Bidding a fond farewell to Seattle but more specifically, West Seattle.

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  • #945265

    J242
    Participant

    I first moved down to the Emerald City in 1996 from Alaska to go to AIS for Computer Animation. After having lived in “almost” every neighborhood in the metro area of Seattle (Belltown, Waterfront, lower and upper Queen Anne, First Hill, Capitol Hill, Northgate, the U District, and some east-side neighborhoods as well) I signed up for a 6 month lease in 2002 for a mother-in-law style bottom floor “apartment” in the Admiral Junction. I thought it was too far from everything and I’d leave after the 6 month lease. That 6 months quickly turned into TEN YEARS before my landlord passed away and we had to move down to Alki. My girlfriend, our dogs and I loved living off Alki for a good 3 & 1/2 years before a private firm in Eastlake bought the property from the original owners and tried to jack our rent from $1,500/month to $2,150/month. After a rather absurd back & forth we ended up staying for 6 more months at $1,750/month while looking for a new place here in WS.

    Lucky us, we found a perfect spot just off Delridge, a few blocks from Westwood Village that was great for us! So great, we ended up buying it from our once landlords (now friends). We’ve loved this neighborhood and almost everyone in it (specifically our direct neighbors! Not so much the fireworks jerks but hey, what can ya do?) for the past 4 years and it’s going to be really hard not running down to the local grocery and saying “HI!” to Sam, Heather, Che, and everyone else at a moment’s notice. I’m going to miss the cherry blossoms and the sounds of cheers coming from games going on at Chief Sealth. I’m going to miss having out of state family & friends visit and taking them on the scenic beach drive out to Salty’s for the best brunch in the region! I’m going to miss the amazing fresh seafood and the incredibly talented & creative people preparing/serving it.

    Most of all, I’m going to miss the West Seattle “vibe”. I knew within a month of moving into a cramped 6′ ceiling basement apartment that this was the best area I had ever lived. That was as a younger, single guy though. Now my family’s needs have changed and we need to focus on better career options and lower cost of living so we are moving to Austin, TX. A place where we can get our daughter into preschool without a multi-year wait, exorbitant price, or both. Also a place we can get a 4 bed, 3 bath, 2 car garage “house” for less than we still owe on our 2 bed 1&1/2 bath townhouse. Also a place where the best school in the region is only $6K/ semester for residents compared to UW. I’ve been in tech for over 20 years in increasingly more lucrative roles and there is sadly, simply no way I can afford to give the quality of life and education to my wife and daughter that they deserve while staying here.

    I’m sure I’ll keep checking in to see what going on “back home” and I really hope we can move back in 5-6 years after degrees have been earned and my daughter has been acclimated to schools and such but no matter what, West Seattle will always be “Best Seattle” to me.

    Again, a fond farewell to all of you, my soon to be former neighbors and I wish you nothing but the best going forward.

    #945266

    WSB
    Keymaster

    Good luck! We hear often from ex-pats …

    Also, we have noticed a lot of Texas plates around here lately so figures we have to send someone that way every so often.

    Hope you find everything to be fabulous there! – TR

    #945272

    miws
    Participant

    Good luck to you and your family, J242. I’ve appreciated your contributions here on WSB over the years.

    Mike

    #945284

    J242
    Participant

    Thanks WSB and miws. I am really going to miss West Seattle. It’s the first community I really felt was a home and I look forward to watching how it grows and evolves while I’m away in eager anticipation of returning!

    #945301

    CarDriver
    Participant

    Keep in touch! Give us an update on what prices are like there and what their homeless/drug issues are. Always wonder if other part’s of the country are dealing with things better(or worse) than we are.

    #945313

    J242
    Participant

    Hey CarDriver!
    The apartment we are moving into (while our new house is getting built) is a 2bed, 2 bath, 1,100 sqft for $1,200/month and it’s right by “The Domain” so a 5 minute commute to work, shopping, light-rail, etc.

    Our new house? Wow.
    4bed, 3bath, 2 car garage, 2,100 sqft, 2 story house with a preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school on site (new managed community) with community pools, playgrounds and more. $210,000 with a $50/month HOA that only covers frontage law care and keeping the community areas clean. Totally hands off when it comes to what you can or must do with your property. It’s over in Manor, TX just a couple hundred yards east of Austin city limits with easy access to downtown, the northern tech corridor, and the airport.

    As for the houseless/drug issues? I’ve spent a couple of weeks down there since early February and in downtown 6th st has some folks but it’s reminiscent of “The Ave” in the U District back in the 90’s. A very small minority of the overall population. No tents up on the side of the roads that I could see. That’s not a statement about them handling things better or anything, just that any problems they have were not as immediately noticeable.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by J242.
    #945315

    CarDriver
    Participant

    Thank’e for the update!. What are wages/benifit’s like-for the non tech worker’s??

    #945679

    odroku
    Participant

    I have a lot of friends in the Austin area who will often complain similarly about the growth of their beloved city. Granted, it’s a smaller scale, but still.

    In any case, west Seattle will miss you. If you imbibe and have yet to enjoy the pleasure, hit Trudy’s for a Mexican Martini and maybe a few Mad Dog Margaritas at the Chili Parlor Bar, dinner at the Salt Lick before all night dancing at the Broken Spoke! Don’t forget to report back on your findings in the Lone Star State!

    I’ve just made myself incredibly hungry and thirsty.

    #945717

    J242
    Participant

    @CarDriver:

    Not sure, I “believe” their state minimum wage is just the federal minimum but could be totally wrong. One thing I noticed from my multiple visits over the past few months is that in general, people “seem” happier than here. $10/hr minimum buys a hell of a lot more down there than it does here and folks seem to be doing okay. That’s only from a very limited experience down there though so take it with a grain of salt for now.

    I’ll happily reply with my experiences a few weeks/months into living there if you like. One thing is an absolutely though, cost of living is SIGNIFICANTLY less.

    #945718

    J242
    Participant

    @odroku: Trudy’s? Where’s that? I’m always down to try out some new local spots and when it comes to tequila? You’re speaking my language. ;)

    I LOVE Salt Lick! Can’t wait to try out some of the other local hot spots like Jacobson’s or one of the Black’s spots. I actually brought a full 5lb brisket from Salt Lick (in the airport) back up with me on my last trip a few weeks ago. It was AMAZING! ;)

    Have you gone to Velvet Taco over in the Domain before? I know folks get really aggressive about the tacos down there but just saying, those were some amazing nibbles!

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 4 months ago by J242.
    #945738

    odroku
    Participant

    @J242 Alas, I was in the good hands of friends during my few days in Austin, so I have no idea where Trudy’s is and wouldn’t have any better an idea than you would be armed with Google. I want to say there were multiple locations. To my memory it was north and west of town, in a retail clusterflock-y area, and had a big round bar. It was among the first places I was taken after a rollicking night at the Continental Club!

    I know we went out for tacos and targeted a specific joint, but “Velvet Taco” does not sound familiar. I may have to ask for help on that one. I had gone down for the ACL Festival, so we didn’t do as much in town as we otherwise would have. I can say that none of the tacos I ate were anything other than on-point, though.

    Killing me you brought Salt Lick here. It was so close to me and yet so far . . . .

    #945775

    CarDriver
    Participant

    J242. My curiosity comes from the perception that lower costs come from lower wages and that working people have to live further away to afford a home/apartment and can afford fewer “toy’s”. I could very well be off base but would like to hear your real world experiences. Having been born and raised on Genesee Hill and moved only 1 1/2 miles from where I grew up my frame of reference is clearly limited. Road trips to see the rest of the country are on my bucket list but for now dealing with prices here are my focus.

    #945788

    J242
    Participant

    @odroku :

    Hehehe, Salt Lick is in the airport and has pre-packed smoked briskets ready to go! $70 if I remember correctly but it’s 5lbs. Worth EVERY penny!Can’t wait to try out Trudy’s. I’ll make sure to find them and give them a shot. Austin is very similar to New Orleans in that if you have a bad meal there, that’s on you. lol

    #945789

    J242
    Participant

    @CarDriver :
    No worries! I’m sure I’ll get a better understanding when I actually get down there and will happily report back my findings. I’ve been focused on tech roles (which seem to be on par with CA and here) but I’m sure I’ll be meeting a lot of people in non-tech areas whose brains I can pick.

    #946029

    JoB
    Participant

    congratulations on finding a good landing place… I am afraid our cost of living here is going to drive a good many of us elsewhere.. retired folks and young families alike. wish it wasn’t so.

    #946060

    J242
    Participant

    @JoB : Totally agreed. Austin is closer to family, has infinitely more/better childcare options, way lower cost of living and so much more. It’s going to be an adjustment for sure but one I’m looking forward to with the expectation of moving back in 5-6 years.

    #946104

    JoB
    Participant

    J242
    i hope this move works out well for you..
    LOL.. if it does it might be a long 4 or 5 years..
    how long till the last kid graduates?

    #946169

    J242
    Participant

    @JoB , we only have the one kiddo who is now 2 years old but my wife is only a couple of credits shy of her AA (can wrap those up at the community college 2 blocks away from our temporary apt) and as soon as she gets TX state residency (1 year of living down there) she’ll be able to get into UAT to get her BA in Linguistic Sciences (They have over 20 languages to specialize in!!!) for less than $6K/semester for full time school which we can afford out of pocket and since childcare is so inexpensive and abundant we can afford to have our daughter covered full-time as well. Night and day difference my friend. There is no possible way shy of winning the lottery we could afford that at UW. :(

    #947205

    J242
    Participant

    So, a week in I can say we’re having a LOT of fun down here! On Friday we went downtown and hung out at a park on the north side of the Congress St Bridge to watch the nightly batpocalypse and it was amazing. Got some great bbq, did a AR “getting to know the city” game walking up & down Congress and 6th solving puzzles and learning about the art and history of the city. Most everyone I’ve interacted with here seems to be in a good mood and earnestly happy to chat and ask how you’re doing, offer suggestions if you have questions, and have a really warm vibe all around. It’s a big difference and it’s quite lovely.

    I’m flying back up to Seattle tomorrow AM to deal with my car lease (Chevy in Burien, the Volt was an amazing car but their customer service? Boooo. Do not get a lease there) then I fly back down tomorrow evening. It’ll be a long day for sure but it’ll be nice to grab lunch at Ma’Onos again and see friends.

    Take it easy everyone!

    #947252

    T Rex
    Participant

    You will love the state of Texas, there is not another state like it. I was born there, spent every summer there with my family (Air Force Brat) and my plan is to move back there when I retire. IF I can stand living in Seattle that long. Take some road trips, heck you can plan a road trip based on BBQ joints alone! Only in Texas.
    Have fun ya’ll.

    #959063

    J242
    Participant

    Hey everybody, it’s been a few months.
    I was asked to pop in and maybe share some info about housing, the job market, etc down here in Austin after I had gotten a bit more acclimated with the area. It’s… Different.

    Culture/daily life: Reminds me very much of Seattle in the 90’s with a lot of tech booming w/ startups all over the place as well as internationally known companies dropping billions for more real estate and a very “young” vibe to this old city. There’s live music EVERYWHERE downtown. EVERY night. “Almost” every bar/club/venue. This city “feels” like it’s 1/10th the size of Seattle but geographically? It’s easily 4x larger. There’s a ton of sprawl but somehow each pocket and area has it’s own personality if you look into them a little more than just driving through. Fascinating city I’m still learning a lot about and really having a blast doing so.

    The heat: It’s absurd. Today hit 96 (we’re cooling down I guess? lol) but down here AC is a fundamental right, not a great “feature” or upgrade. I was looking at new properties today and I could get the SEER rating, age of their AC/HVAC systems, insulation numbers, inspection records, and more on the spot at every location. Very helpful for prospective buyers. It’s odd that there are either wood-burning or gas fireplaces in every house I’ve toured. Folks down here think 55 is “extreme cold” apparently! They probably laugh at me the same way if I’m sweating and it’s only 85 out. lol Totally fair. ;)

    Traffic: This one really cracks me up. I hear folks here complain about traffic non-stop. They think when it takes 1/2 an hour to go 15 miles it’s absurd. lol Similar to many other cities I spend time in down here, they have these side streets that run parallel to the main highways and in stop-go traffic, you can breeze by at 35mph. The less people realize that the better IMO, means faster drive times for me. lol

    Transit: They “have” public transit but it’s a shadow of Seattle’s. They have a Light-rail-esque train that runs from The Domain (North Austin) downtown but it’s slow and often has merging sets of tracks so the train will have to pull over for 5+ minutes while you wait for the oncoming train to pass. Pretty silly not to just lay down more rail but I’m no authority on the matter.

    Food: This city if BBQ heaven! Amazing Mexican, Honduran, Vietnamese, Thai, “American” cuisine and so much more. Definitely a foodie city but I look down in disgust at the “salmon” grocery store carry here. It’s that Atlantic cat-food. The nearby Costco did get a run of the Copper River Reds and I was blown away at how cheap it was compared to Seattle! People don’t know their PNW seafood and I hope to help correct that amongst our growing group of local friends. lol

    Child resources: I don’t know if this point is so much of a positive comment about Austin, a negative one about Seattle, or something in-between but it is a night and day difference. Currently we live walking distance from a fantastic full-time, open 7am-7pm, M-F children’s daycare/preschool/pre-K center that we and our daughter absolutely love for roughly $200/week. Our wait list time? 2 weeks to get in. # of schools available & options? Again, night & day difference. Property taxes have a %1 addition solely for funding schools and with each new “planned community” or “mixed use neighborhood” that pops up there seems to always be at the very least, an elementary and jr high built at the same time to serve the area. The school districts “seem” to be pretty well funded and provide solid educational support. Many parents I’ve met have mentioned they moved to Austin because of the schools. My daughter is still in daycare/pre-K so I have no idea how accurate that might be but so far, it “seems” to be fairly legit. Also, babysitters! There are a PLETHORA of them for actually reasonable rates! Our favorite is certified in infant and child CPR, basic medical, is going to medical school, and volunteers at education centers. $12.50/hour!!! Our backups have similar certs and ambitions and range between $11-15/hour. In Seattle we could never find an easily accessible, affordable babysitter that we could hire other than for very special occasions. Down here we go out at least once a month now, often twice and “occasionally” three times. lol This is definitely a far more “kiddo friendly” city for both parents and kids. At least, that is how is feels/seems.

    Any questions about other differences? There’s good and bad differences and I absolutely miss Seattle. I can’t wait to come back and visit again (hopefully sooner than later). I certainly have yet to find anything down here that can compare to Sunday brunch at Salty’s, Ma’Ono’s fried chicken sandwich, Easy Street, Husky Deli, or any number of beloved Seattle institutions but like I said up front. It’s… Different. In some ways good, in others bad, but most often just “meh?”. Coin flip, could go either way.

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