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Help a Mama help her Mama

People in Portland love their neighborhoods, and there are many reasons why. Dana's mom is considering moving to Portland from Ashland:

My question is regarding what areas of Portland people have found a sense of community, with a progressive attitude, and decent price range for real estate. What neighborhoods have people experienced that they know and maybe even like their neighbors?

If she were to move up here it would be really important for her to find a neighborhood that could still give her some of those things that Ashland did. Of course Portland is a big city and Ashland is not, but Portland has nice little pockets of cool spots. Although one usually follows the other its not just about the shopping and good restaurants for her. I think she wants to be able to get involved in the community some. Join some local groups, walk to the coffee shop and see people she knows, and of course support for local libraries. One thing I find you run into w/ bigger cities is life gets faster and everyone goes about their busy lives. She wouldn't like that.

I live in Piedmont so I'm not sure what other neighborhoods are like to live in. I know she likes Alameda, and Irvington, and Grant Park areas. Maybe Mt. Tabor but not sure if that will be in her price range or not (400-500K) or in SE some place. She would love to find a little place w/ a separate apartment or a duplex or something to rent out as well.


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My mom just bought a house in Grant Park. She's making the move from Seattle, and also wants the things you mention your mom wants in a community. Mom chose Grant Park partly b/c of its proximity to us (Concordia) but also the liveliness of the neighborhoods, her ability to walk to the the Hollywood Sr. Ctr. and the library, the Max, and Trader Joes (she said that sealed the deal!) It was the only area she looked at that had those things to offer. She's in her early 60's and plans to actively engage in her community and the arts for years to come - and sought out a neighborhood that would let her do so when she has limited mobility. Concordia had nice and affordable homes, but no other neighborhood center - aside from Kennedy School and New Seasons, which can only sustain one for so long. I think she made a great choice!

This might not be the right fit for your mom, but I thought I'd post it anyway. My husband's mom bought a condo in Portland Plaza and absolutely loves it. Portland Plaza is one of the older (70s) condo buildings so the prices aren't ridiculous. It's right across the fountain from Keller Auditorium. It's got great views, right on the street car line so she doesn't have to have a car and she's just plugging into the community there -- a lot of involved, progressive retirees who love the arts. For grandparents who are ready to give up the car and the yard, it's a great building.

After a lifetime spent in Portland, my family moved to the Downtown Milwaukie area. We were able to purchase a large piece of property which we've affectionately dubbed "The Compound". The compound houses my little troupe (toddler son, hubby and me), my parents and my mother-in-law, as well as a non-family member renter. We could have never afforded to do this in Portland. Here's what I've discovered: downtown Milwaukie is the metro area's best kept secret. It boasts super easy access to Sellwood and Downtown pdx, bus lines galore, a quaint downtown core with a very nice farmer's market in the summer, a public library, coffee shops, a yoga and wellness studio, and more all within walking distance. There are active neighborhood associations and citizens really care about the city. What's even better is the revitalization that is happening in the area. There is a new condo/retail development that is just finishing up by the library, and tons more stuff in the works. You can check out www.cityofmilwaukie.org or www.celebratemilwaukie.com for more info. I am really grooving the small town feel without losing my city girl roots!

I agree with both Grant Park and Milwaukie. I'd also like to put a plug in for Clinton/Hawthorne/Belmont/Hosford-Abernethy area. I've met tons of Grandmas who lived in the neighborhood -- and it *is* possible to find a house in that price range in those neighborhoods -- and they certainly seem to have a lovely, neighborly lifestyle. On Division, Hawthorne and Belmont in the 20s and 30s and 40s are countless coffee shops, boutiques, yoga studios, fun restaurants and (let's not forget) Mabel's, where I'm *always* sure to meet a nice Grandma!

oh yes, and the Belmont Library -- convenient to all these neighborhoods -- is a perfect example of our city's support for the library system.

Hey I live in Peidmont too! I was going to suggest that! We love it here! Not sure what neighborhood it is officially but we have friends who live over around Killingsworth and Denver, near Prima Dolci. They love that area too.

But as far as Peidmont goes, if she moves here we'd love to have her on the neighborhood association if she wants to get involved with that kind of thing.

I've lived in Grants Park and Clinton and to be honest, Peidmont has been my favorite as far as things to do, places to walk. Especially with the MAX so close.

just my two cents though

I've been researching resources online to help some friends of ours in their move to Portland.

I'm biased towards the Woodstock neighborhood as that's where we live. Very walkable with great shops and a fun vibe. It's not as pricey as the more trendy neighborhoods and has decent schools.

Anyway, here are some sites that outline the neighborhoods.

- http://www.portlandneighborhood.com/
- http://movingtoportland.net/

The second site is run by a realtor that has a great newsletter that discusses the housing market in Porltand.

These other sites were critical in our home buying process:

- http://rmls.com/ - MLS listings of course, lots of local realtors have automated searches integrated with google maps nowadays

- http://portlandmaps.com/ - research property taxes, development, crime statistics, schools, etc.

Hope that helps.

I would also check out the northern parts of Northwest Portland, near forest park. Though we probably couldn't afford to buy there, we live near Mt. Tabor, it's still one of my favorite neighborhoods for that feeling of community. It has a natural foods co-op, a library and a few cute cafes, all around 24th and Thurman. It's very close to the trendy areas of NW 23rd but also has the forest of one side with lots of trails. You could find something in her price range there. We have lots of friends in North and Northeast, and they definitely have cool neighborhoods, (Grant park does seem like a good choice) But Northwest is a really neat and different. Good luck!

Thanks so much guys! This really helps. I forwarded this link on to my mom. If she does move this info will be super helpful.

oh one last thing, I forgot about Sellwood. It is a cute, quiet little community on the south side of town and it's very self contained. If you live in the middle of the neighborhood you could walk to two great parks, lots of cafes, a library, a community center, a grocery store, a theater and lots of cute little shops. It's got gorgeous houses and tree lined streets. The only downside I can see for you is that it's about 15 min. from Piedmont by car.If my mom moved to town, I'd want her to move to Sellwood.

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