Life in Portland Blog

Life With a Yard: Portland’s SW Suburbs and What You’ll Find There

 A View of What Put the Lake in Lake Oswego

A View of What Put the Lake in Lake Oswego

Keeping the Weird at Arm’s Length

To some people, living in the middle of the city is the only way to go. You’re right where the action is, and the joys of urban living are right at your doorstep. But that’s not for everyone. If you’d like to be close to the action but also have the option of escaping it during your off hours, then suburban living is where it’s at.

Here, we’ll explore some of Portland’s best southwestern suburbs, and learn what makes each one special.

Lake Oswego

This Portland suburb is known for its natural beauty (it is build around a lovely lake), its affluence, and its great schools. Homes here tend to be on the pricey side, with median values currently just north of $500k, however anyone who has ever looked for homes in Lake O also knows the prices can go way, way up, depending on specific location.

You’ll find lots of enjoyable amenities in Lake Oswego: you can pick up farm-fresh produce and socialize at the local Farmers Market, go on a picturesque walk at Springbrook Park, or spend a sunny day beside the sparkling waters of Oswego Lake. Best of all, it’s a mere 25-minute commute from downtown Portland.

West Linn

Portland may be known for its great city parks, but West Linn is no slouch in that department, either. It’s home to more than 600 acres of parkland, making it an ideal spot for nature lovers. West Linn also happens to be right next to the Willamette River, and the view of Goat Island from Maddox Woods is certainly photo-worthy.

 The View of Goat Island from Maddox Woods

The View of Goat Island from Maddox Woods

Those who prefer historic richness to the newer construction developments found in certain other suburbs, will love West Linn’s vintage housing stock and historic business district. If you’re looking for quaint, small-town lifestyle, West Linn is an excellent choice.


Median home values in Sherwood are currently just shy of $360k, but they’ve been rising pretty rapidly in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. This desirable burg is dotted with lovely parks, populated by friendly folks and is home to some great Oregon wineries including Ponzi Vineyards, Hawks View Cellars and Blakeslee Vineyard Estates

For a bona-fide nature experience, spend an afternoon at the untouched Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, one of only ten urban refuges in the country. And yes, the surrounding forest does bear a strong resemblance to the stomping grounds of a certain band of merry men.


Another location for wine aficionados is Wilsonville, known as the Gateway to Oregon Wine Country.  It’s a great place to sample some of the best Pinot Noir in the country. And if you happen to be in the tech industry, it’s also an excellent place to look for work. This Portland neighbor is home to Xerox, Flir, and Mentor Graphics, just to name a few. Oh, and if you’re a gearhead, you’ll love World of Speed, Wilsonville’s top-gear automotive museum.


 Tualatin Commons Just Outside PDX

Tualatin Commons Just Outside PDX

Tualatin is affectionately called “Tree City USA,” for its commitment to urban green space and its multiple awards from the National Arbor Day Foundation. Top attractions here include Browns Ferry Park, Hughes Water Gardens, and fun seasonal events at Lee Farms. As with most Portland suburbs, home values here are on the rise, and that trend is expected to continue.


The Tigard lifestyle has plenty to recommend it: low crime, high home values, an educated populace, and a great sense of community. Homes here tend to be on the newer side, but buying a recently built home certainly has its advantages – what they lack in built-ins and crown molding they make up for in low maintenance costs, energy efficiency, and livability.

 The Hot Air Balloon Festival in Tigard

The Hot Air Balloon Festival in Tigard

If you’re looking for something fun to do in Tigard, then spend an afternoon at Cook Park. If you happen to be there during the month of June, you just might catch the hot air balloon festival. What a treat!

You Can Think Outside the (Portland) Box

We love Portland through and through, but it seems like the ‘burbs” are too often outshone by their hip urban neighbor. If you are seeking a great place to live in the Portland area, then we certainly recommend giving the wonderful suburbs of Southwest Portland a fresh look!

[Photos Via: Wikimedia Commons; PDX Tribune; Sold in Oregon; Google+]