Port Angeles or Port Townsend? (Seattle, Tacoma: for rent, buying a home, job market)
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I am looking to move out to the "rain shadow" area of Washington state. I live in Tacoma. I have a 4 year old boy, 2 cats and a dog. I'm trying to find which town would be better in the sense for my son where he would grow up, education wise, etc. I like the idea of a close community, as the closest family member is in Oklahoma. So as he won't be around "family". I want him to be able to have people around him that are like family or become like family. I'm hoping when I make the final decision to move in that direction I won't have to move for several years....maybe after my son is up and out of the house, but I hope to stay put for a very long time. I've visited both towns and I like them both. I like Port Townsend for it's historical feel as well as things to do for both the young and adult. Schools seem decent, but my concern is with the high school when it comes to programs it offers. Port Angeles offers a lot more education wise, but there doesn't seem as much to do there. Maybe that's just me and I haven't explored it enough yet. I'm somewhat outdoorsy, but it's not a deal breaker if one area is less so. I also will need to be looking for a job eventually. I have administrative, military, retail in my background. Although I have been a stay at home mom since my son was born. Any suggestions on one area over another for job opportunities? I'm hoping to be able to buy land eventually and build a small house..1400-1700 sq. feet. But, not sure how the property taxes are assessed in each area. I know it depends if it's within the city limits, but like I've said before would like to not move again for a long time. Both cities seem to be semi comparable on property taxes. Depending. I'd love to have a minimum .25 acres to as much as a full acre. Again, I'm looking for long term. Being out in the "country" doesn't bother me one bit. How can I find out about houses available for rent that are actually pet friendly in both areas? That's my other option is to rent for a year in Port Townsend or Port Angeles and go from there. Anything else I should consider would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for all the help!
I live in Port Townsend, and I wouldn't suggest moving here unless you have a job lined up. They are VERY hard to come by, they pay poorly, and there are lots of applicants for every opening. I'm also suspicious that a lot of the service jobs go to local high school graduates who know someone who knows someone who needs someone, etc. - which makes sense in a town this size. I moved here in 2010 and was fortunate enough to bring my job with me - I telecommute for my former boss and work from home.
I can't vouch for the high school here as my son was already almost through college when I moved, but friends have kids who go there and they're getting accepted into good colleges, which says something about them.
You can find houses for rent on craigslist.org or check out some of the local property management places (just Google property management and the town you're interested in). A lot of places seem to accept pets now.
I love the town, but I would never have moved here if I had to find a job after I arrived. The economy just isn't that good, and a lot of the businesses are overly dependent upon tourism.
Dendrite can probably give you the scoop on Port Angeles. I've been through it several times but have no "insider" info that would help you.
The rain shadow is limited to Sequim, Port Townsend and Whidbey Island. Port Angeles gets more rain than Tacoma and Seattle. At times you can see the clouds end at the 7 Cedars Casino and then starting again at about Deer Hill Road while driving up 101. None of these places has much in the way of jobs. I don't know what you are used to in schools but in this area the best schools are not in Port Angeles and Port Townsend. Everyone wants good safe areas to live with great schools and affordable housing but those do not exist. The best schools and safest areas are the most expensive, and all of western Washington is expensive compared to Oklahoma and many other states.
PA gets more rain than Tacoma or Seattle? Sorry, but I have to disagree with that also. From the City Data demographic pages: average annual precipitation for Tacoma is 39.2 inches of rain per year, Seattle is listed at 36.6 inches annually, Port Angeles shows 25.8 inches per year and Port Townsend comes in at 19.3 inches per year.
These are average annual rainfall numbers of course, so YMMV on a year-to-year basis but at least this will provide comparative ballpark numbers for us.
I'll have to agree with dendrite. PA is in the rain shadow. I usually mark the rainshadow as beginning to the west near Fairholm Hill/Aurora Ridge/Storm King. Those seem to be the high spots that drastically reduce the rainfall. Kind of a stretch in those areas, but once you cross that hill the difference is noticeable. Rainshadow is strongest in Sequim.
As for jobs, PA is kind of in the job-shadow. What 'industry' is around or larger businesses generally have a relative that opens that door. The biggest employer (I think) is the federal government (park service, forest service, coast guard, national lab, border patrol).
Fayeq, the schools are fine in PA, especially if you can get the kid into Running Start for the last part of high school. Community in PA is somewhat laidback. I consider the area a full blown city, but many will describe it as a little town. Lots of community events from May to October, and a few during the other months.
Last edited by rainforest338; 04-25-2012 at 01:52 PM..
Reason: additional info
Dendrite what would you say about the schools and the community in PA? People seem to be friendly and accomodating, but any additional information I should consider?
Good Afternoon fayeq:
The schools in Port Angeles are good overall, I think they're reasonably solid, about what you would expect from a smaller, largely blue-collar town. OTOH, PA schools are not in the same league, as say, the Bainbridge Island school district. So I think your initial impression of the schools in PA as seeming "decent" would be an accurate descriptor of our schools.
As you've noted people here are friendly and easy going for the most part. I don't think you'd have any problems making friends if you're at least a little outgoing, wear a smile on your face and become involved in community or civic organizations, school, church or whatever. Again, more of that smaller town atmosphere here.
I think ukiyo's post above was spot on. The limiting factor to a move here would not be the community, rather the job market. Given the simple fact that PA is much larger (population wise) than Port Townsend, it will have more to offer potentially in terms of job openings. Nonetheless, as ukiyo mentioned, the job market here can be tight. Many positions in both areas end up being minimum wage service industry type jobs (fast food, Walmart, Safeway etc.) Depending upon your skill set, there are the occasional health care, business/banking positions that open up from time to time.
So as above, I'd suggest having a job securely nailed down as step number one, then decide where to live on the peninsula based upon that. You mentioned renting for a year before thinking about buying a home. I think that would be a wise move on your part as well.
Good Luck with your search!
Last edited by Dendrite; 04-25-2012 at 02:54 PM..
Reason: mis-spelled word
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