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Can you offer insight on the Kenton 'hood?

We are sure many of us can relate to moving into undiscovered territory.  Can you lend your insight to a mama considering a move into Kenton in North Portland?

We're looking at moving to the Kenton neighborhood with our 2 and 3 year old but have some reservations about the neighborhood. Any advice/info/insight from Mom's who already live there would be great. Coming from the highly walkable and community oriented Alberta Arts makes it seem like a big transition.

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We love Kenton! We've lived her for 10 years and have a 4 yo and a 19 month old. We walk all the time (well, less in the cold weather) and take the train/bus a lot, too. We're just off of Denver so we're in "the heart" of Kenton. It's changed a lot since we first moved here and has many more young families. I'd be happy to answer any specific questions you have. Email me: portlandwriter * hotmail * com.

Hi!
We just bought a house in the university park neighborhood ( one hood up from Kenton). We had reservations too as we were coming from the highly walkable Irvington hood. We LOVE N. Portland though! Sooooooo many nice people, young couples with kids, my daughter is 5 and loves all the beautiful parks.
University park area has cute cape cods ( tiny) and is the second lowest crime in the city. ( Just talked to our local cop last night).
We have friends in Kenton too and they love the area, it's really up and coming, cute shops, etc.
We love how close we are to Sauviw Island and the pace over here seems slower.
Any more q's?? Email me!
foxfamily97 at gmail dot com

I moved to the Kenton neighborhood in August, and I am really happy with it. There are several young families right around my house, and I've already met more neighbors here than any other neighborhood I've lived in (Irvington and Sellwood).

I find it pretty walkable, though it is no Alberta Arts district. But the park is close, we regularly walk to Cup and Saucer or E-San Thai, the post office, and in my particular location I have the option of three different bus lines.

Also, they will be building a new branch of the Mult Co Library in the next few years in Kenton, which I am super excited about.

The Kenton Firehouse is a great community place, with the North Portland Tool Library in the basement and events like puppet shows for kids in the main part.

Obviously, I love the neighborhood and I think that it will only continue to get more interesting with more shops and restaurants on Denver.

i've lived in kenton for five years. i like living in nopo for it's easy access to everything. and like other's who've posted, kenton has changed so much. i see lots of parents/kids unfortunately i don't know any of them. most of the activities i do with my daughter are closer to downtown where i work. how could kenton moms network?

When I went to a PTA meeting with Carole Smith (PPS super) there was a large group there from Pennisula School in Kenton. They were very organized and seem very active. They are having some of the same issues that a lot of schools in changing areas are having. With the energy they have it should be a great school. Just like on the thread about Vernon, you might try calling the school and hooking up with the PTA and future PTA members.

We've lived in Kenton for 5 years and are very happy with the direction the area is taking. Downtown Kenton (Denver north of Lombard) is on the edge of a boom with the new restaurants, the in-progress multi-use development across from the park and the coming library (mid-2009!). We walk to the Kenton Firehouse, Kenton Park and Columbia Park & Pool. The new coffee shop on Lombard (Trippin' Billies http://trippinbilliescoffee.com/) is family-friendly and wonderful.

Kenton is very safe and quiet (we used to live off Alberta on 16th and off Fremont and 7th for comparison). A low crime rate and friendly neighbors that look out for each other makes us feel quite secure -- we once accidentally left our front door wide open (screen closed!) while we were gone for the weekend and had no problems.

My daughter will start kindergarten at Peninsula Elementary (K-8) next fall and we are happy to hear from neighbors that they have been pleased with the school. She is excited to go to the school with the playground we use on weekends and in the summer and to walk to school with the big kids across the street (who have promised to look out for her!). I hope all the other families with young children send their kids to the neighborhood school, too. Together we can make it even better!

For networking with other area moms, try joining the Mamanandas Yahoo group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mamananda/) for North Portland Mamas!

I live on the other side of I5, but just barely. I've been here for about 8 years and really like it. There have been tons of changes in that period, making it much more enjoyable. For me, and depending on where you are in Kenton, there is a lot that's walkable. (THe difference for me is that it's not full of shops, like Alberta, but I sort of like that.) North Star for coffee, Fred Meyer and New Seasons, Post Office (yes, we walk there from all this way over!), several parks, good restaurants. We also walk over to the library on Killingsworth currently but will probably start to use Kenton when it's built. (Is that a final decision yet? I know it's one site they were considering...) You've also got the indoor gyms at both St. Johns and Peninsula Park close to you. A bike really broadened our "walkable" places as well. I could go on!!

One downside for me is that it's hard to get here anytime after 3:00. Traffic just gets lousy. But, find some surface street routes and you're cool. I use Ainsworth/Lombard to 33rd alot. Folks in other parts of town, SE, etc, often feel like we're "so far away" which can be a drag if people drag their feet about coming so far to visit (which I don't get, frankly), but we survive. The schools are still working on getting better, but check out the conversation on Activistas for some talk about that. I figure the more folks that want to use neighborhood schools and be involved in making them better, the better it is for everyone. You have to realize you'll be part of a huge gentrification here, so if that bugs you keep it in mind. Not everyone appreciates gentrification. For me, anything that keeps a neighborhood viable and alive is fine by me.

As for the stereotype of crime, yes, there have been a few rather unfortunate things happening around here (by here I mean the 3 miles or so around me, which would likely include where you're looking). It's a bummer to watch drug deals happening while you're outside playing with the kids, which may not be an issue where you're looking but it is where I'm at. I really believe so much over here is block by block. My nieghbors and I know each other, we look out for eachother, and we address things as we see them. We're making changes. It's worth the extra work for the community we've found here.

I say go for it!

I live in north portland, near Kenton, and we love the neighborhood. We've been here for almost 5 years, after living in the heart of alberta. I think that if I had moved here before we had our daughter I would have thought it was boring, to be honest. But with a child it's perfect. Less crime, less traffic, less activity overall, but still plenty of good shopping, parks, and restaurants nearby. And for what it's worth, we haven't experienced any crime in our five years here, but had three incidents in the two years we lived in Alberta.

We have lived in North Portland (Lombard/Albina) for ten years and love it. We got married here, had a child here (she's now 3) and run a business (Montessori school) in our home here. Not only is it a safe place, but it's child-friendly and has an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, etc. run by the people who live in the neighborhood. There is a sense of community that is stronger here than any other place that I've lived in Portland.

We have a 10 month old and live in Arbor Lodge, just south of Lombard. We love it - mostly. Parks, coffee shops, restaurants, neighbors - all wonderful. But, I have to say with a 2 and 3 year old I would avoid the Lombard Transit Center,sadly. I have been with my niece, who's 8, when fights break out at the bus stop (more than once!) It's upsetting to a child (and to me, frankly) to see teenagers beating the *&%! out of each other. Now, if I have to go to Fred Meyer, I take Buffalo (one street south) to the back of the parking lot. Mind you, if you are driving, it's not too much of a problem, but I am talking about on walks.

There was an article in the Oregonian about what Kenton is like today: http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1200543908274990.xml&coll=7

And a more general article about "gentrification" and how neighborhoods like Kenton are still affordable: http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/portland_news/1200086704310840.xml&coll=7#continue

I will second the suggestion to connect with Mamanandas -- they are a great and active group and several live in the Kenton neighborhood.

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