickly because temperatures rarely stay below freezing. Winter lows are in the upper 30s, with daytime highs in the upper 40s to lower 50s.

In the spring, temperatures will gradually climb to highs around 70℉ in the afternoons. The spring also sees rainfall, with most of it coming in April. 

Summers are the warmest and driest time of year in Clackamas. The city receives limited rain on average during these months. Daytime highs will average around 80℉ between July and August. Meanwhile, July through September is the most pleasant weather period and the best time to visit Clackamas.

Rain starts to return in the fall months, with high temperatures decreasing from the upper 70s in September to the low 50s in November. 

Traffic in Clackamas

The entire Portland Metro area, including Clackamas, experiences rush hour traffic on the weekdays, though driving in Portland is much more congested than in Clackamas. Expect a morning rush hour between 7:00 and 9:00 a.m. and an afternoon rush hour from 4:00–6:00 p.m. 

The average one-way commute for Clackamas workers is just under 30 minutes, slightly longer than the national average. As mentioned above, commuting to Downtown Portland from Clackamas can take 50 minutes or longer during rush hour traffic.

Most people in Clackamas own their vehicles and commute to work alone. There are carpool lanes available to help ease congestion. 

Interstate 205 is a bypass route that traverses between East Vancouver and Interstate 5 in the Tualatin community. I-205 marks the western boundary of Clackamas, but unfortunately, it's not much help for workers commuting to Portland. It's usually best to use an alternative route if someone needs to commute northwest and across the Willamette River for work.

With so many roadways in the Portland Metro area, construction projects can often impact commute times. It's a good idea to monitor Clackamas County road closures in case they interfere with commute times.

Alternative Routes

It's much faster for Clackamas commuters to stay off the interstates if they work in Portland on the west side of the Willamette River. Take the Milwaukie Expressway northwest until it intersects with McLoughlin Boulevard. Take McLaughlin north and then use one of the bridges across the river that is most convenient for getting to work. 

It can be tempting to take I-205 north and then I-84 west to reach Downtown Portland from Clackamas. However, this adds so many additional miles to the route that, when combined with rush hour traffic, it's unlikely to reduce the commute time. 

I-205 is ideal for anyone commuting to the Oregon City area—since it's only about a 10- to 20-minute drive during rush hour.

Clackamas Public Transportation

Public Transportation in Clackamas

Clackamas has limited bus service from TriMet—the main provider in Portland’s public transportation system—and is on the main route for the MAX Green Line light rail, which connects to Downtown Portland and Portland State University. Clackamas County also operates a county-wide system of shuttle buses—called Clackamas County Connects. 

The main bus route serving the city is TriMet Route 79 - Clackamas/Oregon City. The route connects the Clackamas Town Center Transit Center and the Oregon City Transit Center. Buses leave approximately every 20 minutes during the weekdays. Reverse routes from Oregon City run on the same schedule. 

The MAX Green Line light rail originates at the Clackamas Town Center Transit Center. It travels north to the Gateway Transit Center, near where I-84 and I-205 intersect. It then travels west to the Rose Quarter, Union Station, Pioneer Square, and Portland State University. Trains leave Clackamas Town Center every 15 minutes on weekdays. It takes around 40 minutes for the train to arrive at Pioneer Square in Portland’s Old Town neighborhood from Clackamas.

The fares for the MAX light rail or TriMet bus routes are the same. Riders can purchase a Hop Fastpass Card or use a Virtual Hop Card via smartphone to pay the fares. 

Schools in Clackamas

North Clackamas Schools is the public school district for the area around Clackamas. It serves multiple towns in Clackamas County, including Sunnyside, Milwaukie, the city of Happy Valley, and others. 

The NCSD School Locator website can help parents who are new to the area and looking to buy a home. The public schools in Clackamas include:

  • Sunnyside Elementary School (K–5)
  • Spring Mountain Elementary School (K–5)
  • Oregon Trail Elementary School (K–5)
  • Mount Scott Elementary School (K–5)
  • Rock Creek Middle School (6–8)
  • Clackamas High School (9–12)

Spring Mountain Christian Academy is a private K–12 Christian school in Clackamas. It has separate campuses for K–5 and 6–12 students.

Is the Clackamas Community Right for You?

Clackamas, often mentioned as one of Portland’s best suburbs, is a haven where natural beauty and a nurturing community converge, creating an ideal setting for those seeking a serene yet engaging lifestyle. With its lush landscapes, abundant outdoor activities, and a strong sense of community, Clackamas stands as a beacon of balanced living. Whether you're drawn by the call of the outdoors or the charm of a tight-knit community, Clackamas promises a life where every day is an opportunity to connect with nature and neighbors alike.

Is a move to Clackamas in your future? Call Matin Real Estate at (503) 622-9601 today to talk with a local real estate agent who can help you find your dream home in Clackamas.

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