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Old 05-21-2016, 08:19 PM
 
Location: Washington state
14 posts, read 12,393 times
Reputation: 10

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Hello. I've lived in Bellingham for almost a year, and before that was in northern Seattle for three years. Up to this point, various circumstances have necessitated staying in these two cities. However, my situation has recently become that I can more or less move wherever I choose, housing availability being the limiting factor.

I really enjoyed living in Seattle and would go back in a second if the housing situation weren't what it is. I actually could afford to *live* in Seattle, but would basically be breaking even. As a 30 year old I would like to start saving for retirement now, even if it's 35+ years away.

As for Bellingham, I love its bay, weather, and temperate rainforests (as I did Seattle's). It seems like a great place to go to school or raise a family. But as I am neither a parent or WWU student, I do feel out of place a lot of times. As I'm now thinking more about where I'd like to settle for a while, I question if Bellingham would feel too lonely long-term. I also am not one who desires to regularly go up to Vancouver, BC, so while I can appreciate the appeal of the location for somebody who does enjoy that, it's not a compelling reason for me to stay. Bellingham is beautiful and I love the mist and drizzle and overcast. But it feels isolated to me. It may just be the fact that's it's in the very corner of the country.

So I've been thinking about three possible places if I'm to stay long-term in western WA. I'd appreciate to hear from people who have either lived these locations, or are intimately familiar with them. I've visited all of them but I know living and visiting is night and day. The areas I'm considering are Olympia, Seattle metro area (places on the south closer than Tacoma, places on the north closer than Everett), and Vancouver, WA.

I will list the factors I am considering and my thoughts so far as to how they relate the places I'm considering. I realize since a place may not exist which has everything I want. Therefore, my factors are just my ideals. I understand some compromise will be necessary.

Community outside of being a college student or parent of a K-12 kid
I'm 30 and single and considering moving to a place where I know nobody. I get that no matter where I go, it's going to feel lonely at first. Seattle Metro and Vancouver, WA both seemed appealing for being close (at least in miles if not time due to traffic) to major cities. I think this would help a lot for finding people in my new community. I could see Olympia as having a similar vibe to Bellingham where it does have a strong community...but that community is the niches of the local U and the public school district. Or maybe I'm wrong. I'd appreciate hearing an Olympian's perpective. As for residents of the other two, do the Seattle metro area and Vancouver, WA feel at least affiliated with their respective major cities if not a part of them? Or would living in say Edmunds, or Kent, for example, just be paying higher rents to be near Seattle but realistically not actually feeling part of Seattle? Is this the way Vancouver feels with regard to Portland? I know Shoreline feels plenty "Seattle" for me, to give a frame of reference.

Feeling of isolation
This one would probably most apply to Olympia (I say as a hypothesis and understand it is not founded on actually experience there, hence asking you all who know it). Still, Olympia seems it would feel relatively less isolated than Bellingham just for not being in the corner of the country. Does it actually feel a little bigger with Lacey and Tumwater? Also, there is a certain degree of isolation any suburb will have from its city. I understand that. But the isolation I'm speaking of is a different type. Though Kenmore, for example, definitely feels like a suburb through and through, it does not feel isolated, whereas Bellingham does.

Biome
This is kind of a silly one because they're all great for people like me who love mist, overcast, and evergreens. I do think the Puget is the best biome in the country, but would feel awfully silly to complain about Vancouver's biome which, even if not "the best," is still great. I'm not really one to drive out to the mountains but I love having cool nature stuff within the city - Larabee in Bellingham, St. Edwards Park in Kenmore or Discovery Park in Seattle, for example. How are the local parks in Olympia and Vancouver, WA?

Work
Obviously job availability in any area depends on if you have the work skills desired by companies in that area, and if they have openings for people with those skills. I self-employed. I can make enough to live, though as stated earlier am concerned about saving for the future if I lived in Seattle or Portland proper. Since it's a specific situation, my point is not to ask the generic question, "What's the job-outlook like in X?" but more just to mention that I am aware this is a factor to consider. I would like to one day transition to only being part-time self-employed as, while paying fine, it is very lonely (never leave the house), but for now I am unlikely to get a job that will pay enough for my living expenses as does my self-employment. Just to assure you I'm not doing something crazy like moving to any of these places with no job in place.

So those are my thoughts so far. I'd love to hear thoughts from people who have lived in these area. I'd appreciate any other ideas you may have too that are confined to the specific factors I listed. I just wrote specifics because what defines a place being a good place to live is so different for every person's situation. There are a lot of posts on this forums asking what is X like? What is X like compared to X? Etc. I've read as many as I could find and now am starting a new thread with my specific questions pertaining to a single 30 year old who want to settle in the western half the the PNW, is self-employed from home, wants to be near larger area, and wants a community that is not too niche.

Thank you very much for reading my long post. Much appreciated.
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:03 PM
 
Location: Independent Republic of Ballard
6,628 posts, read 5,046,598 times
Reputation: 4280
Olympia is really Bellingham all over - students and parents, more than singles. Vancouver is a bedroom community for Portland - not really a singles town.

If you like north Seattle, but for the rents, why not look at Tacoma's Northend (Downtown, Theater District, Proctor, Stadium, Old Town, Ruston, even some areas of Hilltop) - lot's of singles are moving there. Rents are a third to a half what they are in Seattle. Point Defiance Park/Zoo is great. You're 45 minutes from Seattle via express bus or an hour on Sounder.
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Old 05-23-2016, 07:50 PM
 
Location: Washington state
450 posts, read 373,262 times
Reputation: 637
my friends who live in Vancouver describe it as a suburb of Portland. I like Portland so to me it's not a negative description.

If there are areas you really like in/near Seattle maybe look a little closer? the rents/cost of living is not cheap but on CD can often be exaggerated IMHO. Not every house costs $1 mil. Kenmore at least is commutable to Seattle and Bellevue. Don't write off large areas just yet. Would Olympia and Vancouver be your top choices?
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Old 05-23-2016, 10:57 PM
 
Location: Independent Republic of Ballard
6,628 posts, read 5,046,598 times
Reputation: 4280
Meant to write here:

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyDonkey View Post
If you like north Seattle, but for the rents, why not look at Tacoma's Northend (Downtown, Theater District, Proctor, Stadium, Old Town, Ruston, even some areas of Hilltop) - lot's of singles are moving there. Rents are a third to a half less than what they are in Seattle. Point Defiance Park/Zoo is great. You're 45 minutes from Seattle via express bus or an hour on Sounder.
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Old 05-24-2016, 09:05 PM
 
Location: Washington state
14 posts, read 12,393 times
Reputation: 10
CrazyDonkey, like many people who first experienced Washington through Seattle, I am guilty of being aware of Tacoma only in the most generic sense in that it exists. This is not an accurate view of a city that I am sure has a lot to offer on its own merit. So thank you for reminding me of my oversight. I have never been to Tacoma outside of passing through it on 5 and I will definitely head down soon for a day trip to give it a fair consideration. Thank you.

Misscross. I do like the areas north of Seattle: Kenmore, Edmonds, Shoreline, Bothell....and I agree with you that it would be fine to live there and commute. My impression was that they are also quite expensive at this time. I do continue to check though, because I that would be a fine area to settle as well. As for the southern areas Burien, Renton, Federal Way...like Tacoma I am unfamiliar and should work some of these into the Tacoma trip I am going to take upon CrazyDonkey's suggestion. I do entirely agree with you about expanding my view of "Seattle" to include these places.
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Old 05-28-2016, 09:01 AM
 
Location: Everett, WA
158 posts, read 112,332 times
Reputation: 137
It would seem the letter neighborhoods of Seattle would fit well depending on rental budget. Kirkland has always had a singles nightlife but spendy. Then there are all the neighborhoods and cities near Seattle. Lake City was a sketchy place but its getting better, I've have friends that love it. Really anything between Seattle downtown and Shoreline would be a good fit. To narrow it down I'd look at the rent. Each neighborhood has a different vibe. What do you prefer to have around? Most places have a bit of music shopping and food. But some are more local small funky shops and some are urban outfitters. Also how walkable does the area need to be?
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Old 05-29-2016, 07:15 PM
 
1,938 posts, read 2,857,017 times
Reputation: 2676
What about renting an apodment or microhousing in downtown Seattle? Obviously many of the complexes are filled with single professionals.

Last edited by west seattle gal; 05-29-2016 at 07:29 PM..
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Old 05-31-2016, 04:50 PM
 
Location: Washington state
14 posts, read 12,393 times
Reputation: 10
Thanks for the idea lauraf, I am familiar with Lake City Way. I still think that's a little high for me if I want to also be factoring in savings. I'd like to stay under 1200. I'm now looking a little further out (Everett, Monroe) but even those are often higher. Shoreline can be 1800.

West Seattle gal, I'd rather sacrifice some distance than space, when we're talking about apodments. I don't need to live right in the city, I just want to be close to a major population. A tiny normal sized place would be fine...apodments too small for me. But thank you anyway.
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