When my family contemplated moving to Seattle we turned to the Internet for information. One of the best resources we found back in 1999 still exists today. It's the Reviews of Seattle neighborhoods and surrounding communities by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The look of the site has changed since, the content is still as good as ever.
Since our move to the Pacific Northwest in 1999 I have not only changed cities but also careers. Now, as a real estate agent I enjoy using personal experience in the service of my clients. As a result, I have compiled a list of relocation resources that I consider the most useful. The list is about the necessities of life: water, electricity, licences, city hall, schools, hospitals, transportation, shopping and it is by no means complete. If you know of other useful resources please drop me a note.
State and Local Government
The City of Seattle is located in King County, which covers a large area north and south of the city and includes (across Lake Washington) eastside cities like Bellevue, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond and Woodinville. Located at the northern end of Lake Washington is the city of Bothell and on the southern end is Renton.
There are five counties adjacent to King County: Snohomish (north), Pierce (south), Kitsap (west across the Puget Sound) and Kittitas and Chelan counties (east). Further away, but still part of the region, are Island County (north/west) and, Mason and Thurston counties (south/west).
Here is a comprehensive list of links to websites of all Washington State cities and counties.
The State of Washington has several well-organized website under the “Access Washington” name. Some of particular interest when relocating to the Seattle area, include: Driver Licenses, Transportation, and Education. Here is the List of State Services from A to Z.
Useful to Know Facts and Resources
Washington has NO state income tax but the state sales tax of 6.5 percent is being augmented with county sales taxes. King County’s is 2.3 percent, Snohomish 1.5 percent, Kitsap 2.1 percent and Pierce 1.7 percent. In Snohomish and Pierce, the municipalities add their own sales tax, as much as 1 percent. Adding it up, total sales tax ranges from 8 to 9 percent.
Washington’s public schools rank above the national average. For performance ratings of individual schools (K-12), visit the PSK12 website. For information organized by school districts, visit the Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction website.
There are several useful websites with information about the area’s private schools. The Seattle Times School Guide can be searched by school names and neighborhoods. Another helpful source is Private School Review, a nationwide website. Finally, about.com also has a good listing of Seattle area private schools.
The easiest way to get information on utility providers is to visit the website of Puget Sound Energy (PSE). They will help you with other connections like cable and phone. PSE is the largest provider of natural gas and electric in the region. However, the City of Seattle’s electric power needs are served by Seattle City Light.
Major medical facilities in Seattle include the University of Washington Medical Center, Swedish Medical Center, Virginia Mason Medical Center and Children’s Hospital. On the Seattle eastside, the larger medical facilities include the Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue, Evergreen Healthcare Hospital Medical Center in Kirkland and, further south, the Valley Medical Center in Renton.
The major shopping centers include Bellevue Square on the Eastside and University Village near the University of Washington - both listed among the top ten Seattle area shopping centers.
© 2006, Gerhard N. Ade