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Retire in Port Angeles, Washington?
Overview: Port Angeles is a harbor town that sits on the northern shores of the stunning Olympic Peninsula in northwestern Washington. It was built on the site of two Indian villages, and the Ediz Hook, a sandspit that extends into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, helped create its deep water port. For many years Port Angeles was a mill town, producing lumber, pulp and paper.
As the headquarters of the Olympic National Park, the town's economy is today primarily dependent on tourism. The park has an amazing variety of ecosytems within its boundaries, everything from ancient glaciers to temperate rainforests, and it attracts all sorts of outdoor adventurers. Lake Crescent and Hurricane Ridge are two popular park destinations. Closer in, the Olympic Discovery Trail is a greenway that circumnavigates Port Angeles and Sequim. The town itself manages numerous parks, a stadium, a pool, and a community center. The downtown is authentic with a touristy bent. Buildings are red brick and house cafes, bookstores and antique shops. Peninsula College, a community college with 10,000 part-time students, is based here, as is Clallam County's historical society and museum.
The Port Angeles Symphony conducts a busy season of pops and chamber concerts, and the Port Angeles Community Theater has been producing plays for more than 50 years. Several highly-rated wineries are in the area, too. Home styles are eclectic and include Cape Cod, bungalow, Craftsman, raised ranch and more.
Population: 20,000 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 44%
Cost of Living: 3% below the national average
Median Home Price: $260,000
Climate: Port Angeles sits in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains and receives about 25 inches of rain and a dusting of snow each year. Summer temperatures are in the 50s, 60s and 70s, and winter temperatures are in the 30s and 40s.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? Yes
Public Transit: Yes, and Port Angeles is served by an international ferry and airport.
Crime Rate: Slightly above the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Liberal
College Educated: 21%
Is Washington Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Notes: Shopping and services are adequate, but many residents travel to Sequim, 30 miles away, for supplies.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
Washington was the 42nd state to enter the union on November 11, 1889. The initial state constitution proposed women's suffrage and prohibition. Both ideas were removed from the final document. Women did not gain the right to vote in the Evergreen State until 1910.
The country's 18th largest state has six distinct geographic areas. The northwest corner contains the rugged Olympic Mountains. The Coast Range, in Washington's southwest corner, include the Willapa Hills. The Rocky Mountains and Cascade Mountains also cut through the state. The Columbia Plateau has fertile land. A large portion of the population lives in the Puget Sound Lowlands. Ports like Anacortes and Skagit have helped the state maintain its role as a leader in trade.
West of the Cascades, the climate can be mild and humid. Washingtonians east of the Cascades may experience warmer summers and cooler winters. Annual precipitation there can be as little as six inches. Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are a rarity, but coastal flooding, freezing rain, and high winds are possibilities.
Pacific Rim commerce is a major economic driver. Other key businesses are the manufacture of jet aircraft, computer software development, online retailing, mining, tourism, and wood products. Washington contributes red raspberries, apples, and hops to the nation's food basket. It leads the country in hydro-electric power generation.
Washington is the only state in the Union to be named after a president. It's highest point, Mt. Ranier, was named after a British soldier who fought against America in the Revolutionary War.
Population - 7,288,000
Persons 65 years old and over - 15%
High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 90%
Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 33%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 12%
White persons, not Hispanic - 69%
Median household income - $61,062
Median home value - $259,900
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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