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Old 05-05-2010, 05:19 PM
 
Location: Utah
4 posts, read 9,796 times
Reputation: 11

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Hey everybody -
My husband is in the firefighting recruitment program in Portland, and we'd like to get an idea of which areas would be best for us to look for apts. He's coming up at the end of this month (from Salt Lake, Ut) and we'd love to look around, but not sure what parts are worth looking at. First, let me just say, our income is low. 2000/mo. ish. But we don't want to shop based solely on price and get stuck in a dangerous part of town. We're looking for an apartment, somewhere below 700/mo. And we would love for him to be able to commute into Portland by train in less than an hour, the less the better. We do have 3 kids (7, 5 and 4) but I don't think I'll have the luxury of picking a neighborhood by it's school quality. Hope that helps in the narrowing-down-what-we're-looking-for department.
Here's what I'm starting to gather. South, South-West and West of Portland is the part that people recommend most. Beaverton, Hillsboro, Tigard, Tualatin, Forest Grove. And directly south seems more expensive - Lake Oswego, West Linn, not sure about Oregon City (but that's looks pretty far out of Portland). I heard one person say Happy Valley was affordable and a nice atmosphere. I found one place in Oak Hills, but I have no idea what kind of area that is.
Beyond that I hear nothing about the north and east of Portland. Is it higher crime? Less fancy? Totally industrial? If I said there was a place up on Lombard Street and MLKing up Highway 5 would you shout "NO"?
You guys seem to have the inside information I need, I would really love some direction.
Thanks.
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Old 05-05-2010, 05:24 PM
 
Location: Utah
4 posts, read 9,796 times
Reputation: 11
Default One more thing...

And what about Gresham? The apts I've seen look a little tougher and more beat up there - is that consistant with that area?

What does trashy mean in Portland terms? Are we talking drugs, crime, or just not as pretty?
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Old 05-05-2010, 05:59 PM
 
Location: Portland, OR
1,657 posts, read 2,659,306 times
Reputation: 839
Google: Moving to Portland
Several hits will be from real estate brokers who have put a lot of effort in to explaining the various city of Portland neighborhoods.

Yes, there are lots of neighborhoods east of the Willamette river that are good for a young family. Crime is low all over the City of Portland, IMHO. The city of Portland is an urban city, and thus is not crime free, but compared to other cities of similar size Portland has a low violent crime rate.

maps of City of Portland and neighborhoods:
Neighborhood Maps and Boundaries

Look around that site and you can find details on each neighborhood and crime statistics from Police Dept.

Another site describing City of Portland neighborhoods:
Portland Oregon Guide |Portland Neighborhoods Guide
Look for Interactive Map on left hand side of web page.

Usual stuff: High unemployment rate, pay scale is low, housing prices have not bottomed out yet, Don't come here without a job, have some money for just in case, property taxes are higher in Multnomah county (Portland)

As long as you can deal the the weather and long stretches of overcast and drizzle rain during the winter, and the difficulty in making close friends in Portland, you will do fine.

Phil

PS: Gresham is looked down upon by some parts of the Portland area because the population is more "countrified" as in C & W bars and music; rural background of many of the population, Trailer Courts (Manufactured Homes Estates) between Gresham and Portland, greater percentage of low-cost homes than 'burbs west of Portland, and distance to the "Urban" center-urban nite life of the Pearl and NW 23rd street, where all the HIP youth hang out. Image of Joe six-pack, not Wendy and Charles Wine & Cheese. There are parts out there which are less of a shot-&-beer, and more of a sip of beer and a glass of whiskey cowboy area. Gresham is OK by itself. But be sure you are on the other side of the County line. Live that far out, and not save money on Taxes don't make sense.

Last edited by philwithbeard; 05-05-2010 at 06:11 PM.. Reason: add thoughts on Gresahm.
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Old 05-05-2010, 07:06 PM
 
Location: NW Montana
6,259 posts, read 8,562,015 times
Reputation: 3336
Quote:
Originally Posted by sstar8102 View Post
Hey everybody -
My husband is in the firefighting recruitment program in Portland, and we'd like to get an idea of which areas would be best for us to look for apts. He's coming up at the end of this month (from Salt Lake, Ut) and we'd love to look around, but not sure what parts are worth looking at. First, let me just say, our income is low. 2000/mo. ish. But we don't want to shop based solely on price and get stuck in a dangerous part of town. We're looking for an apartment, somewhere below 700/mo. And we would love for him to be able to commute into Portland by train in less than an hour, the less the better. We do have 3 kids (7, 5 and 4) but I don't think I'll have the luxury of picking a neighborhood by it's school quality. Hope that helps in the narrowing-down-what-we're-looking-for department.
Here's what I'm starting to gather. South, South-West and West of Portland is the part that people recommend most. Beaverton, Hillsboro, Tigard, Tualatin, Forest Grove. And directly south seems more expensive - Lake Oswego, West Linn, not sure about Oregon City (but that's looks pretty far out of Portland). I heard one person say Happy Valley was affordable and a nice atmosphere. I found one place in Oak Hills, but I have no idea what kind of area that is.
Beyond that I hear nothing about the north and east of Portland. Is it higher crime? Less fancy? Totally industrial? If I said there was a place up on Lombard Street and MLKing up Highway 5 would you shout "NO"?
You guys seem to have the inside information I need, I would really love some direction.
Thanks.
How do the rents compare in these areas? Is it a must that the husband not drive in? If it is then that will hamper your areas.
I would think you could find a duplex in PDX for that.
good luck, you can dm me if you find some and I will give you my opinion.
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Old 05-05-2010, 09:17 PM
 
Location: Cleveland Heights OH
13,540 posts, read 10,422,783 times
Reputation: 13137
I would begin with the area in which his job will be and research neigborhoods from there. Also if he will have to commute, check out what public transportation and roads are nearby.
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Old 05-05-2010, 09:20 PM
 
Location: PNW
674 posts, read 1,170,649 times
Reputation: 595
Quote:
Originally Posted by sstar8102 View Post
Hey everybody -
I found one place in Oak Hills, but I have no idea what kind of area that is.
Oak Hills, generally, is a nice neighborhood. I lived there for a couple of years, and considered it one of my best rentals (next to a cemetery -- quiet!). Individual apartments are going to vary, of course.

On the west-side, if you want a commute under 30 minutes and public transportation, you'll likely have to move closer in to Portland (e.g. Cedar Hills), which will most likely raise the rent.
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Old 05-05-2010, 11:34 PM
 
Location: Cleveland Heights OH
13,540 posts, read 10,422,783 times
Reputation: 13137
If the job is in Portland, don't rule out Portland neighborhoods. There are plenty of very nice ones where you can get a nice place within your budget.
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Old 05-06-2010, 12:07 AM
 
157 posts, read 343,564 times
Reputation: 98
If you want a specific location, my recommendation is Happy Valley. Google Clackamas Town Center, Clackamas, OR. From Sunnybrook Rd, down 97th to Lawnfield Rd are a string of apartment complexes that seem pretty good. One has a pool on the corner of Lawnfield and 97th, a four-way stop. It's outdoor and when the weather gets hot, traffic slows down due to... sightseeing.

The kick is, is that due to the school lines, those apartments fall into the Happy Valley School Dist where most of the schools are brand new. There are a few affluent areas surrounding the apartments that are not within the School Dist so those families rent apartments in order to use the address so they can send their kids to Happy Valley. The schools themselves are all surrounded by McMansions, all built within the last 5-7 years during the boom(bubble) times.

There is a bus line that runs right on Lawnfield. The MAX light rail line that runs to downtown is brand new and the terminal is at the mall. Should you drive, the I-205 is right next to you. Safeway and Target are 10 mins away.

A downsides I can think of is that Kaiser Permamente Hospital is nearby and you might hear sirens once in a while and freeway noise.
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Old 05-06-2010, 06:58 PM
 
Location: Oregon
501 posts, read 748,375 times
Reputation: 342
Default yeah avoid outer se

from what i've seen and heard, from my daughter and others, avoid the Max rail route in far outer SE portland. high crime, drugs, gangs., even shootings at some of the apartment complexes (Barberry village for one). I would avoid that side of town if Max train is your transp option. The West side is a good bet, i live there, but not on the Max. Generally better and newer construction, and less poverty. Lots of apartments to choose from. But, if you can drive and want a straight shot main route, South in Milwaukie, Gladstone and Oregon City are good places to live, somewhat low income but a bit more suburban. I have lived there and it was quieter, lower crime and nice enough neighbors. Fantastic big parks, and rivers! Family oriented. Community college. Gladstone has good schools. Gladstone and Oregon City are on the I-205 freeway, a quick drive to anywhere in SE Portland. Milwaukie is on the main old highway, 99, or McLoughlin blvd, straight into downtown/ the bridges, through inner se portland. These 3 cities are mostly in Clackamas County, a nice place that has better and quicker services than Multnomah. (Last i heard, Portland schools also don't give older kids bus service-- not a good thing in my book. But other areas usually do. I would NEVER put my kid of any age, on a Tri-met bus to go to school every day). Close in SE Portland is better than out toward Gresham (avoid gresham for its adult / porn shops, sex offenders, and strip clubs).
Clackamas is also another nicer, fairly suburbanized town, on the outskirts of Portland in SE, on I-205.

but anywhere in the greater Portland area, beware the buzz. say what? well, if you , your kids or pets, are sensitive to this, you might be kept awake at night by the constant never ending high pitched zap of the cellular/ wifi transmissions that are utterly clogging the airwaves all over town. Portland is notoriously electrosmoggy, that is, the cell and other carriers have really taken over and have high powered stuff going on. Locate off the beaten track and not near any commercial areas if you want to avoid this, but really, listen in dead silence wherever your next prospective apartments are located. Inside and outside, it permeates all.

Here's the best mapping site I've found for Portland, with the crime and other statistics (and i believe shows registered sex offenders if you choose to see that):


PortlandMaps



*
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Old 05-07-2010, 12:23 PM
 
321 posts, read 673,624 times
Reputation: 138
Beyond that I hear nothing about the north and east of Portland. Is it higher crime? Less fancy? Totally industrial? If I said there was a place up on Lombard Street and MLKing up Highway 5 would you shout "NO"?

First, I'd say "no," to that question. I would not shout no. A little background: North and East Portland have a lot of neighborhoods. A lot of people won't mention it directly here, but I am all about keeping it real. So I'll say that these are the areas where, historically, black Portlanders have lived. Of course, black people only make up about 7% of Portland, so even in the "black neighborhoods" they are a minority, but I think the assumption among many people who post here (and in other City-Data city forums) is that if someone asks for advice about neighborhoods they are a) white, and b) wouldn't want to live near/with lots of non-white people. It doesn't seem to matter what their socioeconomic status is!

Anyway. North and NE Portland are also where you get a lot of economic diversity. On the one hand, you have Albina and Laurelhurst - both are NE Portland, both have very high real estate values and there are virtually no rentals. And you also have Buckman, Irvington, and Alberta which are more middle-class with rentals but prolly stretching the budget of a working class, single-income household (good deals to be had if you're in a roomie situation). Then you could look at, say, the "up and coming" (I hate that term) aka gentrified areas along MLK and Interstate, and in North Portland, communities like Arbor Lodge and Kenton will still have rentals. Then you've just got flat out where "real" people live areas like Curry, Dekum, and pretty much everywhere else.

You just have to remember that on these boards people like to praise the "up and coming" and cool neighborhoods that get written up in the living section, or have art walks and stuff like that. Areas where there were (2 years ago) lots of real estate "flipping" going on.

Personally, I like NE Portland a lot, and have lived there and don't feel uncomfortable there. Then again, I am from NYC (moved to Portland when I was a teenager) and feel more at home in communities where people walk and take the bus, wear backpacks, speak different languages, have different modes of dress and hairstyles, and don't have time or money for perfectly manicured green lawns.

I would say if you found a well priced rental in those areas you mentioned, definitely do a search on Google Maps and survey the street. Things can vary quite a bit from one block to another in terms of curb appeal and also services nearby. It's not uncommon to see a really nice house on a block with an ugly defunct gas station right across the street. Or something weird like that. Unfortunately, North and NE Portland is where a lot of the low industrial and polluting buildings have gone in years past, so that area has more yuck stuff in the air and ground than some other parts of Portland.

Also, SE Portland - areas like Brentwood, Darlington and that whole Foster/Powell swathe - are also low cost areas, but I find them to be a little too isolated (in terms of transportation) compared to NE. Also, too many gravel streets and not enough sidewalks for my liking, but sometimes you can find a sweet house on a rather dinky street for a good price. I prefer the vibrancy of N and NE Portland, but there are some interesting little enclaves in SE.

In general, other parts of East Portland to look at are Madison, Maywood Park, and Parkrose. People don't usually recommend those neighborhoods on these blogs because they are not "cool" or hip or whatever - but real people live there every day and get along just fine. Your budget of $700 a month for a family of 5 is going to push you further to the outskirts. From your message it doesn't sound like you have a problem with that, so if you'd prefer more apartment for your money vs proximity to the city, I'd suggest taking a look at Gresham and maybe Hillsboro. With Gresham and Hillsboro you could look for a place near the Max lines.

Sorry for the length, but you asked a meta question and I wanted to try to address it. And by the way, Happy Valley is expensive. Even the apartments there are generally start at around $650 for a 1 bedroom. I have a single friend making $40,000 or more a year (with bennies) and she cannot afford an apartment there.

Last edited by sofia76; 05-07-2010 at 12:28 PM.. Reason: correcting italic tags
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