Hmmmm.... The livable city and greenest city in the world has an ugly problem raising its head. Gang Violence and Activity is at an All time High. To much emphasis on other spending and the Police have not been taking care of business as well as they could be. Better check your Crime Stats. I love the City but would not live in it other than very few locations. But it is all based upon your reference point.
I was in New York recently and found the City to be just about the same as Portland. I would definitely stay close in to the Core and or downtown. the NW Pearl District area would be nice but $500 K won't get you a house. But Lofts are a natural and you may find a small home for $500K. This is the telecommuter and artisan center of the city. A great place for culture and life after Dark. You will encounter some Crime but not as much.
Other options would be some subutban settings like the revitalization of old town in Lake Oswego...Portland's most affluent area. I would also check out Murrayhill in Beaverton, Villebois in Wilsonville, and the three time award winning Community of the Year in the US...Orenco Station. That one is in a self contained community with stores, shops, parks, High tech Central next to Intels Largest Facility in the World and one block or less to MAx Light Rail. The Property taxes are much lower as well with Property Taxes running 1.5% of Value versus Portland where you face a 2.6% tax or higher. This can mean an extra $5 to $7K per year to live in the City. Check http://www.orencostation.net/ and or www.orenco.info to see homes and more info.
Otherwise Close in SE, Sellwood, and Johns Landing are other possible areas. I think you can find Crime Maps for the City on this site and several other sites. The City has its warts and teh main thing I think is to find a place witht he best combination of things for you and your family.
Let us know if we can help. Hope this straight forward approach helps you realize we have some issues here no matter how rosie others may feel things are.
Let me know if i can help;
Dirk T Knudsen
Hall of Fame
#1 Rated Re\Max team in Oregon 2007