Relocating from Maine to AZ (Phoenix, Scottsdale: transplants, homes, gated community)
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Another fact: Maricopa County received the American Lung Association’s lowest grade for air quality in both ozone and particulates in 2005. According to the association's "State of the Air 2005" report, over 2.6 million, or 79%, of the county's residents are at high risk for respiratory complications due to air quality.
Never knew that. I already know Phoenix has bad air quality but never knew it was that bad.
Here's another number I'll throw at you: 3%. That's roughly the percentage of Maricopa County's workforce that's located in downtown Phoenix, the lowest concentration of any major city in the country. Pa-thetic. In fact, it was just announced that Deloitte and Touche are relocating to Tempe and taking 800 jobs out of downtown with them. Gee, I wonder why downtown continues to be a boring wasteland composed of a few office buildings and dilapidated neighborhoods despite the supposedly ongoing efforts to improve it. Partly because of the weather, partly because of the air, and partly because of its decentralization, it’s probably the least walkable city in the country with the possible exception of L.A.
I already stated that our downtown is no New York City but it doesn't bother me. Deloitte and Touche are still keeping jobs in the greater Phoenix area, it doesn't matter whether it's in Phoenix or Tempe. Walkable city- I guess it's a matter of how you look at it. There are plently of areas to walk in the greater Phoenix area but not any downtown. One thing I enjoy is taking the trail up Camelback Mountain every Saturay morning. I also walk around Grayhawk before I go to work. Usually it's a good 1 or 2 miles.
I do read the newspaper and watch the evening news so maybe that's why I'm delusional? I'm not too worried about it, in a county of 5+ million people you'd expect some. I don't go looking for crime and crime doesn't come looking for me. I'm not going to move out of fear.
And honestly, if you have enough money and don’t want to live in the center of the city, it doesn’t matter what metropolitan area you live in. You can sequester yourself in an affluent suburb, look at the great scenery, the beautiful architecture, and live under the naive assumption of safety and isolation from the “bad” people in the “bad” areas. Considering that you live in Grayhawk and drive a Porsche, I’d conjecture that you’re isolated from the realities of this community and the problems it faces.
I'm not a wealthy person by Scottsdale standards. I work hard for what I have and sometimes life just throws you a bone. I'm not isolated from the "real" world, it isn't like I work at home and don't go out at all.
To me, what defines a great city is its core, its downtown area. If it’s vibrant, safe, culturally diverse, walkable, has distinct and interesting neighborhoods, is the employment center of the community, and is full of diverse entertainment options- which is the case in classic cities like Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, Boston, Denver, etc.- those are the things that make city life attractive, and why I would want to live in those cities. And those attractive aspects of what makes a great city, Phoenix lacks completely.
Different strokes for different folks. I think Phoenix is a great city, just because you don't agree doesn't make it true or false. You can move to wherever and I hope you enjoy your city. I'll be here and enjoying mine.
I would never suggest moving elsewhere out of fear, and to each their own. If you like it, great. To me, a suburb's a suburb no matter where you go. A great city has a personality, a heart, a soul, and a uniqueness to it that you become attached to. I just find that Phoenix doesn't have those things. Phoenix is like the attractive blonde you see from a distance, who looks good from a superficial aspect (the travel brochures do a very convincing job), but when you actually get to meet her, there's just no substance underneath that's attractive at all. Scratch the surface, and there's nothing there.
But I would say enjoy it while you can- as I pointed out, it doesn't seem to me that Phoenix as a community has a very good long-term outlook as far as sustainability. The water shortage is bound to become a major issue in the future, and both L.A. and Vegas will share in that dilemma, for which I'm not sure there's a solution. I also believe that because, as I pointed out, Phoenix's climate would be too hostile for humans to survive in without cars and air conditioning, there will come a point in the not-too-distant future when the combined cost of gasoline and energy will become too high for middle class wage earners to be able to afford to live here comfortably. When that happens, it's going to make the dust bowl of the midwest in the '30's look minor by comparison. Again, won't be my problem.
Here's another thing you won't find in the visitors' brochures: the increasing incidence and severity of Valley Fever. You may or may not have heard of this, but it's a potentially severe and life-threatening illness caused by a fungus (coccidioidomycosis) that's indigenous to the desert southwest. In fact, approximately 90% of annual cases nationwide are reported in both residents of and visitors to Phoenix and Tucson. The spores of the fungus are highly infectious, and live in soil in this part of the country. They become aerosolized when the soil is disturbed (i.e., when people dig in it or build things), and during windy conditions (there's a huge spike in incidence during the monsoon season). The disease course is similar to tuberculosis, and it may or may not even be clinically apparent. But once it's there, there's no cure; it stays with you forever, your body walls it off and it takes up residence in your lungs. Until one day, when you reach old age or for some other reason your immune system doesn't work properly anymore, it can proliferate and go systemic, and you're dead. Nice, huh?
The best news of all: those who spent the early parts of their lives in another part of the country are most susceptible to infection once they move here. So yeah, I'm sure I've been exposed. The spores are literally ubiquitous. The snowbirds & retirees in Sun City succumb to it all the time; I believe it's the leading cause of infectious death there. And one day, if I make it to 70, it will probably kill me if nothing else has yet up to that point. So hey, at least I've got that to look forward to, thanks to my brilliant decision to move here.
I got Valley fever years ago when I first moved from NY and was sick for months. It was horrible. Dogs are now getting it.
ok, so now you have me scared. My husband, 2-yr-old son, and I are moving to Surprise for a 2-4 year stint for my husband's work. There are so many reasons I don't want to move, but this tops the list! Tell me more about this. Is it preventable? What precautions can be taken?
Well, there's really nothing you can do to prevent yourself from being exposed to it, unless you spend literally all of your time inside. Like I said, the organism is literally ubiquitous, and with all the building that goes on here compounded with the often-windy conditions, it's impossible to avoid. I have a link to an article published in the AZ Republic a few years ago, which can offer some more insight into the disease, if you're interested:
The scariest thing about the disease is that it's so poorly understood. It's really not well-known why some people are at higher risk than others, and why some have a far more aggressive disease course versus a more protracted, insidious course for others. What is known is that certain ethnicities tend to be more prone than others, in particular African-Americans and Hispanics. Immunocompromised people also have a serious problem with it, i.e. the elderly, people on chemo, people with autoimmune diseases, AIDS, etc. Those are usually the individuals who have systemic spread and fatal outcomes.
But what's also scary is that the fungus will harbor itself in tissues in healthy individuals for decades, and wait until you're not such a healthy young person anymore, and then become clinical- again, much like TB that way. I may have had desert fever and not have known it, which means that it's still inside me indefinitely- and that terrifies me. And right now, there's still no approved cure, although that may change.
Interesting about the dog. I also know a family that moved here from the East coast, and a few months after they moved here, the dog developed a respiratory ailment and died at a relatively young age. It wasn't ever proven to be cocci, but I have my suspicions. Pets do also suffer from the disease, that's certainly known.
I read with amusement what you were telling folks about moving to PHX. My mom said it was the biggest HICK TOWN she's ever seen and that was 60 years ago. 5.5 million people still hasn't made much of a dent in the atmosphere here unless it's to make it worse. I have to laugh at people who think that crime only happens in the ' scummy' parts of town (which to me pretty well sums up the whole state) and thinks they can't get shot on the freeway's or like one guy who was just sitting in a car waiting for his wife. You have to leave those tossed together by illegal unskilled labor gated communities sooner or later. As for Valley fever- everyone has a touch of it in one form or another. How could you not when those dust storms race across the valley in the summer. You can dust your t.v. at 9 am and by noon you can write your name in it, and I don't care what type of housekeeper you are. I think more pets die from the heat than anything else.
I was explaining to someone once that Phx was all but the murder capital of the US. If we don't average at least 4 a day it's just because the bodies haven't been found yet.
Like you I can hardly wait to leave this state. I was dragged here 40 years ago by my parents and have hated every second of it since. I won't miss the dust, heat, drive bys, English as a second language, a local gov't that totally oblivious to what it's population really wants and the best of all 2" sewer roaches that trust me folk DO NOT live in the sewer.
So where are you headed? I'm off to look at Missouri again. I hear they speak English as a FIRST language there and they are starting to crack down on the illegels in the state as well as employers. Can hardly wait to NOT read a sign that has a hispanic connotation to it. I've had enough of the invasion.. I'm off to see the REAL America!
Gayle, you hit it head-on. Like I said, I'm probably in a better position to know than most, but trust me when I say that Phoenix is literally a war zone. And contrary to naive popular opinion, it's not just parts of Phoenix, it's the whole **** valley. The methheads, gangsters, and illegals have turned this place into the OK Corral. You won't see much of the worst stuff on the news, b/c believe me, if you did, you'd never want to leave your house.
Put it this way- the bodies cown at the coroners' office are backlogged for weeks, because they can't keep up. They look for reasons to cancel postmortem exams on bodies, because they simply lack the manpower and the time to finish them all. They used to call Detroit the "Murder City", as a cruel joke; trust me, I've lived in both, and Detroit's got nothing on this place.
I just found out this morning that another neighbor had been broken into and robbed yesterday. And this is the Biltmore area- supposedly the best, safest part of Phoenix to live in.
So, I'm off to Durango, CO- and can't wait to taste that mountain air again that I grew so fond of in Denver. Durango's a terrific smaller city, has great weather and a ton of outdoor recreational options nearby. It also has that genuine, unique, old-western style community feel to it that's sorely missing here. None of the generic big-box sprawl that robs Phoenix of any kind of personality or character. And oh, yeah- almost no crime. Phoenix has soured my taste for big-city living to the point that I doubt I'll ever live in a community this size again. I just hope that I can preserve my health and safety for another year here.
Man, 40 years in this dump? That's rough. I lived in Missouri, as I mentioned. I liked St. Louis a great deal, actually. The people are terrific- you won't meet friendlier, more down-to-earth folks anywhere in the country. And although it's small, downtown is very lively, lots of fun. The weather does get uncomfortably hot and humid in the summer, though. That's really about the only downside I can think of. You also ought to look at Columbia, if you get a chance. That's an awesome place, kind of in the middle of nowhere but a great smaller college town with lots to see and do. And again, that great midwestern hospitality that I miss so much. The Ozarks are beautiful, too, if you like the outdoors.
I wish you well in Durango. Was there once 25 years ago for skiing and that's about it. LOVED the Stratter Hotel and it's bar. Great little place to hang out. They had LOGS in the pool. Found out later that was to keep it from freezing solid in winter. My niece lives in Fort Collins and I have friends in Denver, Boulder and Grand Juntion. They are all thriving there, I found those places a bit YUPPY and pricey hence the look see at MO! I love seeing the Rockies but maybe not every day and when I was in Denver in Feb after the temp got to be -13 that night I stopped watching the weather channel.
Az was ALMOST Ok when I was a kid. It was a safe enough place to grow up 30 some years ago. Most of our summers were spent on horse back since we grew up on a dairy in Laveen. Now I can barely get into the car in the morning before the news starts yapping about which street is closed due to shoot outs, hostage situations, car jackings or police chases. And I go to work at 6 A.M. Oh - and least we forget that 15 mile 45 minute commute - twice a day.
We've had 6 murders within 2 miles just last week alone.. YEAH and 4 were ACROSS THE STREET FROM A SHINY BRAND NEW $200k PER HOUSE GATED COMMUNITY! Welcome to AZ now get your flak jacket! They should be issued at the border.
I shall check out Columbia - sounds like my kinda place. Small, homey and with friendly/safe people who aren't trying to shoot me off the road just for sport! And who speak a language I can understand. I wish to leave before the holidays this year. Bon Voyage and good luck staying alive another year here in HELL
I have lived here 26 years. It's clean, it's pretty friendly, it's easy to get around. Housing is high right now. Some jobs are easy to find, depending on your field. The weather is beautiful almost all year. A few weeks of bad heat are way easier to take than months of freezing. If you miss the snow you can visit it in a 1-2 hour drive up in the mountains.
We're going to Scottsdale on vacation in September (It'll be HOT - I know, I know) and I've been reading this board a good bit. You guys are starting to scare me. Is the crime really that bad? Is Scottsdale relatively safe? Any particular areas to avoid in Scottsdale & Phoenix?
Finally, any recommendations on some fun things to do?
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