Portland, Oregon’s largest city, is currently experiencing rapid growth but has so far avoided many of the problems, such as urban sprawl, that are usually associated with expansion. The city’s urban growth boundary has kept the metropolitan area compact and has become a model for other cities in the United States. Below are a few of the most popular neighborhoods in Portland:
South of the Broadway Bridge and behind an ornate red gate guarded by a pair of golden lions, is Portland’s Old Town Chinatown, a neighborhood rich in the history of the early days of Portland. One of the more interesting facts lies under Portland…
Downtown Portland centers around Pioneer Courthouse Square, a lively central public meeting place. The Square is the most visited site in Portland and hosts more than 300 events a year such as political rallies, festivals, and concerts. Pioneer…
The Hawthorne District is a popular avant-garde neighborhood just across the Willamette River from Downtown that runs along Hawthorne Boulevard between 17th and 43rd Avenues. The Boulevard is lined with locally-owned coffee shops, antique stores,…
The Lloyd District lies across the Willamette River from downtown Portland and is easily accessible by the MAX light rail, the Vintage Trolley, and several Tri-Met bus routes. Car-less workers who commute to the Lloyd District are eligible to join…
Nob Hill is a sophisticated, yet trendy, neighborhood surrounding the very popular NW 21st and Northwest 23rd Streets. Locally, the area is also often called Northwest or “Trendy-first and Trendy-third”. Similar to its sister neighborhood, the…
What was once a decaying industrial warehouse area in downtown Portland, the Pearl District has undergone significant renovation and is now Portland’s premier urban-chic neighborhood. Many of the aging warehouses have been turned into luxurious…
The River Blocks at South Waterfront is Portland’s newest urban renewal project along the Willamette River in Downtown Portland. Baby boomers and urban professionals seeking urban housing have fueled a great demand for more condos in Portland…
Other Metropolitan-Area Neighborhoods
Portland’s metropolitan area includes the cities of Beaverton, Fairview, Gresham, Hillsboro, Lake Oswego, Milwaukie, Oregon City, Tigard, Troutdale, Tualatin, and Vancouver, Washington.
The Alberta Arts District is a thriving arts community and is one of Portland’s most unique multicultural neighborhoods. Currently, in the midst of revitalization, it is also one of Portland’s oldest neighborhoods. Once a month, the Arts District is host to the Last Thursday Art Walk. On this festive evening, local, regional, and national artists show their works at the many galleries, studios, and cafes that line Northeast Alberta Street between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and 33rd Avenue. Popular restaurants in this neighborhood are Taqueria La Serenita and Vita Café.
Sellwood is a close-knit neighborhood with many turn-of-the-century Victorian homes that have been lovingly restored. It is located just over the Willamette River across the historic Sellwood Bridge from downtown Portland. Sellwood is a great place to go antiquing, with more than 50 antique stores in the neighborhood. Surrounded by stately oak trees along the banks of the Willamette River is Oaks Park; home to the largest roller skating rink in the Pacific Northwest. Skaters glide across the floor to the live music of a Wurlitzer pipe organ. The park also has a small amusement park that has been entertaining local children since 1905. North of Oaks Park in Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, a 160-acre bird and wildlife sanctuary which attracts over 125 bird species, including blue herons. The Springwater Corridor, a popular trail for bicyclists, walkers, and joggers winds through the refuge alongside the Willamette River.
What is locally called the West Hills is actually a collection of smaller neighborhoods. They are Arlington Heights, Council Crest, Forest Heights, Hillside, Forest Park, Northwest Heights, and Portland Heights. The West Hills overlooks the city of Portland from a ridge that extends from the northwest to the southwest. Many people desire to live in this community because of the short commute into the city and the beautiful views that many of the homes offer. They also love the narrow, winding streets and beautiful, older homes with classical architectural style. Some of the newer, more contemporary-style homes and condos that have been built in recent years hug the steeper terrain of the hills but offer their occupants stunning views of the city and Mount Hood to the east. Also located in the West Hills, is Forest Park, which at 5,127 acres, is the largest forested city park in the United States.
Beaverton is one of the fastest-growing cities in Oregon. Its controversial annexation plan could, in ten years’ time, make Beaverton the second largest city in Oregon. Located just outside the city limits is the 750 acre Nike campus and also Tektronix, one of Oregon’s largest employers. The Westside MAX light rail recently expanded into Beaverton and its western neighbor, Hillsboro.
The upscale city of Lake Oswego centers around a private, city-owned lake of the same name. The meandering, narrow streets and picturesque views of the lake and the Willamette River make Lake Oswego a desirable place to live. Downtown Lake Oswego is comprised of a mix of restaurants, charming shops, and offices. The arts are very important to the citizens of Lake Oswego as shown to their dedication to establishing and supporting the Lakewood Center for the Arts, a non-profit community cultural center that sponsors visual arts, theatre, and community events.
Sherwood / Tualatin
Sherwood has had an explosion in population over the past fifteen years as the Portland metropolitan area continues to expand its urban growth boundaries. It is consistently one of the state’s fastest-growing cities. The town was originally called Smockville, named after the founder, J.C. Smock, but was changed to Sherwood in 1892. What was once a small town that based its economy on the local fruit and vegetable cannery is now a medium-sized city with its spotlight on family and community.
Gresham is located on the north-eastern boundary of the Portland metropolitan area on the Columbia River and is the gateway to the Columbia River Gorge. It is the fourth-largest city in Oregon. Gresham is host to one of the nation’s longest-running jazz festivals, Mt. Hood Jazz Festival. The city has some of the best views of Mt. Hood in the Portland metro area.
At the heart of the Mt. Tabor neighborhood is Mt. Tabor Park, located at SE 60th and Salmon in Southeast Portland. This is one of the city’s larger parks and features a 600-foot extinct volcano located in the northwest corner of the park. Miles of walking and bike trails wind through the tall firs to the top of the volcano. The park also has picnic tables an amphitheater, and an off-leash dog park. Several picturesque freshwater reservoirs hold much of Portland’s drinking water.
Rocky Butte is one of the many small volcanoes and cinder cones in the Boring Lava Field that was created before the ice age. It is located just south of the Portland International Airport and was once the site of the Hill Military Academy and also the Multnomah County Jail. From Joseph Wood Hill Park at the top of the butte, the 360 degree view is breathtaking. On a clear day, the Portland International Airport, the Columbia River, Mt. Hood, and Mt. St. Helens can be seen. At the base of the cliff is The Grotto, a 62-acre sanctuary owned by the Roman Catholic Church. Along with miles of contemplative trails, the Grotto features a large niche carved into the lava basalt cliff that contains Italian marble statuary.