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Old 02-12-2012, 04:41 PM
 
1 posts, read 1,864 times
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Default Thinking of moving to Juneau......

Hi! I live in Eugene Oregon, and my husband and I have 4 children. There is a job in Juneau that I can't stop thinking about. We want to live in a place that is close to nature, and has a friendly community. (It doesn't hurt that this job would more than double our current income.) My main concerns are safety related: crime and wildlife. I really don't want to make any judgements based on the new rash of Alaska reality shows. Any advise would be wonderfull. Thanks!
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Old 02-12-2012, 08:56 PM
 
Location: Kitschk-hin
162 posts, read 132,681 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Energy Lady View Post
Hi! I live in Eugene Oregon, and my husband and I have 4 children. There is a job in Juneau that I can't stop thinking about. We want to live in a place that is close to nature, and has a friendly community. (It doesn't hurt that this job would more than double our current income.) My main concerns are safety related: crime and wildlife. I really don't want to make any judgements based on the new rash of Alaska reality shows. Any advise would be wonderfull. Thanks!
Take the job! Juneau is a lovely place to live. I don't know what the cost of living is like in Eugene but you're probably going to have to pay more in Juneau to live. That said, if you like Eugene you'll probably like Juneau too. It has a nice arts community, it's big enough that you don't feel too isolated even though it's off the road system. There's a Fred Meyers, Safeway, Costco, Home Depot, Walmart, etc. Not much in the way of chain restaurants but the good crop of local places is better anyway.
Crime is not a thing. Like anywhere in Alaska, alcoholism is a problem but for the most part the drunks are harmless and amenable. Domestic violence is an issue anytime alcohol is a problem, but this isn't something likely to affect you walking down the street. Drugs are also a big problem but once again, not a huge problem for the average person. It's not like there are roving gangs of drug addled youth roaming the streets and beating up old ladies. The truth is, it's very hard to get away with anything in a town like Juneau where everyone knows you and there's no easy way out of town.
As for wildlife, there is a lot of it. Maybe too much- some areas have bear problems. Not "problems", exactly, but when you're late for a meeting and momma bear is camped out on your lawn, it can be annoying. Other than that, there's the usual suspects- eagles, deer, various assorted rodents, fish, whales, porpoises, otters, seals, sea lions, etc.
Lots of opportunities for outdoor recreation, no matter your taste. There's trails ranging from little lunch break walks all the way up to multiday hikes. Mountain biking, ice climbing, kayaking, wilderness camping, salmon and halibut fishing, hunting, etc, all within city limits.
The thing about Juneau, really what most people would consider the only downside, is the weather and the isolation. It does rain quite a bit, certainly more than most places in the lower 48. It's something you just have to live with. It's dark a lot because of the perpetual cloud cover and the nights are long during the winter. Summers are cool and wet. There's no way to drive out and so it can be isolating for people that aren't used to it. Seasonal affective disorder and vitamin D deficiency are epidemic and some people find it hard to take. That said, if you can handle it, Juneau is a wonderful little town. It's a good place to raise kids as long as you can keep them away from drugs, there's a strong community and lots of opportunities.
If you have specific questions I can answer them. I live in Ketchikan now but I am from Juneau and have lived there off and on my entire life. I really do love the town and I would live there now, but it's a bit big and expensive and most of my family is here in Ketchikan.
Best of luck-
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Old 02-13-2012, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Wasilla, AK
1,385 posts, read 1,352,597 times
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Juneau is a great town. It's biggest downsides are the higher cost of living, housing shortage and isolation.
LadyAuke is right on in her assessment. Crime isn't a big issue. Wildlife is a slight concern, but take all the right precautions and you'll be fine.
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Old 02-13-2012, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Alaska
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We've had bears walk through our backyard, but for the most part, they are more afraid of you than you are of them. As long as you give them their space, there won't be a problem. Our biggest problem is one of our dogs can jump a 6' fence and has treed a bear. Crime doesn't affect most people here as it is mainly alcohol or drug related. While Alaska does have a high sexual assault rate, in most cases the victim knew their attacker (had some sort of relationship).

Your biggest problem will be housing. The rental market is tight, especially with the legislature in session. You'll especially have problems if you have pets. Buying a house can range from $200,000 to $500,000+ and there is not a lot of inventory on the market, especially in the neighborhood/school you want (just always is the case ). But given time, you can eventually find something you can live with, maybe even your dream home.

I don't think the cost of living will be double that of Eugene, but it does cost to travel out of the area. Most trips will involve flying and for a family of 6, that can get expensive. Driving requires a ferry trip and a couple of days on the road, just to get to the border south.

Even with all of the above and what others have mentioned, people are able to live and work here, some for all their lives. I believe it is a good and safe place to raise a family as long as you stay actively involved as your kids grow up.
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:17 PM
 
Location: Puna
639 posts, read 534,678 times
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Juneau has a lot of Eugene transplants, or at least a lot of people who went to school there. They are similar in a lot of ways.

A decent single family home in Juneau starts at $300,000, but you can get a good attached home for about $50k less than that. The last time I was home shopping I was looking for a 3/2 and there was not a single one on the market that wasn't a mobile home or an attached house under $259k and the prices have gone up since then. A co-worker moved here, trying to find a place to rent with his 3 large dogs. He never did find such a place and eventually moved out of Juneau. If you have pets you might get lucky, or else you'll HAVE to buy something, or get rid of your pets.

Other than housing, the prices are very similar to Eugene. Most things are more expensive, but not much, and Alaska has no income tax, and the property taxes in Juneau are lower than Oregon.

The one thing that people tend to forget to take into consideration is health care. There is not much of it available, and any type of unusual medical condition will have to be treated in Seattle. (there are several specialities that "can" be treated in town, meaning there is one and only one specialist for it, but 1/2 the town is aware of somebody's horror story getting treated by that person, so we frequently seek treatment in Seattle so Bartlett (the local hospital here) doesn't nearly kill yet another person. I always tell people as soon as they get here, SIGN UP FOR MEDEVAC insurance. My daughter got salmonella and had to be medevaced to Seattle and the bill was over $108,000.00 JUST FOR THE TRANSPORTATION. The insurance is cheap, about $125/year per family. The other thing to consider is that with vision, dental, health etc there are few or no "in network" doctors, so depending on your insurance company, even covered things will cost more here, and it seems like just about any procedure has a long "pre approval" paperwork process. You can get antibiotics, a simple bone break set, or a wound stitched up here, have an uncomplicated child birth, but just about anything else you'll have to (or want to) go to Seattle for treatment, and if it's a last-minute ticket purchase, figure on it costing $1000 round trip, and since you probably wont be going alone, double that figure. Most of us save our airline miles for such events. We do get a cardiologist and dermatologist that comes up here from Seattle every other month or so, so you can get "routine" treatment for some of the specialities, but anything urgent or chronic- plan on adding health care travel costs to your budget.
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Old 02-13-2012, 05:48 PM
Status: "Happy" (set 24 days ago)
 
3,468 posts, read 3,413,386 times
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This was a very educational thread for me...

So if one had diabetes - Juneau might not be the best place to live...

For $125/year per family for Medevac insurance - that is a no brainer.
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:48 PM
 
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Juneau does have a hospital, but people are always going back and forth to places like Seattle and Anchorage. Juneau and southeast AK constantly talk about Seattle. Medical costs will be higher in Juneau, and if something serious ever happened, you may have to be airlifted to Seattle, which is about a 2 and a half hour flight.

As mentioned above, it is not connected to any road system, unless you count the Alaska State Ferries, which go to many communities and up to Anchorage, and as far south as Bellingham, Washington. There is a good selection of shopping, and the whole community seems like mini country all by itself. If you don't get tired of the same stores, and same sights, you should fit in fine.

Crime isn't a big problem, though by the cruise ship port, a lot of homeless people tend to gather around. Downtown is heavily tourist oriented, and closes down after tourist season. The downtown is separated from the more "suburban" parts of the city.

Expect a lot of rainy days, a lot of cloudy days, and darker days. In no way is Juneau even remotely similar to Eugene.

You are close to nature, and it is not uncommon to see stray moose or wildlife in the city. They are not dangerous unless provoked as with any wildlife. You can see glaciers, hike trails, go fishing, all within 20 minutes of your home. Community safety is good with a municipal police force, as well as a state troopers office.

Media is very limited. There is no local news channel in Juneau, so you either can pickup Seattle's many local networks, or one of Anchorage's. There is a town newspaper and radio stations.
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Old 02-14-2012, 11:10 AM
 
Location: Kitschk-hin
162 posts, read 132,681 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakster View Post
This was a very educational thread for me...

So if one had diabetes - Juneau might not be the best place to live...

For $125/year per family for Medevac insurance - that is a no brainer.
I don't think that's necessarily the case. Bartlett does have the resources to handle diabetic crises because even though they're dangerous they're not all that complicated to treat. Despite what everyone else here has said (and I'm not saying they're wrong!) I personally never had a problem getting healthcare in Juneau. My mom had a difficult childbirth with me and Bartlett handled it fine- I've also seen them do orthopedic surgeries with no issue, and I had a friend get her gallbladder out and they did that in town. The only time I personally have seen people have to go down to Seattle was for cancer treatment, but I do know that really specialized care requires a transfer and often trauma care also requires a medevac- we just don't have the resources to handle severe trauma. That's where the insurance comes in, and it's definitely a good idea to have it.
I guess it depends on whether you consider your diabetes controlled and if you feel safe being some distance away from specialized medicine. I personally
think you would be absolutely fine in Juneau- maybe not in some of the really small villages in Southeast but certainly in Juneau. It is not a small town, after all.
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Old 02-14-2012, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Alaska
5,151 posts, read 8,396,162 times
Reputation: 3462
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dakster View Post
This was a very educational thread for me...

So if one had diabetes - Juneau might not be the best place to live...

For $125/year per family for Medevac insurance - that is a no brainer.
There are many here who have diabetes. Treatment is not a problem, but there is no diabetes specialty clinic, so treatment can be hit or miss. What usually happens is a doctor will find something that works with one patient and will use the same treatment on others. Like everywhere else, you are the best advocate on your treatment, so it pays to do some research and ask questions about it.

While initial treatment of a major illness will likely happen in Seattle or Anchorage, continuing care for the illness can happen in Juneau. You'll end up flying out for some follow-up though.

Medevac insurance is a good idea. Many health insurance policies provide for it so it may not be necessary to get a second policy just for it.
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Old 02-14-2012, 11:16 AM
 
Location: Kitschk-hin
162 posts, read 132,681 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NWbyNW View Post
You are close to nature, and it is not uncommon to see stray moose or wildlife in the city. They are not dangerous unless provoked as with any wildlife. You can see glaciers, hike trails, go fishing, all within 20 minutes of your home. Community safety is good with a municipal police force, as well as a state troopers office.
No moose in Juneau, or most of southeast for that matter. Thank goodness, I hate those things!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NWbyNW View Post
Media is very limited. There is no local news channel in Juneau, so you either can pickup Seattle's many local networks, or one of Anchorage's. There is a town newspaper and radio stations.
There is KJUD which is a local Juneau station but just broadcasts Alaska Link which has statewide news. 360North has some news, they're run by KTOO. The KTOO radio station is a good source of local news, and KINY is also a good radio station plus they keep their website constantly updated with breaking local news.
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