Vashon Becomes Uninhabitable for Young Adults
By Chick Green, reporter
Vashon Island has built a reputation over the years for being an increasingly difficult place for young adults to live. People often leave the island immediately after graduating high school, and most never come back. When talking about why they want to leave, most people’s motivations are centered around three main factors: employment, cost of living, and social life.
Most students at the high school want to pursue some form of higher education into a certain field or trade and have expressed concern that Vashon doesn’t have the options available for their career.
“I couldn’t afford to live here and there’s no jobs that could support me,” senior Joe Lavegeur said. “There’s not a lot of opportunity on the island [and] it’s a lot of service industry suff, which is fine, but it’s also coupled with really high living costs.”
Many teenagers have already started to notice the lack of future employment opportunity, which turns their attention away from the island.
“There’s very few jobs and most of them are locally owned businesses by people who can profit off of the wealthier market,”senior Gillina Kirkpatrick said. “Mainly the job market is for high school students who need a part time job and even the full time jobs are given to older people because older people run the businesses and have a closed mind about what needs to happen.”
Designated broker and Owner of John L. Scott Vashon explained that another worry for upcoming young adults is all of the additional costs that come with living on an island.
“Even if you’ve got a decent paying job off island, you’re still giving up potentially as much as four hours a day to go back and forth plus the expense of doing it,” Zaglin said. “It is far easier to get a home on Vashon than it is in Seattle but is is far more difficult to get a home on Vashon than It would be, say, in North Carolina. Cost of living is not astronomically high on Vashon; it’s just there’s some limitations.”
Vashon’s isolation also provides more inconvenience for people looking to start a career.
“In some communities you have manufacturing jobs, in Seattle you have a ton of Amazon jobs, even short term work,” said Zaglin. “Any job you’re gonna get on Vashon, the probability is you’re gonna commute and then in addition to your normal cost of living you have the time as well as the expense of doing ferries.”
Vashon Island prides itself in the amount of live music, art, festivals, and other forms of events, but for people between the ages of 16 and 30, enjoyable entertainment can be scarce.
“I don’t know if I’d wanna be a teenager on Vashon.” said Zaglin. “It’s very limited in activities for someone in their senior year of high school… if I was trying to have a social life, it might be a bit more limiting.”
Even with many efforts from adults and teenagers alike, Vashon seems to be absent any sort of social activity or place to go for a young adult.
“It’s cool and everything … It’s really pretty and there’s a great community here, but as a young adult there’s not a lot going on. Even as I get older I find there’s places that I enjoy much more than I enjoy Vashon.” Kirkpatrick said. “There’s not a lot of opportunity so far in all the big milestones that people usually associate with growing up.”