So is Happy Valley really a happy place to live?
Happy Valley, OR is one of the more desirable places to live in the Portland metro area. There are some fine suburb towns in the metro area and Happy Valley does make folks wonder what it’s like living there. Most of the suburb cities are on the west side including Beaverton, Tigard, Lake Oswego and much of SW Portland. Happy Valley is on the east side and is very close to SE Portland and Milwaukie. Clackamas area and SE 82nd are the main commercial areas for Happy Valley residents. So what’s it like living here? As a local real estate agent in Happy Valley, here is my local insight.
Living in Happy Valley is like living on a small mountain area. You go up the hill to get to Happy Valley whether you drive from SE Portland past SE 82nd or from SE Sunnyside Rd. It’s geographically fortified with small mountains where the city is located. West Mt. Scott is a visible hill in Happy Valley. If you drive southbound on 205, you can see the high hill off of Foster. The north side of West Mt. Scott below Willamette National Cemetery is part of Pleasant Valley neighborhood in Portland. The neighbors that live on the Mt. Scott in Pleasant Valley share similar lifestyle as folks that live a few more blocks up in Happy Valley. Neighborhood characteristics change dramatically on the flat side of Pleasant Valley north of SE Foster Rd.
As you drive up SE Mt. Scott Blvd past West Mt. Scott, you will come to a small valley in between hills along Mt. Scott Creek where you see rural pasture and immediately feel the peaceful vibe of the “country”. The valley stretches all the way down to SE Sunnyside Blvd and also is home of Happy Valley Elementary and Middle School. Further down in the Valley towards SE Sunnyside Blvd is Spring Mountain Elementary.
On the east side of Happy Valley is Rock Creek area that contains another hilly region including Scouters Mountain Nature Park. As you drive to SE 172nd Ave, which is the end of Happy Valley, you will see a lot more rural aspects of the town. It’s also been the hotspot for new developments, especially from SE Sunnyside Blvd up the 172nd Ave. Even commercial area there is all new. You can almost see the green rural pasture in the process of being covered in concrete in that area. Development is inevitable as the Portland area has been growing so much and the area needs more housing. As a result, Damascus, on the other side of 172nd Ave has been a hot bed for new development housing. Land is cheaper and therefore new construction homes are more on the affordable side. In Happy Valley proper, although homes are newer, new construction homes are very rare. Everything is already built unless farm lands are destroyed but that’s not in the best interest of the residents who can benefit from the housing diversity. Speaking of housing diversity, there are lots of dense housing options on SE 152nd Dr and SE Sunnyside Rd including condos and townhomes. The area also has New Seasons Market and a ton of restaurants and shops in the complex.
For entertainment, Clackamas Town Center area offers all the shopping, restaurants, and a movie theatre. Maybe the Happy Valley area could use some more entertainment options and I do see a lot of kids hanging out at the mall because it’s probably the only option for them.
School quality is quite high in Happy Valley. Lots of elementary schools here are highly rated. Kids are assigned to Clackamas High School, which is a decent high school.
There are not many negatives about living in Happy Valley. One thing that may be a negative is its close proximity to the sketchy part of Portland including SE 82nd, 92nd, and Flavel. As you drive into town to the Portland side, you will see some homeless presence especially on 92nd and SE Flavel St. SE Flavel St turns into SE Mt. Scott Blvd, which is a major artery into Happy Valley into West Mt. Scott so as you come down the hill and pass the MAX station, you will see the homeless camp next to Self Storage and Johnson Creek although the camp gets cleaned by ODOT every few months. Another homeless are used to exist on Foster and I-205, but the recent massive development in Lents pushed them out elsewhere. ODOT even placed big borders under the bridge making camping physically impossible. The new Lents area could be a nice entertainment option for some younger Happy Valley residents in the West Mt. Scott area.
Homes are a little more expensive in Happy Valley compared to the Portland median value but it’s definitely cheaper than Lake Oswego and similar to West Linn home prices. I’m a real estate agent here in the area for Happy Valley and Clackamas so contact me for more housing related information.
Overall, Happy Valley is indeed a happy place to live. It’s a safe and pleasant town that is family-friendly and is close to Portland and the airport. Happy Valley offers a comfortable lifestyle with still lots of rural aspects of the town. You are also not too far away from Mt. Hood and Clackamas River where outdoor activities are pretty much unlimited.