Considering move to Snohomish, WA. Difficulty level: mixed-race family.
February 20, 2014 4:03 PM   Subscribe

My wife and I are considering moving to Snohomish (county), WA for work. She recently got a postgraduate degree in Library Science and is having trouble finding work where we currently live on the East coast (too many qualified people, too few jobs of the sort she's looking for). Pertinent details: I'm white, my wife is black, and we currently live and work in a very racially diverse urban area where couples like us are a common sight. We currently have no children but plan on starting a family in the next few years.

Snohomish would be a major change for us. The job she's looking at may take her to one of a few locations in the county, which may be exurban (north of Seattle) or small-town/rural. Among other things, Snohomish is very white, and we're nervous about the vibe out there, and how difficult it is for people of color and mixed-race couples to find a place in the community. (FWIW, we're also politically very liberal, and we're church folk.)

Final "by the-way" detail: I was born and raised in Seattle (city proper). Most of my family and several friends still live in Seattle. However, I'm less familiar with the Snohomish area. I've driven through there, on my way to other places, but I don't know a soul who lives in Snohomish County.
posted by anonymous to Society & Culture (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I lived in nearby Everett for several years. Snohomish is a small town. It's just outside the edge of the metro Seattle bubble. You probably will encounter people who commute into the city and have no problem with your relationship, but also may encounter rural farmers who may not be so cosmopolitan.

Is there anything tying you to Snohomish specifically?
posted by Fleebnork at 4:25 PM on February 20, 2014

South suburban areas (Mill Creek, Lynnwood, Bothell) would be more diverse, but still not very. Rural areas to the east and north would be mostly white and a little Hispanic. I'd like to think you'd be happy anywhere, but your best bet is the above suburban areas.

Feel free to memail for any more specifics. I grew up in Mill Creek, now in unincorporated Snohomish.
posted by Diddly at 4:28 PM on February 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

While I don't live there; I have worked in Snohomish County in a variety of communities. As you already know Washington is a pretty white state to begin with, but western Washington is also pretty liberal. Most of the state representatives in Snohomish county are Democrats and the Snohomish County Executive is black and a Democrat, so I think you'll generally find the climate welcoming.

Driving from Everett, Lynwood, Mukilteo, Edmonds, Monroe or Bothell to Seattle is not difficult so if you need a bigger city fix that's easy to get.

I reverse commuted from North Seattle to Everett and Monroe and was able to do both in about 45 minutes so if that commute time seems reasonable you could also try living in North Seattle or Mountlake Terrace.
posted by brookeb at 4:49 PM on February 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

You should be fine. Sno County is more Republican and yes, whiter than King County, but there are Ds, liberals, and people of color. Edmonds or Mukilteo or Bothell might be good fits.
posted by bearwife at 5:41 PM on February 20, 2014

My wife and I are in temp housing in Edmonds at the moment. Edmonds is small, but interesting. Shoreline and Lynwood less so. It's not the worst place to live. It's typically 40 min to Bellvue, 35 to Seattle.

Send me a private message when you get here and we can get a beer!
posted by jeffamaphone at 6:40 PM on February 20, 2014

I know a mutliracial family -- white parents and Africa-American kids -- who lived in Snohomish (the city) for several years, until a few years ago. They're not really Internetty people, but if you e-mail me I could put you in touch with them. They're very friendly and I'm sure would be happy to have a conversation with you about the pros and cons.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:00 PM on February 20, 2014

Hello, my husband's grandmother has lived in Snohomish for many years. She's a white liberal Catholic and attends St. Michael Catholic Parish. Based on her stories, there's definitely a mix of views at the church, but it's been a great spiritual community for her and her family. Through the church, she and her late husband sponsored a family from Vietnam who lived with them for some time. The family eventually moved into their own home in Everett.

I don't have any knowledge about the experiences of interracial couples and families. As others have said, there are many places nearby Snohomish if you decide you want someplace more urban or suburban. As you know, even inPerhaps you could start off renting to get a feel for the different communities.

Good luck with your decision!
posted by soupy at 7:37 PM on February 20, 2014

I live in King County, but less than a mile from the Snohomish County border. There is an interracial family with children on my street, and while I don't experience their lives as they do, I certainly haven't noticed any weird tensions or situations around them.
posted by KathrynT at 11:16 PM on February 20, 2014

I'm also a librarian with a mixed-race family, and I live in Portland (not as white as rural OR and WA, but close). I think this seems like a good opportunity -- I know it's hard to find jobs in this field right now, and the first job can be the hardest to get. Taking this job doesn't mean you'll live there forever, and you can be much choosier for the next job.

And, you don't have kids yet. So you have a few years to check it out.

In any case, I don't think you'll find that people can't deal with an interracial couple. Even if your wife is one of the few black people around, I don't think you'll encounter prejudice because of your relationship.

So, I say, give it a try.
posted by bluedaisy at 9:05 PM on February 21, 2014

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