Your Name: Samantha Webb
Base Name: Fort Lewis
Base Location: Washington
How long have you been here?
What is housing like? On-post? (waiting list, conditions, etc.) Off-post? Any areas to stay away from? Average price to rent or buy?
After all of 2ID left for deployment housing is super easy to get in sometimes you don’t even have to wait a month. Once they get back and more people are transferred here it will take 3 months to a year…most likely a year. Old Hillside is garbage! My parents lived there and they got rodents and bugs from the neighbors who had the police out to the neighborhood at least once a month. The houses are filled with mold and the cheapest carpets and cabinets you’ve ever seen. They have been newly renovated though…if that is a plus.
Off-post: If you want to feel safe and secure in your neighborhood rent or buy in Dupont (super expensive but totally worth it and it’s right outside one of the gates!), Lacey and Puyallup are about a 15-20 min drive from Lewis. I recommend Lacey because traffic heading South on I-5 goes so much faster than going North. You can be at a stand still going North but but going 50 mph going South! If you like the country feel I recommend Spanaway or Yelm both close to East Gate. Very nice towns. Do not under any circumstances trust the city of Lakewood, South Tacoma, or Tillicum. They are garbage…prepare to have your vehicle and home broken into if you live there.
Rate the PX & Commissary:
I don’t buy name brand stuff very often and that is pretty much all the PX sells. It is a little cheaper than buying it at the actual store though. Don’t buy beauty products there! They sell the smallest size and raise the price to include taxes even though you don’t have to pay them…they are pocketing the extra money. Video games and pretty much any thing electronic…shop around! Walmart almost always has the lowest prices (there is one in Lacey, Lakewood, Yelm, and Spanaway)! As for the commissary don’t even waste your time going on pay days! You will get mauled if you take too long looking at something. Go on Saturday mornings they open the doors at 8:30 but you can’t checkout til 9 usually retirees go then. They do sometimes offer sales on things that are very useful. Soda and meat is cheaper there. Beware of the produce it is almost always got only a couple days of freshness left.
Activities on base?
The MWR does offer lots of cool outdoorsy things to do, there is a movie theater ($2 movies!), roller skating rink, bowling alley, a ton of gyms, lots of libraries, CYS for kids and teens offers a lot of cool almost free things to do. On Sunday for deployed soldiers family members you can bowl for free and CYS gives kids and teens 2 free classes a quarter I believe. There is raindrops and rainbows for toddlers and infants too.
Active Spouses Club?
It is all drama! But they offer lots of clubs if you make any girlfriends.
Things to do in area?
There are a ton of things to do. Seattle is full of history and museums. You can see the ocean in Ocean Shores. Tacoma has a zoo. There is Mt. Rainier and Mt. Saint Helens. Portland, Oregon isn’t too far away either for a weekend trip. San Juan and Whidbey Island are beautiful places. You can see the Capital in Olympia. There are pumpkin patches in Tenino and a Christmas expo at the Tacoma Dome.
Lakes high school and Clover Park in Lakewood are terrible high schools! The elementary schools on post are good. I hear the best schools are in Puyallup and Olympia. I wouldn’t say Yelm is bad either very small town! I heard Lacey has all day kindergarten if that is important (post offers half day).
Any colleges in area?
There are plenty Pierce College (Lakewood and Puyallup and on-post), Washington State University, Pacific Lutheran university, Clover Park Technical College, Saint Martins College, South Puget Sound Community College, and Evergreen College.
Jobs? (on post and off).
Don’t every work for AAFES they will work you till you die. Off post its easy enough to find a job.
Favorite aspect of this base/surrounding city?
I love the weather. I am from NW Missouri and I can tell you the weather there is terrible. There are beautiful summers here and fantastic winters. It gets really hot for about one week every summer. You don’t really need air conditioning though. It snows a couple of good snows every year but the snow is usually gone by the next day. In the winter, it will rain a lot! But that beats the heck out of cleaning a bunch of snow and ice off your car every morning!
Least favorite aspect?
The speed limit on the freeway (interstate) is 60 mph. No one can drive! Seriously, if you try to drive with the people here be prepared to slow down for crazy things.
Local websites? (base, chamber, newspaper, schools, etc.)
I have named a ton on things you can google search the cities! I highly recommend Dupont if you can afford it but Lacey is great (Madison Apartments Lacey, WA)!
Any other tips?
Make something good of your life here and you will love it. Definitely check out all the cool things in Seattle!