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Sunset magazine ranks Pullman among 10 Best College Towns in West

UPDATED: Wed., Aug. 23, 2017

Sunset magazine believes Pullman is worthy of consideration by anyone looking for a friendly, low-crime, high-quality-lifestyle place to live, recently ranking it ninth on its 10 Best College Towns in the West list. (University of Washington)
Sunset magazine believes Pullman is worthy of consideration by anyone looking for a friendly, low-crime, high-quality-lifestyle place to live, recently ranking it ninth on its 10 Best College Towns in the West list. (University of Washington)
By Paul W. Smith The Spokesman-Review

The home of Washington State University has been named a top college town, but not just for prospective students, Pac-12 athletes or professors.

Sunset magazine believes Pullman is worthy of consideration by anyone looking for a friendly, low-crime, high-quality-lifestyle place to live, recently ranking it ninth on its 10 Best College Towns in the West list.

The publication – a monthly lifestyle magazine that chronicles the life, culture, food and destinations in the Western U.S. and western Canadian provinces – ranked Pullman just ahead of No. 10 Tempe, Arizona. The top ranking went to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“These college towns get straight A’s for top-notch education and lifestyle beyond campus – places with a covetable food scene, plenty of outdoor offerings, solid real estate value, and above all, great-neighbor potential,” the magazine’s website says.

Other western college towns ranked by Sunset were (2 through 8): Berkeley, California; Bozeman; Claremont, California; Eugene; Fort Collins, Colorado; Honolulu; and Logan, Utah.

Noting Palouse vistas of rolling, fertile hills and the area’s four-season climate, the magazine said the region’s largest city is a town “with nice folks and a virtually non-existent crime rate” where families “will appreciate the higher-learning institution” of WSU.

Pullman’s safety, affordability, and cultural and outdoor activities play a part in the community’s attractiveness and its consideration as someone’s future home, said Marie Dymkoski, executive director of the Pullman Chamber of Commerce.

But with a Top 10 list of some sort or another being bantered about on social media and elsewhere almost weekly, some may question their relevance. However, Dymkoski sees the rankings’ benefit.

“When we make these types of lists, it only bodes well for the university and the community,” she said, noting Pullman has made several such lists in recent years.

Aside from college students – some of whom decide to become residents after graduation – the community has seen an increase in permanent residents, “because it is safe, it is fun, it is green” with a lot of outdoor opportunities, Dymkoski said. The Sunset ranking “reinforces what we already know to be true.”

“We’re seeing a lot of retired folks coming here for those very reasons” listed in the Sunset criteria, she said. “It’s cultural, vibrant and has a lot of things to do.”

Arrival last year of a new university president and a new city supervisor have been catalysts for a renewed vigor among community leaders and residents, Dymkoski said, adding that city, chamber and university representatives last fall with an eye toward the future.

“We literally are talking about making Pullman an exceptional college town,” she said.

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