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Considering a move to Lake Oswego/West Linn

urbanMamas are always generous with their honest perspectives and first-hand experiences.  An urbanMama is relocating to Portland, and their family is considering moving to West Linn and Lake Oswego.  Do you live in either of these cities?  Do you know other families there?  Please share!

My husband has accepted a job offer in Portland and we'll be moving the family from the midwest this summer.  My older child will be starting kindergarten this fall. We visited Portland briefly recently to get a sense of possible neighborhoods, and we plan to return in another month for our serious house hunting trip.  We're more interested in moving to the suburbs, particularly those with great schools as we currently live in a college town with fantastic public schools.  Right now our top choices include West Linn and Lake Oswego; West Linn and Lake Oswego on the top of the list primarily because of the reputation of the public schools, the smaller class sizes, low crime rate, proximity to the city, and the pretty neighborhoods. I am concerned about some comments I read on a city-data.com forum about Lake Oswego, comments that suggest it is full of pretentious, snobby, extremely wealthy and materialistic people.  We're pretty solid middle class; we don't wear designer clothing and our kids don't get fancy stuff.  We could comfortably afford only a small percentage of the houses we see listed in Lake Oswego.  Would it be a mistake for us to move there?  Would our kids feel left out or feel pressured about getting designer clothing, going on expensive skiing trips, etc.?  Or is what I have read just a generalization that greatly distorts the image of the "average" Lake Oswego family?


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I don't live in Lake Oswego but recently moved pretty close to it. I think its really what you make it but I do notice that there are more fancy cars, the general feel is more pretentious and the town itself is pretty boring. There are some good parks and the schools are excellent. Its a very safe, although very white city. Bridgeport Village is an upscale mall/movie theater where I think a lot of people hang out. There are also some great neighborhoods where I'm sure people have lived forever and don't consider themselves pretentious at all. There are a lot of older people/communities - my friend who lives in LO complains about that the most. I hope this helps.

I work in Lake O and I would agree that it has a degree of pretentiousness - although the schools ARE good. The lake is a private lake so it's owned by the people who's houses back onto it. Although you can access the lake from certain designated areas in town.

I have heard great things about West Linn and would consider moving there myself if I were to move to the suburbs.

The median income in Lake Oswego is $110K. In West Linn it's $72K. I live in SW Portland, maybe 15 minutes from LO, but in the summers I find myself and my kids visiting the wonderful parks in West Linn quite frequently. I personally like the feeling of West Linn much better.

My mother officially lives in Lake Oswego, but she's in the Mt. Park area a bit closer to Lake Grove, not down by the lake or in the expensive neighborhoods. Her area is kind of great in many ways - the houses are 80's cookie cutter but there are miles of walking/running trails all around the forested hill and down to the school and parks.

The kids in the neighborhood walk to school and the parks, and you can walk to coffee shops, etc.

It isn't "hip" where she lives but there are worse places, and I do see lots of kids around.

I actually live in NE Portland, and have to say, I LOVE IT. We looked at houses in West Linn, they were very nice, good schools, etc.... but the highway to Portland is very congested (205) and I would have been commuting for work in that mess. Lake O was also on the list. I love Tyron Creek. The thing I did'nt like about it was you have to drive almost everywhere!! I like the walkability aspect of the "closer in" neighborhoods. Guess I'm not much of a suburb girl.

We moved here three years ago. One of the reasons I'm in Sw Portland and not over the line into Lake O was the fancy car, fancy clothes issues. We make a good salary, but we are plain folks. I don't want my kids being teased because they don't wear converse, vans or whatever else is hip this year.

Yes, I love Tryon Creek and I can walk to a few shops and a New Seasons. However, bus service in my corner of the world is very bad, almost nonexistent.

I am the one who asked the original question. Thank you, mamas, for the feedback. I'd love to hear more, and the more I hear the more I'm thinking I ought to move West Linn higher on the list, though it will be farther from DH's office. For those who enjoys suburban living, how about Tualatin?

Hi there. I lived in LO for five years and have lived right over the line in West Linn for the past seven. I love both. If I had enough money to purchase a house there, my first choice would be First Addition, the older neighborhood in downtown LO. That's where I lived before and I loved walking to the library, the elementary school, groceries, new shopping area, Farmer's Market. I didn't find it pretentious at all--I guess it all depends where you are moving from. I am from the Bay Area (East Bay) which I found very pretentious. Property taxes in LO are about double what they are in West Linn. By living right over the line, we get the benefits of both towns. In West Linn, you may want to check out the area by Tanner Creek Park if you are looking for new subdivisions or if you prefer large new homes, or in the Old Willamette for charming, turn of the century homes near a huge park with river access. There are also some neat homes with larger yards in the area by Cedar Oaks Primary School near where we live.

Best wishes. I love this area and cannot recommend it highly enough. Leave another message if you need more specific information and I'll contact you with my personal information. Would be happy to share more about our area with you!

--Mama to one magnificent 3-year old daughter, born in China

we moved to lake oswego when our oldest was 2 b/c of the schools and general community we had heard such lovely things about (the would-be pretentiousness was not a deterent). after living there for three years and commuting into portland for nearly everything (that's just where most of our life, activities, friends, synangogue, etc. centers) we decided to move to the close-in SW before kindergarten started (just in the nick of time, actually). while LO has this reputation for being pretentious and moneyed, it really is pretty diverse (economically speaking). yes, the lake properties are spendy and obviously draw people who can afford that lifestyle, but the outter areas (someone mentioned mountain park and lake grove, there's also river grove, palisades, etc.) are made up of older, very modest homes (split levels, ranches, etc.), and then of course there's westlake, which is really like Anywhere America, 80's suburb, not terribly upscale. i would also pay attention to the commute if you and/or your husband are planning on spending time in portland. it is incredibly congested and will definitely wear thin after too much time doing it. best of luck!

Tualtin is a great area but is about as suburb-y as you can get. Also, traffic can be hectic there but that's what you'll find in pretty much any Portland area suburb. Have you looked more at SW Portland? It's near to Lake O but not nearly as pretentious. My son is only 1 so I haven't looked into any schools yet so I'm not sure how those schools stack up against LO schools. As a side note: as someone who has lived in the Portland area my whole life, and never in LO, I personally find it VERY pretentious. People who live in LO may, of course, see it differently. Hope this helps!

My husband and I lived in the Westlake area of LO about 10 years ago. After less than a year there, we got really tired of the 45 minute commute home from downtown and moved to NE Portland. We live about the same distance now from downtown that we were when we were in LO, but now have a 20 minute commute. There are very few major routes to take through SW Portland (so if one route is blocked it can easily take over an hour to get to LO), and alternative forms of transportation (bus, bike, run) are not easy from LO to downtown, if that's a consideration.

There's not a lot of diversity in LO (especially compared with NE). Even though I grew up in a community very similar to LO, I always feel really out of place when shopping or visiting the LO area now.

The schools are excellent from an achievement standpoint, and the parents spend the money to make sure of it. There are a lot of high expectations in the community and a lot of self-righteousness (or perhaps it's just a few loud voices that make things difficult for everyone), which comes from my experience working on school projects in that city.

Good luck with your decision!

I grew up in Tualatin. It is a fairly well-to-do suburb. The schools offer a good education though I remember feeling the difference between our family's income and many others pretty prominently. It is very congested and does not have much downtown, walk-to-your-destination housing available. There is a nice commons area with a man-made lake and fountains for the kids. The library (next to the commons) just expanded and is really beautiful. Parks are award-winning (Ibach Park) and spacious. The location is also nice for going to farms in the summer. I also commuted from there to Portland for awhile. I parked in the nice Park and Ride lot and took the express bus right downtown. Otherwise, you'll want to leave pretty early for a stress-free commute from there. I tend to prefer West Linn - it has an adorable downtown area with a nice older neighborhood within walking distance. The 205 traffic can get ugly though.

I find LO a bit pretentious and not much to offer really other than the great schools plus you have to drive to get just about everywhere. Like the other poster, living in First Addition where you can walk to the small downtown is best- otherwise it is my opinion LO is costly and overrated. We are considering a move from N. Portland to another area of Portland for the schools (I have a 3 yr old going on 4), and I am also from the midwest (well, sort of- Louisville). We'd like to find a house in Alameda or Irvington- not suburbs but neighborly life within walking distance to everything and good enough schools. I hear West Linn is great (maybe not as easy access to I5, and downtown). My broker is with Hasson Company and he's great- he deals a lot with transfers/relocations (his specialty)- if you are not working currently with an agent, check him out here www.hasson.com/declanoconnor even if you just have questions, might be helpful since we are in the same boat (looking for house in area with good schools)- we are essentially waiting for a house we love to come for sale in Alameda/Irvington area!:) good luck & cheers!

West Linn is a MUCH longer commute to Portland then LO, it's a LONG drive when there is no traffic , so with traffic it's awful. It's also a pretty conservative community from a political standpoint if that matters to you. There aren't many restaurants, not much walking around, everyone drives everywhere. We briefly lived there, felt completely isolated/no sense of community and moved back into Portland (close-in)....It all depends on if you're comfortable with the subdivision, drive to everything sort of lifestyle which we weren't. I have a number of friends who live in LO and like it, they aren't pretentious and are fine with the drive to everything lifestyle.

If you'll be doing the WL to PDX commute daily, really check it out during rush hour, it could easily take 40min to an hour depending on the time of day, that's a lot of time that you could be spending with your children. If you're looking for more "suburb" feel but less commute/decent schools you should think about SW Portland.

Having lived in Portland 15 years now I can't imagine buying a house as soon as one moves to a new town. Not that it takes 15 years to get to know a place but why not rent for a year? Besides having the opportunity to get a better feel for the neighborhoods you will also likely save some money as our housing market is on the downturn. The Portland market is currently flooded with homes giving you lots to choose from but also putting more pressure on prices. Rents are also coming down as more lose jobs and are forced to move in with family or friends. Buy renting for a short while you will also get an idea of pricing for homes. It's a big purchase, why not be patient?!

As for neighborhood preference...I vote for Irvington and Laurelhurst. Laurelhurst elementary, Fernwood Middle and Grant High are desirable schools. Irvington and Laurelhurst are beautiful old neighborhoods which are great for walking and biking and have wonderful parks.

Another great area is the neighborhood that surrounds Ainsworth Elementary and feeds into Lincoln High in SW Portland, ie, Portland Heights, etc.

Anywho! Portland is wonderful! Welcome:O)

We are moving to Tualatin but that is where my husband works. If we worked in the city I would move to SW Portland no problem. In fact it is a goal of mine to live their someday. They have tons of kids activities and I find myself there often anyways.

I live in Lake Oswego, and I think it's great. My daughter attends a preschool here, and I don't find anyone pretentious. We live close to hwy 43 so the commute to the city is quick and beautiful. The parks are great. And I enjoy the peace of mind of not worrying about crime or MORE school days being cut from the school year. There are lots of young families and I do not feel out of place. When my daughter had a seizure, the ambulance was here in about 2 minutes. The city council is working progressively towards a sustainable and environmental community. I think it gets a bad rap, but I'm very happy here. It's a short beautiful drive/bus ride alongside the Willamette to enjoy the big city.

Have you ever considered the Hillsdale/Burlingame area? We have lived in both LO and Hillsdale and I much prefer the Hillsdale area. I loved our school in LO but I also Love Rieke elementary. What I love about living in PDX is the ability to walk to local shops, restaurants, easy accessible to public transportation, 1 exit from downtown, close knit neighborhood and the community centers SW and Fulton Park have lots of stuff for the kids to do and Fulton is within walking distance to my home. Just something to consider.....

My brother-in-law lived in LO and when to LO High School. His family bought a little house there so he and his brother could go to the good schools but they felt very much on the outside in high school because of the income levels. His dad is a college professor and mom a homemaker but the boys didn't get their own cars and go on ski trips and spring break in Hawaii, etc. He says now that he wished he had gone to a more diverse high school.

I would echo the comment about renting for a year to get to know neighborhoods. We moved here from the East Coast and appreciated our year of renting before settling down after getting to know some neighborhoods.

Good friends of ours from our elementary school moved to West Linn to be closer to work (toward Salem). They LOVE it. I dropped off my daughter for a a sleepover, and the neighborhood/community seemed very warm and welcoming. They love their school and their neighbors. Just thought I'd add for the West Linn perspective.

My family moved to LO from Florida when I was a Junior in High School and although it was a hard transition, not because of it being pretentious, but because the community is so tight knit, once I participated in the extracurricular activities I felt pretty welcome. I met my husband the second year I lived there and now, in my mid-thirties have two beautiful girls with him. We live in West Linn and love it.
I work in Tualatin, but used to work in North PDX and the commute from West Linn to Noth Portland was about 45 minutes. This is not too bad in my opinion.
I am a fan of both communities and as long as you raise your children to be accepting of all walks of life they will be well-rounded.
It is hard to move when you are in school at any age, but I think you can make it a positive experience.
I LOVED my life, friends and family in Florida, but have grown to LOVE the NW and would not ever make the decision to move back to the SE.
Good luck in your decision!

Thank you for the comments, and I welcome more. DH and I are both reading this and we really appreciate hearing your thoughts. I also wanted to add that I certainly do not mean to offend any family who lives in LO, as I know that in any given community there are differences. Further, we will consider renting if we do not find a house/neighborhood we *really like* in our coming return visit(s). I know there are upsides to planning to rent for a year and getting to know the area better. But we are also mindful of the downsides, too, namely, the cost to move again (which DH's employer will not pick up and we have a lot of stuff given we're moving from a 4br house) and possibly having to switch schools - DS1 is starting K and after moving across the country I'd like to avoid switching elementary schools so soon unless absolutely necessary.

We considered moving to LO last summer from NW Portland for the great schools. After months of searching for a neighborhood that felt good, we decided to stay put, add a bathroom and put our son in private school.

One thing to consider is that because LO is so expensive, it is not drawing young families and the population is aging. The LO school district offers a tuition program to draw students from other districts to keep enrollment up.

My brother-in-law lives there with his wife and daughter and they love it. They have a very small ranch style house in the Palisades area and don't find it pretentious at all. They don't make much money, but their daughter goes to a great elementary school walking distance from their house. Yes, you have to drive places, but you do in any suburb. As for it being "white", Portland is the whitest city of its size in the country, so usually ethnic diversity isn't easy to find unless you're in N/NE. It's not like NW Portland is a bastion of diversity. As for kids feeling pressured to have money, my cousin went to school there all through high school and never felt pressured. He had nice friends who didn't expect anything of him except good friendship. There's a lot of prejudice against the suburbs on Urban Mamas. Come, visit, and find what's right for you.

I personally know of one family who moved to LO from NE Portland (where I live now) and they're very happy with living there, mostly because of the excellent schools. Personally I think it'd be a nice place to live; much prettier/more interesting than Tualatin or Beaverton in my opinion. There are good restaurants and shops, it's not too far from downtown but it is expensive and I do think there's an air of pretentiousness (however that wouldn't necessarily stop me from moving there).

Like someone else mentioned, I'd check out SW Portland, close-in. That's our number one choice to move in a few years. The schools are good, it's close to downtown, there's some beautiful parks, lots of restaurants, quirky shops, and it has a family "suburban" feel without actually moving to the suburbs. We used to live near Multnomah Village and Gabriel Park and loved the area. We would've stayed there when we bought our house but at the time it was out of our price range. Compared to LO, it's definitely affordable!

I agree with the SW Portland/Burlingame/Hillsdale posts. We moved from Alberta/NE to West Portland Park almost two years ago, mainly due to husband's commute to Wilsonville, but also for bigger home for less money (yes SW can be cheaper) and better schools. Yes, there is more driving, but also more Tryon Creek, Multnomah Village and Hillsdale are great, farmers markets etc. Lots of great families and new friends through daycare. My mom moved to Mt Park in LO so we are also learning/enjoying the amenities there. Fist Addition/downtown were more expensive than the condos/houses up in Mountain Park. Where we live is as about as suburban as you can get and still be in the city limits, but I still have just a 15 minute bus to work and hubby has 15 minute (at most) drive to work and our son will be able to walk to school. I will admit I miss the walkable grid of NE but am liking it in SW. I have have never been to West Linn, so no comments on that. I remember a woman from my dorm at University of Oregon who was from West Linn and loved it, but got razzed because she said she was from Portland, and "real" Portland people would not hear of it. I am from the Bay Area, so I had no idea what they were talking about. Good luck!

I agree that Urban Mamas give people in the "burbs" a hard time. Irvington is not any less expensive than Lake Oswego, or less pretentious. In fact, Sellwood real estate isn't much cheaper. Schools are an excellent reason to consider living outside of the city. As is the concern for crime. It may not be as "hip" as living close-in, but choosing what's best for your family is what's at stake here.

My parents live in West Linn and my little brother has attended all of his schooling in West Linn Public Schools. It is a fantastic school distric with more parent support than any schools I ever attended and a nice budget to work with. They always have the newest in technology and the teachers seem to be well educated and very engaging.

Every time I go and visit my parents, there seems to be a new development with new shopping options and new restaurants. The parks are fantastic. There are areas with older houses (my parents was built in the 1900's) and there are lots and lots of newer style houses.

The city really has a little bit for everyone. I say check it out!

Good luck on your decision.

SO: I'm not sure where the comment of Irvington being pretentious is helpful in this discussion, other than expressing some personal bitterness which doesn't need to be shared in this blog.

Growing up on the east coast, all the neighborhoods and people in the portland metro area are great. There are factors such as travel, walkability etc....that should be considered but you will find nice, easy going people as well as "pretentious" (it's relative) in every neighborhood.
Can we please try to avoid labeling and name calling....

They don't call it "Lake No Negro" for nothing.

What is meant by the "LNN" comment? Is that a current or dated reference? Is it a reference to old history of anti-minority sentiment that no longer exists? Is it a meant to be a factual statement concerning the fact that LO is very lacking in diversity? Something else?

I have to admit that I was kind of disappointed when I discovered how surprisingly un-diverse the Portland metro area was for a West Coast city of its size. Well, our family of four (plus the occasional grandparent) will be adding more color to the area. ;-)

I think the LNN comment refers to the lack of diversity in LO. I suppose it could be your former comment (that it refers to an anti-minority sentiment), but I always understood the expression to refer to the lack of diversity.

And, yes, Portland ranks very high in its white population. The Oregonian did a piece on it earlier this year: http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/01/in_a_changing_world_portland_r.html

We also add color to Portland and are proud of it. Glad to hear you will also help us up our numbers. Move before the census starts its count! Heh.

Why is it ok to call Lake Oswego pretentious, but not Irvington (which I didn't, I said it wasn't any less pretentious than LO)? And "Lake No Negro"? We're neighbors, for goodness sake. It's like picking on Californians, and let's see a hand for how many of us UMamas are originally from California? Maybe those of us from LO should pack our bags and move 2 miles north so we'll be more accepted by the Urban Mamas. And since when did caring about the schools your kid went to and the lack of crime make us any less a part of this community?

Honestly, the derision of Lake Oswego seems a bit much. And y'all know how much I love to deride the chi-chi. I have heard LNN since I moved here, I think it's a joke that got started so Portlanders could feel better about the lack of diversity of Portland proper.

I can't fault anyone for living somewhere where they feel comfortable sending their kid to their neighborhood school. I don't really think most of us have room to judge other moms for that.

I'm "colored"* and haven't felt any more uncomfortable visiting LO as I have some parts of Portland. Everybody keeps up with the Joneses or the Smythe-Joneses. The rubric changes but I dare say I would feel out of place in many environments that most uMs thrive in and vice-versa.

I would echo the piece about checking it out for awhile before buying a house somewhere. Neighborhoods I thought I'd love when I visited were different when I lived there.

And welcome!

You have to live where you are comfortable. If you have the feeling that those issues will affect you, you have to listen to those feelings. We just made a huge move from the suburbs into the city because we had had enough. Don't waste your time, or your child's time, on a community that conflicts with your values-no matter what they are. If you appreciate the suburbs, live in the suburbs. If you don't, don't. You can't change a community that has self selected. And you shouldn't have to when there are so many choices, especially here in the west, that enable you to be who you want to be where you want to be.

I haven't read all of the comments here but I can relate to your post b/c we relocated to Portland almost 2 years ago. My daughter started K this year and attends the Spanish Immersion program at Ainsworth Elementary School. We are very happy there. Portland doesn't have the best public school rap, but I can tell you a few to consider: Ainsworth, MLC (the Metropolitan Learning Center), the Opal school, and the Emerson School, also Chapman & Forest Park. Many of these schools operate on a lottery system and if you live anywhere in Portland, you can enter the lottery. You will also have the option of full day or half day K. This was a total surprise to me. Especially coming from a state where we didn't have to pay for our child to attend full day K. Good luck, I know how overwhelming this all can be. You'll find pretentious people anywhere you live but I feel like the majority of people I've met in Portland the last 2 years are very kind and down to earth.

We moved to LO about 3 years ago and have not found the community snobby at all. I love the fact that the elementary schools are small and the class sizes are small. The public schools here are awesome. Yes, there are some wealthy/pretentious people here, but there are wealthy/pretentious people in Forest Heights, Portland Heights, Irvington, etc. I have been surprised at how laid back everyone is. I really like the physical beauty here...we live near the south end of the lake (not ON the lake) and I love scenery, the proximity to water, all the parks. There are a lot of community events (4th of July parade, summer concerts, farmer's market) that were missing from our previous home in the Bethany area. I would definitely check it out. It certainly isn't as hip as some other parts of Portland, but it is a great place to raise kids.

I grew up in West Linn and now live in Sherwood. I came from an average middle class family. In school there were plenty of kids who came from money, but there were plenty of students who were average just like me. My perspective is, the world is a diverse place...children need to be exposed to those who have much and those who have less, we are all valuable individuals just the same. LO and WL are both great places to live, if you can afford the real estate go for it! You can find snobs in any city across the U.S.

We moved to Oregon two years ago. We rented at first while looking at homes in Northwest, Northeast and Southwest Portland and Lake Oswego.

Our main priority in looking for a home was schools. We have two sons, now ages 3 and 5. We wanted to find a place with consistently good schools, from K through senior year, so our guys could grow up and stay in the same schools with the same group of kids. If you're not familiar with it, check out www.greatschools.net. It provides an excellent breakdown of schools, including parent comments, test scores, demographics and student to teacher ratio.

After a fair amount of soul searching, we ended up buying a home in the Mountain Park part of Lake Oswego. We were also concerned at first about the town's reputation for being pretentious. We have found, however, that reputation is unfounded. We have met and made friends with many young couples in Mountain Park and Lake Oswego and have enjoyed just about everyone we've met. If we've noticed any attitude, it's a "hipper than thou" attitude of people who live on Portland's east side. Mountain Park and Lake Oswego in general aren't hip, but they're full of natural beautiful areas, great people and wonderful little shops and restaurants (few chain stores and no "big box" stores like in most suburbs). We figure we can always get a condo in Portland when our kids are out of school, if we really want to be "in the action".

There are lots of trees, and walking paths in Mountain Park and the rec center is being completely remodeled with a play pool and water slide for the kids, new basketball courts, teen center, etc. Lake Oswego has a quaint retail area in the Lake Grove neighborhood, a beautiful park on the Willamette River and smaller parks on the Lake and sprinkled throughout the neighborhoods, a great Farmer's Market every Saturday and outdoor concerts in the warm weather months.

Re: diversity, I would encourage you to research the demographics of the schools through greatschools.net. You may be surprised to see that Lake Oswego schools can be as or more diverse than many Portland schools.

As far as expense, we found that many of the homes in inner Northeast are more expensive than Lake Oswego. Northwest and Southwest Portland are better deals. Mountain Park is often the best deal in Lake Oswego. Part of Mountain Park is in the Portland school district and part is in Lake Oswego. Similarly, part is in Multnomah County and part in Clackamas County. Most of Lake Oswego is in Clackamas County, which has considerably cheaper property taxes than Multnomah County (Portland). A great place to compare Portland area homes is www.movingtoportland.net.

For us, Lake Oswego and Mountain Park has been a good move. Granted we're not walking distance to all of the cool Portland restaurants and retail but we do walk to a great natural foods grocer, local pizza joint (one of the best we’ve had) and a Columbia outlet store. Most importantly, we are in a beautiful neighborhood that out boys love, with great schools and great friends.

Median family income in Lake Oswego: 115,599
Median family income in West Linn: 109,773

Median price for a home in Lake Oswego: 465,000
Median price for a home in West Linn: 407,450

89% of residents in Lake Oswego have completed at least some college
82% of residents in West Linn have completed at least some college

The personal differences I see between both cities:

1. Environment. Lake Oswego has had resources for decades. This has made the environment in Lake Oswego full of flower baskets, trees, statues and art. In my opinion, this makes Lake Oswego a more aesthetically pleasing city in comparison to West Linn. Lake Oswego also has a developed downtown area full of restaurants and shops right along Oswego Lake. West Linn has nothing like that.

I also love the more established look of Lake Oswego and the certain flow you have from one area to another. West Linn feels divided into three separate chunks and doesn't have the flow, continuity or beauty Lake Oswego has surrounding Oswego Lake.

2. Convenience. Lake Oswego is located closer to Portland, Bridgeport Village and Washington Square Mall. This makes the commute to work and festivities in the city shorter, and gives you all the fun at Bridgeport Village and Washington Square virtually in your backyard.

3. Reputation. If you care at all about reputation, anyone will tell you “Lake-Ego” has it. West Linn just doesn’t have the name recognition Lake Oswego has had forever.

4. Community involvement. Yes, both cities are full of active citizens, but I’ve never seen as much fund-raising and activism in any other city besides Lake Oswego. Truly one of a kind!

5. Schools. Lake Oswego is the only school district in the state of Oregon to have all its public schools (K-12) ranked exceptional. That's a big plus! Although West Linn has an exceptionally ranked high school, not all of their elementary or middle schools are ranked exceptional like in Lake Oswego.

Furthermore, there are two exceptionally ranked high schools to choose from in Lake Oswego (LOHS and Lakeridge). West Linn only has one high school.

5. Other perks:
Oswego Lake is open to the public at the Lake Grove Swim Park during summertime and downtown Lake Oswego has another area for citizens to play in the lake.

Lake Oswego has many wonderful amenities such as Lusher Farm, the Lake Oswego Golf Course, in-door Tennis courts and George Rogers Park.

Although most houses on the Lake and in many neighborhoods throughout Lake Oswego sell upward of 1.5 million dollars (some even going for more than 5 million dollars), there are some cheaper places to look.

There are neighborhoods in LO with older, ranch-style houses. Usually these houses are around the 300,000-600,000 price range. Generally these houses are in the Lake Grove, Waluga and River Grove areas of Lake Oswego. They are still fairly expensive by virtue-of-the-fact that they are in Lake Oswego. This is mostly because of the highly ranked school district and wonderful amenities that go along with living in Lake Oswego.

Hope all this help!

I'm selling my home in West Linn but if I had to do it again (child's grown)I'd probably pick West Linn. This little area has a great school system. I'm about 2 miles from Tryon Creek (which has great educational programs for kids in a real forest--not to mention good trails for walking and even horseback riding.) I'm between two excellent libraries and I have the best commute into town from this area (Hwy 43.) West Linn isn't at all pretentious--rather I'd call it sweet. If you want to know more about my home please email me.

No one has mentioned anything about the weather. I am considering moving there next month. I live in the beautiful town of Lake Tahoe where the sun shines 300 days of the year even with the snowy winters. Does the cloudy and rainy days bother you?? I love to waterski, golf, bowl, biking etc. Everything sounds wonderful about the town and have actually visited, the weather makes me nervous...

Does anyone have any more recent thoughts on Lake Oswego versus SW? Where did the original poster decide to move? We're moving out in September and are considering the two areas. We have two kids, ages 5 and 7, and our priorities are definitely schools and a closeknit community (without a terrible commute into Portland).

Just moved to LO a few months ago. Yes, population is aging and younger families are priced out. They are closing half of the elementary schools and consolidating them. Which makes me wonder if the consolidated schools will be a bit crowded. We moved here only for the schools because anywhere outside of LO, besides West Linn, has very low rated schools. The homes here are old and expensive. But there is not much to choose from in Portland if you're looking for good schools and a decent commute. Also, Portland in general is much more crowded than I expected. I thought we were moving to a smaller, peaceful type of city. But there always seems to be traffic, and parking lots are always packed. Not what I had pictured, I thought the weather would scare people away. I also hoped the bad weather would keep home prices affordable. Not exactly.

They are closing 3 of the 9 elementary schools, not "half." While this was naturally upsetting to those affected, it was a necessary budgetary decision after several years (years ago) of declining enrollment and smaller school populations. More efficient to reduce the number of sites while keeping more teachers.

The number of students in the past few years is stable and they aren't expecting any additional configurations. I have not heard any suggestion that the quality of the instruction will suffer, even if the average class size will increase by one or two students. LO has a strong parent support network that also helps the district with volunteerism and finances.

We moved here 1.5 years ago. I have lived mostly in CA, but also Asia(as an expat), Wisconsin and Washington. For the person concerned about sun, you should be. The rain doesn't bother you so much as the general feel of being closed in from the constant cloud cover. Last summer, we didn't get sun until July. As for schools, please do consider that Oregon ranks as one of the worst states in the country for education. When you look at test scores, it compares Oregon students to other Oregeon students. With that said, I would make an effort to send your kids to the best school that you can find here. Lake Oswego is very diverse from an economic standpoint. The range is from the wealthy on the lake to the people who are barely making it, living in apartments or some even in hotels, due to bad luck with the economy. People here are very friendly. If you're coming from California, it is not ethnically diverse, like you may be used to. If you can handle the dreary weather, you will probably be happy here. Good luck!

I love in Lake Oswego and have for nearly 25 years. I run a large family daycare in my home here. My brother and his family live in West Linn. I like Lake Oswego more for location but love the feel of West Linn communities.
We have great schools and some offer a bit more diversity than others. All and all both areas you are looking at are great!

I have lived in LO for many years and you see people that are polished and people in ratty tshirts and flip flops. Same goes with the houses....both mansions and shacks can be found here. I'm still close enough to Portland to enjoy the restaurant scene but enjoy the quietness here, I love it!

We move to LO from Laurelhurst a couple of years ago for the schools. We love it here. When we moved, I didn't count on making any friends nearby. I was "doing it for the kids". However, I ended up after a year becoming closer to more families than I had in 10 years in LH. It's a very close community centered around the schools. Nothing wrong with that when you have school aged kids!

Wonderful thread! Thank you for all your insights! We are considering moving to Portland from Los Angeles, and one of the the things we are looking for is a more natural childhood for our kids. Essentially, we're looking for a community that has a culture more in line with our values, which are not to over schedule our kids with activity upon activity. (Right now, every single one of our kids' friends are in all week enrichment camps, and there's absolutely no free play.) Do parents of kids in LO allow their children to play outside? Do teens hang out together at the lake? It looks so idyllic, but I'm wondering what the culture is like and if childhood there is as structured by parents as it is here in LA.

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