MYNORTHWEST BLOG

Live in Sammamish for the schools and then get out

Jun 29, 2019, 7:27 AM | Updated: Jul 1, 2019, 11:21 am
Sammamish...
A generic suburb, but it might as well be Sammamish. Be honest, you couldn't tell the difference. unsplash-logoJp Valery

Sammamish: The best place to live in Washington. Or at least that’s the latest hype about the city. Similar rankings often pop into my email boasting of the city’s affordability, or even how much cheaper it is to buy a car there. In short, the best.

“Really?!” John Curley exclaimed when I told him this. “By what standards? It’s got great schools, it’s well-to-do, it has a great community center. But it’s a plateau and it’s a pain in the butt to get off of, and it’s a pain in the butt to get back onto.”

Curley lives there and is a former council member. Gee Scott has lived there for more than two years. They’re both residents, and each carry different perspectives. They, however, agree when it comes to living there.

“I do think that Sammamish is the best place to raise your kids … you don’t need a car to get around in the Sammamish area,” Gee said. “All the time, you see a bunch of kids in neighborhoods, walking into town. In the summer time is pretty cool for the kids, you have Lake Sammamish right there.”

“Now, when my kids are done in school, which is in a couple years, see ya!” he added.

Homes vandalized in Klahanie with grafitti
Eastside city hit by ransomeware attack

This is not meant to be a dig at the city or the people who live there. I grew up in the area. It was boring, to say the least, and I could go on with other very negative criticisms. But it’s not like it’s different from most any other suburb.

On the other hand, it’s understandable why some people are drawn to the area — family. Nearly half of all households in the city have children and 77 percent of households have married couples.

What isn’t as understandable is the claim that it’s the best place to live in Washington state. It’s frequently rated as the best place to live by Money Magazine, CNN Money, or Forbes (consider the sources, you can draw your own conclusions).

I asked these two KIRO Radio hosts and Sammamish residents to weigh in. Two very different Sammamishites. Sammamishonians … Sammamishers? But before that, feel free to weigh in with your own opinion below.

The good

Schools

“Great schools,” Curley said. “People move there for the schools.”

“My kids go to Eastside Catholic,” Gee said. “It was a family decision and I wanted them to live very close to where they went to school …. When you are getting ready for the ACT and the SAT, even though Eastide Catholic is private, that school system gets you prepared – very good test scores.”

Safe neighborhoods

“Unbelievably safe,” Curley said. “When I was a council member, the biggest problem we would get was ‘there’s a dead raccoon on the side of the road.’ And we were quick to respond.”

“I’ll tell you something that stands out about Sammamish,” Gee said. “I love the fact that if you call the police, the police will be there at your house in 30 seconds. I had a situation where I had a knock at my door at 4:30 in the morning. It was the police. He says, ‘We caught somebody going through your car.’ Well, the neighbor saw them going through my car in the middle of the night. The police were called. The police were on the scene before the person who was going through my car was done. That’s how fast the police response time is in Sammamish. So if you want to do crime, Sammamish is not the place to do it.”

The bad

Shopping

“As far as the stores are concerned, they don’t have anything that stands out,” Gee said. “They have basic stores, Trader Joe’s, Safeway, places to get your oil changed, a couple gas stations, a McDonald’s.”

“Shopping?!” John said. “Are we talking about the QFC or the Safeway? Or maybe Met Market, they’ve got candles, overpriced almond milk … and we don’t call them strip malls, they are ‘open air shopping village experiences’ with really, really good parking.”

Food

“We have hardly any good restaurants,” Curley said. “I think we give Federal Way a run for its money when it comes to fast food. If you’ve done the Jack in the Box and the McDonald’s, why not head over to Domino’s. They’re all within a stone’s throw of each other.”

“They close early,” Gee said. “They are closed at like 9 or 9:30 p.m. … they’ve got the Sammamish café, and they’ve got the Ale House. Those places close early, even on the weekends. As far as food and the restaurants, out of 10, I’d give it a 3. I’ll say this, the food there needs more seasoning.”

The Sammamish

Affordability

“It’s not as expensive as Bellevue, it’s not as expensive as Kirkland, or Clyde Hill or Medina,” Gee said. “But it’s spendy to live there. I would not move there thinking about affordability. You are paying for the school system. If you own a house there, you are paying good property taxes.”

“The median income in 2009, was $135,000, I don’t know what it is now,” Curley said. “Affordable? You can get a 4,000-square-foot house, brand new, for $1.4 million. And the beauty of it is you can know exactly what your neighbor is cooking for dinner; you can smell it because they are 15 feet away. You have a $1 million house and you can look across and see the guy’s Levi waist band size, which is about a 36, average size in Sammamish.”

Note: According to the latest census data (2017), the median family income is $157,271.

What is there to do?

“Nothing,” Gee said. “No nightlife at all. There’s more night life in Redmond than there is in Sammamish. There is more night life in Issaquah.”

“Well, when your kids are young, you go to a soccer field and drink $9 lattes from Starbucks, and you watch your 7-year-old kick another 7-year-old in the shins while you read Facebook,” Curley said. “That’s when they are young … I don’t know what people do there otherwise. I go to work, then I go to the gym … there’s the Pine Lake Ale House where you can get a fried chicken sandwich. There’s no nightlife. Pine Lake Ale House is the restaurant people go to.”

Final thoughts?

“If you have a family with young kids, Sammamish is a great place to go,” Gee said. “If it’s just you and your significant other, hell no, Sammamish is not the place to go. It’s nice, it’s pretty plain. If you’re looking for excitement, this is not what you want. Sammamish, you get consistency, not excitement.”

“It’s a great place for families, but realize your children are going to be surrounded by very, very wealthy children and you really have to make sure that you have a solid foundation so your child is not swept up in the materialism that is all around them,” Curley said. “I’m talking about kids getting brand new cars for their birthday and going to school, or racing around on boats on Lake Sammamish. They are going to be surrounded by money and hopefully they got some strong values.”

MyNorthwest Blog

Capital gains tax advisory vote, Seattle vote swings...
Nick Bowman

Seattle’s 2021 election establishes large, late swings for progressive candidates as new normal

Massive swings of late votes for Seattle's progressive candidates appear to have become the new normal after 2021's general election.
19 days ago
Amazon Seattle, corporate HQ...
Nick Bowman

Corporate money wins Seattle in new form after sparking ire of voters in 2019

A slate of business-friendly candidates won all but one major Seattle race, with corporate money finding influence in more subtle ways.
20 days ago
Seattle election results...
Nick Bowman

Moderate Seattle candidates carry the night, as progressives face steep climb to close gap

The first round of Seattle and King County election results arrived Tuesday, with moderate and conservative candidates largely carrying the night. 
26 days ago
Seattle City Attorney candidates...
Nick Bowman

Contentious race for Seattle City Attorney winds to a close with decision now put to voters

Tuesday will close out what's been a contentious race between Seattle City Attorney candidates operating at opposite ends of the political spectrum. 
27 days ago
Compassion Seattle...
Nick Bowman

How Compassion Seattle became dividing line between candidates following defeat in court

The debate around homelessness during this election cycle has centered on the now-defunct Compassion Seattle ballot initiative.
28 days ago
Seattle Democracy Vouchers...
Nick Bowman

With campaign spending at record heights, is Seattle’s Democracy Voucher program still working?

Given that campaign spending has soared to record levels in 2021, is Seattle's Democracy Voucher program still working as intended?
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Live in Sammamish for the schools and then get out