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Moving to Portland
Raising 4 kids under the age of 10 by myself is becoming a real financial struggle.. I have the option of relocating with my Company to either Lake Oswego or the Pasadena area (or stay here in the Bay Area).
I know next to nothing about either place, other than the weather.
Everything we love about the Bay Area (food, weather, shops, natural beauty, ethnic diversity, progressive thinking, etc.)is what I will be looking for if we move.
Please be candid. Share the good, the bad and the ugly. The more information I have, the better equipped I will be to make a decision. To go and if so, where?
This is not very useful info, but just encouragement to look into Lake Oswego more before dismissing.
Altho there is quite a weather difference between the two places - so if you or your family really prefers one type of weather over another that may be a clear indicator for your choice. I guess that is the thing with the bayarea, the weather is a nice compromise between the two. anon
Editor note: reveiws were also received for Pasadena
So, I GULP my pride to admit that the financial struggle of being a solo parent (with no financial support) of 3 elementary-school-aged kids in the Bay Area has finally caught up with me.
I have the opportunity to move to Portland with my job. Lay it on me - I want the good, the bad and the ugly about the area. PLEASE BE CANDID I really need to know
However, I would have to say that both I and the majority of my friends from high school have left and remain content to enjoy home during visits. This is for a very simple reason; Portland has a very terrible job market. My sister and I both cannot find reasonable careers there (while we have our pick of jobs elsewhere) and my brother (who still lives in PDX) has been unemployed for several years. The friends I have that have remained in Portland are mostly under- employed. There are tons of over educated people working waitressing jobs since there is very little industry. The low cost of living there is way oversold. It is not really any cheaper if you don't have a job or don't earn nearly as much as you would in the Bay Area. Many employers also know that they have a captive audience. One thing that makes life much easier in the Bay Area is that it is comparatively easy to find a new job if the one you are in is terrible. In Portland, if you do have a job, your employer knows that you don't really have other options. There are a lot of employers who know they don't have to treat their employees well at all since they really have nowhere else to go.
So, unless you already have some sort of fabulous job lined up I would not recommend moving up there looking for a really better lifestyle. Even when the economy was good, Portland's wasn't and it has not improved in the past few years. Kate
It rains alot (but Im sure you know that) and IT IS NOT THE PLACE to be out of work, cause its hard to find work there.
I took a really great walking tour and learned alot about the history, the people and the culture. I would recommend it strongly http://www.portlandwalkingtours.com/tours/best_of_portland.php
Feels right to me. Go for it! Reenie
I am considering moving to Portland, OR, but am concerned about the rainy, dreary weather during the weather. I've heard everything from 'you get used to it' to it making people nearly suicidal. (In fact, a survey in some magazine a year or two ago rated Portland the number one city in suicide attempts...) So I'm looking for input and information. How bad is it, really? Sun-lover
Locals told me if you wait for a sunny day, you'll end up never going out. So you just deal with it.
Sorry to be so 'gloomy' about it. I enjoyed my two years, but I was glad to come back to CA. --Temp OR resident
My husband and I are considering moving to Portland because life here in the Bay Area just does not seem affordable. We have a newborn and the Berkeley Parents Network has been a great resource; does anyone know if there is a similar network in Portland? Has anyone had a baby in Portland and can recommend great resources to find childcare, groups, exchange baby items etc.? ccs
My partner and I are moving to Portland in April to start our family, and I'm wondering if anyone knows of good resources, like BPN, up there.
The craigslist search for houses is difficult, too, since I don't know what neighborhoods to look in. Both my partner and I work from home. She'll be telecommuting to her current job and I'll be trying to start over my dog training business.
So if you've lived in Portland and have recommendations, anything from great neighborhoods to resources for lesbian family planning, doctors, listserves, etc., I'd hugely appreciate it. Katrin
For kids, Portland has a nice zoo, and children's museum. The annual Rose Parade is lots of fun, and there is always something going on at the waterfront park.
Plus, you will be so close to hiking, skiing, and the amazing Oregon coast is a mere 1.5 hours away.
I joined a moms group as soon as we moved up there and it turned out to be my savior. anon
My husband's job may be transferring us to the Portland, Oregon area. I've never been and don't know much about it. Does anybody know the area? Main similarities or differences between bay area and there? Public school system, shopping, Mommy's groups? Pros and cons welcome. Thanks a bunch. jen
The only downside is the fact that Portland is a bit grey and rainy in the winter (not as much as Seattle), and the climate is a little cooler (occasional snow).
Portland was recently cited as one of the ''most liveable cities in the USA''. Robert
I may be biased, but I love Portland. So much that this move has been very, very hard for me and my husband and I made a deal that we'd move back in a few years. Portland is similar to the Bay Area in that people are very progressive, good music/art scene, lots of great restaurants, close to an endless amount of outdoor activities, etc.
Portland has an urban feel, but a lot less traffic and crime, or at least it seems that way?
You will notice less pollution and litter...everyone always comments on how clean it is there.
While the Portland prides itself on its leftist politics, I will say it's less racially diverse...I didn't realize that till we moved here.
The neighborhoods...it seems like there is a bigger ''up and coming'' factor there. Or maybe a bigger middle class...I've noticed here it seems like there are ''rough'' neighborhoods and then expensive neighborhoods, with not many in-between.
Cost of living...it probably goes without saying that the cost to buy a house here is so high that things will seem very cheap there. Although, from what I hear, the cost of living there isn't that cheap compared to many other cities. No sales tax though!
The shopping...so many neighborhoods with so many great little shopping areas. From boutiques to thrift stores to malls...you can find it all. Pearl District, Downtown, NW area, NE Broadway street, Hawthorne, Division steet, Alberta Arts district...all FILLED with shops and restaurants.
The weather...it does rain a lot, or is at least cloudy. Altough the summers are beautiful and nothing compares to the colors you will see in the fall. The rain keeps it wonderfully green and lush, but it's something to consider if you love the sun.
The schools are the same as most places, it depends on where you live. I am a teacher, so of course dedicated to strengthening the public schools...and there are many wonderful public schools in Portland, but you have to do your research on that. Most schools in SW and NW are good (more expensive neighborhoods over there) but SE and NE also have some of the best schools as well. It just depends on where you are (try Alameda, Hawthorne and Abernethy neighborhoods.)
Sorry so long winded...as you can see, I'm missing my city!:) PDX native
We are planning a move up to Portland, and are looking for the areas/suburbs with the best school districts. This, along with safety, it our number one criteria. We are looking for a sense of community, with parks and great shopping and restaurants nearby. Any suggestions? What do you do with kids all through the long rainy season? Are there any great websites that describe the neighborhoods? What about a parents listserv like this one? Thanks! anon
We're considering moving to Portland in the future. I haven't seen anything in the archives about the Alberta Arts District, and I'd like to know more. We want to be within walking distance of shops, restaurants, parks, theatres, etc. (like Rockridge, Solano Ave, Elmwood). We plan on going up for a visit this Spring; what should we see when we're there? Tired of Working so Hard
But, I digress--this isn't the Advice Given newsletter. Portland really is a great place, it's got a lot of the charm and character (maybe even more) of the neighborhoods in the Bay Area. SE Hawthorne is great, kind of a cross between the Haight and Piedmont Avenue, and I like to compare NW 23rd Ave with the Solano Ave area here, or maybe the Gourmet Ghetto. The Pearl District just north of downtown is a very gentrified warehouse area, sort of like the condos down by Jack London Square or Emeryville but maybe a little more upscale, and a slightly different character. Oh, and Sellwood is a great area too, in the SE quadrant by the river--it's kind of a family area with a walking shopping district, maybe sort of comparable to Rockridge or Elmwood.
Unfortunately I don't know much about the Alberta Arts District, or some of the other areas I've heard about but didn't frequent when I lived there. If we move back, we're targeting Hawthorne, which is quite long; I think the walkable area goes from something like SE 20th through SE 50th or so, and then you get to Mt. Tabor, which is very cool too. We're also thinking of Sellwood. But if you visit the Hawthorne area, check out the Bagdad Theater--it's a cross between the beautiful art-deco restoration of the Orinda Theater and the pizza/beer/movies idea of the Parkway. Every other row of seats has been removed and replaced with long tables; it's very cool, but it is 21 and over so hopefully you can find a sitter. The beer is from a local microbrewery, McMenamins, and they have made a name by restoring lots of old buildings to their former or in some cases all-new glory, and repurposing them as pubs and movie theaters. Not all are 21 and over so if you can't find a sitter you have some other options.
Unfortunately most of my experience there was with places you don't necessarily think of as kid-friendly, such as Saucebox downtown, but I actually take my daughter to a lot of the restaurants here that I used to frequent before so maybe it's OK. I think Saburo Sushi is great in Sellwood and is probably decent for kids but I remember it getting really really crowded. Try to go early, and/or on a weekday. Can't really think of a lot else right now, but definitely check out those neighborhoods, you'll be glad. --a once and possibly future PDXer
My family is moving to Portland, and we're looking for
recommendations on neighborhoods for renting an apartment or a
very cheap house. I checked the website, but would like more
recent and specific (for hunting apts on craigslist) suggestions.
Our dream neighborhood is (relatively) diverse, (reasonably)
safe, and has a commercial area within walking distance (video
rentals, coffee, bakery, pizza, bookstores, etc.). We live in the
Grandlake area of Oakland now, and would love to live somewhere
similar (but cheaper!) in Portland.
Buying a Raincoat Soon
My family is planning on moving to Portland, OR and I was wondering if anyone had recommendations for both moms' and dads' playgroups, good day care centers that accept infants, pediatricians, etc. Nikki
My husband and I are considering a move to Portland, OR. We are a one income family living in our own home in Berkeley. We have a toddler and are talking about trying for #2. I think 2 kids in Berkeley will be almost impossible on one income, so that's why a move may happen in the next few years I'm disabled, so me finding work out of the home isn't really practical. I'm thinking Portland may work for us. Does anyone here know of websites or books that would be helpful in figuring out what a good area of Portland is? How are the public schools? I cannot drive, so I know the public transit there is pretty great. I don't see any other way that we are going to stay in Berkeley. Does anyone have stories of how they have monaged to keep their family in Berkeley on one income, short of living off of beans and rice and borrowing against our home? Any advice would be apprecited, thank you! anon
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I've read the previous advice regarding moving from the Bay Area to Portland, but I'm looking for more....
We've realized that there's really nowhere in our beloved Bay Area where we can afford to buy a house. We stumbled upon Portland quite by accident on the internet looking for property listings and were simply ASTOUNDED at the price difference. I've never even been there but became intrigued. We've booked a 4 day weekend for Labor Day to go take a look around and see if it's where we're supposed to go. We've already contacted a realtor, husband is polishing the resume, and I'm trying to keep the trip a secret from my parents for right now. (Certainly not a conversation I want to have with them unless I have to!)
About us: we have a 14 month old and hoping to add to that in the near future. I'm working part time right now simply because I have to, and even then we're just scraping by. Tired of renting an apartment, want more kids, want to stay home. We could get 3 times the house in Portland than we could afford down here. School districts seem exceptional....I'm trying to find the bad part, other than the weather (and distance from family).
Any advice to maximize our short visit? It will be a whirlwind for sure. Any neighborhoods to avoid, be sure not to miss? Anywhere we can be sure to visit to get a vague feel for what life with kids in Portland is like? What about trip- specific advice....we're flying on Alaskan Air. Do I need to bring a birth certificate for a then 16 month old? We did not buy him a seat, he'll ride on our laps. It will be his first flight (yikes!) but I can pick up the air flight specific advice online.
What about any Bay Area transplants? What do you miss about Portland or vice versa? It's a big decision which will seem like it's coming out of left field to the grandparents and break their hearts so I want to make sure it's the right decision before we bring it up.
Thanks, **I don't wanna leave!**
So, it didn't work for us. There are certainly a lot of good things there, and we left many friends who are very happy there. There is good family skiing within two hours of the city, and the Gorge area is great for hiking. The people we met were warm and friendly. During the rare sunny months, the city practically explodes with free outdoor cultural events (e.g. the city ballet company holds its summer rehearsals in the park, and the symphony plays programs in neighborhood parks every week.) The schools are pretty good, but you should know that Oregon cut the state school budget quite severely in the last two years, and Portland had to pass a city tax to make up the large funding shortfall. Currently, there is a measure pending that would repeal that school tax, and I do not know whether it is likely to pass.
Good luck on your decision. alison
Peanut Butter & Ellie's is a restaurant specifically designed for the under 10 set. 1325 NE Fremont St, 282-1783.
Portland is really kid friendly, easy to get around, not so hectic as the Bay Area. But there is the weather...
Right now Portland is beautiful so it isn't exactly fair to judge what it would be like to live there ... my advice would be to go for a long weekend in the winter or early spring when the cloud cover never leaves. It isn't really the rain that gets people, its the absence of sun sightings for weeks at a time.
Have fun! Elizabeth
We moved for much the same reasons, moved back to be near family (all of it in the bay area) when we had young kids, but moved away again despite the fact that it meant moving away from beloved family, exactly because of the quality of life/cost of living issues you mention. I absolutely love Portland, and it would be perfect if we also had our family and close friends here, but I am building a community of new friends as well, adn we keep our connections through visits, emails, and the phone, with bay area relationships.
Portland is a stupendous place to raise kids - very progressive and diverse, yet small, safe and extremely clean by bay area standards.
As far as schools, it depends what you are looking for, but Portland offers a wide array of special focus schools and charter schools, and the variety is growing.
if you tell me what type of neighborhood and what price range you are interested in, i can guide you toward some must-see areas.
In terms of activities, try to go to OMSI (the museum of science and industry) where they have a great baby/toddler room in addition to the whole museum. OMSI is right on a new 4 mile (i think) walking path that loops through downtown waterfront areas and over bridges to the east side and back again to the west side.
If hte weather is nice (and the reputation is worse than reality!) go to Grant Park - there are statues of ramona and henry from ramona the pest books, since the books take place in NE portland! there is a wading pool (like many parks in portland) and a fountain too. A really amazing park is Washington Playground by the zoo, but with a 16 month old, it might be a bit chaotic . ..
the chinese garden downtown is really nice to walk through. What you should see really depends on what you like - outdoors/indoors, upscale/funky? Portland has it all! Give me a call if you want more input! Lyla
The two things off the bat:
-House prices are indeed lower than the bay. We sold our 2 bedroom in Rockridge for over $500,000 and bought a 3 bedroom in a very nice neighborhood (near the zoo) with GREAT schools for half that.
-Getting a job here really sucks. Unemployment is pretty high and a lot of industries and companies are leaving the city, county and even state. It is very tough. I would recommend you have a job lined up first, but a lot of employers will not even touch an out-of-state resume.
Neighborhoods to see: we are in Bridlemile and love it but also see Irvington and Hawthorne and everything in between. Ones to avoid: Beaverton and Hillsboro (traffic is a nightmare on the freeway) and North Portland (like West Oakland or Potrero Hill that no one wanted to visit but with gentrification [read: everyone moving from Cali] is getting nicer).
After our daughter was born, we realized that Portland was a better place to raise a family. We moved when she was 6 months. I grew up in N. Cali and I do not think I will ever go back. Portland is nice and the people are great. It helps that my wife's family is fairly local, though. As for your parents, my folks visit a LOT! It is a short, cheap flight and the drive is pretty. They love it.
We really miss the bay area restaurants but with a child, we probably would not go out even if we lived in the bay area. In Oregon, there is so much natural things to do. We head to the coast or central Oregon a LOT. Two hours to Bend is very different than 2 hours to Tahoe. happy
http://www.pointclickandpack.com./listings.php Phyllis Ghazi / Jan Groff RE/MAX Signature Properties 2717 NE Broadway, Portland 97232 Office: (503) 282-4000 ext. 119 Toll free: 1-866-454-1445 ext. 119 Cell: (503) 421-2407 www.pointclickandpack.comThey asked good questions and had a lot of pointers and sent a neighborhood info pack via email that I would be glad to forward to you or anyone else who would be interested.
Hello! Our family is moving to Portland, OR in a few months and I haven't able to find any network like this one up there. Any recommondations? Shannon
We're moving up to Portland next month and I would love advice on resources for toddlers, such as playgroups (like the one at Epworth Church), listserves like this one, indoor rec centers, etc. (I looked in the Berkeley Parents Network archives but none of the responses to prior questions included any specifics.) We have a 13-month-old and are moving to the Northeast part of town. Thanks! Portland-bound SAHM Amy
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Well, we're going to do it. We're moving from the beloved Bay Area to Portland (Lake Oswego) for quality of life issues - schools, cost of living, family enviroment, safety, etc. I would love to hear from anyone about their experiences in the Portland area and/or any recommendations on places that our family can experience a similar funkiness that we so love in Berkeley. Also, is there a resource as fabulous as this (Parents Network) up there? Thanks in advance for your thoughts. Siouxsie.
However, Lake Oswego is not at all like Berkeley. It's very high- end due to good schools, the lake and housing prices (more similar to Los Altos or Los Gatos).
The funky parts of Portland are on the eastside, downtown and northwest -- Hawthorne area, Broadway/Irvington, NW 23rd, Pearl District. It's a great city -- good size as downtown is very easy to get to and attend events. Great for kids as it is very family centric here.
The downside coming from California is the weather -- you just have to adjust and either chose to do things and get wet or find lots of indoor things with the kids (OMSI, Children's museum, indoor pools, etc.). But the summers here are fantastic and I always make plans to leave Portland during other times of the year. Leah
Hi -- we're considering moving to Portland, and I'm looking for some recommendations. Can anyone give me advice about childcare, neighborhoods, and general community resources? I have a new baby, so I'm particularly interested in resources for new parents, including best ways to find childcare. I've already reviewed the existing postings on Portland, and am also curious if anyone has an update on what the economy there is like these days. Also, is there ever any sunny weather there, or should I be prepared for endless rain and gray days? Thanks! Lisa
Just doing a quick search on Yahoo here are a couple of websites you may want to look at:
http://www.pova.com/ (Portland visitors association website) http://www.portlandschools.org/ http://www.ci.portland.or.us/ (city of portland website) http://www.pps.k12.or.us/ http://www.oregonian.com/ (local paper) http://www.amityvineyards.com/ http://www.ohwy.com/or/a/amityvin.htm (has stuff about local wineries and other attractions)Lisa
We're going to Portland for a week at the end of July to check the place out and see if we'd like to move there. Can anyone give us recommendations on either the move or the visit? We'd be interested in your opinion on what it would be like to raise a family in Portland, what the public schools are like, neighborhoods with good public schools, realtors, places to stay with a 3 year old, fun things to do, places to buy organic food. many thanks
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