Niche’s No. 1 Best Place to Raise a Family in Oregon is closer than you might think: this year’s choice is Bethany, a small suburb of Portland in Washington County. This tracks with what locals say of this safe, quiet neighborhood with good schools. And yes, it is a great choice for families with young children — if they can afford it. With a median home price upward of $700,000, it can be out of reach for many of the young families its qualities attract.
The Bethany community was named in the late 1800s, but it has exploded in growth recently, more than doubling its population in the last two decades.
Technically outside of the Northwest quadrant, this urban unincorporated community is served by Washington County. While Bethany residents may have a Portland address, they are not served by the City of Portland or any city government. This is confusing enough for new residents that there is a website dedicated to helping neighbors determine how their government and services work. But even without a city, residents feel a sense of belonging in the friendly Bethany community.
What Neighbors Say
Amanda Choi and her family moved to Bethany more than a year ago because they were looking for a safe place with good schools for their growing family. They weren’t disappointed. “As a stay-at-home-mom, I spend a lot of time walking the neighborhood alone with my kids (ages 3 and 5), and I always feel safe,” says Choi. The numerous sidewalks make the neighborhood stroller friendly, and the Choi family walks to school, the grocery store, and the many fun playgrounds dotting the neighborhood. Most of those walks take around 15 minutes, or 30 if children are walking. And despite moving in during the pandemic, they have been able to meet and befriend many other neighbors with young children. For Choi, the neighborhood checks all of their must-haves, with a bonus of being full of friendly young families.
There are two restaurant hubs in Bethany, one in Bethany Village (pictured above), and the other on the west side of the neighborhood near Portland Community College, Rock Creek. For a very local date night, neighbors recommend Rock Creek Corner on the west side or Bethany’s Table in Bethany Village. For a family meal, Bethany Public House in Bethany Village has a great kids’ menu, and enough variety to keep everyone in the family happy.
Children of Bethany can boast their neighborhood is home to beloved Pirate Park (pictured above), one of PDX Parent’s top ten destination playgrounds. It’s just one of many playgrounds in the neighborhood, including the newest Parivar Park, tucked into a residential area in the northern section of Bethany. Families will also love exploring Kaiser Woods Park and Nature Area, a nice little forest break from the more planned areas of the neighborhood. For community events, Bethany Village is the neighborhood hub. In the summer, families gather there for concerts and the splash pad. During the school year, it’s the place for seasonal fun, including tree lightings, markets, Easter and Halloween hunts, and more. They even celebrate the last day of school with a fun festival. The Bethany Library is also located in Bethany Village, and it hosts family storytime and other fun events throughout the year.
$730,000: Median home price
$1,988: Median rent for a two-bedroom apartment
To read about more fun neighborhoods like this one, check out the rest of our Neighborhood Guide.