My family is thinking of purchasing a home in White Center. We are not sure exactly where, maybe closer to the Top Hat area. For those of you who live or have lived in White Center, what are your thoughts? We are in our early 30's with a baby and hoping to have another in a couple of years. We love Seattle but can't afford to buy closer in to the city. Naturally, we are concerned about safety, as well as quality of life there. Any thoughts/opinions/warnings/etc are appreciated. Thanks!
What do you think of living in White Center
Thanks! Does that site have a forum? I can't seem to see one but maybe my eyes just aren't awake yet. :)
No, sorry. It's much lower-traffic than WSB, but it might just give you an idea of some of what's been happening there, the good, the bad, the ugly. A couple of things in the latter category lately but the first in a while. It just went through a vote on whether to annex to Burien, the city to its south, and voters said no, so it will remain unincorporated for a while, which is a bit of a challenge as the county's finances for "urban services" are not so great right now. But everything's cyclical. Good luck in your decision! - TR
I realize you're probably looking in a lower price range, which accounts for your choice of locations (first 35th, now WC). I do think that you can still find some affordable homes in safer, quieter areas, but it will take more work.
If you're going to look near WC, look north of Roxbury - as far north as possible. Unlike 35th, White Center has a crime problem. There are many areas where it feels unsafe even in the daytime, especially for a family with young children. I frequently run errands over there during the day, but I wouldn't be caught dead over there at night.
Alternatively, look at Shorewood, which is SW of WC, or even Burien. Top Hat is like WC in terms of crime and atmosphere, except that you're living directly under a flight path where you can practically reach up and touch the landing gear of passenger jets. I looked at a cute house in Top Hat when I was house hunting. Fortunately, I got into a conversation with a neighbor who informed me that the house next door was a Hell's Angels meetup location hosting 20 or more bikers involved in various 'activities' every weekend. It's good to talk to neighbors when feasible.
I live 2 blocks north of the white center business district. White center does have its "concerns". Most of the problems are/were centered in the business district which is rapidly improving. I consider the business district a huge asset.
I have a problem with the overwhelming anti-annexation vote from white center residents (2/3). I think it shows a lack of long term focus which as a home owner you need to pay attention to because you are stuck there for a long time. King County is running out of money to handle White Center problems and it seems like its a constant fight to keep White Center on King County's radar.
I am frustrated that we have a police helicopter circling the area at least monthly, sometimes weekly. I have never felt unsafe, however there are always constant reminders that all is not well. My wife will not walk alone. Personally I've seen some very nice quiet white center neighborhoods and I bet they see less problems than I see.
That being said I think Burien is a nice town. They seem to be managing themselves pretty well.
I highly reccomend renting to get a feel for the area. At the very least talk to neighbors.
I live in Highland Park, which is on the West Seattle side of Roxbury, so WC is the closest business district to where I live and I head down there regularly (usually for food, since my favorite pizza, ice cream, tacos, Vietnamese food, and now breakfast are all located there).
From a homeowner perspective I'm inclined to agree with mike0323, and much as I gripe about the taxes I'm pretty happy about being on the Seattle side, though on a personal level it doesn't make much difference to me.
I walk, bike, run around the neighborhood at all hours and have never felt unsafe (aside from, ironically, at the dog park--but that's a rant for another time) but will freely admit that not everyone has the same tolerances that I do. I think you'll want to consider the immediate neighborhood carefully and get a feel for what the houses immediately adjacent (and their residents) are like.
There are some rather nice rental houses in Highland Park. I wouldn't live in any of the apartment buildings around me, though.
I have owned homes in two different areas in WC and glad I don't have either house any longer. Where ever you choose I would make sure I was at least 4 blocks from any major street (35th, Roxbury, Holden, 108th (or is it 106th). There is always more crime on and close to major streets.
Spodie - the online crime maps are irrelevant in this case. White Center is in the county, not the city. SPD's data stops at the line (middle of Roxbury in most cases).
We live near Top Hat, right on the border of Burien and White Center. Our neighbors are wonderful and we've never had any problems. I used to walk to and from work in the dark in the winter, and still walk around a lot with my young son.
The reputation of the neighborhood is worse then its bite. Look at the statistics. We used to live in the city and had way more scary stuff around then we do now. I worked in the local schools for many years and have met many families. Yes, there are problems, but the vast majority of people in this area are hard working families looking for the same thing you are.
Check out the schools- some are considered failing under No Child Left Behind, but are full of excellent teachers. There are also several private school options.
I live in Burien, I live close to Top Hat/white center, in general I like the area. Close to everything. Yeah sure every little town/city as their issues but it is do able.
Sorry to digress, Mike0323 totally disagree, be glad the annexation did not go threw. Most businesses did NOT want it. Burien's police department sucks and NO animal control. Oh and Burien is BROKE!! Business are moving out.
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