Bellingham (Seattle, Vancouver, Sammamish: real estate, crime, credit)
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Oh, compltlyme, I really didn't mean to be ridiculing ...although it may have seemed that way. I apologize. But yes, I understand what you're saying. I really do not enjoy that part of the I-5 corridor at all and I've experienced that traffic you've referred to because I used to go to Bellingham frequently.
It's just that I've always told people that in my opinion, Issaquah has the worst traffic in the region. I just despise downtown Issaquah for that reason.
It once took me over a half an hour to go down Front Street and my friends who live in Issaquah laughed and told me "that's nothin'!"
But being from California, yeah, I guess you're used to that!
I just enjoy being away from congestion. To me, that's a huge contributor to the enjoyment of life.
Oh, compltlyme, I really didn't mean to be ridiculing
No need for sorry's as I really didn't take it that way.. I do have a bit thicker skin...
it is just that so much information is given here and I was everyone to know different opinions. I wish I had this forum when I was making my decision as to where in Wa to move. I just got lucky ending up here.
HOWEVER... If someone had told me about the hills in this area... and the ice and getting stranded... I may have chosen lower lands... LOL
Yeah, I know what you mean ...the "plateau" gets to be much icier than the lowlands but even in the lower lands, --because of the hillier nature of the topography in the area-- many still get stranded when it gets icy.
I remember after one storm, I had to call in to work and tell them I couldn't get out of my driveway! They laughed at me and told me "right, everybody's saying that." But it was true! I didn't have that steep of a driveway but even with a 4-wheel drive Toyota pick-up loaded with sandbags in the back, I couldn't get out. That was unusual but really funny, nonetheless!
WOW, it's been a long time since i wrote my question. I couldn't remember the name of this site...just stubbled back and you guys are making me laugh. Thanks for the insight. Can't wait to take a weekend trip to check it out. Unfortunately i don't know when that will be. Heading back to tri-cities to visit my friend in january. Too bad there isn't a direct flight from pasco to bellingham...lol.
We live in the DC area and have already bought a building lot in a community just 10 minutes from downtown Bellingham. It is as nice as it looks. In one block on Railroad Ave., they have a speciality ice cream store (Mallard's), a very good bagel shop, and a home-made candy store. Village Books in Fairhaven is as good a bookstore that you'll find in a small city. In the summer, there are cultural and recreational activities constantly. The only downside is that from November through January it is cold and wet. And being really north, the days in winter are short. But we are looking forward to retiring there within a year or two. If you just want to try it for a year, rents are reasonable compared to the east coast.
I lived in Bellingham for 20 years, so I've seen it change quite a bit. In the 80's, the area was quite depressed. The Sudden Valley development was such a flop that people couldn't give away their property just for the taxes owed. I rented a big house that the owner kept trying to get me to buy for $35k wish I had the money to buy it back then.
Obviously, things have changed, and Bellingham has grown into a thriving community. Bellingham does have some growing pains though. I guess why the traffic is so bothersome is that it ISN'T LA, so why is it taking me 35 minutes just to exit I-5 and get into Bellis Fair Mall? The traffic is only frustrating because every other Bellinghamster saw the writing on the wall when the town started rapidly growing, but the city planners did not react quickly or efficiently. I'm not an engineer, but I could see that building mall with a direct freeway entrance, but no direct exit, was a bad idea.
The Bellingham jail is severely overcrowded, and when I left three years ago, the police would not keep you at the jail unless you had a felony warrant out. This leads to a lot of petty thieves wandering around out there. There are many articles in the Bellingham Herald about this. The city is addressing the issue, but this was too little, too late for me.
It's not all bad though, if you like the outdoors, don't mind rain (lots!) , and want a tight-knit community, Bellingham is it. There a many great places to eat in Bellingham, and the Farmers Market is awesome. The schools are well equipped, and the parental participation is high.
If you search for my previous posts, I've written other comments about Bellingham that might help you on your decision. After 20 years of vacationing to warm weather to escape the rain, I decided to switch it around. Now I visit Bellingham in the summer to escape the heat.
All the comments here are true. Living in Sudden Valley is wonderful, if you are married and a golfer. If single, all the happenings are in Bellingham and that is a 16 mile RT ... twice a day if one works in the city, too.
Traffic is bad because there is only one road to Sudden Valley, though it does split into two separate routes after leaving Bellingham proper.
If you are a kayaker, check out Birch Bay or Blaine. Blaine has its own marina, as does Semiahmoo and the view of Mt Baker is spectacular. Check out my photos of the area on Removed.
There is a housing boom here as so many people have recently discovered this area; it is one of the fastest growing areas in the northwest. Homes in Pt Whitehorn have fabulous views of Puget Sound and there are several housing communities from which to choose.
As has been mentioned in other threads, however, the job market is not that great and we pay a substantially higher price for gas than areas closer to Seattle.
Last edited by xxman777; 01-09-2007 at 08:36 PM..
Reason: Sorry no Commercial Links
We are considering moving to the sudden valley area. Please share your opinion of the area as far as family activities, safety, and schools. We are concerned about the crime in Bellingham, coming from Hawaii crime is very low. Any information would be appreciated. mahalo!
Mahalo, back to you!
My wife and I bought a lot in Sudden Valley 2 years ago, and plan to build our retirement home there. One of the reasons we picked Bellingham was because of Sudden Valley. It is in a very beautiful part of Whatcom County, heavily wooded and fairly isolated, yet only 10-15 minutes from downtown Bellingham. We liked the presence of Western Washington University nearby. SV is not everyone's cup of tea, however; because of forest, it is less sunny than the open areas of central Bellingham. Some locals we spoke with felt that SV was too remote but I couldn't agree. It will definitely be a change from just about any area of Hawaii, except maybe parts of the leeward coast of the island of Hawaii (Hilo and vacinity) might get more rain. And, if you followed the weather this year, you will get snow and Bellingham is not really into snow removal. They figure that it will melt eventually. It does.
As to crime, several posters here have complained of crime in the city. I would say it it is probably typical of cities of its size, no more or less. From the incident reports reported by the Sudden Valley Community Association, I'd say that the amount of crime there is low, and what there is, is mainly property crime not violent crime. You can check with the SVCA and they can give you the report. SV has its own security force with someone on duty 24/7.
One of the other features we liked about SV is that it is really a community now, not just a recreation or retirement community. Even though our kids are grown, we didn't want to isolate ourselves in an over-50 community.
If you need the name of someone to help you relocate in SV or Bellingham, send me a private message and I will give you the name of our realtor, who is just a terrific person. She is our friend now, not just a business associate.
Mahalo for the information about SV. We will travel through the area this summer and will look at property and surroundings. We heard a new school is going to be built. I'm a teacher and my husband works in the area of news (t.v.). For some reason that area seems to bring us in Thank you again!
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