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Vancouver, WA

A relief from Portland, OR
- 10/14/2006
Once you cross the border into WA on I-5, what a relief!! I find Portland to be an old run down city. Vancouver has good and bad pockets to live in. It is easy to get around but commuting into Portland can be gridlock. I worked in the schools as a subsitute teacher. They are doing better than Portland who can't keep it open for a full school year. Classrooms are 30 students avg. in elementary. They do still have music and P.E. which were cut in CA or an elementary teacher had to plan it all. I liked the access to Long Beach WA and Columbian Gorge in OR. Portland, OR people are not too friendly to outsiders, drive exactly the speed limit, and will not let you merge or change lanes to save your life! Vancouver enjoys the best of both worlds, no state income tax in WA and no sales tax in OR. Portland airport is nice and can get you where you want to go. Oregon's declining economy and schools are trickling over the border. I found the news comical, you will get Portland OR news. They can't seem to run the state or politics to save themselves. It was a nice stop on the way to Seattle. Summers are the best time of year! The fall is fairly pretty. Lots of waterfalls and nature hikes nearby.

Kent, WA

Good Neighborhood ... The Lakes
- 10/14/2006
I lived in Kent for 2 years at the Hampton Bay Apartments. I loved my neighborhood, apartment and the Kent location. There were nice walking trails along the river and golf course. There are a lot of corporate business right in Kent. Kent felt like a small town relief from the bigger surroundings communities like Federal Way. I was close to the SeaTac Airport, easy freeway and highway access. Can easily go anywhere from Kent (Auburn, Puyallup, Federal Way, Tacoma, Seattle, Bellevue). There are iffy and bad pockets in Kent so be cautious, but there are treasures to be found too! Easy access to shopping up in South Center. Beautiful views of Mt. Rainer on clear days. Mild weather, beautiful summers. I miss it. Jobs seemed a little hard to get. When I left a big train/entertainment center was being built. I felt safe in my neighborhood, not a lot of crime that I heard of. A melting pot community, all races, and mixed relationships not a huge problem. Good for both families and singles. So many different places to experience in the Seattle/WA area, great for explorers!

Crystal Lake, IL

Bedroom Community, Lots of Families, Long Commutes
- 10/14/2006
This is a "bedroom community" in the NW suburbs of Chicago. People drive at least an hour to work or take a metro train. The only nearby jobs seem to be Banks, Retail, Restaurants, and Medical offices. There is a lot of new housing developments and shopping. Mostly large family homes. I would say it is mostly a middle class area and majority white population. Elgin next door has a large Mexican population. There are not many freeways to jump on and off, so mostly street driving with lots of lights. It takes a little while to drive anywhere. People are generally nice and friendly. I've only lived here for just over a year and weather seems different than last year. Summers can be hot and humid, winters are cold, about 3 months of 20 degrees. Taxes seem a little high for housing, gas, and sales. A good place for families, singles and young people are a bit out of place. Schaumburg seems like a better location for young, single people. A more central location to the corporation job market.

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