Moving to Portland & Seeking Advice!
In the most recent "Cities Ranked and Rated", a study of 400 metropolitan areas ranks Portland at number 3. Even the Places Rated Almanac shows Portland at the top of list, as number 4. Here at urbanMamas, we know we have a great thing. We've had numerous conversations here about sense of place and our neighborhoods. Many of us have lived in different cities and have made the decision to move to and stay in Portland. Simply put, Portland's 'da bomb'.
Many of us know what it's like to research online to find the perfect neighborhood, school, and community. We've received a few recent emails from folks moving to Portland, asking specific questions and seeking your input, advice, and suggestions.
Amy and her family are moving to Portland from the Bay Area:
My husband and I are finally carrying out the dream we've talked about for years: Moving from the Bay Area to Portland. I grew up in Southern Oregon, and came to the Bay Area for grad school, as did my husband. Then we just kind of stuck around here. Now, we both work from home, have a toddler son, and we're ready to move. We really want to live near shops, good public schools, and parks —after commuting an hour each way every day to work for eight years, I'm done with driving for a while! Here are the neighborhoods we like: Irvington, Alameda,
Beaumont, and Laurelhurst. (We want to live really close-in, even Mount Tabor and Multnomah Village felt a little too far for us). Does anyone have thoughts on those neighborhoods, in terms of being family-friendly, close to things, safe, and having good public elementary schools? Also, some friends recommended we check out the west hills area and NW, but I was unsure after driving around there if young families live there and couldn't tell if the vibe was as friendly
as NE? Seems like Chapman and Ainsworth are good schools, but I really want to be close to other families and good stuff to do with my son (libraries, parks, museums, etc). Any thoughts would be much appreciated!
Shanna and her family are moving from Tennessee:
We are moving to Portland. We have twin daughters who will be starting kindergarten in the fall. We currently reside in Tennessee and I had planned on homeschooling the girls until we (a) left the state, or (b) could afford private school. But I've read up on the schools there, and they seem much better than here. And I am so happy to hear you have half-day kindergarten, that now I'm leaning towards public school starting in the fall. This leaves us with little time to figure out where we are going to live.
We are extremely excited about this move. My question is - coming in fresh and being able to locate anywhere in the area - where would you advise us to find a home? What I am concerned with is: good schools K-12, smaller class sizes, smaller school sizes; low crime; and a neighborhood that is walkable, enjoyable, and a long-term community that we can feel at home in. I don't know anything about the schools or neighborhoods there.
My best friend who just got back from there said she thought we'd be happiest around NW 23rd. I remember liking Washington Park and the area all around. My husband wants to bike to work downtown, I want to go back to school and get an MFA. Being near the MAX rail would be ideal.
Is it truly impossible to get into the charter schools? Should I consider homeschooling kindergarten and trying for a charter for first grade? Do they separate twins in charter schools there or how does that work?
Jen and her family are moving to Portland from Chicago:
I was wondering if anyone could give me some insight on the Portland Public Schools. We currently live in Chicago and have 3 kids (7,4,18 mos.) We are planning to move to Portland (hopefully by the fall) and I have been doing a TON of school research. I have also talked to a few people who have put their kids through the school system, however they are older and I think that things have definitely changed a bit. My son will be in 2nd grade and my daughter is still in preschool, but will then go into kindergarten. The areas that we have been looking to live are mainly in the NE (Irvington, Alameda) or possibly the SW because we have heard such great things about Ainsworth school.
So, our top school choices at this point are Alameda, Ainsworth and possibly Irvington. Can anyone give me some insight into any of these schools. I have been reading online, however, numbers and scores do not tell the whole story. Irvington, for example seems like it would be a
good school, given its location and what I hear about it, however it is given poor ratings on the websites. Also, what about Hollyrood? I heard that it is great, but may be closing? Where then would the kids go.
Are their any other schools that really stand out that anyone can suggest? My kids currently are in Private school in Chicago, and I do not want to go that route in Portland, however, I would like to get them into the best school possible. We are definitely putting the school choice first and then looking for a home in that area.
If anyone has some insight that would be GREATLY appreciated!! My eyes are going crosseyed from trying to decipher all the numbers and ratings, I would love to hear from some real people what they think of these and/or other schools so that I have some more information to then make the right decision!!