Family Circle magazine just came out with its list of 10 Best Towns for Families, ranking Lake Oswego right up there with the likes of Vail, Arizona; Fort Mill, South Carolina; and Oak Park, Illinois. They looked at schools, housing, green space and volunteerism in deciding which towns to crown with this year’s honor.
Since praising Lake Oswego is what this blog is all about, here are my top 10 reasons why Lake Oswego is one of the top 10 towns for families to live.
1. SCHOOLS. You’ve read it here before, but in my 20 plus years as a Realtor in Lake Oswego, the Lake Oswego School District’s reputation is the number one reason why families want to call Lake Oswego home.
2. SAFETY. Check out the Lake Oswego Review Police Blotter to see what’s going down in our town and then sleep soundly. The city profiling site, City-Data.com estimates Lake Oswego’s crime index at 89.8 compared to 392.7 for Portland and 239 for Tigard.
3. NEIGHBORHOODS. Before one of our neighbors moved in a few doors down several years ago, she knocked on our door to ask if it was a kid-friendly spot. My wife reassured her that it was. She probably would have found the same answer in many of the neighborhoods around Lake Oswego. From active neighborhood associations to 4th of July potlucks to swim and pool easements, there is lots for kids and their parents to like.
4. RECREATION. You don’t have to leave home to maintain an active lifestyle in Lake Oswego. Choose from swimming in the lake at the Lake Oswego Swim Park to running the trails at Tryon Creek. The Parks and Recreation Department’s program guide offers everything from skateboard lessons to belly dancing. Venture a little further, and you can be snowboarding at Mt. Hood in less than two hours or running along the beach at Seaside in a little over 90 minutes.
5. SENSE OF COMMUNITY. Lake Oswegans care. You can see it in the faces of the hundreds of supporters who show up each year for the Down Syndrome Network Oregon Buddy Walk or the greetings shared by the hundreds who turn out for the Lions Club 4th of July pancake breakfast in George Rogers Park. And it’s not just themselves that Lake Oswegans care about. More than 400 people showed up for this year’s Walk4Water to support World Vision’s water, sanitation and hygiene projects in Zambia.
6. LIBRARY. The Lake Oswego Public Library has been named the number one library in Oregon for eight consecutive years by Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings. Its programming for children and teens has to be one of the reasons. From a Mario Kart tournament for teens to a bicycle safety clinic, you soon realize that this library thinks of itself as much more than a place to store books.
7. IT’S A PLACE KIDS WANT TO COME BACK TO. Gone are the days when all three of my kids live under my roof 365 days a year. But for one glorious week this summer, they did. My son couldn’t imagine celebrating the 4th of July anywhere else. And for the holidays, this is where they want to be. It’s nice to know we’re settled in a place that spells home to them in more ways than one.
8. WEATHER. For anyone who has heard of wet Northwest winters, this may sound like false advertising, but hear me out. Fall is beautiful here—crisp, chilly, colorful. Winter is, yes, wet, but sometimes it’s also white. Those rare snow days were some of my kids’ favorite memories as they would send up a rousing cheer to their mom’s news that school had been cancelled for the day. We’d pull out the boots and mittens and head for the neighborhood hill for some not-so-serious sledding. Spring is yes, wet, and cooler than we’d like, especially when my son played spring baseball. But the colorful azaleas and rhododendrons make up for it. Summer is late in arriving but once it makes its debut (usually after July 4th), there is no better place to be.
9. GREEN SPACES. You don’t have to travel to a national park or forest to enjoy green spaces here. Lake Oswego has been designated an official Tree City USA so just step outside. And then reap the benefits. University of Essex researchers found that people’s moods improve after spending time exercising outdoors. With more than 490 acres of open spaces, there is no excuse to stay inside and sulk.
10. LOCATION. Lake Oswego feels like a small town without the sense of isolation that can come with it. Located just eight miles from downtown Portland, you get the best of both worlds.
What do you think makes Lake Oswego a great place for families? Share your ideas here so others can benefit from how you see it.
Photo credit: Image courtesy of Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos.net