Spokane, what's it like? (Seattle, South Hill: fit in, sales, apartment complex)
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Spokane was LOVELY!!! we sooooo hated to come home... the weather was perfect... clean air.. unlike here... we are blanketed in smoke from all the CA fires... cough cough.... we looked at homes all day Saturday.... found one we liked and considered putting an offer on it... but something was holding us back... two days after we got home it is in contingency.... we knew it would go quick.... we still like one we have been eyeballing for a year now... might just grab it up! I think we are gonna put ours on the market and see what happens... we timed the drive from the home we like and it's a 40 min drive for DH... boy is that gonna be hard to get used to.... DH and DS are gonna try and get back up there in a few weeks.... gotta keep DS wanting to move... a visit will cinch it...
There are too many French-Canadians here. The winters suck and the summers are too hot. There are no jobs and nothing to do here. The people are racist towards minorities and the food is terrible. The air is getting smoggier and the traffic is horrific for a small hick town.
As long as you're not generalizing, that's what counts!
Travel out of Spokane always involves going through another city- Portland had more direct flights places. Do not believe the "105" temp comment- hardly. We get maybe 100-if we are lucky. Dirty-Not like Seattle. Roads? Terrible. City counsil? Morons. I am moving away from Spokane-mostly for a longer period of warmer weather. But many people are happy here. It does have a nice array of outdoor activities. Lots of parks, and lakes.
Travel out of Spokane always involves going through another city- Portland had more direct flights places... Roads? Terrible. City counsil? Morons...Lots of parks, and lakes.
Spokane Intl Airport is only international because of flights into Canada once in a while. Nothing against Canada, it's just a weak excuse to call your self international if you only fly into a neighboring countries small towns every so often.
The roads! I know they are trying to fix them, but still, they are the worst of anywhere I have been. No matter how fast they fix them, they get ruined just as quick in other areas. From what I understand they don't seal the roads after patching them so water and ice works it's way down and causes cracks and potholes. That's what I was told by a road worker back when I was a garbage man about 12-13 years ago. It may have changed by now, but it doesn't seem like it.
The city council always has been a joke. They only care about being on the council and not really taking care of the concerns of the people.
Parks. Yes Spokane has good parks, especially on the south hill. I spent a summer working in Comstock Park. Going between Manito and Comstock via the little Cushman carts was great. I spent many summer days at the Shadle Park pool too.
Even with the parks though, Spokane needs some serious fixing up. Until they get some leaders that attract good business' and can fix the infrastructure, then I will never recommend for anyone to move there.
"Close to nature, close to perfect" is the official motto and 50% realistic.
Close to nature, close to perferect is what the tourism board would like would be and residing tourist to believe but it is an experience you'll only have if you spend all your time outside of Spokane dreaming of a far better city. The nature is all around and really outstanding, much of the city would be a great candidate for "Extreme Makeover" if it applied to more than just a single house.
I've read most of the comments by now related to what Spokane is like and advice on whether or not to relocate here and am here to offer up my observations and experiences. I have lived in the Northwest most of my 40 years and in Spokane for nearly 4 and have travelled more than the average person. I'm a Boise native and have attended college and worked in both Boise and Spokane and have often been asked how they compare. In short, they don't.
Much of what is positive about Spokane has repeatedly been mentioned here and I have nothing to say to detract from it's positive attributes--the universities, parks, downtown theatre, dining and proximity to the great outdoors. I would only mildly disagree with hearing that people are generally friendly here, I wouldn't say they are unfriendly and certainly you can find friendly people and every day if you tried but on the whole I'd say it is the least friendly place I'd ever lived. Not particularly well mannered and certainly not very tolerant of what are perceived as outsiders which has been mentioned in other posts.
The negatives are, well, nearly every thing else. Let's start with crime, especially since it is on everyone's mind and you can find very readable, readily available data right on this site. Spokane has a crime problem, no doubt, and for those who deny it they are either real estate agents, work for the tourism board or have their heads in the sand. I used to think the general crime problem/fear was on the whole over blown until I came here and have experienced it first hand, namely theft and armed robbery. Sure it is not LA as one member has pointed out but to be worse than LA you'd have to live in Somalia or say Iraq. Check out the national crime index stat for year 2007(and no this is not a blip on the radar screen): Spokane 495, national average 321. For this number to be meaningful you really have to look and the individual categories which I did and Spokane is well above the national average in every, single, one. Boise by comparison is well below the national average. On reader did point out that Spokane has a lower than average number of registered sex offenders. This seems comforting on the surface except that there is no national standard on what is considered a sex "offender" and the age of consent in WA is 16 which is lower than say Idaho's which is 18. Interestingly enough, the most populous states, and many of those thought to be more liberal like CA and FL set their age of consent at 18, 17 in NY.
The downtown, the new city motto is "50% less degeneracy than 10 years ago." Note to the policy architects here: just because you take away the housing doesn't mean they just leave town or suddenly stop being chronicly poor! They move to the shelters or streets. You seriously have to drive in the downtown area like it is 3:15 PM near an elementary school, that is to say slow and constantly vigilant . If not then you are sure to run over a homeless person or a 18 y/o jobless, wannabe anarchist desiring to be an anarchist so he doesn't have to go to jail for publicly smoking pot while jaywalking on his way to loiter near the STA center. On the upside it is less worse (see new motto), at least the West end, than it was in the early 90's. It also has no identifiable center to it. Amid all the decay, there is an element of class in establishments such as the Fox Theatre and the Davenport Hotel. But to actually experience a safe, clean, vibrant downtown that you could actually safely enjoy check out Boise especially during the Spring/Summer/early Fall for alive after 5 on Wednesdays.
The neighborhoods surrounding the downtown are also checkered at best and that is one of the most unfortunate things about Spokane--most mid to smaller sized towns actually see increased home values near the downtown area where people actually like or need to go. Not here, this is where you will actually find much of the aforementioned crime in areas like felony flats and east Sprague Avenue.
So bottomline is unless you have a great job lined up then I would generally avoid living here. If you must then you would be better served living well outside the downtown area in places like Cheney, Medical Lake or Post Falls, ID where you can still be close to nature and much closer, albeit still far way, from perfect.
I appreciate Boisespokaneman's opinions but wanted to respond to a couple of items in his post. A nit, but the slogan is 'near nature, near perfect.' In my opinion, Spokane and Boise are very comparable places, each city having pros and cons.
A couple of thoughts on the crime data. Boise's crime statistics are generally more favorable than Spokane's (although in the major violent crimes the numbers are very comparable: murder: 6.1/100k for Spokane and 5.0/100k for Boise, rape: 44/100k per Spokane and 61.3/100k for Boise, with Robbery being the real outlier). Spokane's composite number, as noted by Boisespokaneman is higher than the national average. That said, I think there is more value in comparing the crime rate with similarly sized cities rather than the nation as a whole.
I used city-data to select cities comparable in size and stature to Spokane and found the following numbers (Des Moines, IA: 537.5; Colorado Springs, CO: 397.3; Chattanooga, TN: 739.9; Dayton, OH: 703.7; Tucson, AZ: 598.9 (2005 was most recent reporting for Tucson); Reno, NV: 427.9. Spokane's number is 494.8. Interestingly, L.A.'s number was 356.8. So in addition to Iraq and Somalia, you'd have to add at least the cities above as 'worse than L.A.' It goes to show that statistics, while helpful as a general guideline, are not a perfect measure of what a community is really like.
As far as sex offenders go, Washington requires any person who has been found to have committed any sex offense to register as a sex offender (also applies to people moving from out of state). RCW 9A.44.130. Further, "minor" in Washington is defined as someone under 18 for the criminal statutes. The only time 16 comes into play is in narrow circumstances like one of the people being 18 and one 16 and even then there are certain exceptions so the assertion that Washington's lax sex offender laws or lower age of consent explain the lower ratio of sex offenders simply doesn't hold up to scrutiny.
You seriously have to drive in the downtown area like it is 3:15 PM near an elementary school, that is to say slow and constantly vigilant . If not then you are sure to run over a homeless person or a 18 y/o jobless, wannabe anarchist desiring to be an anarchist so he doesn't have to go to jail for publicly smoking pot while jaywalking on his way to loiter near the STA center.
Yep, it is almost impossible to navigate through downtown without hitting a few 'undesirables.' Perhaps the constant vehicle-pedestrian downtown collisions help explain the high crime statistics. It is a matter of opinion, but mine is that Spokane has a very nice downtown. Compared to other cities (e.g. Portland) Spokane's number of homeless and disaffected 18 years olds hanging out on the street is laughable. No slight at Portland, which is a great city.
Spokane isn't perfect and it isn't everyone's idea of an ideal city. That said, in my opinion it is a place where it is safe to raise a family, where people are generally friendly and decent and where, for its size, it has some of the benefits of bigger city life (restaurants, theatre, sports, etc.) while still being, yes, close to nature and not having some of the drawbacks to bigger city life (traffic, high cost of living, poor public schools, etc). And for the record, I'm not a real estate agent, don't work for the tourism board and don't have my head in the sand.
Wow, kena. Fabulous post! Thank you! That was a well-presented, well-balanced response to the previous post. Yes, there are some cons, but there are so many pros. Can't we say there are pros and cons to everywhere? I love Spokane, I have family and friends who live there and love Spokane, and I consider it a wonderful place to raise a family, retire, be young and in college, whatever your phase of life may be. Blessings!
Yes, thank you, Kena. Boisespokesman shouldn't be so paranoid about kids in black. I think if he really knew any(and I do) he'd find their political persuasions as varied as the general population. In fact, I've found for the most part that my 18 year old daughter's friends (and yes, some of them are kind of scary...) are more politically aware then your average teen(or average adult for that matter), and many of them are far more conservative then you'd expect. :~) D
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