Spokane, WA

msmb

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This is the wife asking now.....does anyone know anything about Spokane? We are looking at different options for commuting. It sounds like Portland isn't for us due to the weather. (I like 4 seasons) We are looking at Spokane now since it's an easier commute (assuming he get's or can eventually get SEA). What are good neighborhood's? How is it for raising a family? Any info you can give would be great...
 

ATRCAPT

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We actually get all four seasons in Portland. They only have two in Spokane, frickin cold and frickin hot. As a former Empire Airlines pilot I spent A LOT of time in Spokane so I know! The area is nice, but prices are climbing very fast. The Coeur d'Alene area is nearly as costly as Portland! If your husband is trying to get a SEA bases Portland is a much easier commute. QX runs a shuttle every half hour. Skywest also has three or four flights a day. If he does get stranded it's only a 2 1/2 hour drive airport to airport. I've commuted from Portland to both cities and found the SEA commute easier. Good luck.
 
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flx757

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It can't be repeated enough. If you hope to get based in SEA, then LIVE in SEA. Your quality of life will improve substantially over any commute...no matter how easy it may seem on the surface.

This is something you simply cannot put a price on, no matter how hard you seem to be trying.
 

RampFreeze

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A couple of things to consider... (I lived in Spokane for 3 years) First of all, comparing Portland and Spokane is kind of oranges and apples. Spokane is a lot smaller town, although still a decent size city - there is a both good and bad to that. No traffic worries, much more "traditional" family values than Portland, etc. The local area is still beautiful (especially east into Coeur d' Alene) with everything you could want for outdoor recreation (Waterskiing in the summer to snow skiing in the winter) On the downside, Washington State is heavily biased to the part of the state west of the Cascades (Seattle, Tacoma, etc. where the big money is) so there isn't a lot of state funding support for roads, etc. Check on line resources to compare schools, but I think they are probably pretty decent in Spokane.

I hate to disagree with ATRCAPT, but there are definitely 4 distinct seasons in Spokane. Not sure where you are moving from, but the climate is radically different from East of the Rockies (i.e. Midwest, East Coast, etc.) and also very different from West of the Cascades (i.e. Seattle, Portland). It is a dry climate overall - you don't see a cloud in the summer time and it is beautiful. No it is not oppressively hot. The majority of homes in Spokane don't even have air conditioning. The average high in July and August is 82 and 83 degrees respectively - with very little humidity. (So at night the temp always drops into the 50s) If you are from the midwest/east coast you have no idea what this is like - no bugs, no afternoon thunderstorms, etc. There is always a week or so in the summer with temps in the 90s, but it is the exception. December - January average high temp is 33 with a low of 22 - yes that can be chilly and it will snow. Studded tires are legal in Washington State and you need them because they do a lousy job of plowing the snow. Here is the real kicker when thinking of commuting GEG-SEA in the winter - if you can't jumpseat on a flight, you may be in trouble because you can't guarantee you'll be able to drive the 5+ hours over to Seattle. They occasionally have to close Snoqualmie Pass (the mountain pass across the Cascades along I-90)for a few hours to a day at a time due to snow storms.

Spokane is a great town. It is a big city with all of the big city ammenities (Nordstrom's, etc. for shopping) but still has a small town feel. You probably need to visit to see if it is really what you are looking for. I've got a friend who has lived there for 11 years, works for a Major (not Alaska) and obviously commutes. He hasn't had that difficult off a time, but commuting is still commuting. You can't sit reserve in Spokane for a Seattle callout...
 

AK737FO

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Learn the hard way

flx757,
I wonder if MSMB (and better half) read the post I did covering the difficult life he is setting himself up for? He will soon learn, the hard way, that a junior F/O commuting to SEA will be difficult to say the least. I hope she likes being a "single wife / mom" since he will be gone about 20 days a month to stand reserve, plus burn a day off here and there for the commute.
Why people do this to themselves I will never understand. There are plenty of good places to live that are within a two hour drive of SEA. I wish him well and hope he doesn't do to many carpet dances while on probation in front of Capt. Majer for missed commutes / flights. If so, there are plenty of other guys/gals standing in line to replace him when he's gone.
AK737FO
 

spacecadet1

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AK737FO,
Geez, you sound like my mom telling me to wear a raincoat when I was 8 yrs old "you are going to catch a cold, then it will turn into a pneumonia, then who knows what else". Lighten up. Some people choose to commute, for whatever reason. It's their own business. They just happen to be asking about living conditions in different places. Don't take it personally that they don't want to live in SEA.
 

Annie

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Portland over Seattle any day

Spokane is well known for a rather shoddy school system. Seattle is about a few wealthy families controlling everything from elections to transportation design to all of the radio/tv/newspapers. Portland is the best choice for a family. . . DO NOT base quality of life decisions solely on the quality of the natural environment. You can commute from PDX to SEA by train, an express bus, or even by car (2 hours). However, I agree, if you are absolutely set on Seattle then you could possibly find some place affordable in Bellingham (2 hours north).
Do NOT try to commute east/west over the pass and think very carefully about considering a commute by ferry to one of the islands. The ferry system is not reliable, the waits are very long on weekends/holidays and then you still have to drive into SeaTac.

Give Portland a serious look.
 

lostplnetairman

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I have a friend who just moved to Spokane. PM me if you want to contact her.

HR Diva
 

Dave Benjamin

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I wouldn't wish a GEG-SEA commute on my enemies. Yeah it's great when you can get on WN but how many flights a day is that? You get one QX cancellation and you might not get to SEA that day due to those bumped pax having to be reaccomodated. UAX appears to be reducing capacity in that market which isn't going to help commuters. When the wx in SEA drops even QX starts cancelling flights. Part of it is just the low arrival rate. QX aircraft have those fancy HUD's and Cat 3A capability but none of that does any good when there isn't an arrival slot.

Driving from GEG to SEA in the winter is not only long and miserable but it can be a bit hazardous.

There are many great places to live within an hours drive of SEA-TAC. Although I live in the PDX area I can't honestly recommend PDX if you'll be based in SEA. If you're going to have to move anyway find something close to SEA. Trust me your life will be so much better living in domicile. You can't put a value on being home with the loved ones.

Wanting "4 seasons" is a lousy rationale for subjecting your husband to a commute, especially during probation. The happiest people seem to live in domcile. Seniority doesn't matter as much because the commutability of a trip isn't as critical. I don't know how old your husband is but I'm assuming he's in his 30's. If my wife expected me to commute for 20 plus years because she "wanted 4 seasons" I'm pretty sure I'd be single. Pretty simple choice. Husband at home playing with kids or husband in crash pad drinking beer with his buddies wishing he was home playing with the kids?
 
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Jeepman

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As a guy presently avoiding the carpet dance commuting while looking to go to AK, and curretly living in SEA (within 45 min) how junior is it for MD-80, or 737. If I was to get based in ANC or LAX, would crew support be able to swap me out of LAX/ANC reserve to SEA reserve (I know I'm pushing it, but it never hurts to ask) ?

Is it true that if you are LAX based that you could be asked to drive to ONT, LGB, SNA, to pick up a trip?

Nice King 400 BTW. Those guys must have spent twice as long on that plane than the Disney bird. It looks classy.
 

msmb

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Thanks for all the posts. To rampfreeze, thanks for the info., that's what I am looking for. To AK737, I know exactly what we are getting into. I was a flight attendant for 8 years and have a little bit of a clue what commuting will be like. We haven't decided this is what we will do, we are just looking at options which is why I have asked for feedback. I appreciate your honesty but like spacecadet said, we have our reason's. It's a joint decision and my husband and I are making this decision together, so please don't make it sound like I am being selfish. What's wrong with wanting to live somewhere where it doesn't rain all the time? I know when it's sunny Seattle is beautiful.
So tell me....where in Seattle would you recommend that is within 1-2 hours from SEA-TAC? Where the schools are good and we can afford a nice house? I am willing to consider all options....
 

Annie

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possible location

I would choose Bellingham, or any of the small communities surrounding it, maybe Ferndale? Its easy drive to YVR, where you can have wonderful big city events; has some snow in the winter;more sun; driving time to SEA is 2:30 - 2:45. Lower housing costs, small VERY LIBERAL state college and the attendant academic community to watch over local schools. It is possible to take a commuter train from Bellingham to downtown Seattle (Google "Sounder")



Good Luck,
 

Jeepman

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Bellingham is nice, but I have heard it is getting expensive to live there. My wife & I used to live in Old Fairhaven. Lots of outdoor activities. Although, If you look around long enough you may find a good deal. Mount Vernon is probably still pretty cheap and not as long of a drive (1 1/2 hr drive). If you do the drive up you should look at taking Chuckanut drive between Mount Vernon & Bellingham. If it's a nice day its worth the extra driving time!
 
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My two cents:

If you are already willing to move, why not just move to the city you are based in?


Why go to all the trouble to move and still have to commute? It really doesn't even make sense.

Personally, I commute. But that is a choice I made a long time ago. But, if I was hired by Alaska and based in Seattle, and I did choose to move because of it...I sure as heck wouldn't move to some city (Portland, Spokane, etc) where I STILL have to commute!
 

flx757

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msmb said:
What's wrong with wanting to live somewhere where it doesn't rain all the time? I know when it's sunny Seattle is beautiful.
That's just it. It doesn't "rain all the time". Yes, it does rain a lot in the winter (just like it snows a lot and is cold a lot and it rains a lot in other places in the winter...and is brutally hot or brutally hot and humid in other places in the summer), but even then, there are magnificent days (like today). And the summers can't be beaten anywhere. I have lived just about everywhere, and this is easily in the top 3 places I have lived. I live here by choice, now, and have no plans to go anywhere else, ever. This city (and surrounding areas) offer tons of what I am interested in...and that is great outdoor activities of all types for all seasons, and a killer music scene (of all types).

Of course, you should do what YOU want to do and what will make YOU happy. I just think commuting (after having done it for most of my airline life) is just not worth the toll it takes on the individual and the family.
 

Jumpseater

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Kitsap penninsula. Reliable ferry to Seattle, 1:20 drive to employee parking if you have to drive around ,good schools, and off Bainbridge it is still very affordable.
 

Pinto

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Central Wa

Wenatchee is pretty nice too. Horizon has four flights a day to Seatac and the airport is installing an ILS to help when the weather comes down. The drive time to Seatac is about 2:30 and if the passes close, like I-90 did last week, you can get to Spokane in 2:45. Wenatchee is about 20 degrees hotter than Seattle in the summer and 20 degrees colder in the winter with a lot more sunshine. The cost of living is a ton cheaper than Seattle and less than Spokane too. The local ski hill, Mission Ridge- 15 miles away, just installed a high speed quad chairlift. The waterskiing is not too bad either.
 

Sioux115

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Issaquah and Snoqualmie are good places to look. The inlaws live out in Snoqualmie. They are east of town on I-90 about 35mins. to airport. Still quiet out there too. Don't know the housing prices out there, I assume high just like everywhere in the west.
 

Dave Benjamin

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I have a cousin in Issaquah. I don't know what the market is like there but you could check out www.realtor.com or similar site to get a feel. Anyhow my cousin is very family oriented and I'm sure she and her husband checked out the schools before buying there. Although there's traffic it would definitely be commutable while on reserve.
 
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