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Goldendale Washington

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jlee1981
(@jlee1981)
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I currently live in Goldendale WA (since 2010), which was a strategic relocation area according to Joel's book.  To my understanding, the current edition demotes Washington state altogether since the gun law was passed.  I would like to describe Goldendale and the people of the area to anyone considering locating here despite Washington state's left leaning government.  

Goldendale is a small town about 2,000 people give or take.  It has the small town feel downtown and amongst the businesses.  We are wooded with a mix of pine and oak trees, although the town itself is on the tree line.  Our local sheriff is Bob Songer and he is a constitutional sheriff who is also a Christian, the undersheriff is also very conservative and I believe he would follow Songer's footsteps if he ran and won the sheriff seat.  I personally called him on whether he would enforce Inslee's unconstitutional quarantine on churches and he said he would not.  The local police chief is a Christian and he belongs to the church I used to go to (Independent Bible Baptist) in town.  Two other local police officers also are members of this same church.  They carry their guns to church.  The west side of town towards the towns of Lyle and High Prairie are more liberal and start to encounter hippie type folks living off the land and wealthy Portland/Vancouver retirees who are liberal with White Salmon/Bingen being a concentration for these folks.  It is also more expensive property to buy versus the east side of town.  The property is nicer as they get a little more moisture on the west side though. The west side has the Columbia Gorge scenic designation so building permits and stuff are heavily enforced. The east side of town is where more conservative folk gravitate and the property is cheaper and building permits are easier obtained.  The County building people personally told us and my folks that they are "complaint driven", in other words, they don't bother you unless neighbors start to complain.  Many people live in RVs and cabins. I personally know of a couple that live in a straw bale house with a roof.  It has an outhouse.  The county doesn't bother them. There is wildlife abundant and the neighbors (mine anyways) all are gun holders and a lot of them are in the local posse that Bob Songer runs. This area is high in retirees and the demographic is mostly older people.  There just isn't a lot of jobs for the young.  My husband works at the County road department.  Employment for working age folks is: the school, County, Republic (landfill), truck driving for smaller owner/operator entities, PUD, construction, wind machines, and the hospital.

 

We are a young family that homeschools.  Goldendale is a spiritual haven.  There are a lot of religions/spiritual people here.  There is a local homeschooling co-op that a family that belongs to the Nazarene church runs and it is all mothers that teach and meet, they stay at home and the fathers work.  Most co-op families are large (5-8 kids).  The church allows the co-op to hold our meetings in the building for no charge.  In the co-op, there are all Christian denominations and they all get along as doctrine isn't taught except for creation being made by God not evolution.  There are Orthodox families, Seventh Day Adventist, Nazarene, Baptist, and Messianic people who participate. You have to fill out an application to apply and you must be a Christian.  Parents of the children take turns teaching classes on a monthly basis. There is a private school ran by the Seventh Day Adventist church and they are very helpful to the homeschoolers.  They allow homeschoolers to join school trips and to satellite kids there part time. This school also allows the homeschoolers to bring their children for a small charge to get their state assessment test at the beginning of every year that the state requires for homeschooling.  The Seventh Day Adventist school tuition is VERY AFFORDABLE.  It runs $300/yr for a full time student.  They teach k-8th grades. You do not need to be a member of the Adventist church to attend. To be honest, a lot of families also purchase online tests and administer them at home. There is a heavy amount of home fellowships, and some of these people participate in the co-op.  They are primarily Hebrew Roots and Seventh Day Adventist combinations.  The main churches in town are: Nazarene, Southern Baptist, Independent Bible Baptist, Assembly of God, River of Life (charismatic), Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Father's House Fellowship (charismatic).  There are also New Agers, a buddhist retreat and druids, but these are outside of town towards Trout Lake and Glenwood. The homeschoolers run in the 100s there are a lot of families here that do this.  The parents who homeschool are all educated people with college degrees, so they value education. Most homeschool families have mini farms and raise livestock or grow gardens, however they are not very apocalyptic or end times preppers. We personally raised milk goats, milk cow, calves and also garden. Most of the young families are somewhat naive about the government and the times we are in, and a lot of the churches are not really preaching prophecy or about the End Times in general. I would say the churches are more laid back and mainstream in dress and activity which is a reflection of the Pacific Northwest and the West coast in general, but they are conservative compared to Portland or Seattle.  The strictist sects are the home fellowships which are primarily Hebrew Roots, and Messianic combinations. 

Honestly, the homeschooling support is hard to beat, however there is mostly older people in the ranks of the churches. The young usually don't come back after college as there isn't a lot of employment. There are more and more people moving out here and there is talk of bringing in manufacturing into the town, but so far the city hasn't solicited anything yet.  That would change the landscape of the town though and I think local people don't want to do that. Shopping is long distance or through online.  The nearest town to go is The Dalles oregon.  There is no sales tax, however they know that they are isolated and so prices are not any lower than in Washington in the bigger towns such as Yakima.  Many people on the east side shop in Yakima WA (we do), as this is where the nearest Costco is.  A lot of people on the west side shop in Hood River which is where the nearest Walmart is, but it is not a super Walmart. Hood River has a vibrant artsy downtown and they have denied Walmart from expanding. The Dalles Oregon has Fred Meyers and Safeway but no one else. Many travel to Troutdale OR where the nearest Costco is if you live on the west side of town.  


   
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