Parenting is a unique adventure regardless of which city you call home. But there’s no question, where you live, influenced how you parent, and Portland parents are a unique crew. Known as much for its health-conscious, eco-friendly culture and jaw-dropping landscape as it is for keeping daily life as weird as possible, there are certain traits that are clear indicators a parent is from Stumptown. Read on for 16 signs you’re a Portland parent.

Photo by Jason Lander via flickr 

#1. Your kids are embarrassed on the days they have to drive, not walk or bike, to school. The biking culture is so popular in Portland that there are streets designated for bikers. Moms and dads are likely to have bikes that can seat one, two and even three kids on them as they commute to and from school and the store. Cars just aren’t cool here.

#2 Going to watch a parade means watching a lot of kids on unicycles. Seeing someone riding a unicycle used to be a rare thing. Not in Portland! It’s almost as popular with the kids as biking is. If you are planning on catching a local parade, you can expect to see a herd of kids on unicycles at some point. (Note: prepare for your kiddos to ask for their own unicycle after they see what the cool kids are doing).

#3 Your kids don’t think twice about people with brightly colored tattoos, multiple piercings, or tattoos. And you might just have all of the above as well. Let’s be honest, are you even really a Portland parent if you haven’t dyed your hair a strange color at least once or at least one tiny tattoo? Even if you have none of the above, you and your kids are used to seeing people who do.

# Your kids’ favorite hero doesn’t wear a cape, but he does dress in costume, ride a unicycle, and play flame-throwing bagpipes. It’s the Portland Unipiper! You’ve seen him on the internet, in the news…and at some point—in the streets. Your kids are as in awe of him as you are. If you’re a Portland parent, you know the Portland Unipiper is a local hero.

photo: Dana Orlosky via Flickr

#5 Mermaids are on parade. That’s right, Portland has its very own mermaid parade and its on beloved Una the Mermaid. Covid may have canceled this year’s celebration. But there’s no doubt, the queens of the sea will return. 

#6 A city of books is one of your favorite family spots. That’s right, we are talking about Powell’s City of Books is a famous local book store that is giant like a small city within our beloved city. And there’s a room in it for everyone in your family though the Rose Room is likely a favorite (children’s books). photo by Jen V. on yelp

#8 Someone in your house has an allegiance to a Beaver or a Duck. Football is a thing here and the Civil War is big between the Oregon Ducks and the Oregon Beavers.

#9 Acupuncturist? Naturopath? Chiropractor? Your little yogis stay healthy in countless ways. Portlanders are health conscious and we like our natural approaches to holistic health. Chances are your kids learn yoga in Preschool and are familiar with supplements and herbs and aromatherapy.

#10 You know the importance of rain boots from November to June. But really, who needs an umbrella? It’s true, your kids likely have raincoats and rain boots, but are very unlikely to own an umbrella.

photo: Sharon via pexels


#11 You don’t go to the coast to get a tan. (That’s what those non-stop flights to Hawaii are for.) If you aren’t from Portland, you are likely to be confused by Portland families’ love for trips to the rugged—often chilly—coast. We don’t go to the coast to get tan, we go to explore trails and play with creepy sea creatures and freeze our toes off in the coooold water. We’re just weird like that.

#12 Drag Queens are a parent’s best friend. From drag brunches to Drag Queen storytimes, local families love hanging out with and being entertained and educated by the local drag queens. We are always an inclusive!

#13 You’re likely a bit of an activist. Moms and dads get involved in anything and everything involving human rights. From the Wall of Moms to parents showing their PRIDE, Portland parents are involved in making our community  and the world a better place.

#14 You reserve campsites nine months in advance. (And you’re laughing aloud as you read this, because you know it’s true.) I mean, we love the outdoors and we will not miss out on a good campsite because we were too lazy to think ahead!

#15. You know that this article really could have been five stories — Signs You’re a SW/NW/SE/NE/N Parent — because we each love our own section of the city that much. 



—Annette Benedetti


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