Thanks to its excellent quality of life and thriving business climate, Washington state is attracting new residents – and even luring former residents back.
And while it may be best known for its largest city, Seattle, the Evergreen State's smaller communities also appeal to newcomers.
Making A Move
Born and raised in Seattle, Sue Harris moved across the state to Spokane 14 years ago after her husband secured a job in the area.
“We had never been here before, but we have absolutely fallen in love with the city,” she says.
Harris, age 67, says she enjoys Spokane's Riverfront Park, which is located in the downtown area, as well as the Spokane Symphony and the abundance of parks dotted throughout the city's neighborhoods.
“While we are in a much smaller city than Seattle, we have many of the same venues,” she says. “I especially enjoy the moderate cost of living and the small-town feel. Traffic is not a problem, and it is very easy to navigate around the town.”
Carol Frizzell, who serves as the Clark County Newcomers Club membership chair, moved to the Hockinson/Brush Prairie area in 2011. After living in Orange County, Calif., for several years, Frizzell and her husband chose to relocate to Washington after they retired.
“We have family here, and the cost of living is attractive,” Frizzell says. “Plus, we love to camp and hike, and we're still discovering all of the opportunities – that's what's fun.”
Thanks to their proximity to Washington's fourth-largest city, Vancouver, the Frizzells are just a 20-minute drive from big-city amenities, such as music venues, theaters, top-notch restaurants and shops. In addition, Vancouver offers cultural attractions such as Fort Vancouver and the Pearson Air Museum, as well as outdoor opportunities including hiking at Mount St. Helens and water activities at Hood River Marina.
Zachery Battle, president and CEO of Mavrik Marine Inc., which designs and constructs commercial aluminum boats, moved back to Washington after living in Dubai for three years.
Battle, who formerly lived in the city of Bellingham on the state's western side, set up shop in nearby La Conner. Battle says La Conner was an excellent choice for his business because of its proximity to the Port of Skagit, which owns and operates the Skagit Regional Airport, Bayview Business Park and La Conner Marina.
“The Port of Skagit and the people welcomed us with open arms and made a place for us,” Battle says. “The rest is history.”
Battle also notes that La Conner has proven to be a good fit for Mavrik Marine Inc., due to the city's established workforce. The La Conner Marina, which attracts casual boaters, commercial fishermen, and a variety of businesses and manufacturers connected to the marine industry, also contributes to the company's success.
“Specifically, it’s a hub for the maritime industry and supports growth from a supply and resource perspective,” Battle says. “There are some great ports with a large client base locally. This is the key when you look at sustainability, because we need a good core to work from.”
In addition to operating a successful business, Battle finds time to enjoy the state's beautiful landscape. La Conner's convenient location – less than two hours from Seattle – makes it easy.
“I think the best thing about Washington is the geography and the proximity to such a diverse range of life,” Battle says. “You have mountains, lakes, ocean and the San Juan Islands. You have several large cities, and you have the neighbor to the north to explore as well.”
For more on Washignton State's superior quality of life, visit choosewashington.com.