Thanks guy. I'll try to clarify a little.
As to Tacoma, idaknow,. The pulp mill smell hit me a time or two...I think just momentarily, tho...when I was there last May, but maybe it was just a bad day...or I was in a bad spot(s)...or it was actually a sewage line break. In any case, based on recs here, I'll reconsider it...it is a good location.
Also, the only places where I've spent actual time out and about doing things and staying a spell are Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia. Any other town or burb has just been glimpsed while passing by on the freeway. I think I stopped for gas in North Bend once...maybe. Jay is right, though, it's just too much rain for me...and I even like rain!
I thought about Bellingham, but I wanted to keep the distance into Seattle under an hour. It's not totally off the table...just teetering on the edge, though.
I realize suburbs/exurbs are suburbs/exurbs, but some are more so than others. Everett was recommended by someone else, and I never considered it and have never been there. Looking online a little, though, it appears to have an actual downtown of its own and possibly a dash of...character?
I know the traffic is a horror show. I lived in Dallas when the DOT-ranked 10 most dangerous intersections in the nation included a whopping 5 from Dallas...and Seattle has far worse traffic than Dallas! I figure it's due to no "ring" freeways, but whatever, if the place I pick has most all day-to-day needs (groceries, gas, some entertainment, dining, basic services, etc) sufficiently nearby, I shouldn't have to get up on the freeways or spend much, if even any, time on major thoroughfares. Check that box, and traffic is less of a concern.
Someone asked for more detail on requirements, but I thought I listed 'em fairly well. I know a lot of it's intangible kind of stuff. The house/condo/townhome size is non-negotiable for reasons I won't bore anyone with. A friend suggested an "arty, hippy" place, and that's a good description of what I'd like, a place with its own at least sorta-downtown/central business district area (I lived in Grapevine for awhile while in DFW 20 minutes from Dallas and 20 minutes from Ft. Worth, yet definitely its own, distinct town), as close in to Seattle...or Portland!...as is reasonably possible while also being as close to skiing as is reasonably possible. A nearby park or two would be nice!
Snohomish/Monroe maybe? Any other thoughts on Everett? Bonney Lake/Enumclaw area?
As to Portland, I've whizzed through on 5 or 84 before, but that's it. Still, I'll be making an exploratory trip to both places in the next few days, and I'm really wondering where I should spend my limited snooping around time.
Hope that helps. Thanks for the input.
Edited by Skierish - 4/3/15 at 11:17am