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Spokane, WA?
Old 07-20-2009, 07:57 PM   #1
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Spokane, WA?

DW and I are poking around looking at potential retirement locations, since we will have to relocate when it is time to hang up the spurs. We like areas like Ft. Collins and Denver, CO, Taos, NM and similar and are trying to come up with other possibilities to explore in a leisurely fashion. One city that looks good on paper is Spokane, WA. Looks like it has lots of amenities, a mild 4 season climate without too much rain, plenty of options for outdoor activities, and a reasonable cost of living. Anyone live in the area or know it? What's it like? I see that it gets less than half the raibfall of Seattle, but is it a sunny place or constantly cloudy?
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Spokane
Old 07-20-2009, 08:17 PM   #2
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Spokane

Here's a few thoughts from someone who gre up in Spokane. It does have 3 moderate season and a very cold a snowy filled winter season. You could very easily have snow on the ground for 2-3 months. That's the downside. Cost of housing is very moderate. Gonzaga Univ is a fine scholl with a great Division basketball team. They have a minor league baseball team and there are 30 lakes within 50 miles of the City and some beautiful parks in the City. In many ways it's a small city with a good size population. There ia nicely redeveloped downtown and good public transportation. You fly most places directly from the Spokane airport. For military retirees Fairchild AFB is 10 miles away. All in all a nice place to live if the winters don't scare you away.
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Old 07-20-2009, 09:00 PM   #3
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Spokane was on my list of top ten (or was it top twenty?) possible ER locations a few years ago. I have never been there, but it sounds like a wonderful place.

Since then I have found out that it is colder and snowier than I had thought. But really, it seems like a place that is worth looking into.
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:08 PM   #4
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My ancestors came to the west in a covered waggon and had their pick of all that it offered ... none settled in Spokane.

Brewer, Spokane has a great airport. JAL uses it for a training facility and air traffic destined for SEA lands there those rare occasions SEA is closed. The drive to Seattle is not difficult in spring and summer, in winter it is often difficult (aka unsafe). AMRAK has trains from both Seattle and Portland to CHI. Housing is inexpensive because it doesn't have high paying employers. Spokane isn't far from Coeur d'Alene, ID... now there is a magnificent area and worthy of your short list.

Hey, come look at my town, Bainbridge Island. Have I got a house for you (it's listed)! Safe community, great library and public schools - a leisurely ferry ride to Seattle. There really is afordable housing but I wouldn't pretend that our digs qualify.
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:35 PM   #5
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We've lived in the Spokane area for the last 21 years. It's a nice city with lots of outdoor recreation nearby. Nice international airport that is currently being upgraded (longer runway). July and August can have temps. in the 90s and even triple digits occasionally. We plan to have a home base here during retirement.

The biggest down side for us is the winters. It doesn't usually get as cold as points east (Montana, Dakotas) but we still can see single digit and below zero temps when the Arctic Express rolls in. Occasional air stagnation can lock in the fog for long periods in the winter. We plan to RV to Arizona for most of the winter months after ER.
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Old 07-20-2009, 11:03 PM   #6
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Another Spokanite weighing in. Lived in Spokane for 35 years then moved 50 miles north to the river. Four seasons Snow usually from just after Thanksgiving until middle of February. Average is about 48" per year. Today it was 85 with a slight breeze. DW and I took the dogs and went swimming. Lots of lakes and outdoor things to do.
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Old 07-20-2009, 11:37 PM   #7
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I lived in Spokane for 20 years; feel free to PM me with any specific questions.
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Old 07-21-2009, 01:07 AM   #8
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Funny this should come up just now.

NB: where-to-Live-cheaply.html: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance

Enjoy!
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Old 07-21-2009, 04:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
DW and I are poking around looking at potential retirement locations, since we will have to relocate when it is time to hang up the spurs. We like areas like Ft. Collins and Denver, CO, Taos, NM and similar and are trying to come up with other possibilities to explore in a leisurely fashion. One city that looks good on paper is Spokane, WA.
According to an article on the Forbes Website ( Fraud: Scam Capital of America - Forbes.com ), Spokane is the scam capital of America. Might be a good place to retire if you're looking for a "best in class" city.
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Old 07-21-2009, 04:28 PM   #10
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Besides all the nice things about Spokane, have you considered Coeur d'Alene down the street (I-90). We have friends who love Ft. Collins and Denver. Did you also consider Albuquerque? I have a friend who retired there to be near the base and benefits.
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Old 07-21-2009, 06:54 PM   #11
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Thanks for the comments. Did not realize that the winters were quite that cold. Will have to look into it further, as well as Coeur d'Alene.

Albuquerque has its charms, but is just a bit too hot in the summer.
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:22 PM   #12
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I am probably one of few on this board who have lived in your vicinity and in the NW. The other admission I must make is that I have a point of view and knowledge of the climates of the west.

Brewer, you and your spouse seem to be wanting communities with a lot of sun year round. The problem you will encounter is that inter-mountain climates north of lat. 45 are very cold in the winter but those south will toast your .. in the summer. The only option is to find a suitable community in the arid south at high altitude. Tuscon and vicinity come to my pea sized brain BUT water is/will become an issue.

You may want to consider becoming a snow bird: a home port for the summer, another for winter. In the past you have mentioned an island in Porto Rico.. that would be ideal for the winter for someone with their roots on the eastern seaboard.

You haven't mentioned the pull of family. Take a look at your rug-rats. When they become parents you will want to be near grand children (been there, doing that) and maybe you and your wife's parents. Unless you move your family before the kids are in middle school you will be pulled back to NJ.

My own parents had a condo in HNL but maintained their home in Portland, OR. We missed them in the winter but try as we could, once the children arrived, travel to HNL just wasn't in the budget.

IMHO there is no heaven on earth comparable the the Pacific NW, but family is very important. We expected our children to settle in Seattle Metro. Our daughter accepted a position in the Silicon Valley that can't be replicated anywhere, our son bought a business in Portland. Now we are "trapped" on an island paradise near Seattle (awakened by the call of eagles and sea lions). Traveling with small children is too difficult today so we commute to see the grand babies.

In the tradition of grandmothers world wide,.. let me show you some pictures...
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:32 PM   #13
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I live 2 hours south of Spokane and spend a fair amount of time there for w*rk. Spokane is a lovely city - but they get noticeable winter. Of all the places in inland Washington to live, I would pick Walla Walla. It's small and a college town. They get a little less winter than spokane and have that small liberal arts community feel. Other things going for walla walla include excellent local wineries, famous onions, good medical care, NO PARKING METERS and tree lined streets.
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:51 PM   #14
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Spokane is a lovely city - but they get noticeable winter.
A bit of an understatement... This winter started in October, and it was still snowing in May- a 100"+ later...

I fondly remember one winter that got down to -28F.. and the big ice storm that knocked out power to 75,000+ people, some for several weeks...

A lot of Californians moved there in the 90's, selling their modest homes for huge profits and buying McMansions on acreage in Spokane and Kootenai County (CdA) Idaho. Many froze out and moved back...

Walla Walla is a nice little town; (except for that liberal arts business...) almost no unemployment or crime, good health care, clean, never really booms or busts. Lots of outdoor recreation in the Blue Mountains in WA and the Wallowas in OR. If you want a Beaver Cleaver experience, this might be your choice. (And Spokane is only a couple of hours away if you need the big city for something)
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:53 PM   #15
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Walla Walla is "So nice they named it twice", as my father used to say.
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Old 07-21-2009, 11:29 PM   #16
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Another option not quite so far as Walla Walla is our hometown of Pullman. If you are interested in a University community experience, small town living with large town options, give the so-called quad cities a look (Pullman/Moscow/Lewiston/Clarkston). Two Div I universities (Wash State U and Uof Idaho) 8 miles apart, Pac 10 sports. Pullman is 75 miles S of Spokane and has milder winters and cooler summers than Spokane. Our snowfall last year while a record was still nearly 25% less than Spokane.
We moved here from Seattle three years ago and have been delighted with costs and overall living environment. We figure we cut 25-35% from our cost of living. Keep in mind, WA has no income tax but Idaho does. Wash uses sales tax for a key part of its revenue but our rate in our corner of the State is still on the low end (7.5% vs 9.7% Seattle). We buy gas and booze in Idaho where the taxes are lower. Housing is cheaper than Spokane but not by a lot.
PM me if you want any more details
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Old 07-22-2009, 01:31 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
Thanks for the comments. Did not realize that the winters were quite that cold. Will have to look into it further, as well as Coeur d'Alene.

Albuquerque has its charms, but is just a bit too hot in the summer.
I was in the Okanogan winter of 68-69. One night, up around Republic it got down to -40F. There was so much snow on Hiway 2 that it was like driving through a tunnel- for several months. In Spokane itself all the corners were blind-there were high banks of now alongside the streets that you couldn't see over or around until you got into the intersections.

Good times though, a least for a young guy.

Ha
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