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Old 01-25-2008, 08:21 AM
11 posts, read 103,927 times
Reputation: 16


I'm thrilled to have found this forum, as all of our friends are sick of hearing us mull over this decision.

We lived in Portland for a decade and left when our kids were 2 years old to live closer to their grandparents in Madison, Wisconsin. Madison is an amazing place to raise kids (down to earth, 4 seasons, neighborhoody, safe, funky, progressive, diverse, funded, public education, very g-rated, free and accessable activities, bike everywhere, lakes and parks surround us), but I still can't seem to kick my yearning for Oregon. We still come back every summer to visit family, camp, go to country fair and stuff our faces with berries, but it just never seems to be enough and the midwest (beyond our 5 mile radius) bums me out.
I know that Portland has changed a lot over time (more traffic, more hipsters, etc.), and so I'm not sure if I'm yearning for something that doesn't exist anymore. Also, while my husband and I LOVED Portland as 20-30 somethings, would we love it as 30-40 somethings (and beyond) and would we feel as though our kids were losing out on the safe, independent, sweet childhood they are now experiencing? The older they get, the more I think we (as a family) might be able to access what appeals to us about Portland (access to Mountains, rivers, ocean, etc) but at what cost? Help!
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Old 01-25-2008, 11:20 AM
36 posts, read 101,693 times
Reputation: 56

I'll probably get blasted for saying this, but I think Portland is a terrible place to raise kids. The school systems are overcrowded and have a terrible funding structure in place. They complain they have no money and then build 15 million dollar elementary schools because they hired an architect who cares more about his product than the functionality of the school. The lifestyle here is extremely hurried everybody always has to be doing something or going somewhere with no regard for other people. We've adopted a "I feel sorry for that drug user" environment. They get extremely short jail sentences or even a slap on the hand. This is a big reason of why the Portland Metro area has a serious drug problem that no one wants to admit to. Finally I think there is a fundamental lack of family values. I been to many other parts of the country and feel that kids here are exposed to much more adult situations here than other areas. This, no doubt, is a direct reflection of the "too hurried" lifestyle. Granted you'll find this in all big cities but Portland's motto really needs to be "do whatever makes you feel good, we don't care." Don't forget that there are only 2 season here too.....rain and summer.

I do have to say if you don't have any kids or morales it is a great place to live. There is plenty of work, recreation and scenery. It pretty hard to beat Portland for those things. For the record I am not a negative person. I love most of Oregon and think it is a wonderful place.......just not Portland.
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Old 01-25-2008, 08:04 PM
2,430 posts, read 5,690,518 times
Reputation: 1221
As someone raising a child IN the downtown Portland area, I think it's a great place for kids. We have so many parks to choose from, lots of kid oriented museums and activities, great libraries, and the schools are not all horrible. There are a lot of families who have chosen to make Portland their home and we're one of them. I know there are probably places that are safer or "better" on paper but I like the mix of Portland--my child is in a major city, but one that is smaller and more family friendly than many large cities, with all the city has to offer, but with lots of outside and recreational activities, a great science museum, amazing libraries and access to books, etc. There are always places that you could say have this that is better or that that is better but if you like what Portland has to offer you will also like having your kids grow up here. I don't know what your finances are like but if you can swing it, Sellwood and Westmoreland are still like small towns within the city with TONS of kids and everyone seems to know one another, lots to do, etc. and on the outskirts but still close in to the downtown area. Kids still have lemonade stands and how many big cities can boast that? People go on and on about Portland Public schools and yes, the funding can be dismal at times but what makes up for it is the amazing parent involvement that most schools have and the variety of magnet/focus options, plus charter schools.

Anyway, I think it comes down to what you want your children to grow up with access to. I love that my child is growing up thinking riding public transportation is normal, walking places is normal, having lots of parks and going to the library for great stuff is normal, etc. We have lots of farmer's markets to shop at, lots of places to pick fruit/berries, lots of options to get out and enjoy nature, AND have access to museums and great restaurants. That's my take on it
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Old 01-25-2008, 08:36 PM
Location: Monterey County, CA
4,811 posts, read 11,333,799 times
Reputation: 4952

That is a really good post on the upside of living in Portland and raising a family.

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

- Derek
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