As a cosmopolitan center for environmentalism and the creative economy, Portland Oregon has become a true capital of the Pacific Northwest. A city with over 600,000 and growing, the city bolsters a few major industries, including lumber, fishing, technology, beer, and crafts. Portland is a green city in two senses. Literally it is a green city, surrounded by nature on all sides. With lush green forests, white-capped mountain ranges, and crystal blue rivers, few cities have the landscapes that Portland prides itself for. In another sense, it is a green friendly city, filled with sustainable restaurants, eco-friendly buildings, and undeveloped green spaces. It has earned the reputation as a progressive hub for its policies, as well as for its people. Portland’s neighborhoods are distinct and vibrant with their own unique interests, subcultures, and niches. Let’s explore some of these neighborhoods to better understand what Portland is all about.
Portland is divided between five or six different sections, each composed of a multitude of smaller neighborhoods. These sections are the Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, Southeast, East Portland, and North Portland. All of these districts contain a diverse assortment of neighborhoods, each with their own unique attributes.
Downtown Portland lies within Southwest Portland. Downtown Portland has narrow streets and compact blocks, making it a very walking accessible city. A great deal of the city’s business, cultural, educational, and civic centers are located in the downtown area. Since the Willamette River cuts Portland in half, the downtown area boasts various waterfront properties that are perfect for civic parks- like McCall Waterfront Park -, and luxury housing. Outside of the city’s downtown in Southwest Portland are a variety of single family houses perfect to raise any family.
Northwest Portland is the destination to see if you’re visiting Portland for the first time. This district usually attracts the greatest number of outsiders and individuals new to Portland. It is a vibrant center containing neighborhoods like Pearl District, Old town Chinatown, Uptown and Nob Hill. Pearl District was once a center of warehouse and industry. Now, many of the old warehouses and factories have been converted into loft housing, and multi story condominiums. The area’s increasing density has attracted an array of retail stores, restaurants, breweries, and art galleries. This part of the city also includes its shipping district, and the country’s largest urban park, Forest Park.
Much like Northwest Portland, Northeast Portland is also a trending spot with a diverse arts scene. However different to the Northwest, Northeast Portland contains neighborhoods with traditional family households. It contains some of the city’s oldest and most expensive houses in the Irvington and Almeda Ridge sections, while also housing various working class neighborhoods. The Rose Garden, home of the NBA Trailblazers, is also located in this district.
Southeast Portland has an array of neighborhoods of all classes, home also to the city’s “hippie” center, Hawthorne District. Although the area has largely blue-collar roots, it now encompasses individuals of all backgrounds. The Southeast district is also home to the city’s historic Ladd Addition, Portland’s oldest planned residential district. The area is becoming increasingly known for eclectic boutiques, artisanal goods, and distinct eateries.
North and East Portland are sometimes lost between the city’s other districts. However, these districts are the cities most original and authentic districts. Traditional households and communities are sprinkled throughout both these sectors. While North Portland contains the city’s residential and industrial communities, East Portland houses the city’s nature and farming communities. Both districts are traditionally Portland is all respects, and should be visited to truly embrace the city’s heritage.
Portland is a great city to visit if you’re visiting the Pacific Northwest, with a distinct, one-of-a-kind feeling.