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Old 11-17-2016, 03:08 PM
 
1 posts, read 3,439 times
Reputation: 10

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My boyfriend and I are looking to relocate to a smaller town as Portland has been flooded with Californians who I'm assuming are suffering from the drought and very expensive living. The traffic is a nightmare no matter what time or day and my 12 mile commute is awful. I've always loved Portland but its too crowded and all the fun, weird kitsch is quickly going away with rising rents and pushing all the natives out.

We have a toddler and a cat, wanted to do the whole tiny house thing to be able to afford a nice place to live instead of paying through the nose for a crappy apartment.


I've read a lot of posts about jobs and activities and living, the small town charm is very appealing with the small population that Olympia has, we are looking for a place to settle down for a very long time.

So here is a different set of questions:


1. Do they allow tiny houses? Are the zoning laws strict? Is there cheap land for sale thats around town?
Would they allow a tiny house that was built on a foundation and not on wheels? If we were to live in a 5th wheel for awhile, do they have decent RV parks? Are there any on a lake? Are there many lake front properties/apartments/places to rent for a decent price?

2. My boyfriend has some body modifications, like stretched ears, stretched septum, lots of piercings and tattoos. He looks fairly normal compared to some of what you would see in Portland but I'm worried about a smaller community looking down on this and I'm worried he won't be able to get a job. Right now he makes prosthetics for trans gendered people so there obviously is not even a small job market out there. He just happened to get the job through a friend. What types of places would he have the most luck getting a job with his appearance? He also chooses not to drive, are there places in town that he would be able to easily commute to via public transit/biking? Is it fairly flat around town? If not, would he have to commute pretty far to get to another town for a job?

3. What neighborhoods are best? We both have no desire to live in a cookie cutter suburb but I've read there is a problem with homeless and crime in downtown Olympia, and I'm assuming it's more expensive to live in a downtown area. Are there neighborhoods that are close to downtown but safer?

4. What is the job market like there? I am an office manager so I could do any admin work, but I don't want to be stuck making several dollars less than what I am making now. Are there some higher paying jobs with the city? Is it easy to get a government job in Olympia?

5. I hate driving in snow, is there a lot of snow in the winters?

6. Would it be a good idea to start a business there? Say, another music venue/bar/ etc?


Looking to move Spring(ish) of 2018, possibly Summer of 2017, depending on our situation. Thanks for the help!
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Old 11-17-2016, 05:48 PM
 
Location: Lacey, WA
485 posts, read 680,812 times
Reputation: 531
Olympia isn't a small town anymore, especially when you add in the Lacey and Tumwater areas. If you're looking to get away from cookie cutter neighborhoods, strip malls with national chains, traffic, and urban sprawl, look elsewhere.

Question #1. All of your questions about tiny homes, zoning laws and whatnot can be answered on the Thurston County (Olympia is in Thurston County) website: Thurston County Building and Land Use Codes

Question #2. Body modifications will fit in just fine in downtown Olympia. No one will look twice. Plenty of espresso stands or tattoo shops or maybe even pot shops will hire him or other non-corporate places.
I personally don't think the Lacey/Olympia/Tumwater area is all that convenient for people who don't drive.
Olympia is not flat. There are long steep hills in and out of the downtown area.

Question #3. To live somewhere away from the urban clutter, you're going to need a car.

Question #4. Pay here is going to be low. This area is not known for paying well. You may have a better chance at a good wage if you get a job with the state of Washington. There are a few colleges in town, so you'll be competing with that demographic for the kind of job you do.

Question #5. Not usually, but some people are thinking this winter will bring lots of snow.

Question #6. I don't see another music venue/bar making it in Olympia, but I'm not all that connected with that area anymore. I used to play in a gigging band (mid to late 2000's), and we went to Tacoma or north to get decent gigs.

These are all just my opinions as a 45 year old married hetereosexual man who has lived here since 1977, with a two year break from 2011-13 when we lived in New Hampshire.
Others will chime in with their views, which is what makes this forum great.

-Mike
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Old 11-18-2016, 10:09 AM
 
Location: Olympia, WA
920 posts, read 487,321 times
Reputation: 878
How is New Hampshire? ^^ I'm originally from New England (CT) but never ventured up that far though I always wanted to check it out.
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Old 11-18-2016, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Independent Republic of Ballard
5,628 posts, read 3,896,921 times
Reputation: 3351
Look at Bellingham, as well. Haven for alt-culture(s). There is a tiny house community on Lake Whatcom, and other tiny house opportunities/support there. The immediate Bellingham area is relatively flat, with an extensive bike route network, as well as an extensive transit system.

https://www.facebook.com/Bellingham-...2689400513474/

Wildwood Lakefront Tiny Cottage Community

https://www.cob.org/documents/gis/maps/cob_bikemap.pdf

Whatcom Transportation Authority
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Old 11-18-2016, 03:24 PM
 
Location: Rochester, WA
3,125 posts, read 1,567,960 times
Reputation: 8269
Hi there, I live in Rochester, just South of Oly, and I've lived in Oly/Tumwater most of my life.

Yes to most of your questions, you could probably find a place to put a tiny house, or a place on a lake, or both. :-)

Olympia is fairly hip to eccentric unusual people, I think your boyfriend would find a place to fit in.

Places to live are probably not all walkable though... and public transit isn't what it is in bigger cities. Living here without a car is not easy.
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Old 11-18-2016, 07:38 PM
 
447 posts, read 391,292 times
Reputation: 299
i have friends who live there in the country side outside olympia and they spend a lot of time in olympia and love it. I have only ever been to seattle but look forward to visiting them soon and checking it out
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Old 11-24-2016, 10:58 PM
 
461 posts, read 268,243 times
Reputation: 243
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluffydelusions View Post
How is New Hampshire? ^^ I'm originally from New England (CT) but never ventured up that far though I always wanted to check it out.
WOW amazing someone mentioned NH.. I may move to Olympia area within the next year BUT I also considered NH and I am also from New England originally. I had Nashua on my radar. I love that little city. I would say Olympia might be a tad more busy but I'd say overall the same. Less than an hr from Boston also.


But ya I actually could be headed to WA within a year if my mom and stepdad decide on going there.. It be better for his job anyhow as his contacts are in that area. I however am in Floriduh right now lol.
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Old 11-24-2016, 11:04 PM
 
461 posts, read 268,243 times
Reputation: 243
Quote:
Originally Posted by vantablak View Post
My boyfriend and I are looking to relocate to a smaller town as Portland has been flooded with Californians who I'm assuming are suffering from the drought and very expensive living. The traffic is a nightmare no matter what time or day and my 12 mile commute is awful. I've always loved Portland but its too crowded and all the fun, weird kitsch is quickly going away with rising rents and pushing all the natives out.

We have a toddler and a cat, wanted to do the whole tiny house thing to be able to afford a nice place to live instead of paying through the nose for a crappy apartment.


I've read a lot of posts about jobs and activities and living, the small town charm is very appealing with the small population that Olympia has, we are looking for a place to settle down for a very long time.

So here is a different set of questions:


1. Do they allow tiny houses? Are the zoning laws strict? Is there cheap land for sale thats around town?
Would they allow a tiny house that was built on a foundation and not on wheels? If we were to live in a 5th wheel for awhile, do they have decent RV parks? Are there any on a lake? Are there many lake front properties/apartments/places to rent for a decent price?

2. My boyfriend has some body modifications, like stretched ears, stretched septum, lots of piercings and tattoos. He looks fairly normal compared to some of what you would see in Portland but I'm worried about a smaller community looking down on this and I'm worried he won't be able to get a job. Right now he makes prosthetics for trans gendered people so there obviously is not even a small job market out there. He just happened to get the job through a friend. What types of places would he have the most luck getting a job with his appearance? He also chooses not to drive, are there places in town that he would be able to easily commute to via public transit/biking? Is it fairly flat around town? If not, would he have to commute pretty far to get to another town for a job?

3. What neighborhoods are best? We both have no desire to live in a cookie cutter suburb but I've read there is a problem with homeless and crime in downtown Olympia, and I'm assuming it's more expensive to live in a downtown area. Are there neighborhoods that are close to downtown but safer?

4. What is the job market like there? I am an office manager so I could do any admin work, but I don't want to be stuck making several dollars less than what I am making now. Are there some higher paying jobs with the city? Is it easy to get a government job in Olympia?

5. I hate driving in snow, is there a lot of snow in the winters?

6. Would it be a good idea to start a business there? Say, another music venue/bar/ etc?


Looking to move Spring(ish) of 2018, possibly Summer of 2017, depending on our situation. Thanks for the help!


Now to the OP. I spent some time in Portland but realized fast it was not the city for me. I sensed a dead backwater feel to it like it was a much more boring place than the population indicated. It just didn't feel right with me after nearly 4 months. The job economy is bad, it was cheaper then but now probably not so much but ya when it was cheap, it was for sure cheaper for a reason I felt. A few good areas but truthfully, I like the idea of living in WA better. I contemplated at the moment that I knew Portland wasn't going to work out for me if I should have actually went to Seattle area but I didn't end up doing it. I ended up leaving Portland to go to California where my mom and stepdad now live. I don't care for the Sacramento area I know that. Got Portlands problems for the most part just with more "diversity" if you want to call it that. And its a government town so not much for work other than government jobs. But ya Portland deceived me.. I didn't buy into the Porlandia hype, but other natives of Portland told me "how good it was" and how I just had to come visit. See what I notice is that Portland tries to sell Mt Hood more than Seattle tries to sell their proximity to Rainier. Portland has lesser so, they have to include as many selling points as possible is my take. Sacramentos is the proximity to the bay area and central location. Portland is how you're an hour from Mt Hood and their microbreweries. Kinda like what got sold to me. Beyond all that though, Portland doesn't have much going for it. Its better than the deep south though.
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Old 12-24-2016, 05:53 PM
 
447 posts, read 391,292 times
Reputation: 299
i have friends living in the countryside outside of olympia maybe a half hour out and they love it
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Old 12-25-2016, 09:21 PM
 
Location: Washington State desert
4,097 posts, read 2,457,432 times
Reputation: 2642
Olympia used to be a small town, but now days is really sucked into the Pugetropolis. Suburban growth surrounds it, and housing has been rising in cost for decades. Also, it tends to be colder in the winter and hotter in the summer. The media market is totally Seattle, and being the State Capital means it is a democratic stronghold, though there is nothing wrong with that. (Just informational). Be aware that if you are looking for small-town living, Olympia is hardly that, however you don't have to drive too far out to find that.
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