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10 Best Towns for Families: 2009

In our yearly roundup of perfect places to call home, we give high marks to these communities for their affordable housing, good neighbors, green space, and A+ schools.

By Seema Nayyar

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Sherwood, Oregon
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Sherwood, Oregon

Population: 16,183
Median Income: $77,775
Median Home Price: $289,400
Households with Children: 43.1%
Student/Teacher Ratio: 25:1
Great Schools Rating: 8

Ask Raina Volkmer to show you her favorite dessert spot in Sherwood, and she'll lead you to the wooded trails behind her house. "I was bike riding one day with my family when we came across these beautiful-smelling apple trees," says Raina, 38, a supervisor at Portland State University. "Now we just walk out here after dinner and pick some fresh fruit it sure beats cookies."

Like many Sherwood residents, Raina and husband James, 39, a manager at Nike with an easy commute to nearby Beaverton, can't get enough of the outdoors. Sherwood has miles of paths that wind from downtown to the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. The Volkmers, with kids Abigail, 8, Joseph, 5, and 3-year-old Evan in a kiddie trailer, like to pedal over to Truck Park, a sandlot piled high with toys.

Schools have consistently received "Strong" or "Exceptional" ratings from the state, and the district has a $7 million "rainy day" fund to make up for any education spending cuts. "Before moving here we spent a lot of time online researching the schools," says James. "There was a great deal of activity on the Sherwood page. You could tell people were passionate about education but also about real quality of life."

Gold Star: Sherwood has partnered with a private medical group to treat students who don't have health insurance and is now working to provide dental coverage as well.

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