Originally Posted by TDunn
However, if all the new comers would go back where they came from, the PNW would be a pretty nice place again. More like I remember it. I could even come back then.
The newcomers are not the issue. There are so many newcomers here now, mostly from India, Pakistan, Vietnam and the former Soviet Union, that a few more are not even noticed.
No, the problem is that western Washington is changing at an increasing rate due to ever-increasing drought and climbing temperatures, incredibly inept planning and execution of everything from zoning regulations, to what they laughingly call "transportation planning," to rapidly accelerating urban and suburban development.
For example, east of Seattle (Seattle has become so screwed up there's no real way to make it worse so the developers are now concentrating on the east side) the trees are coming down so fast and the cheap condo/townhouse developments are going up so fast it visibly changes from day to day. I see it every day on my commute to work.
The crime rate in Seattle is astonishing today compared to what it used to be just a few years ago. The news features shooting deaths virtually every day now and from what I hear from acquaintances in the police, gangs have become rampant everywhere, even in the suburbs.
I don't know how Seattle stacks up statistically against the rest of the nation but the homeless population is massive and growing. My wife and I went to a Joe Bonamassa concert in Seattle the other month, and the four block walk from the parking garage to the Paramount Theatre was solid panhandlers. Not just people holding out their hands but coming up to you and engaging you in their tales of woe and asking for "gas money" or "rent money" or "food money" or "help with their electric bill." And even if one very firmly says "No" they stay with you, persisting in their pleas for money. It was a major topic of conversation in the line waiting to enter the theatre.
King County (the one with Seattle and Bellevue in it) has staggering tax rates now and they go up higher several times a year. Almost every week I meet people at work who are selling up and moving out of King County because it's becoming increasingly expensive to live in, particularly for retirees.
I learned recently from an acquaintance who is a local politician involved with King County that the county actually has a policy (unwritten) of doing everything they can to discourage retirees from living in it. They want the young, usually immigrant, tech and bio-tech folks to come live in King Country because they are in a position and will be for many years to cough up the ever-increasing taxes.
So more and more people, retirees as well as people in the middle/lower-middle class, are moving out simply because it's becoming too expensive. A lot of people who work in King County can no longer afford to live in the county. Instead, they are moving to or settling in Snohomish, Island, and Whatcom counties farther north. It makes for a hideous commute in today's traffic but it's the only way they can afford to live in the region.
We (my wife and I) are starting to think seriously about leaving the area ourselves. Most likely for someplace farther north or even in BC if we can make that work.
Outside of the immediate Seattle-Bellevue-Tacoma area the west side of the state is still pretty nice. The Skagit River valley and delta in particular are great (that's where Eric Henning of this forum lives.) Whidbey Island is very nice as long as one does not have to go into the Seattle area for anything. And the Olympic Penninsula remains about the same (other than the changing climate), mainly because there's not much to do there job-wise so the population remains small.
I grew up in Hawaii and moved to the Seattle area in 1979 not because of Seattle but in spite of it. I wanted to live in the PNW and I was offered a terrific job at Boeing so have been here ever since. I'm not a city fan but Seattle used to be pretty good as cities go. It's still living on that past "Space Needle, monorail, Pike Place Market, cool waterfront" image and reputation, but the realities are far, far different.
Seattle today is an absolutely hideous city. My work takes me all over the world and the only cities I have found to be less appealing and more depressing and screwed up than Seattle are Sao Paulo in Brazil (which should simply be nuked off the planet as far as the physical city goes, not the people-- they're great), and some of the mining and industrial cities in China (PRC). Yes, Seattle is very small compared to these other places. But they are managing to pack in everything that's wrong with these other places into a very small space.
I know a lot of long-time residents of Seattle and they are unanimously appalled at what the city has become and the direction it's going.
The "Emerald City" is losing its luster indeed.
But the football team is cool.