Anyone commute from Portland to Wilsonville?
January 16, 2012 9:57 AM   Subscribe

Anyone commute from Portland to Wilsonville?

My husband and I live in NE Portland, close in. He's interested in a job in Wilsonville and we're wondering if the commute would be bearable or, conversely, unpleasant enough that he should not consider the position. I mean, he'd be driving during rush hour on I-5, M-F. Google says it'll be about a 30 minute drive, but I am dubious.

In the past, he's had an hour train commute into London and was pretty miserable, so he's hoping to avoid a long, uncomfortable commute. His last job he could get to via MAX, and took about 25-30 minutes, and he was pretty happy with that.

Any observations and/or advice would be most appreciated. And sure, we'll take into consideration the cost of fuel and wear and tear on the car.

posted by Specklet to Travel & Transportation around Portland, OR (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I commuted from NE to Wilsonville for years. Granted this was about 5 years ago but it wasn't bad at all. There's (was?) even a bus that runs during rush hour. I'd learn the best back street routes to use in case there's an accident but yeah, it usual only took me 30 minutes or so...
posted by yodelingisfun at 10:09 AM on January 16, 2012

Seems like he'd be going against the traffic, for the most part. More people would commute from down the valley into Portland, than vice versa, except the ones going down to Salem.
posted by Danf at 10:37 AM on January 16, 2012

I work in downtown Portland, and I have a coworker who lives in Wilsonville- she says the commute doesn't bother her too much. She leaves Wilsonville a little after 7 am and it takes her 50 minutes to get in to downtown. For comparison, without traffic she estimates that trip would take her about 20 minutes. She did say accidents are the biggest variable on commute time, and that it seems like there's always accidents.

Of course, this is the reverse of the commute he'd have, so I don't know how helpful it is. Let me know if you have any questions you want me to ask her. I also have another coworker who used to do that commute and hated it. She now lives in Oregon City and hates that communte too- so opinions might just vary from person to person.
posted by Secretariat at 10:43 AM on January 16, 2012

Oh, and I think there are some common alternate routes to I-5 when you're in the Portland area- however I rarely drive that way so I can't really advise. Looks like google maps gives a few.
posted by Secretariat at 10:55 AM on January 16, 2012

I drive from Outer NE Portland to Washington Square area every day, and most days I wind up taking I-84 to I-5 to SR-217. A friend of mine drove the same commute starting in SE (near the Ross Island) and had a sub-30 minute commute each way, no complaints.

I-84 sucks in rush hour. I loathe that road. When my lease is up in August I will be moving so that I never drive the sonofabitch again. Plan on avoiding it as part of the commute.

The morning commute on I-5 Southbound is easy from roughly I-405 (Fremont Bridge) and everything south. There's an occasional slowdown at Broadway and I-84 going through Terwilliger, but mostly it's 50-65mph.

Coming home is usually worse. I-5 is usually easy going northbound in the afternoon until the Terwilliger curves, then it's a mixed bag. Some days it's fairly quick all the way until the Broadway exit or I-405. Some days it's jammed up back to the curves. Northbound I-5 north of the Fremont bridge absolutely sucks every day.

Alternate routes: they stink. You can go I-84 (opposite rush hour) to I-205 and take the long way round. It's high speed until you get to Oregon City. Jams occur daily at the bridge over the river. 99W is slow and has too many traffic lights.

Option X might be Trimet, but it's a long commute. Blue Line/Red Line MAX to Beaverton TC, and take the WES to Wilsonville. The WES is rarely packed, the seats are comfortable. The Wilsonville SMART buses that go to the WES station are all synched up with the WES schedule. Still takes like 1.5 hours each way to/from the Lloyd Center. Ouch.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:00 AM on January 16, 2012

A friend of mine drove the same commute starting in SE (near the Ross Island) and had a sub-30 minute commute each way, no complaints.

I meant to say he went from SE near Ross Island to Wilsonville.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:00 AM on January 16, 2012

I had friends who made the commute from Milwaukie to Wilsonville for a couple years, and what Danf said: You'll be going against almost all of the traffic...I would still doubt the 30 minute estimate, but typically, you won't be sitting in traffic the whole time.

Also, if you know ahead of time traffic will be atrocious, take Grand/MLK/99E all the way down to 205 and then head down...that really only adds 15 minutes to your travel time, and you'll get a wonderful tour of the greater metro area's best pawn shops, liquor stores and strip clubs.
posted by furnace.heart at 11:02 AM on January 16, 2012

I take that commute at that time (or close to it) a couple of days a week. It can range anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. It's only bad once in every 4 or 5 trips. I wouldn't let that particular commute turn me off of a job I really wanted.
posted by dchrssyr at 11:13 AM on January 16, 2012

My old roommate lived with me in NE and commuted to Xerox in Wilsonville, and my current boss commutes from Lake Oswego to Wilsonville frequently. Neither of them seem to mind it at all. I do know my old roommate frequently did a carpool with other people who lived in pdx and worked at Xerox, so just from a gas standpoint, that might be something you could consider.

I do think there is a bus that goes down there, but realistically, it would be a car commute. I think the 30-45 minute estimate is probably spot on. If the job is a good one, it's probably worth the extra hour or so a day in the car.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:37 AM on January 16, 2012

I currently commute from Portland (specifically the Kenton area) to Wilsonville and have done the SE Portland to Tigard commute before.

I've had the best luck commuting at off hours--if you can come in early and leave early, or come in later and stay later, that usually has the best results. Barring, of course, traffic accidents or inclement weather. During the horrific snow of 2009, it took me 4.5 hours go get home, though that is a complete edge case--it's usually not that bad. I would say it takes about 25-30 minutes to get there in the morning and anywhere from 30-70 minutes to return in the evening.

While it is not the best commute in the world, it is significantly better than going from Wilsonville to Portland and back--the oncoming lanes are usually packed solid on both trips and I am often glad I am not there. The commute has also given me a chance to catch up on many podcasts and audiobooks.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 12:13 PM on January 16, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks, guys, this is all really good info!
posted by Specklet at 1:48 PM on January 16, 2012

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