Parenting magazine names Portland third best in America for families

Taja Wilkins, 9, a fourth-grader at the Ocean Avenue School in Portland leapfrogs over a post in a new fitness course at the school Monday May 21, 2012. (Bangor Daily News file photo by Troy R. Bennett)

As readers of this blog know, I try to make note of it when Portland or the institutions therein appear on a Top 10 or “best of” list published by a nationwide organization or publication.

Most of the time, the ranking is complimentary — like in the case of recent kudos for Portland beer, coffee, environmental friendliness and women. But every so often it’s less flattering, like this listing of Portlanders as unfashionable dressers.

This time around, it’s a positive: Parenting Magazine has placed Portland No. 3 in its new list of the country’s most family-friendly cities.

In a statement today, Mayor Michael Brennan said the good publicity doesn’t come as any great surprise to him:

Having raised my family in Portland, it’s nice to see the nation’s leading parenting magazine confirm what I already know, Portland is a great place for working families. It’s also further evidence that investments made in our education, open spaces, and public safety will reap dividends for generations to come. By pursuing value driven policy initiatives, whether helping people live healthy active lives or increasing access to affordable local produce, Portland is earning a well-deserved national reputation as the place in America to live, start a business and raise a family.

Parenting Magazine gave Portland credit for its relatively low crime rate, open spaces for kids to play, school system and culture, among other things. Here’s what the magazine published about Portland in particular:

New to this year’s list, Portland is another small, northeastern city that lures parents with clean air, plenty of outdoor space for kids to play, and a laidback lifestyle that encourages healthy, active family living. Low crime and easy commuting make this coastal town an inviting locale for working families. It also snagged third place in our education rankings (see the Best Cities for Education). Are you a locavore family? The Public Market House exemplifies the community aspect of living in Portland with its commitment to supporting small businesses and fresh Maine produce. Want an easy family vacation? A three-hour drive brings you to one of our country’s most beautiful wonders, Acadia National Park, where kids can take part in a Junior Ranger Program or various other children’s programming. Away from the hustle of the big urban centers of the Northeast, Portland is a tranquil kid-friendly city to call home.

Portland came in just behind No. 1 Boston and No. 2 Burlington, Vt., and just ahead of Austin, Texas, and Cheyenne, Wyo., in the fourth and fifth spots, respectively.

Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.