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More specific discussion regarding race relations.
The one industry that will continue to grow for a while is healthcare so you should be able to find a healthcare job just about anywhere you go if you're willing to put in your time doing some grunt work. Boise would be the place to start in my opinion because it's a small town disguised as a metro area with a major airport, Costco, etc. South of Boise is dry range and farmland. North of Boise is where the forests, rivers, mountains and other awesome outdoor stuff beings. It's also fairly low elevation and it has 280-300 days of sunshine.
I believe the Northern ID racism is very isolated. In general, people discriminate against people who are jerks or feel like the world owes them something. As long as you're nice/polite and determined to make your own way in life, you should be good to go. In general, the PNW has no cultural bigotry because the American version of history only goes back a 150 years. There are not generations of people who grew up being taught others were less than them.
I believe most people in Idaho are good people who are friendly and generally willing to look out for their neighbors. If you're Conservative and don't push to dismantle traditional values and institutions, you should feel right at home in Idaho. In addition, there is a fairly substantial Hispanic population in the Pacific NW.
As a whole, Idaho is by far the most liberty minded of the three. Basically, once you get East of the Cascade mountains most people lean more Libertarian/Conservative. WA and OR get a bad reputation because of the liberal governments and liberal big cities on the West sides of the two states. That being said, the big government libs in WA/OR is like a cancer in those states, so you might as well start in Idaho where you have the best chance to living a life with less government intrusion into your life.
Idaho Forum @ http://walkingtofreedom.com/forum/index.php?board=20.0
[quote=skipr]The public transportation system in Portland OR is very good, but the area is way too big for me. The CA drought is also marching north, so the area doesn't have any good long term potential. Some friends have told me about the Puget Sound area around Port Angeles and Port Townsend. I hope to get some first hand knowledge of that area's transportation systems and "walkability" soon. The yearly temperature swings there are probably the most comfortable, but it is also in the shadow of the Olympics, so water could eventually become a problem there too.[/quote]
I suggest checking out Bellingham, WA
+ College town (Western Washington University)
+ Fairly comprehensive bus system
+ Costco and other shopping are bus-accessible
+ Activities are also accessible via public transit.
+ On the water rarely gets snow, but does get cold air from the Strait of Juan De Fuca
+ Small international airport provides easy access to the rest of the country without waiting in lines.
+ Beautiful area, people tend to be nice.
+ Regional Amtrack commuter train can take you to Vancouver BC and Seattle with connecting trains to Portland and points South or East.
[quote=joesxm2011]Is there anyone here that has some first hand experience on what it is like in Idaho up near Lewiston?[/quote]
We have friends there. It's only about 1,000 foot elevation so warmer/less prone to freezing than other areas of ID. We've seriously considered living there, but it's very brown much of the year. We're just not ready to make that move.
It's in between a lot of things…which is good news bad news. There's a Costco across the river in Clarskston so you can get what you need there…but it's a few hours to a city. They have a good regional airport that tacks on a hundred bucks to connect to a major airport like Seattle.
Great feedback. Generally, where did you land when you moved away from WA/OR? We're leaving Western WA North of Seattle, and would like to live in a financially responsible state with more sunshine. Boise is the simple solution, but I'm not convinced I'll appreciate the brown hills around the city.