Guide to North Neighborhoods in Portland, Oregon
This 31-foot-tall statue of Paul Bunyan greets visitors to North Portland. It was created in 1959 to mark Oregon’s centennial and was recognized as a “well-crafted example of roadside architecture” according to the National Register of Historical Places. The Paul Bunyan statue is Oregon’s only roadside architecture in the register. Located just off I-5 when coming into town (and just across from the Kenton/N. Denver Avenue MAX station when already there), Paul is super easy to find. He stands watch over a busy intersection and is one of many things that helps to “keep Portland weird.”
The statue was commissioned by the Kenton Businessman’s Club to greet the millions of visitors to the Centennial Exposition, set up at the current-day Expo Center in North Portland at a time when Interstate Avenue was the main gateway to Portland.
Many people regard the neighborhoods of North Portland as the area of opportunity. If you review appreciation in the Portland metro area the last few years, you will find that North Portland has been at or near the top for the last few years.
In 2002, the average price of a home in North Portland was $146,300 and by 2013 the average price has increased to $266,800. The average price change was 16.2 percent in 2013. Back in 2001 North Portland had the highest home value appreciation (7.3 percent over the year 2000) in the Portland metro area as well as the lowest average price ($134,100) within the city.
The Interstate MAX Yellow Line, a 5.8-mile segment, has sparked even more interest in the North. The MAX Yellow Line connects the Expo Center in North Portland with downtown and the rest of the transit system. It opened in the Spring of 2004.
Location and Some History
North Portland is a diverse mixture of residential, commercial, and industrial areas. It includes the Portland International Raceway, the University of Portland, and massive cargo facilities of the Port of Portland. Slang-names for it include “NoPo” (shortened from North Portland) and “the Fifth Quadrant” (for being the odd-man out from the four-cornered logic of SE, NE, SW, and NW).
North Portland is connected to the industrial area of Northwest Portland by the St. Johns Bridge, a 2,067 foot long suspension bridge completed in 1931 and extensively rehabilitated in 2003-05.
During World War II, a planned development named Vanport was constructed to the north of this section between the city limits and the Columbia River. It grew to be the second largest city in Oregon, but was wiped out by a disastrous flood in 1948. Columbia Villa, another wartime housing project in the Portsmouth Neighborhood, was rebuilt; the renewed community opened in 2005 is known as New Columbia and offers public housing, rental housing, and single family home ownership units.
North Portland Community News Coverage
- The Oregonian has a full page of North Portland news stories.
- The St. Johns Review is a bi-weekly publication with good online coverage of the neighborhood. Founded in 1904, it claims to be Portland’s oldest community newspaper.
North Portland Tool Library
The North Portland Tool Library (NPTL) is a community resource that loans a wide variety of tools to community members free of charge. The Tool Library benefits North Portland residents by reducing the costs of maintaining and improving their homes, building community, and sustaining diverse, livable neighborhoods. Registration with the Library is free to residents of North Portland. The Library is located in the basement of the historic Kenton Firehouse at 2209 N. Schofield.
Portland Monthly Magazine Neighborhood Guide
In their April issue every year, the Portland Monthly Magazine features the past year home prices along with other information about Portland neighborhoods and suburban communities.
The numbers on the website as well as the printed magazine are divided into four sections (real estate, people, crime, and lifestyle) on each of the Portland 90 plus neighborhoods as well as about 25 suburban communities. The website offers over 50 items of information about each Portland neighborhood and suburban community. There is more data online than in the printed magazine.
The magazine added a feature on their website for homes sold in 2014 and it’s also available for homes sold in 2015 — an interactive map where you can click on a neighborhood and a pop-up displays five items (1-year median price change, 5-year median price change, median gross rent, walkability score and percent of newcomer) for a Portland neighborhood as well as a suburban community.
To visit the magazine’s website latest stories and numbers visit their Real Estate section — click on “Neighborhoods” to view the numbers for the Portland neighborhoods and click on “Suburbs” for the numbers on communities in the metro area. Note the detailed numbers for each of the four sections for homes sold in 2014 and 2015 are displayed below the map. To access the Portland neighborhoods and metro communities demographic data and home prices by year:
- 2013 Demographics and Home Prices
- 2014 Demographics and Home Prices
- 2015 Demographics and Home Prices
Walking in North Portland Neighborhoods
Take this 4.5 mile walk and discover wildlife in Portland’s backyard along the North Columbia Slough. Keep your eye out for eagles, ducks, herons and cormorants. Wander through the park at the Treatment Plant which features great wildlife related art and travel along the great new sidewalk on N. Columbia Boulevard. One trailhead is a half mile walk from either Kenton or or Delta Park stations. Click here for the walk guide.
Walk Score helps you find a walkable place to live. Walk Score is a number between 0 and 100 that measures the walkability of any address. Portland is the 12th most walkable city in the U.S. The most walkable North Portland neighborhoods is Boise with a Walk Score of 82.
Transit Score provides a 0-100 rating indicating how well an address is served by public transportation. Ratings range from “Rider’s Paradises” to areas with limited or no nearby public transportation.
North Portland Dreams of its Own River Trail System
A group of North Portland advocates hopes that one day a riverfront trail will stretch between St. Johns, or points north, to the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade and the Steel Bridge. It’s tempting for Greenway advocates to make the dreamlike comparisons because the Springwater Corridor has provided such a boost to the Sellwood area. The Greenway is indeed just a dream for now, though it does have a website, www.npgreenway.org, and a handful of reports and studies supporting its creation. Advocate estimate that it will take 10 years for the Greenway to receive funding and be fully constructed. It could provide a safe alternative for bicyclists seeking a route from the St. Johns, Portsmouth, Overlook, Bridgeton, Arbor Lodge and University Park neighborhoods and avoid existing bike lanes on treacherous roads.
Search for Homes in North Portland
To search for homes in North Portland, go to SpatialMatch®, a real-time interactive geo-spatial search platform that delivers a totally new way to search for real estate online. Every aspect of the search process is conducted on the map, creating a fluid and entertaining user experience. You can just specify the criteria and obtain all the current listings in North Portland as well as a specific neighborhood. Devices must be configured with Adobe Flash and Java — SpatialMatch will not work on Apple mobile devices such as iPhone and iPad. Use Quick Search for Apple mobile devices and mobile devices not configured with Adobe Flash or Java.