"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> urbanMamas

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!!

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

As the mom of 2 toddlers, we're very happy in our (NE) Beaumont-Wilshire home. We don't have any first-hand experience with the public schools yet, but are comfortable with what we hear from our schools (Alameda, Beaumont, Grant.) We have a great park (Wilshire), library (Hollywood), Farmer's market (hollywood) and shopping within walking distance. Our preschool is "walkable" too. My husband's commute to downtown is fairly quick by bus.

Have to agree on the (NE) Beaumont-Wilshire review. Our family (with two children) LOVES their neighborhood. Sidewalks for riding bikes, parks within walking distance in any direction, access to all things "Portland". We moved here two years ago and it feels like we won the neighborhood lottery. Good luck in your decision process, Portlanders are fiercely loyal to their hoods...

NW Portland has a library branch and the street car makes it a snap to get to the large downtown library as well as PSU and the art Museum. My son goes to Friendly House preschool near Chapman and he loves it; they also have a playgroup there for toddlers and an afterschool program for kids from Chapman. Also, you can easily go up 23rd to Vista and be to the zoo/play area/Rose Garden in under ten minutes (If you take the bus, probably under twenty minutes).

Chapman is a good school, but I didn't love the middle school: West Sylvan. Lincoln is a good school, but it has all the trappings of being in the middle of downtown, some good and some bad. I have a child who is a junior there, so I can honestly say that some things are wonderful, others are problematic.

As far as safety, there are numerous sites out there that tell how many crimes, sex offenders, etc. Here are two may want to glance over: You can put in your zip code, address, and/or cross streets to get exact crime stats.

www.nationalalertregistry.com/

www.gis.ci.portland.or.us/maps/police/

If anyone hears of a 4 bedroom (or bigger) wiith oversized lot going up for sale in a dreamy eastside neighborhood, drop me an email! This family needs more room...

I work in the Beaverton School district and I think the schools there are quite good. The district is really expanding the magnet school opportunities and has great partnerships with Portland State University. Funding is fairly stable as well. If you are looking at NW Portland, you might look just over the West Hills at some of the close-in Beaverton School district areas.

I also think the NE Portland neighborhoods are great (this is where I live). I lived in Laurelhurst for 2 years and really liked that. It's close to the MAX and Hollywood via a walking overpass. Now I live in Rose City Park and also like this area, although I wish I was a little closer to the Beaumont shopping.

Check out www.portlandmaps.com for an addresses you are considering. This is the public court record and also includes lots of other information on crime, sewers, etc.

There is a great house for Jen or Shanna on the market right now; I just looked at it last week and it is perfect for a family (we have three girls.) It is three blocks from NW 23rd, one block from the streetcar and reasonably priced. It is the Chapman school district which has an excellent rating (same as Ainsworth.) We live in NW Portland, but up in the hills and thought we might want to move closer in so checked it out. I am not a realtor, just thought I would pass this lovely house along. RMLS.com and the mls number is 7039144

As a member of my local neighborhood board (I'm in Creston-Kenilworth and highly recommend it!) I'd just like to point out that, if anyone's moving to Portland without the money to invest in a lovely home in Beaumont, Laurelhurst, or NW Portland (all fantastic neighborhoods that I recommend to those who can afford them!), there are many neighborhoods whose crime may be a bit higher but who are still great candidates for family living.

using my neighborhood as an example: it, like many eastside neighborhoods is a mix of quite lower-income apartment complexes, brand-new trendy townhomes, and much older homes ranging from "oh my god when will they fix that up?" to stunning masterpieces of 21st-century updates. I live in a 1912 home on a double lot that's full of "potential" and lovely last-century details and probably now worth nearly triple what I paid for it in 2002. I think it's a fantastic neighborhood, and love that I can now walk to great local coffee shops and the "Gladstone Pub" and every day I find out that another neighbor is pregnant or a young family moved in a few houses away.

Of course, given the generous dose of $600/month apartments, there have been a lot of times I've called the police over what sounded like dangerous domestic squabbles, and I know that anyone with a 1989 Toyota is not safe in these parts. Powell Blvd. is far more famous for its strip clubs and cash stores than some of the new family restaurants and wine bars that are moving in.

despite the crime and graffiti I feel largely insulated from danger -- I've never felt nervous to walk alone, or with my children, after dark; I have great parks and grocery stores and schools (Grout, my neighborhood schoool, is a really great mix of cultures and has amazing teachers in my opinion); I know most of my neighbors and eagerly look forward to many good things to come in the next 10 years. A south lightrail is planned for the corridor along 17th ave and mcloughlin; we're working to get a streetcar on gladstone (hey, it might be 2015 before it happens, but i'll still be here i hope!) and the neighbors really care about one another.

I'd say that most of the close-in east neighborhoods that *aren't* crime-free and may not have the schools on the top of everyone's list are still fantastic places for young families to live. I'm one of those people out proclaiming how great Portland is for young families, and I don't think you (necessarily) have to make upward of six figures to enjoy it. there are plenty of homes for sale in my neighborhood, so if anyone is moving here and wants me to take them on a tour, just let me know :)

Oh, a couple of the neighborhoods I'd include on my list of I-love-them-but-they're-not-quite-so-perfect: Reed, Woodstock, Clinton, Sunnyside, Brooklyn, Piedmont, Richmond, Hosford-Abernethy, and Kerns.

You might also check out Buckman and Ladd's Addition. :-)

sarah, thanks for that post. I think sometimes people moving in only hear "beaumont, alameda,irvington and laurelhurst" and think that's all there is. the rose city neighborhood is also a great area as well.

It's odd that no one ever talks about Hillsdale. It seems so quaint and you get that "in the Oregon forest" feeling that you don't typically get in the city. As far as schools go, Lake Oswego and West Linn are great. West Linn seems a little less presumptuous than LO and has the cutest downtown. Speaking of downtowns, Camas has a lovely downtown area and also has great schools. Maybe I'm the only Umama that doesn't live in an urban neighborhood.

Are the Hillsdale schools good?

Wow. I guess what I find troubling about the responses, is that it seems to embrace some classist views about affordable housing. As though there is no room for urbanMamas with an income under 75-100K.

Many families DEPEND on the availability of $600 per month apartments and they also want safe streets and good schools and communities for their families.

As a single mama who works in social services(ostensibly locating affordable housing for seniors) and an affordable housing advocate, these neighborhoods are all that's left for my family and many others. It is my hope that the well-heeled mamas of umamas will think/act/vote for issues that affect those mamas and kids less 'fortunate' than themselves. Shouldn't every child in Portland has a good school? a safe neighborhood?

:::::::hops off soapbox:::::::

Most core (east of 82nd) neighborhoods are relatively "safe", compared to similar-sized major cities. Most of that core is undergoing "transition" as in the median home price is not affordable to folks with the median income.

School placement is going to be less fluid in the coming years, so I would pick a neighborhood where you would actually consider your neighborhood school. Westside school boundaries seem more stable, but there can be more diversity in some eastside schools if that's important to you.

I would really recommend visiting the schools intensely, (and more than once) some "good" schools can feel Pleasantville-type exclusive.

As the mama of a middle schooler, the school choice issue becomes more critical in this territory. Our elementary schools are mostly all good, I think.

I'm going to touch on a couple of specifics that were asked about and not responded to yet, so this will be a little disjointed.

We love our location in the Sabin neighborhood, near Irvington, but without Irvington house prices or taxes. There are 2 bus lines, minutes to downtown by car, easy to bike, Irving Park is here, a 2 block retail area which includes a library, coffee shops, grocery store, etc. Very walkable. It is a little rough around the edges, but improving all the time. I will confess, however, that, despite some raving reviews, our kindergartener is not a Sabin School, which only has full day free kingergarten. We really wanted 1/2 day kindergarten, and were lucky enough to get a transfer spot to Sunnyside.

I think it is generally hard to transfer into a charter school (or a more competitive public school) in 1st grade, though there are occasionally slots. I believe that Sunnyside only had openings in K,3,&6 for this year. Of course, the lotteries are pretty much over for the fall, so all you could do at this point is get at the end of the waiting list, once you move.

Irvington School draws from a diverse neighborhood, and unfortunately that may mean less then stellar test scores compared to other more affluent neighborhoods. Yes, there are plenty of huge homes that I can't even imagine affording, but there are also smaller homes and apartments. I'd imagine some of those are also getting prohibitably expensive, just based on the Irvington address, but hopefully the school will continue to have the diversity that was lauded when I was a student there, long ago.

There is a lot of good info on the PPS website about school performance as well as history of transfer slot availability. There is also a place where you can see where the kids from each neighborhood go to school, and which neighborhood the kids at a given school live. Quite fascinating.

Good luck to all!

Hollyrood and Fernwood are blending to form a K-8 school. More on the transition is available on the transition website:
http://www.hollyrood-fernwood.org/
The schools each still have their own site as well.

April's "Portland Monthly" magazine featured the 20 best neighborhoods.

http://www.portlandmonthlymag.com

They have PDFs you can download:
Neighborhoods by the Numbers — Stats on 120 Portland-area neighborhoods.

Oregon School Information - Education stats for public and private schools in the Portland metro area

I'm always floored when 30something parents are able to spend $500k+ on a house! I've been living in Portland since the mid-90s and we only were able to buy a house two years ago, after all the people from California started grabbing up everything and houses starting getting flipped. We feel like we're barely able to afford our mortgage ($230k), our student loans, and a modest car payment; we both work in those uber-desirable creative industry jobs, and make semi-decent salaries, and still there are these lovely perfect moms in their Irvington homes pushing their Bugaboo strollers. Seriously, how are you people doing it?

Any of those neighborhoods in the original posts will be fine. Your kids will go to school with the other children of privilege, get scholarships to Ivy League colleges, and then they'll return to Portland and live off that trust fund you're working on for them. The rest of us will wonder if we can afford to have a second child, drive used Hondas, and live in these tiny houses that are completely out of the question for your precious little beings.

And, for the added data point, I live in Concordia and love it. Just close enough to throw rocks at the rich people's windows every so often.

Though they are rare, you can find houses in the Bridlemile area in the 300,000 range that are livable, sometimes even less. It feels a bit suburban, but really, you are about 7 minutes from downtown.

Personally, we rent in the Lincoln district until my son graduates (one more year). He began in the Lincoln cluster while I was a grad student living downtown and I didn't want to move him.

With the two little kiddos (1 and 4), we will have to start again in an area where we can afford a house.

My husband and I are '30something' young professionals. We moved here from NY and felt like housing was 'cheap'. But, our house is half the price of a $500K home.

We chose to live in N/NE Portland because of the diversity. There are plenty of neighborhoods in the eastside that we love and we could have found ourselves living in. Ultimately, we feel most comfortable around people of different ethnic and socioeconomic situations. We have neighbors and friends with many different lifestyles - some have one working parent & some have two working parents, some homeschool & some go to neighborhood schools, some go to charter schools.

I'll put in a plug for N/NE neighborhoods including Piedmont, Arbor Lodge, Humboldt, Overlook, and Kenton. There are many families in our neighborhoods, housing stock is still affordable, we have tons of amenities like cafes, supermarkets, bus lines and even the MAX.

In terms of the schools, I would agree with another poster - I've started to get a bit concerned about middle school. But, so far, I have seen many examples of excellent public elementary schools all across town.

Ouch. Seems like a few of us are touchy about the external trappings of money, and that's all I'll say about that.

We love our house in Hollywood/Grant Park, but we're fully aware that we bought at some magical moment when there was a house of the right size to be had for less than a fortune. We reckoned that six months after we bought our house, we couldn't have afforded what it was worth.

But if we were buying now, there are lots of places we'd consider that remain affordable. Sellwood and the others Sarah Gilbert mentioned, for example. Two things that would impact our decision: access to transit, and time horizon before our kids need to be in school. I realize that some of these areas seem sketchy, but again, through the prism of what is sketchy (but pricey!) in Atlanta, GA, there seems to me to be far less to worry about here. What I mean is, I'd consider buying in a more 'transitional' area here even with kids, because the community ethic and potential to get better is so strong. And if it came to it and I felt it was necessary, I'd use school choice to get my kids into a situation I was happier with.

also, I recommend this site: http://www.movingtoportland.net/index.html
we haunted it when we were considering our move here, and she has really great information about neighborhoods all over town.

We are in Escrow on a new house in the Alameda/Sabin Neighborhood. And we can't wait, we live in NE MT. Tabor now and as much as we love it, we really wanted to be closer in where there are families everywhere. We chose close in NE because that seems where we gravitated towards all the time. Many parks, close to organic stores, great schools (Alameda, Sabin, Vernon)and really the bottom line there was when you walk around the neighborhood, it feels like hometown America. Safe, kids everywhere and people outside on the porch and walk up the street for coffee. My husband works downtown, so this was a huge consideration, we wanted to be able to bike and bus downtown. Close in NE has tons to offer. Hope this helps!

We had similar trepidations about moving to our SW home after loving being in the NE. I didn't think there would be many families with young children. We were pleasantly surprised. We are in the Ainsworth school district and have found that there are many families in our neighborhood. Plus, we just love being here -- it's quiet and green yet walking distance to 23rd. Good luck!

I am an Irvington mom and want to build a bridge to Maple, who describes me and my neighbors as "lovely perfect moms in their Irvington homes pushing their Bugaboo strollers".

Is that what you really think as you drive by me and my son while we play outside our admittedly big, expensive, Craftsman? I'm the child of immigrant parents, who scraped and saved every penny to send me to private school where I was surrounded by children of privilege. I hate the idea that my son may grow up surrounded by families who'll induldge their kids in ways we would never ever do, but fortunately we have lots of nice neighbors who are extremely down-to-earth, laidback and share the same values as we do... we are blessed to be surrounded by amazingly nice, normal people who don't have trust funds. My overpriced stroller was a gift from my co-workers.

This house was NOT in our price range, but we fell in love with it for various reasons and made the splurge, primarily because it had room for my mom to move in with us so I could take care of her. We were fortunate for the stock options associated with my husband's old job and appreciation on our old house, which enabled us to put down a decent down payment, but we still carry a sizable mortgage. I'm often in disbelief that I live in such a nice house; I love it but I have to pinch myself sometimes, even after 3 years. We're also lucky that we have very little debt; our 4-year old car is paid for, we pay off credit cards each month and don't life the high life. We cut coupons, go to Costco, make trips to both New Seasons, Trader Joe's and Safeway to save money, buy/sell clothes at consignment stores and toys at Goodwill.

So, next time you drive through our neighborhood, please not to judge us by our house... we've got a lot in common!

Maple, you may want to knock that chip off your shoulder. You seem to be making many judgments based solely on assumptions. That's incredibly sad that you can't see beyond your pre-conceived notions about people in different neighborhoods.

Though I grew up in Irvington I went to Lincoln High in downtown Portland because of the great magnet program. There was a parents' group that would offer free taxi service for the kids on weekend nights. Somewhere along the line they stopped driving to the east side because it was far too dangerous, in their eyes. Even Irvington!

Funny how things appear, depending on one's vantage point and the lenses one wears.

This article was is the Oregonian just yesterday.

http://www.oregonlive.com/oregonian/stories/index.ssf?/base/news/11788900267310.xml&coll=7

It talks a lot about why parents in a lot of affluent Portland neighborhoods are choosing charter/magnet schools instead of their highly rated neighborhood schools. I know I've said this on many a U.M. thread, but Portland is a rare city in that you don't have to choose your neighborhood based on the schools there. (search for other threads about charter/magnet schools.)

This article was is the Oregonian just yesterday.

http://www.oregonlive.com/oregonian/stories/index.ssf?/base/news/11788900267310.xml&coll=7

It talks a lot about why parents in a lot of affluent Portland neighborhoods are choosing charter/magnet schools instead of their highly rated neighborhood schools. I know I've said this on many a U.M. thread, but Portland is a rare city in that you don't have to choose your neighborhood based on the schools there. (search for other threads about charter/magnet schools.)

::::::::::::::back on soapbox:::::::::::

Thankfully, Portland Public will be limiting some choice from the School Choice programs. I think the way to build strong neighborhoods and schools is if parents have to educate their children in their neighborhood school. We know that magnet and charters in general in Portland tend to be whiter and more affluent than neighborhood schools.

And I am a person who resents people moving to neighborhood where the schools are not "good enough" for their children. The commuting, the impact on local schools as well as just environmentally. I think it gives childre very strong messages about what we believe about race and class.

in terms of resenting folks who move to neighborhoods where the schools are not "good enough" for their children, i want to present a slightly different view - i live in a neighborhood that people *want* to move into for the schools (Alameda - and no, my kids do not have a trust fund, nor do we have fancy cars, strollers, nor ivy league school savings.) However, I have not sent, and will not send my kids to my neighborhood schools.

I am a huge advocate of *alternative* schooling, and have zero interest in sending my kids to a traditional neighborhood school - test scores and socio-economics are irrelevent to me!

I care about my kids going to a school where they are part of a small, caring community. Where teachers and principals share a philosophy about peaceful conflict resolution, non-manipulative / democratic decision making and "discipline" and where children are trusted for their innate desire to learn and ability to contribute meaningfully to the communiy, where families are welcomed as community members, rather than intruders, and where learning takes many forms, and children have control over their own learning / interests/ passions/ time.

I have *only* found that at alternative/charter/private schools. I feel very sad that this is the case, and very disillusioned by the state of public education, because I truly believe ALL children would thrive in such a setting (but of course families need to support the philosophy to make it work.)

I wish families would look beyond test scores and other markers for "good" schools, and educate themselves about how children really learn, and how they *don't* learn. Sure there are individual great teachers at most schools, but they are severely restricted in pursuing their passionate approach to education by the standardization/performance requirements of the state, and by the general pressure *from families* as well.

A neighborhood school is ideal, and it should be a goal that PPS work towards that all schools should be open-minded and funded enough to serve 95 per cent of the neighborhood population (there is always going to be a certain portion of the population that needs more flexibility).

We are not, however, living the ideal.

And this, of course, leads us to the point of doing what is best for each child and family. Personally, I do not want to drive cross town 2x a day in traffic; this robs kids of time better spent elsewhere and exposes them to risk, pollution, etc. Not to mention, once the kids start doing sports and all that, you will be going to and from school at least 2x a day, probably many more.

Like I said earlier, once my oldest child graduates from Lincoln, we are going house-shopping. At that point, we, as a family, have chosen to buy in a neighborhood we can afford and commute as little as possible, with solid schools and good resources. We plan on visiting schools, charter and otherwise over the next year; then, we will simply make the best choice we can.

Each family must weigh factors and decide what works for them, while also working to improve public schools in general for an overall better society for all kids.

Thanks for all the comments, it does help...it looks like our kids will be attending Irvington Elementary in the fall. Anyone have kids there?? Anyone have any thoughts on the school?

As a Realtor in Portland I was very interested to read the comments above. I would recommend that anyone looking at neighborhoods in Portland considers reading Portland monthly magazine. In April's edition there is a fairly comprehensive overview of different neighborhood statistics including school and crime information. Also consider looking at www.portlandmaps.com for further detailed analysis of properties and neighborhoods. If you'd like any further help please post a comment to this site and I'd be happy to help. Best wishes!

This conversation started with a discussion about which neighborhoods are good to live in if you have kids.

We moved here due to a relocation two years ago from Ohio. As a general rule in Ohio, if you were college educated, you would have a house that was in the 2,400 - 3,000 square foot range in a nice neighborhood where kids would be out playing with each other all the time, riding bikes in the cul-de-sac and families would hang out together, and houses were in the $250,000 range. Life was abundant and easy.

No such area seems to exist in Portland at all, and the feeling here is not one of abundance, but rather something more akin to "make due with less and learn to be happy about it."

Portland is a crowded city in which is is grey or raining something like 305 days a year, which makes Portland a good backdrop for filming dreary movies according to the local paper. Unlike Seattle we don't even get sun breaks. It is just grey and ugly and wet pretty much all the time.

Portland is also in my opinion a rundown city, except for a few neighborhoods with prices $500,000 and up, Laurelhurst, Irvington, the Pearl District, and Nob Hill for instance, the last two of which have no kids (there is not even a school in the Pearl District, which was by the way according to the district's website named after the art galleries located like pearls witin the rundown oysters of buildings) and a few areas of downtown (the areas you see photographed).

In short, there is an extreme lack of good neighborhoods with good schools, and social workers, who by the way will feel at home here, are out of luck. You can count on living in a rundown hovel with second or third rate schools, though you will no doubt feel good about having your kids in sub-par classes for social reasons.

Also, yes, it also seems fairly impossible to get into a magnet program or charter school if your kids were not here when they started school in kindergarten.

By the way, if you move here you should also count on paying through the nose not just for housing but for taxes. Downtown I believe the personal income tax rate is about 12%, and top tax rates start hitting you income when you earn just $7,151 in taxable income.

Also, and this is maybe a statement about me as much as the people here, as personal adornment is a personal choice, but I am bothered by people covered in tattoos and piercings. The people here all seem to be covered, and look like they should be found in the pages of Easy Rider or Tattoo Artist. I really don't want my kids growing up around this. The latest trend over the past couple of years has been to place 1" or larger grommets in one's earlobes. I don't want my kids growing up thinking this type of personal defacement is normal or regular.

What does Portland seem to lead the country in? Bad weather, interventionist eco-arrogance and attitude, cheesy run-down strip clubs, and run-down neighborhoods with moderately incomed people (even people making $75k or more) living in them.

If you come here you will see a sign in the front window of the establishments that sell alcohol: No Minors Allowed. It might be best to recognize that the sign should probably slapped over the entire city. This is not a kid-friendly or family-friendly town, and those top neighborhood that are the exception to the rule, are very expensive.

Finally, do not be fooled by the fact that Portland gets written about a lot. The city pays for these writers to visit and gives them guided tours. This type of strategy has been common in many notably terrible places throughout history, for instance certain model cities in closed societies or even Theresienstadt (Google this if you are unfamiliar with the reference). The writers in turn write positive columns. I think the city also makes sure that they visit at the right time of year.

What is the right time of year? While there are periodic days of sun in the winter, summer isn't guaranteed to start the 4th of July. It can end as early as the first of September, and by the middle of October you count on about eight solid months without the sun. There are people by the way that have negative reactions to this, and some people's reactions become physical (and go beyond weight gain based on an inability to get out more than half the year). Last year we seemed to wind up with just three weeks of summer, all of which seemed to be in August. I noticed this because people had been telling me the summer would make it all worth it, meaning the 10 months of rain, winds, and cold, including ice storms, that had come before it would be washed away by the beauty of the summer. Well, trust me, it doesn't. Summer here is about as nice as spring in the rest of the country, but here they get no spring, just summer and then the wet, soggy slog that is the rest of the year.

In any case, while I know there are people with different experiences, and some urban moms might be among them (especially if they live in a few select neighborhoods and have had stock options that have been worth something, came from California, or just have always lived in Oregon and know nothing else) and there seem to be some people that like Portland (note: abused wives also tend to defend the men that abuse them), but my advice if you have kids but cannot afford to spend upwards of $500,000 for a home and don't want to rent forever would be to avoid Portland at any cost.

By the way, we've lived all over the country (Seattle, San Diego, Atlanta, DC, Ohio) and Portland is by far the WORST city we've ever lived in. I would not recommend Portland to anyone (except maybe to homeless, as we have many of those here - in fact they seem to be more welcome here than you are). There are definitely better cities in which to live, not matter what you are looking for so avoid Portland if you can.

I moved to Portland with my husband and two kids about a year ago. It has been a nightmare. I have been unable to find a job and my husband recently got laid-off from his. We don't know what to do. . . My advice is do not move to Portland unless you already have a job lined-up.

So much stress moving to another place. By the way, it was really nice post. Thanks for sharing.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment