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Old 02-25-04, 05:18 PM   #1
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Portland, Oregon Questions-->>

For any BikeForums members that live in the Portland, Or. area could you please answer a question for my wife and me?

We will be relocating there by April, May at the latest and wanted to get some opinions on good Pre-Kindergarten schools.

We are interested in a couple so far but wanted to get some additional opinions as well. We're most interested in a progressive, arts-based program.

Also, we'll be calling some management agencies about rentals very soon but in the meantime wanted to find out the Pros and Cons of the various downtown Portland neighborhoods (NE, NW, SW, SE) ....

thoughts/opinions on either/both?

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Old 02-25-04, 11:36 PM   #2
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My experience of Portland is a little out of date, I lived in Portland then Vancouver from 1980-1990 & knew the East side pretty well. The demographics were interesting: East from the Willamette River to 39th the Population is younger with lots of singles. From 39th out to the East there were many more family type neighborhoods...not sure why such a transition takes place at 39th. Portland is not a big city but it has several very distinct neighborhoods & districts. I always liked the Hawthorne & Mount Tabor neighborhoods when I worked at the Seminary (55th & Hawthorne). You will enjoy exploring Portland. We lived on 70th between Glisan & Burnside and My oldest son lived near Reed College. Both were very friendly neighborhoods. Bear in mind there is a geographic feature East of Portland (The Columbia Gorge) which causes an increasing wind as you go East from downtown. Residents on the West side of town & those close to downtown don't notice it much but it was a real negative in the Winter & I never got used to it while we lived in Portland.
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Old 02-26-04, 12:05 AM   #3
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We live in Sherwood - a city/suburb about 20 miles southwest of downtown. We've been here a year after re-locating from Seattle Washington.

Both of our kids had great experiences with the Montessori Pre-K and K programs. I wasn't too thrilled at the beginning with their philosophy, but when my boys entered public school in first grade, they were FAR ahead of most of the other kids.

The big difference is that they have full day programs (8:30-3 pm) for 4 and 5 year olds. It makes a huge difference. The cost was $400/month for child #1 and $725 for both but it varies by school.

Good luck. Contact me when you get here and let's go riding.

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Old 02-26-04, 03:51 AM   #4
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Also, we'll be calling some management agencies about rentals very soon but in the meantime wanted to find out the Pros and Cons of the various downtown Portland neighborhoods (NE, NW, SW, SE)
well i can't say much about the pre-schools as i have no kids...

as to the neighborhoods, without knowing what you guys like and what you value it's really hard to recommend anything.

Portland has so many different neighborhoods that are great - but for different reasons.

do you want "family" urban, traditional suburban, artsy, "happening"??... it's all very difficult to guess. and coming from NYC i have no idea what your expectations are...

to be VERY general, i will try and describe the overall:

downtown is downtown (ok, not even close to Manhattan!) with smaller apartments and lofts... actually pretty affordable but probably not the best for a family (although 2 friends of mine with a 2-year old lived there for a while)

inner Northwest (where i lived - NW 23rd and Glisan) and Southwest are VERY nice - happening as well quaint - close to downtown, the river and the hills... but pretty pricey... this is the prettiest park of Portland AND close to downtown so it is understandable.

further West (the other side of the hills "skyline rd") is more like traditional older US suburbs... wider curvey streets, more open space/trees, larger lots, etc. Beaveton is one of the "hippest" suburban areas without being super-expensive (like say Lake Oswego). further west is more and more suburban but still nice. Beaverton is a good compromise - it's relatively bike-friendly, close enough to bike-commute to downtown (or combine with Max)... further out like Hillsboro or something _I_ would not recommend, but then i don't like the "new suburbs" -- i know there are a few happy Beaverton members here like John Radcliff (spelling?)

North portland used to be the "bad" areas but is now being gentrified... i have LOTS of friends who have bought houses there. schools might be a problem (no idea) but the area is nice and close to downtown.

further North across the river - Vancouver WA i would NOT recommend -- this is very un-Portland as it is auto-centric AND they are anti-tax so their schools suck (my coworker was always complaining about how they had downvoted ANOTHER school funding proposal)

the East side is a whole 'nother animal: in general it is less expensive and less ritsy, but not in a bad way. close to downtown is very artsy/happening and where a majority of Portlanders prefer to live (Hawthorne). the further east you go, the more "suburban" but not really - only in the old 50s way - more families, less "happening" but still lively communities, quaint, safe and good for biking.

and there are some good "suburbs" to the Southeast which each have their own flavor. a few are comparatively bike-unfriendly but many are not - can't really give specifics.

just guessing: for a family look in either Beaverton area or the East Side depending on your style... as long as you're not WAY out of the city (like say Sandy to the east) for a serious Utility Cyclist you should be able to bike commute to work without much trouble...

P.S. my info is also out of date as i haven't lived in Portland since 2000... (but geography is an interest of mine - i left portland to start my PhD in that field)
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Old 02-26-04, 04:01 AM   #5
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Pros and Cons of the various downtown Portland neighborhoods (NE, NW, SW, SE) ....
jeez... i just re-read your message and i had missed the "downtown" in Portland neighborhoods...

pretty much anywhere in inner Northwest or Southwest that you can afford is awesome --- very "urban" in the positive aspects as in lots to do on foot (can walk to downtown)... very beautiful as you're right on/in the hills and close to parks (Washington and Forest Parks) and downtown. Northwest is more "hip" but Southwest is in general even more expensive as the houses are bigger (like along Scenic Drive...)

as i mentioned above true "urban" Downtown living is not that expensive in Portland...

inner NE is the most affordable... not as happening... maybe problems with schools (although it wouldn't be too far to another area - 1-5 miles easy)

inner SE (hawthorne) is not urban in the traditonal sense, but more artsy - hard to explain.

John's Landing and others are also close to downtown but more affordable...

but yeah, depending on your style: either Hawthorne or Northwest or Southwest would be the "goal" and to find something affordable you might move a little away from the central hot-spots...
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Old 03-01-04, 11:19 PM   #6
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My daughter is just finishing Pre-K at Vermont Hills Pre-School and Kindergarten at the St. Andrews site in SW Portland. We've been happy with the place for three years now. There's other Vermont Hills sites around the city, and the ones we've seen have ranged from nice to very nice.

My son is at Buckman Elementary in SE Portland, a public Magnet Arts K-5 school. We really like it there. The parents are great, and the school has strong spirit and a time-tested progressive curriculum (art-infused, integrated curriculum, artists in residence, dance instructor, etc.). We hope our daugher will go to full day Kindergarten there next year.

As for neighborhoods, we're in SW near Garden Home and Gabriel Park. Nice area. Hilly, some narrow roads, but nice trees and Multnomah Village is an easy walk. Alpenrose Velodrome is near by.

SE Portland is also interesting, but more urban. Good arts/alternative culture. Good worker cooperative bike shops (Citybikes). The Portland Wheelmen Touring Club has a lot of rides that start in the area.

I can send Internet links if you need them. Let us know how your plans go.
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Old 03-01-04, 11:56 PM   #7
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I can speak for southeast Portland and Milwaukie: They rule out loud. But the Portland area in general is pretty damned cool. The bridges, the architecture, the culture, the user-friendly downtown -- all of these make for a great experience. We find something every day that reminds us why we moved and stay here.

Some of the natives we could do without, but one can't have everything, eh?
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