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Old 04-24-2008, 12:46 AM
 
Location: Mankato, MN
22 posts, read 201,229 times
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My husband and I are looking to relocate to WA or OR from MN this Fall and based only upon online research, we are thinking Olympia would be a good fit for us(we prefer smaller towns, but not too small).

How unrealistic would the commute be from Olympia to Seattle, more specifically--the VA Hospital/Clinic in Seattle? I believe it is roughly 55 miles, which is definitely a haul, but just how bad is I-5 during rush hour and how long would this commute take? We will be visiting this October, but until then I want to gather some opinions, thanks in advance!

Also, anyone out there from MN that has relocated to this area or the Portland, OR area??? If so, give me a shout, I'd love to hear your comparisons.
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Old 04-24-2008, 01:09 AM
 
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I don't think you would this commute at all, on a daily basis. It would be horrible, like an hour and 45 minutes? Perhaps someone has more direct experience to share...

Quote:
Originally Posted by I ♥ the PNW View Post
How unrealistic would the commute be from Olympia to Seattle, more specifically--the VA Hospital/Clinic in Seattle?
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Old 04-24-2008, 01:58 AM
 
Location: Cosmic Consciousness
3,871 posts, read 16,473,054 times
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Quote:
How unrealistic would the commute be from Olympia to Seattle, more specifically--the VA Hospital/Clinic in Seattle?
Oh kill me now.... The commute would be no problem if you don't mind not seeing each other from Monday through Friday....

There is a car culture up and down the west coast, and public transportation as well as road construction in western Washington simply have not kept up with a fairly rapidly growing population.

Many parts of Olympia are very nice; but as the state capital, Olympia does not really have a "town" feel or atmosphere, regardless of its population figures. There are many smaller cities/towns close to Seattle, better set up for commuting into Seattle with highways, arterials, and efficient (and much-used) public bus systems.
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Old 04-24-2008, 07:01 AM
 
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I'm originally from ND, but my parents live just outside of Minneapolis. So I have a couple comments.

1. Commuting from Olympia from Seattle, as mentioned in a previous post, is going to be the commute from hell. Traffic habitually bogs down around Highway 16 in Tacoma, and then you'd run into the trouble spot in between Federal Way and South Center. At that point you still have another 20 minutes of driving on a good day, so I won't mention that you usually slow down just south of Seattle approaching I-90. I know you're hoping to keep living near an smaller community instead of just another urban sprawl, but unfortunately Olympia isn't the answer if you're planning to work in Seattle.

2. I would suggest Edmonds or Ballard. I've lived in Edmonds for several years now and I love it. It's right on the water and has a great downtown area. Without traffic, it's only about 15 - 20 minutes on the city. I commute into Seattle in the early mornings and I can be at my office just south of Seattle in less than half an hour. The commute homes usually takes a little longer, but it's tolerable. The express lanes help a lot.

3. Be prepared to love the weather. I miss snow once in a while, but that's fixed with by a day in the mountains. I think I scraped my windows less than half a dozen times last year.

I have more to say, but that early morning commute beckons.

Last edited by EoJenn; 04-24-2008 at 08:30 AM..
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Old 04-24-2008, 08:15 AM
 
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If you like the small town feel but want to work in Seattle, I'd suggest Auburn. That's where I'll be building my dream home here in a year or two, and I'm from rural Montana. While it's not a rural small town like where I grew up, the jobs are here in Seattle and there is still quasi-rural land to be found.

Why do I like Auburn?
- It's still rural and you can still buy larger parcels of land for reasonable amounts.
- If you do live in the city, the Auburn City Government stays out of your hair, unlike some unnamed county government around here.
- People are more laid back and unlikely to call some unnamed county government everytime you set a pile of twigs on fire or light off firecrackers around the fourth of July.
- There's lots of pasture/farmland/forestland around here so you see more than wall to wall of houses.
- It's closeby to Enumclaw, which is a great place to be if you like rural lands. It looks just like many places back home (western Montana) for me.

At any rate, there's also plenty of reasons not to live in Auburn. You'll still have a tough commute unless you carpool (which I do) into Seattle, but it is doable.

Good luck!
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Old 04-24-2008, 08:18 AM
 
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Oh yeah, since your from Minnesota, I should mention that Auburn has the least expensive housing in King County (i.e., low rent district) and the town mayor has referred to it as a "poor community." I have lots of reasons to like it but like I said there are lots of reasons never to step foot in South King County as well. Visit the place first before making any decisions.
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Old 04-24-2008, 08:36 AM
 
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Don't do it! Find somewhere closer.

The Olympia area isn't that "small town." It can be a very congested area ...and that corridor of I-5 is one of the busiest in the state --Olympia to Marysville (includes the congested areas of downtown Tacoma, Seattle, and Everett).
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Old 04-24-2008, 08:48 AM
 
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You would be spending a lot on transportation and your car would wear out pretty quickly making that drive every day. You could save yourself a lot of time, money and aggravation by finding someplace closer to your work.

Are you planning on renting or buying and do you have a budget for housing?
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Old 04-24-2008, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Mankato, MN
22 posts, read 201,229 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AzDreamer View Post
You would be spending a lot on transportation and your car would wear out pretty quickly making that drive every day. You could save yourself a lot of time, money and aggravation by finding someplace closer to your work.

Are you planning on renting or buying and do you have a budget for housing?
I think we have definitely decided we will rent to start with, gives us time to explore the area and make sure we are 100% confident where we want to settle. We would have a budget of about $200K to purchase a house and this seems to get quite a bit of house in Olympia, so now I guess I need suggestions of where this budget will get us a decent(fairly new) 2-3 bedroom--2 bath house. A safe neighboorhood where I can feel comfortable as a female walking my dog is a must, and walking trails near by would be great, water is a top priority. Also, we currently live in a tiny town(265) and we have to drive 15 miles to shop for everything, so it is a must to live in a city where we can do all of our shopping...groceries, Target, etc. I was really pumped up about living near the Olympia farmers market! Are there other good farmers markets, other than the obvious Pike Place Market? Thanks to everyone, even if it isn't what I wanted to hear! Please keep the opinions rollin...
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Old 04-24-2008, 12:29 PM
 
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Olympia and Seattle are two different parts of the state. 200K won't buy a house in King County (of any decency at least). It may in Olympia but then you won't be working at the VA Hospital in Seattle because it's too far to drive and too expensive of a commute. You're probably looking at two or three hours each way. There is a VA in American Falls, WA (near Tacoma) but they don't have nearly as many positions there. My wife works at the VA Hospital in Seattle and it takes her about one hour to and from work if she's a single driver and we live in Auburn, WA which is 25 miles away.

So I guess I am saying - you'll want to decide if you want to work/live in King County/North Pierce County/South Snohomish County or work and live in Olympia. I would not recommend trying to live in Olympia and work in Seattle.

There aren't any tiny towns in Puget Sound compared to where you're coming from in Minnesota. All of the places you look at will have grocery stores and other types of stores nearby. I can't say for sure when you go really south but it's not like Minnesota over here. There are plenty of places to shop at. Many of the towns have farmers markets, but it's hard to find local produce around here unless you look hard. It's tricky to get to Pike's from the VA Hospital unless you're making it an evening event - they're quite a ways apart and parking is hard to find at Pikes.

One of the things you'll want to think about carefully is how much you may earn from a job as compared to the cost of living over here. Jobs pay well but it's expensive (housing primarily) to live around here. It's very, very expensive and will only get worse when they start tolling on the roads and raising the gas taxes.
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