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You should live WHERE?

You should live HERE. Yeah, you. Yeah, HERE. We've received email from the producers of a new show for HGTV:

We're currently producing a show for Home and Garden Television (HGTV) called "You Should Live Here," which is a "live life to the fullest" breakdown of where it's great to live in the US. Portland was recently named the Best City to Have a Baby, so we're looking to feature expecting parents who have really taken advantage of all that Portland has to offer. We're very interested in finding people to feature on the show. We'd love to see what couples are doing to get their homes ready, the funky shops they find their kids clothing and any other unique groups or activities they are apart of.

“You Should Live Here,” a brand new one-hour special airing on Home and Garden Television (HGTV), explores some of the best cities to live in the U.S. and the people who know best – you! This spring, this exciting new special kicks off with a fresh look at where Americans are choosing to live and play and a fun interactive poll for viewers at home to make their own decisions.

So, what’s the best city to live in? It all depends on what you’re looking for! Whether you’re looking for the best city to start your own business or the best city for extreme sports, we’ve got you covered with answers that just might surprise you. We’ve got over 20 cities to see and dozens of locals who would love to show you around. Along the way, we’ll be revealing HGTV’s viewers choices for their favorite city attributes, building to our Most Livable City!

urbanMamas represent! We know y'all know what's up. What are the top things to share with HGTV to show 'em what makes our fair Portland the Best City to Have a Baby?

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Birth Choices!
Two waterbirth centers (Andaluz and Alma), plenty O'supportive hospitals, Miwives and Doulas up the wazzoo, lot's of pregnant and new momma yoga choices, large variety of birthing class styles (including several Birthing From Within instructors).

We've also attended reunions with both our Birthing Class and Alma, the birth center we used.

Compared to my sisters who birthed elsewhere in the country I would say I definetly had it best!

As has been posted elsewhere, I believe, Portland is breast-feeding friendly.

When I worked in the ER at Meridian Park, two babies died at Andaluz while being born. It was awful.

This city is great for many, many types of people. There are groups for everything. I think there is a lot of support here for the myriad of ways parenting plays out, without too much mama-dogma.
In Portland you can ride with your kid on the back of your bike in a real bike lane all over town without people honking at you. We have excellent family centered businesses like P B and Es, The Laurelwood, and Milagros that support family culture. We have fantastic parks, community centers, childrens museums. The Oregon Health Plan is one of the best in the country, providing free health care to pregnant women and children. The childrens hospitals are top-notch, with patients coming from all-over for the specialists and cutting edge work beign done at Legacy and OSHU.
The Portland community supports family businesses. In my store the demand for mom-made products is overwhelming.
In Portland you can raise your family the way you want to and find other people to help you.

I agree with everything mentioned by Amberlynn, the boss, and Bella Stella. To their list, I would add our kick-ass public library system, its extensive programs for kids and families, and Portland's generally book-friendly culture, even outside of Powell's. We also have a ton of businesses that are not "family-centered" as such, but are still very welcoming to parents and children. Examples that come to mind are McMenamins, the movie theaters that offer "mommy matinees" and even child care, just about any neighborhood restaurant, and spas like Zenana. OK, Zenana probably does count as explicitly family-centered. Anyway... last but not least... Portland has urbanMamas itself (ourselves)! This is the only place I ever considered raising my family.

Jen went to Concordia University and taught at the Metropolitan Learning Center. So even though we started our married life in Seattle, we already had a taste of Portland when when we decided to start a family here. We came to Portland because we truly believe it is the BEST place to raise a family – or a dog, props to the dog parks!

What makes Portland great? The people. Our lives revolve around families – our own and the ones who come into Milagros. What we experience on a daily basis is that Portlanders of all stripes 1) are willing to make decisions that support the environment; 2) feel that people of any age and origin should be treated with respect; 3) are creative and appreciate creativity; 4)are open-minded and curious; 5) take ownership in shaping their neighborhoods, schools, city and more; and 6) on a related note - love to shop local and EXPECT businesses to be part of the community, not separate from it.

Of course, you don't need to own a baby boutique to figure this out. Pursue the posts and comments on this site and you will find PLENTY of evidence for these conclusions. And when I read the posts here, I actually get the sense that people are LISTENING to each other - not a common trait in the information age.

Not surprisingly, these are the types of values that make for a very positive environment for families and result in a lot of opportunities for learning, creating, connecting, and community that you won't find in other cities.

These values were already here when we came to Portland, we came here to be part of something important. To boil it down, what is our personal vision for our family and the driving force behind our decisions for Milagros? To make the world a better place. There may be some people shaking their heads to read something like that (“oh, how trite!”) but we know there are many, many people in this city who are saying ME TOO!

Ahhh, but how turn that into good TV?

I have to agree that one of the reasons we like it here so much is the people...all walks of life, and everyone seems so happy to live in this city! We lived for several years in New England, and that was not necessarily the case. As newcomers we were way outnumbered by lifetime New Englanders, whereas in Portland it seems half the city has just moved here within the last few years. I love being surrounded by other people who've either moved here, or decided to stay for strategic, quality of life reasons. It makes a huge difference in your daily interactions with people. When we left New England so many people said things like "Oh, you're so lucky that you get to just pick up and move". We thought it was pretty funny, but really, a lot of people we knew there had lived in that one Boston suburb their entire lives and wouldn't dare pack up and move across the country because their entire family and life revolved around that part of the country.

And, I'm surprised no one's mentioned the Parks and Rec system...not many cities out there where you can spend $1.50 for several hours of entertainment for your toddler on a rainy morning, or walk from your house to your choice of at least 3 great parks when the weather is nice.

so, how do we expecting urban mamas get in touch with these producers?

I agree with everyone, its very baby/family friendly. I love how you don't have spend a lot to have a great time. the kids love just riding the trolley around and they love the fountains! My son loves to just watch the boats while walking at waterfront park (Tom Macall park?). The Portland Art Museum has really fun tours for kids (great to have someone else answer the "why" questions) and Portland Children's Museum has hours for just families.

I have to strongly agree with NoPo Mama. The Parks & Rec system in Portland is AMAZING! One of the things I always rave about when I talk to my midwesterner friends about Portland. Not only can my son take swimming lessons, martial arts and art all for under $100 a month, but when we first moved here I picked classes in all the different centers to help find my way around the city! Love Portland Parks & Rec!

for me, Portland is so great to raise a baby because here? I never feel judged (ok, well, rarely). I adore New York City but the mamas there seem to always have their children on display, not to mention their owned toned and buffed selves. their parenting skills seem to be communicated through everything, from the nursery school they choose to the diaper bags to the $700 strollers.

Here we may be toned and buffed (occasionally), we may dress our children up (once in a blue moon), but we don't do it for compare & contrast, we don't do it to prove what supermamas we are. we cheerfully compare our thrift store scores and the compromises we've made, we understand that all of our parenting philosophies differ -- but we can still love each other -- we try really hard and honor each other for the trying. while i dearly love my friends who live in other cities, sometimes i think to myself that no one is quite like my portland urbanMamas friends ... and whenever i'm gone, i miss the mamas here more even than the coffee.

did i mention the coffee? if you're going to be spending a lot of your time hitting the coffee shops with your new baby, by god, find a place with good coffee! ;)

I'm so happy HGTV's featuring Portland as a great place to live and raise kids! I'm 19 weeks pregnant with my first baby and believe there's not a better place in the country to raise children. It seems like there's always several fun children's events going on around town... and of course there's OMSI, the Children's Museum and the zoo, fantastic parks and rec and the library system (I love our libraries!). I know my family will never suffer from a lack of things to do and I'm really excited to explore the city with my baby.

As far as being an expecting Mom in the city, it's been a great experience. I've found it super easy to connect with moms and ask questions through Urban Mamas and Portland Mamas Inc, and I've been introduced to great stores like Milagros and Bella Bellies...and I know I've only begun to explore! It was easy to find a midwife, I have tremendous birthing class options in the city, and postpartum doulas available to help rescue me when I'm a tired, nervous new mom. Not to mention prenatal yoga and swimming classes and fantastic pedicures at Zenana Spa! I'm completely happy and grateful to be in such a great, friendly city.

Don't forget the great outdoor water options for kids in the summer. Jamison Square, Salmon Street Fountain. I think my family spends more time at Jamison Square (and now Sip ' Krantz) in the summer than at our own house!

Is it silly to say that I love everything about raising a family here? It's true! All of the reasons above and more...Sarah mentioned the coffee + great free Wi Fi (SO one of the reasons we're not moving anytime soon), but we also love all of the great brewpubs and wineries that are also kid-friendly. I've already bombarded her with my own personal lengthy novel about why Portland is the best place to have a baby and raise a family, so I will spare all of you my novel :)

Mamas,

With all your comments and feedback, feel free to contact Andrea directly:

Andi Kuenning
HGTV's You Should Live Here
High Noon Entertainment
Tel (303) 712-3197
Fax (303) 486-3881
akuenning@highnoonentertainment.com

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