If You Like Portland, Oregon, You’ll Love Its Suburbs!

November 17, 2020
Last updated:
January 11, 2024
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Portland, Oregon has long served as a magnet for young people. Historically clean and safe, the city prides itself on cultural diversity, an abundance of diversions and a good median standard of living.

Like most metropolitan areas, however, youth tend to migrate out of the top city neighborhoods in Portland when they marry and begin to raise children. Millennial and Gen-Z family units find suburban living more conducive to domestic bliss now that their households are bi-generational.

Fortunately, Portland has plenty of outlying towns and neighborhoods that afford these families the peace and quiet of the suburbs, while maintaining easy proximity to the city. Five such communities are particularly notable, and should be considered by those thinking about buying a home in the Portland area.

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Oak Hills

Only 10 miles northwest of Portland, Oak Hills is filled with coffee shops and municipal parks. Its houses are interspersed with 40 acres of green, open space. Most of the families living here are headed by young professionals, and 80% of adults have attended college.

Technically, Oak Hills sits on unincorporated land and is a planned unit development (PUD) governed by a homeowners association (HOA). As such, the HOA maintains a public swimming pool, gymnasium, playgrounds, walking trails, an RV park and other common recreational facilities. Local public services like police, firefighting and library are provided by the city of Beaverton.

Oak Hills public schools are highly ranked, both statewide and nationally, which is good because 30% of residents are minors. The median residential property value hovers around $579,900. The median household income tops $101,378, and most individuals and families reside in homes they own.

West Linn

In the other direction, West Linn is situated 10 miles southeast of Portland. As a suburb where houses sit on large properties, West Linn has a rustic atmosphere without the loss of any convenience. An ongoing initiative of capital improvements continues to upgrade local infrastructure for the community’s benefit.

West Linn offers plenty of places to eat, enjoy coffee and take part in outdoor recreation. Parks abound here while residents, and visitors, enjoy the wineries and farmers’ markets nearby. The Mary S. Young Park and the Camassia Natural Area are popular places for hikers and nature lovers. Nearness to the Willamette River affords residents ample opportunities for boating tours and water-related activities.

The median household income for West Linn residents is around $119,415, and the median home price is $858,000. Nearly 80% of dwellings are owner occupied by adults ages 35-65, most with some higher education. For those raising children, the schools are nearly universally acclaimed as excellent.

Lake Oswego

Just a 16-minute drive southwest of downtown Portland, Lake Oswego sits southwest of the city and envelops the large lake of the same name. Naturally, it is a city that offers an array of recreational opportunities on the water. It also provides scenic trolley service that circumscribes the lake.

The food and beverage industry is well-represented in Lake Oswego, and specialty coffee shops are numerous. Restaurants range from French bistros to Irish pubs to Mexican grills and gourmet grocery and wine retailers are prominent. There is a golf course, tennis courts (outdoor and indoor) and myriad parks including Iron Mountain, Stevens Meadow Trailhead and Roehr Park Pathway.

A suburb more dense than West Linn, Lake Oswego is currently just over 40,000 residents with a median household income of $114,444 and features properties that sell for $935,500 as a median. 70% of the population hold a bachelor’s degree or higher; most are middle-aged, although 20% are seniors.

Cedar Mill

Like Oak Hills, Cedar Mill sits atop nearly four square miles of unincorporated land in Washington County, about 8 miles outside of Portland. Cedar Mill is well known for its scenic waterfall and Hartung Lake, both areas of interest for nature aficionados. Schools here rank as superior in state and national comparisons: among them are a high school for international students as well as one that emphasizes science and technology.

Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District operates the area’s open spaces and recreational swimming pool, while the Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue provides fire fighting and emergency medical services. Law enforcement is provided by the Washington County Sheriff’s Department. The Cedar Mill community owns and operates the local public library and also runs the library in nearby Bethany.

Cedar Mill is densely populated by professionals with young families. More than half of these adults are under retirement age. More than 75% of all residences are owned by their occupants, and most homes sell for $734,750 or more. Schools rank as superior in state and national comparisons: among them are a high school for international students as well as one that emphasizes science and technology.


Another unincorporated community, Bethany is considered by many to be the most affluent suburb in the Beaver State according to The Oregonian. This land is located about 25 minutes northwest of downtown Portland, providing a country feel with proximity to city amenities.

With six parks inside its boundaries, Bethany is also very close to other popular outdoor venues, such as Linton Park and Rock Creek Golf Course. The Claremont Golf Club in Bethany itself sports a 9-hole course for seniors. Playgrounds and walking trails are ubiquitous here. The PCC Rock Creek recreational facility sits on 32-acres of tennis courts, ball fields, a dog park, playground and picnic area.

Median home values run around $779,000, with 73% of residents homeowners. A diverse age range prevails in Bethany and most adults have graduate degrees. Household income averages $135,417, although the cost of living is high. Serving the children and youth of Bethany is the Beaverton public school district. Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue covers first responder duties while the Washington County Sheriff’s Office administers policing in the community.

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Why Choose Sammamish Mortgage?

Thinking about moving to the Portland suburbs? Our loan officers can help you get preapproved for a loan and facilitate your homebuying experience.You’ll be able to home shop with peace of mind knowing your budget is solid and your loan is ready for you.

Sammamish Mortgage has been in business since 1992, and has assisted many home buyers in the Pacific Northwest. If you are looking for mortgage financing in Washington State, we can help. Sammamish Mortgage offers mortgage programs in Colorado, Idaho, California, Oregon and Washington.

Contact us if you have any mortgage-related questions or concerns. If you are ready to move forward, you can view rates, obtain a customized instant rate quote, or apply instantly directly from our website.

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