What You Need to Know Moving from Oregon To Seattle
Moving from Oregon to Seattle may not seem like a big deal. It is only the state next door after all. There are some differences between the two states that you may want to know about before moving to Seattle from Oregon. Depending on where you are moving from in Oregon, it may feel very familiar. Seattle and Portland are not quite carbon copies but are very similar. If conversely, you are from Eastern Oregon, you are going to find it a much wetter and greener climate than what you are used to.
Traffic and Getting Around
Seattle is known for having a horrible commute. This, of course, assumes you are commuting from a suburb to work in downtown Seattle or Bellevue. The reality is that on the whole, the state averages 27.9 minutes for commutes to work, only slightly higher than the national average. Portland, on the other hand, has an average commute of ~26 minutes.
I will say that most of the people I know spend closer to 30-45 minutes commuting each way depending on how far out of the downtown area they work.
Seattle has been expanding its public transit system. Most of it consists of busses but many people also take the Sounder Train, but now we also have the Seattle Light Rail system that will eventually run all the way from Everett to SeaTac. If after you move to Seattle from Oregon, you are considering using public transit to work, I suggest using the Sound Transit Trip Planner to estimate your commutes from where you plan on living to where you are planning on working.
If we compare Portland to Seattle, you may be surprised to learn that Seattle actually gets less rain than Portland. Seattle averages a couple of days more of snow ~5 than Portland. Seattle may get a bad wrap because on average, Seattle has 201 cloudy days a year, but it actually ranks 6th for cloudy days, which is unfair since Portland ranks in at 3rd with ~164 cloudy days a year.
Be advised that Seattlites are notoriously bad drivers in the snow so I suggest staying off the roads whenever it snows.
One thing to bear in mind is Seattle has a near manic phobia of umbrellas. If you want to blend in during the winter in the Seattle area, get yourself a great raincoat and ditch the umbrella.
While Seattle may have a reputation for being gray and rainy, Seattle is also tops when it comes to having awesome summers. Compared to Portland, Seattle has more sunny summer days and more mild temperatures Overall.
One thing is for sure. When summer hits in Seattle, we like to get out and do things. With water everywhere and hills everywhere, many people get out and swim, hike and boat. There is also a festival or event of some sort just about every weekend.
Taxes and Income
Taxes are the one place where Oregon and Washington differ greatly. While Oregon has no sales tax, but a moderately stiff personal income tax, Washington has no income tax, but has a sales tax that starts at 6.5% but is typically right around 10% in the Seattle area.
When it comes to income, comparing Seattle to Portland, the average income is higher in Seattle at $115,414 with Portland at $80,212 annually.
Real estate across the Seattle area varies quite a bit. If we compare Portland to Seattle, recent figures put the average home price in Seattle, at ~$714,000 and Portland’s at ~$417,000. The steep Seattle home prices are why many people look to outlying communities to live in. While average home prices hover in the $700,000s all along the I-5 corridor, homes in the Lynnwood area hover at about an average of $500,000. Another popular choice is the Renton area where the average home price is about $470,000.
When you are moving to Seattle from Oregon, what area you move to will depend on what lifestyle you are looking for as well as the type of home you are looking for and the total price.