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Franciscan Montessori Earth School Families – Where to Live?

Living close to a specific school is the choice for this urbanMama, but she needs some feedback on neighborhoods close to the school.  Here's her dilemma.  Can you help?

We’re thinking of enrolling our kids in the Franciscan Montessori Earth School, and we’re also thinking of buying a bigger house. But we’re having trouble figuring out where to buy if we’re planning to send our kids to school in outer SE. (We're trying to minimize the issue of the long drive.) We DON’T want to live in suburbia, and we DO want an established neighborhood that’s homey with safe, quiet streets, older houses. We love Eastmoreland, but it’s so expensive. We love Concordia, but it seems like that would be a bear of a drive to FMES. Are there any Franciscan families out there that can recommend their neighborhoods, that don’t mind their drive?  (We’re also a work from home family with lots of kids, so the other issue is we need a minimum of four bedrooms, maybe more.) All input welcome!

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We go to FMES, and actually moved from the Glisan/72nd area to an area closer to the school called Cherry Park. It's a very pleasant pocket neighborhood south of Mall 205/Target and north of Division. 96th Ave. and 106th Ave. border our east/west sides. The area has many pros: quiet, family friendly, low traffic, some rather cool mid-century ranch style homes, low to no crime, walkable neighborhood with elementary school park and a couple of other parks including a dog park, easy 205 access. And a few cons: grocery stores too far to walk to(although Target carries milk and other emergency stuff), not very diverse, people in these ranch hoods tend to keep to themselves, and we're more of a front porch chit chat family. I know there are more cons, but I'm trying to complain less so I'm actually having trouble thinking of worthy cons! Oh, the drive to FMES from our neighborhood is about 7 minutes on a good day. And we know famlies that commute from pretty far away(Concordia too!), and unless you work out a carpool, that drive gets pretty old!

We're starting in the fall, and we live in the Mt. Tabor area. Drive is about 15 mins, which should be OK for us, although I will try to find a carpool.

Woodstock is a very homey neighborhood and still rather affordable. I think it is very up-and-coming, lots of families, great places to walk to. I know folks from my daughter's school, Whole Child Montessori, who live in this hood whose kids go to the Earth school so I'm sure lots of carpooling avail. We are getting ready to sell our house (you should take a look; might work for your family) and move out of town to be closer to family and I am really mourning our neighborhood and lovely, cool Portland! WAAAAAA!

We live in Beaumont/Wilshire (near Concordia) and don't mind the drive out to FMES. It's actually pretty fast - about 20-30 mins - and I use it as my peaceful-listening-to-NPR time (I catch Morning Edition in the morning, Fresh Air in the afternoon). Once my now-2-year-old is also enrolled, we'll probably be taking the bus at least part of the time (it's about 40 minutes from B/W by bus).

I have a friend who lives just north of Glendover golf course in a great little pocket. There are some bigger homes - they live in a small ranch with a gigantic backyard. They're generally very happy there, but she does say there's a bit of a lack of "neighborhoodiness" and it's not a very walkable area (no sidewalks).

In the other direction, there are some nice homes on the north slope of Powell Butte. I think you'd really have to look around and see if you find anything you like. The area right around FMES is a little sketchy, but I drive through little nice-looking pockets over there all the time. Good luck with your search, and if you have any questions about the school, I'd be happy to try to help!

We just looked at a number of homes in the Arleta/Mt. Scott neighborhood. Totally affordable, and while mostly still in "transition" the area is definately moving right along! On most blocks we saw houses with younger children, lots of garden beds and compost machines. I don't know how far it is to the earth school from there, but that's where we're hoping to send our little girl, as soon as she is old enough!

We live near downtown Gresham which believe it or not actually has it's own identity other than suburbia; library, farmer's market, public transportation. We drive about 12 minutes straight down Powell to FMES and it works really well for us.

My children go to FMES and we also live in the Mt Tabor neighborhood. It is quite a quick trip to school -- Stark/Washington, 205, Division -- maybe 15 minutes. And if you are interested, there are quite a few families that carpool at least a few times a week.

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