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Old 12-08-2013, 09:51 AM
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, 615' Elevation, Zone 8b - originally from SF Bay Area
44,938 posts, read 82,045,934 times
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Originally Posted by MiniExplorers View Post
Ok, friends. What about Spokane? Visually it looks appealing, home prices are lower, there is a downtown music scene...but I keep reading about gangs and kkk. What's your opinion of the area?
Definitely more conservative than western WA, Spokane opposed gay marriage and went for Romney in the last election. Nearby cities, such as in northern Idaho are known for the ultra conservative and survivalist types. I have no experience with the area other than news, a family member and friends that have lived there (and left) but there does seem to be active KKK and increasing gang activity there. Probably not enough of either to eliminate living there as an option of you like more snow than rain.
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Old 12-08-2013, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by PrincessoftheCape View Post
Really, it just depends on what you want. But if your goal is to experience that kind of 'hippy-dippy, idealized liberalism' that the Pacific Northwest is famous for, or the rain, or the ocean, or the volcanoes, or most of the other things that the state is actually known for, Spokane is going to miss the mark. It's very, very different. I can't say I'd recommend it because I wouldn't move there myself.
PrincessoftheCape, you've got us nailed as far as what we are looking for. I don't think Spokane is it. Especially since Hemlock140 mentioned opposition to gay marriage and the votes for Romney.
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Old 12-08-2013, 01:49 PM
Location: Leaving, California
480 posts, read 849,976 times
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Originally Posted by PrincessoftheCape View Post
The other advantage Flagstaff has over Prescott (and particularly Phoenix) is that, at about 7,000 ft., Flagstaff is in a completely different climatological zone than is Prescott, or, for that matter, Phoenix.
Your comments are well-founded and well stated, so I'll just elaborate on the idea of comparing Flagstaff with Prescott.

I've lived in Arizona for several years, and spent a lot of time in the Bay Area, and I'd say Prescott is more of a smaller version of Sedona (with less pretty terrain), rather than comparable to Flagstaff. Flagstaff has a more liberal mindset, and some economic development as well, partly because of NAU. Prescott has a strong "sleepy small town" feel, with everything clustered around Whiskey Row and the Courthouse.

Santa Rosa is a blue-collar area in Marin (basically it's over the hill from Napa Valley, but not as snooty), so one issue that the OP is going to face is exchanges. I don't live in the Seattle area, but from what I've read, its cost of living wouldn't be an improvement over the Bay Area in aggregate. Its weather would be a little harder, housing probably about the same in an area like she describes. Its economy seems to be stronger (lower unemployment), although maybe people could comment on whether the Seattle-Tacoma area has more opportunities for what the OP and her husband do. In the Bay Area, there is a tremendous and growing inequality between the tech worker economy and the rest of the area, and a lot of middle income people are being squeezed into marginal areas by housing costs.

So it's more about quality of life factors, and I think the Seattle area has the edge over Santa Rosa there.
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Old 12-08-2013, 08:18 PM
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I think the OP would come to Seattle and find the job market a lot tougher. The thing about San Francisco is that it's at the heart of three other really large urban areas. The number of opportunities between SF, Oakland, Sacramento and San Jose are astounding. Yes, you cannot commute to all four simultaneously, but it's a short move as opposed to a cross-country trek. As WriterDude said, the cost of living between Seattle and San Francisco is likely not to be an improvement. And, just speaking from personal experience having driven extensively in both D.C., NYC and Boston, Seattle's traffic is the worst I have ever seen. That's a quality of life concern, but not one that people often consider prior to a move.

If I were the OP (and strictly judging based on the numbers), unless I was just dying for Seattle's climate or scenery (and make no mistake, the latter is perhaps the most spectacular in the lower 48. If San Francisco is 'pretty,' Seattle on a clear day is astounding), I'd either sit pat, or hit AZ.

However, I'm a big believer in the idea that if you want to be somewhere, that want becomes a quality of life issue. And quality of life is worth untold money. When I'm somewhere I love, I feel better. How do you put a dollar amount on that? A lot of people drift through life without caring about where they are. I look at people living in places like Kansas City or St. Louis or Omaha and, having lived in the Midwest myself and suffered horribly under its utterly 'blah' scenery, just shake my head. To me, it is worth it to live somewhere spectacular. I derive pleasure from it. It improves me.

If you want to be here, you can do it. You can make it work. But you need to lower the pie in the sky expectations. Move somewhere in the area that isn't the perfect ideal, and work to improve in a few years.
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:56 PM
731 posts, read 940,962 times
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So, your husband needs to work somewhere where people can afford landscape design, but you guys can live in the burbs on a lower budget while he drives to his work locations. I just can't recommend this place to you. The cost of living is so high. The cost of housing is also super high because our "beautiful surroundings" make it impossible to build new highways and create a suburban sprawl. Your husband will spend most of his time stuck in traffic and he will find that so many people are struggling to make ends meet that there isn't a whole lot of money to go around for landscaping. I would suggest finding a decent size city where you can live close enough to commute, but far enough to save money. Also, where the inhabitants have enough spare cash to put towards landscaping. I think you will find that you are scraping by just as much, if not more here. Also, we don't have a whole lot of sun. People put all of their construction money into the inside of their homes, since they spend a whole lot more time inside than out. Sorry for the bad news, but it's very hard to live on one income around here.
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Old 12-10-2013, 12:51 AM
33 posts, read 54,437 times
Reputation: 16
Well, you may all be seeing a "family of 5 relocating to Prescott, AZ" post! In the very first response to this thread PrincessoftheCape mentioned trying AZ instead. It's funny because over the past year we have asked ourselves the very question "should we move to Prescott, AZ?". The positives are that my in-laws live there, there are great schools (even hippy-dippy ones), farmers markets, and the home prices are more affordable. The negative is that there is no Ocean! I've always lived at max.30 minutes from an ocean, and I don't know how I will feel without the beautiful energy it brings to an area. At least Prescott has it's own beauty. The forest, rocks, and desert landscape are an awesome site at any time of the day. And there is snow...that will be an adventure!
Our hearts are set on the Seattle area, but after reading the advice offered on this site, and reevaluating what we have now and what we were hoping to gain by moving there, we realize that we would just be making a lateral move. My husband could use a few more years carving out his path in the sustainable architectural/design field. Perhaps in a smaller market, one that is not as saturated with newly graduated college students, his multifaceted talent will be appreciated. Positive... think positive...right?!
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