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Old 09-05-2007, 10:25 AM
4 posts, read 17,312 times
Reputation: 10


After a few years of waiting for the right opportunity, we are going to be relocating to the Seattle area from urban sprawl in Tennessee.

But, my husband will be working in Kent. And from the research I've done, I'm not sure the area around Kent is for us, based on crime and school stats. However, I'm more than willing to hear other opinions on this.

We are hoping to find a place to move where I can commute to downtown Seattle in the future, but where he will not have a terrible commute to Kent. We've spent some time in the Seattle area but never lived there. We've not been to the east side at all. And on the southside we've only been to IKEA and the airport.

Our favorite place in the area is Bainbridge Island and I would move there in a second, but I think that would be way too much of a commute to Kent. Bainbridge has the kind of "feel" I'm looking for - a safe, smaller community with it's own identity and easy access to downtown. We will be moving with two children about to start elementary school. We are really hoping to find a safe, walkable community with sidewalks, hopefully accessible to the city, public transportation would be great, and good schools.

I've read that Kirkland and Issaquah have good schools. What would the commute from Issaquah, Sammamish, or Kirkland - to Kent be like? Would one of these communities fit the description above? Are there any schools inside Seattle that are equally good? Any opinions on Bellevue (as it seems like it might be a better commute), how are the schools? Inside the Lake Washington School District, which schools are the better ones? How about inside Issaquah's district? I realize everyone has differing opinions about what makes a school "good", for me it means a LOT of parental involvement, many extracurricular opportunities, a culture that is based on respect, and a community that is family friendly and safe.

Does anyone have a link that shows the high schools' "feeder schools"?

Currently the area where we live is extremely safe (I hardly lock my house or car), which I love. But there is no real identity, there is no city center, there are no sidewalks, and you have to drive to get anywhere. All things I'd like to improve upon in our new place!

We are not wealthy, but are more than willing to live in a smaller place if that's what it takes to be in a community where we feel at home. We intend to rent when we get there and are looking for a rental in the $1500-2000 range. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! THANKS!

(I posted this on the Washington forum and didn't get a response. I hope it's ok to post it here instead.)
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Old 09-05-2007, 11:15 AM
21 posts, read 88,642 times
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The commute will be fine from Issaquah or Bellevue as many people do it but it is a slow go on the freeways. If your husband has 'off' travel peak hours, that really helps. Personally I think you would like the Issaquah area and the Newcastle area. We just were transferred out of there after 11 years. Excellent schools in Issaquah. Renton is much easier on housing costs but I would stay away from there. Housing is going to be a big shock to you as the rest of the country has prices falling, Seattle is one of the few areas where the market is still hot and rising. Grocery prices will surprise you too as they are some of the highest in the country. It is a beautiful place and so much to do and lots of stunning parks and great access to everything but it is pricey. I miss the area and the community feel and support I had there.
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Old 09-05-2007, 11:23 AM
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It's hard to find a perfect place with one of you going to Kent and the other in Seattle. What part of Seattle? Downtown? Sammamish/Issaquah commute is good. We live in Snoqualmie. Hubby commutes to downtown Seattle. Taked him 30 minutes. He has a lot of Clients in Kent area. That takes him about 45 min. Check zip code 98065.

Issauqah Highlands might be a good place for you too! All are safe and have good schools. That zip is 98029.
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Old 09-05-2007, 01:48 PM
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Bellevue has one of the top rated high schools in the country...housing prices are the worst but I think if you want to rent, your price range will find you something decent there.
Sammamish or Issaquah Highlands has the kind of community you are looking for....they are planned developments with retail, services, and restaurants within walking distance of the homes. I know Issaquah schools are awesome but I don't know about Sammamish. I agree about Renton: schools not great, crime is higher.
If I may plug my own area, consider Maple Valley and the Tahoma School District. Your housing dollar goes further and the schools earn consistently high marks. The commute to Kent is easy, average 20 minutes. I am emailable if you want more info
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Old 09-06-2007, 12:26 AM
Location: Pasco WA.
4 posts, read 14,470 times
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Lightbulb Two different commutes...two different communities

I am a native Seattle-ite. Spent my years in both Shoreline and Redmond. Ok. You will pay top dollar in Issaquah and Bellevue. The only convenient commute to both downtown seattle and kent is by mass transit from bellevue (too "beneath" us for most in that region). You will find excellent schools (top in the country) in Issaquah and Bellevue. Kent is more grass roots and less upper class but have improved their stats since the 80s. The maple valley reccomendation is a great option except for you really aren't connected to the downtown seattle corridor when you head that far south. South Bellevue is the most costly and best midway option. I would not consider any parts of Western Washington (King County and proper) to be open doors and friendly. If you want the freedom to leave the keys in the car and actually have people want to talk with you while walking by, you'll have to go to Eastern Washington. Now there is where you get the Tenessee hospitality. In Seattle and proper you have to prove your keep.

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Old 09-07-2007, 04:47 PM
4 posts, read 17,312 times
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Default More question and what about West Seattle instead?

Ok, so I have more questions and maybe I'll need to post this separately, but what about West Seattle? What would a commute from West Seattle to Kent be like? And how about safety in that community? I've already read that we would need to stay north and west of the junction. Anyone have children in the elementary schools there?

How about the Juanita Village area of Kirkland?

Maple Valley's proximity to Kent is encouraging. Thanks for that tip. Is Maple Valley really rural, or is it a walkable community? Which areas would offer opportunities to walk to shopping, etc.?

In regards to the responses I've already received - THANKS!
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Old 09-07-2007, 05:14 PM
5,598 posts, read 17,931,602 times
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My suggestion would be to concentrate on the Maple Valley/Covington area. It is more rural-ish than the eastside suburbs but plenty of shopping opportunities and a LOT more convenient to Kent.

The commute from Juanita --or anywhere on the eastside-- is one that I wouldn't want to tackle everyday. Most of the eastside has a more suburban feel compared to what you'll find in a lot of parts of Covington or Maple Valley. There are, of course, places you can reside where you could possibly walk to the shopping centers in various locations. I used to have some friends who lived near the business district in Covington where they could walk to the Fred Meyer and the strip malls which surround it.
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Old 09-08-2007, 01:03 AM
1,318 posts, read 2,283,076 times
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Default Weigh things out

It's the same old story it seems no matter where you live. Long commute and you get more house for your money. Of course you will have to see for yourself and get a better sense of areas. Bellevue does have great schools. My two children are in the Bellevue school system so I can attest to that, but it's very, very expensive real estate. We have corporate housing, or I would not be living here. I could never afford it! Bellevue also has a more city feel to it so not sure if that will be a match for you. IMO, I do not like Juanita area of Kirkland. Downtown Kirkland, I love, but very, very expensive. I have been looking for a condo for my mom in Bellevue, Kirkland or Redmond for under $300,000 and it has been quite a challenge. I think your decision will have to be weighed out as far as schools, commute and price and just try to go with an area you can afford that has most of what you are looking for. As far as schools on the east side, you really can't go wrong. They are the best in the state. When I say east side it includes Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Issaquah, just to name a few. You might want to check out Newcastle which is located more to the southeast part of Bellevue. It's a nice residential area which reminds me of Issaquah, but smaller. One area of Issaquah I wanted to mention to you is called "Issaquah Highlands". They have condos, townhomes, privates homes and I believe rentals. I heard it's a great community where everyone knows each other type of neighborhood. They have a club house which runs activities so you can get to know people. They just opened a brand new elementary school in the area and have plans to open more restaurants, retail and a move theater in the community. There is even a park and ride within walking distance. I believe the website is issaquahighlands.com. Hope this helps and good luck to you.
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Old 09-08-2007, 01:15 AM
1,318 posts, read 2,283,076 times
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Default Photos of Bellevue

Check the post "Check out Downtown Bellevue". It has great photos of Bellevue so you have get an idea of what it is like. I thought the photos were great.
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