Seattle area it is... can you help me find a neighborhood?
June 13, 2014 5:29 PM   Subscribe

So, the hubster is actively looking for work in the Seattle area and we have a few leads. We're definitely looking to move there soon. I've lived in the PNW before, but on the other side of the Sound. I have no idea what the area on the Seattle side is like and am looking for guidance.

I asked this question earlier and we've decided on Seattle. It kinda helped that the hubster got laid off a few weeks back and expedited the process. So now we're moving come hell or high water. We're looking to move by the end of August at the latest. Earlier is better. We still have to sell the house though.

Anyway, we don't have any young kidlets. We're in our mid-to-late forties. We're both pretty laid back, mostly home bodies. He likes to go to the movies upon occasion, but me? I'm not the going out type. Though I guess with my medical issues, it would be nice to have reliable access to good doctors... Anyway, he's a bit of a foodie. I'd like to get out and walk more than I do here (breathing issues) so a rural-ish area is cool. Plus I am so tired of looking into my neighbors' bedroom/kitchen/living room whenever I'm in the back yard. Honestly, somewhere where I'm not stacked on top of another neighbor would be great. Those kinds of places were commonplace in Bremerton/Port Orchard, but I dunno about the Seattle side of the Sound.

We're looking for a house because we have the two dogs (and the cat). We're looking to rent for the first year or so, and the hubby says anything under $2K is fine if he gets the kind of job he's looking for. And, of course, a not so terrible commute into the city proper would be great for him.

So I'm asking all y'all from Seattle and the surrounding areas. What neighborhood, suburb, city, town should be be looking in? If a good company hires him, they should fly him up there for an interview and that should give him time to look around at houses, and I'd like to point him in the right direction. We have a plan B... but this is the plan we're going with right now.
posted by patheral to Grab Bag (24 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Does your husband know what neighborhood he is likely to end up working in?
posted by halogen at 5:42 PM on June 13, 2014

A lot depends on where his job ends up being located, but perhaps Bainbridge Island would work.
posted by humboldt32 at 5:43 PM on June 13, 2014

Are we assuming for the sake of this question that his job will be downtown? Because work location makes a big difference.

You don't want to commute across bridges if you can help it, and you probably don't want to be living on the opposite side of the metro area from where your work is -- no living up in Everett and working down in Renton or Kent.

(on preview -- pretty much exactly what the other two responders have already said..)
posted by Nerd of the North at 5:44 PM on June 13, 2014

If it works commute-wise, I've always liked the Woodinville area. I find it to feel rural enough, but still have the conveniences you need day-to-day, and be relatively close in to other stuff. And if you like wine, it's paradise.
posted by primethyme at 6:00 PM on June 13, 2014

Response by poster: We're definitely looking outside of the city proper. Neither of us are urban dwellers. he's interviewing with Amazon at the moment, and another company outside the city, but I'm not sure where... he's pretty much resigned himself to a commute no matter what, mainly because we don't want to live in the city proper.
posted by patheral at 7:11 PM on June 13, 2014

Response by poster: Sorry, I was on my phone when I answered earlier. He doesn't know where he'll be working yet since we only have a few leads at the moment, Amazon being one of them. Amazon is like smack in the middle of downtown, right? But we're not pinning all of our hopes on one job, though it would be great if he got it... anyway, he's a programmer, and a good one at that. We're not worried about him getting a job (knock wood). The hubs and I talked about it and as I said, he's pretty much resigned himself to some kind of commute since we don't want to live downtown.

I wouldn't mind living on the other side of the Sound (Bremerton) since I have family over there, but that is a commute I don't think he can handle -- I did it for a year way back when and he ain't as young as I used to be. :)

He used to live in the San Francisco area a decade ago, so remembers traffic -- he's kinda been spoiled since. Albuquerque is like one giant suburb. Traffic here is nonexistent. I used to take the ferry/bus when I lived up there in the late 1990's and I found it to be adequate. It's still okay, right? I hear there's a light rail now? It was still in the debate process when I lived up there. I understand that some big companies even have their own shuttles. If parking in the city is as horrible as I remember it to be, I'm pushing for him to take public transportation as much as possible.

Anyway, that's why I said a "not so terrible" commute in the original post.
posted by patheral at 7:51 PM on June 13, 2014

I really recommend that you wait to even narrow down the areas you'd like the consider until after your husband has gotten a job. It would be a shame to fall in love with, say, Edmonds and then have you husband end up working in Kent.

The commutes have gotten even worse here since you lived here before - I would really recommend making it as minimal as possible. That said, if he ended up going with Amazon, I'd suggest either Lake Forest Park (just north of the city, very wooded and serene, but still close) or perhaps Bainbridge Island. Avoid bridges and commutes that depend heavily on I-5. But again, I wouldn't even look at suburbs until you know where he'll be working.
posted by leitmotif at 8:28 PM on June 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

My kids live in the Ballard area of the city. It's pretty yuppie, but it has a small community feel to it. I'm from a rural eastern Washington community and love that part of Seattle.
posted by OkTwigs at 8:53 PM on June 13, 2014

I'm sort of you! My husband now telecommutes and will be taking a position downtown soon. We currently live in a large condo in Queen Anne / interbay (which is a very not-dense neighborhood, but only because it's a gentifying industrial district). I have an autoimmune disease that impacts my own mobility and we just considered buying a house a Edmonds, Shoreline or Lynnwood. (Bainbridge Island + "health condition" is something I'd be VERY careful about - the ferries stop running after midnight and you'd then be taken to Harrison. If you get your care at Swedish or UW, don't be dependent on this, especially if you could have an emergency.)

We initially thought having more room would make us healthier / less isolated. Strangely? With the larger density of LEED certified green buildings (known for the purity of their interior air, less off gassing, good choices of materials, etc) than any American city, the fact that they're made of concrete and steel so we have tested some buildings to be almost hermetically sound sealed, etc - we ended up concluding that the better choice for my health was to live in a high rise in First Hill or Belltown. This would definitely be less isolating, too. And we could ditch one car. They're ridiculously "pet friendly" as well - a woman at Coppins Well had three dogs.

Just a thought process we had, slightly off topic.
posted by sweltering at 9:10 PM on June 13, 2014

I used to take the ferry/bus when I lived up there in the late 1990's and I found it to be adequate. It's still okay, right?


Seattle's bus system is imploding. Ferries, ok. The bus? It's a disaster that's going to get worse before it gets better. If it gets better.

I agree with the "avoid the bridges" sentiments expressed above. North Seattle (Shoreline etc.), possibly Tukwila (light rail, yay!) or Bainbridge. The ferry ride from Bainbridge is a relaxing 35 minutes of sipping coffee, looking at the scenery or reading the paper.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 9:19 PM on June 13, 2014

I think it'll be a lot easier to brainstorm when you have some sense of where you're looking -- feel free to memail me when you get to that point, this sounds fun. Also, have you looked into telecommuting? Even if it could just be a day or two a week, it might make a long commute more bearable.

And, I guess it depends on how much in the country you need to be, but I don't see into either of my neighbors houses or yard, from my house in the city. So there may be spots in the city that would work for you, depending on how literal you were being with that.
posted by Margalo Epps at 10:32 PM on June 13, 2014

he's pretty much resigned himself to a commute no matter what

Ongoing construction and poor road design around Queen Anne and Lake Union, particularly around Amazon, has resulted among the worst commuting traffic one will find anywhere in the country. This will likely continue for another 2-3 years.

We very recently voted against continued funding of significant numbers of bus routes in Seattle — this means that traffic that is already bad will worsen even more as public transit options narrow further and people are forced into using automobiles to get to work.

I'd recommend taking advice given to sort out the work situation before deciding on a place to live, choosing a neighborhood or region based on proximity to the workplace and avoidance of narrow arteries, like the West Seattle bridge.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:59 PM on June 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

under_petticoat_rule: " Seattle's bus system is imploding. Ferries, ok. The bus? It's a disaster that's going to get worse before it gets better. If it gets better."

That only really applies to the suburbs and to circulator/duplicate service inside the city itself. If you want to live a car-free lifestyle in the 'burbs, it's going to get a lot harder after the February, 2015 round of cuts. As for inside Seattle proper, there are at least two plans (one of which I'm involved in) being floated to buy back all of the service cuts inside the city and, with left over money, actually expand some routes. (Oh, hi, perennially overloaded and late route 48.)

To patheral, come join us in the city. It's nice here, you'll like it. I'm here to stand up for the parts of the city that are south of the 520 bridge. Columbia City and Othello are both a mix of urban and trees with an extensive trail system. On the bonus side, a commute into downtown is trivial from both because they are served by Link Light Rail. Mount Baker and Beacon Hill might be out of your price range, since both of them had established and slightly more expensive neighborhoods before light rail came through, but you should still check there.

If the south end isn't to your liking, try Lake City and Bitter/Haller Lake. Both are near the northern city limits and so are more suburban feeling while still getting the transit and civic options that come with being inside Seattle. (Side note: If all of the transit cuts do go through, which is unlikely given the political pressure against this on the west side of the lake, Bitter Lake, Lake City, and Jackson Park are about to get a major upgrade.)
posted by fireoyster at 9:23 AM on June 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Kudos to you for taking your pets with you and considering them family.
Greenwood, Greenlake, Ballard, Matthews Beach, Queen Anne (expensive) are all good Seattle areas. Bellevue etc are on the East side where you will have to cross 520 and is a good commute from downtown Seattle.
posted by jbean at 3:08 PM on June 14, 2014

Response by poster: Of course we'd be taking our pets with us. Adopting a pet is a life long commitment.

Ideally, the hubby will find work before we move (hopefully soon, and right now Amazon seems to be our best bet), but we may have to actually sell the house here and move up there before he finds work... Not an ideal solution, but we have to consider our financial situation too. I mean, it might be easier to find work if he's actually living in the area... maybe, but this looking for work long distance isn't easy either. That's one of the reasons why I'm asking about neighborhoods now.
posted by patheral at 11:59 AM on June 15, 2014

Mr. Corpse commutes from Shoreline to South Lake Union, which is where Amazon's main offices are, and it's not a great commute. He can drive and be stuck in traffic, or take the bus and be stuck in traffic, so he usually rides his bike. If commuting by bike is something your husband might consider, then you want to live near the Burke Gilman Trail. The trail could be good for your walks, too.

I like Shoreline. We have off-leash dog parks, a great grocery store, good schools, a $3 movie theater, and two excellent libraries. Houses are a bit cheaper than Seattle, in general. Lake Forest Park is next door and also very pleasant, also has a good library, is closer to the bike trail, and has tons of trees (but very few sidewalks).
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:53 PM on June 18, 2014

Response by poster: Amazon turned him down but he's got a few more nibbles. The job he really wants won't pay him enough to live on this side of the water (I think he said it would be about $85K a year), so we may be looking at Bremerton. Thanks for the suggestions though!
posted by patheral at 2:39 PM on July 14, 2014

Vashon is also very nice, has lots of space, and is ferry-accessible to downtown.

Burien is rural enough that there is a feed store downtown.
posted by bq at 5:29 PM on July 19, 2014

I would sooner live in Pierce county (which I do, but I don't work in Seattle) and take a Sound Transit ST Express bus than the ferry from Bremerton or Bainbridge. North Tacoma is nice, contrary to Tacoma's reputation as a whole.
posted by ctmf at 7:07 PM on July 19, 2014

The Vashon ferry goest to West Seattle, not exactly downtown. You'd need another bus or a bike.
posted by ctmf at 7:08 PM on July 19, 2014

Response by poster: Vashon Island appears to be a bit of a commute for the hubs on paper, but we'll see when we get out there.

We've found about five houses in and around Seattle that we can afford, and they are not only tiny, but old... And, as I said, we don't know the neighborhoods. There's an interesting apartment-type place over a restaraunt in the Queen Anne area that looks neat... It's not clear whether we can have our pets there or not though...
posted by patheral at 7:50 PM on July 19, 2014

If you list the neighborhoods, we can probably give you thumbnail sketches of them.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:51 AM on July 21, 2014

Response by poster: Let's see, Google maps doesn't list neighborhoods per se, but one is near something called Westcrest park, another is a few blocks West of that... Two are near highway 99 due East of the first house. One is a little North of Lincoln Park. One is slightly North of Avalon Way and West of Camp Long.

We're looking at apartments too in the same general area (South) or, if we can swing it, right downtown so we can cut the commute. We looked at commute times coming from the North and it's just way too long.
posted by patheral at 8:52 AM on July 22, 2014

Response by poster: So, the hubs got us an apartment at the Station at Othello Park apartments. We have a lease for one year. They're not the Ritz, but they'll serve us well until we get the lay of the land. Thanks, everyone for the input!
posted by patheral at 5:57 PM on August 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

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