Larch Mt. - 45 minutes from home
Once my go-to spot, I have not been there since summer '95 and that will continue. Skies very good generally, PDX glow not bad, trees taking the horizon away, nuisance level extremely high. I stopped going because of the trees, but the drive-thru traffic and summit screams were bad and later reports set my decision in stone.
Straessl Road - 45 minutes
The lower site is all I know. Skies decent, DX glow bad, horizons failing fast, nuisance level low. A good spot to watch stars set, but not for rising. The dinner train scared the ... out of me one autumn evening; it passes about 150 yards north of the site!
the Dethloffs' back yard - 50 minutes from home
Now my preferred site. Skies very good, PDX glow okay, nuisance level near zero, horizons .. well, more trees came down so I'd call the horizons variable. Plenty good enough for the drive, although US26 can be amazingly bad at times.
Yale Lake - 50 minutes
The wild card of local sites. Skies pretty good, horizons fair at best, nuisance level fair [random drivers heading for restrooms], PDX glow fair-poor, wind notorious. When it doesn't blow it's a very good site [1991 first light for homemade 6", 1996 Hyakutake spectacle]; when it blows don't bother to unpack.
Goat Mt. - >1 hour
Only observed from there once; not impressed enough to fight its new reputation as a party place for juveniles. Skies okay, skyglow poor [lower site], wind bad [middle site?]. Too many other options for this drive.
Rock Creek Ridge - 1.5 hours
While I haven't viewed from the White River site on Mt. Hood, the Strongs once showed me this site about 20 minutes southeast of there. Only one visit provides ratings of VG skies, near-zero nuisance, good horizons and surprising skyglow from Wamic? It was high-school football season so I suspect a home game was in progress while I was there - that tiny town couldn't glow like that every night! The strongest memory from here was the view of NGC752 in Andromeda, which was a naked-eye sight that night and has not looked as bright from anywhere else! [No, I'm not telling what it is -- if you've seen it naked-eye you know what it is; if not just let it sneak up on you some time!] Portland was entirely socked in when I went to this site; upper winds were troublesome but it was very clear and dark.
Tygh Ridge - ~2 hours
After years of wondering where this site was located, I finally viewed from there this April; too bad the geometry put Hale-Bopp directly over the Dalles. Skies very good, nuisance level very low, horizons ... well they're great, but because of that skyglow is visible from many directions including Portland, which glows brightly over Mt. Hood's shoulder. It definitely has higher elevation and less wind from the Gorge compared to Klondike, but the latter site wins on sky-glow and simplicity.
A crowd of us gathered here for the '99 Leonids; while no storm arrived, I did get a close runner-up to the Best Meteor Ever (see below)!
Klondike - 2 hours
Beware the west wind here, but any other direction works well. Skies VG+, horizons excellent, nuisance minimal, skyglow zero [if humid, a sweeping airport light shows up 5 miles west]. Check the Klondike Page for more details!
Agate Ridge - 2 hours
Our club had several nice evenings here in the past; Chuck and I spotted a 24-hour-old moon there twice, and one of my favorite meteors was seen from the top of a tall ladder while Steve Swayze's 30-inch scope was pointed straight up at M101!
[June 2, 1989 journal entry: BEST METEOR EVER - a 2:27am Fireball! It traveled S-N, covered over 90 degrees, and took ~10 seconds to cross; broke into 6 or more pieces at the end. No other observers could remember anything to top this one!]
Indian Trail Spring [OSP site] - 3+ hours
An near-perfect combination of what observers want in a site. Skies, horizons and skyglow are excellent, elevation 5000 feet, nuisance level low. Daylight provides little of interest, and no facilities for about an hour in any direction, but the nights are wonderful. Of course, the OSP event provides its own interests, with catered food, restrooms and activities of many sorts; it's the non-OSP visits that allow for solitude and peaceful treks through the universe.