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Guide to Southeast Neighborhoods in Portland, Oregon
For in-depth information about the below Southeast neighborhoods, just click on them
The southeast has more of a middle-class feel, with charming old homes, packed coffeehouses and offbeat clothing stores. Some say that Southeast is where the “real” people live.Cross over the Willamette River from downtown and you’re in the Southeast’s Central Eastside Industrial District, home to the industrial plants that provide thousands of jobs for Portlanders. It’s also home to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
Many eastside residents take the Hawthorne Bridge (photo on the left) to enter the downtown area or leave it. This beautiful photograph of the bridge was taken by Adrienne Cleveland of Portland. You can view more of her work at Natural Sights.
Travel east from the Central Industrial District a mile or so and you’ll run into the Hawthorne area. The Hawthorne and nearby Belmont districts are filled with single-family homes and apartment buildings. Bakeries, coffeehouses, boutiques, music and bookstores, micro-pubs, and restaurants line the two streets.
Southeast Portland’s Hawthorne Boulevard supports a thriving district that is full of activity. Here, high-density housing meshes with retail activity, creating one of the city’s more interesting shopping areas — pedestrian friendly, lined with gift stores, period clothing shops, eateries, and espresso shops.
Big Burn of 1846
In 1846, a forest fire that began on the slopes of Mt. Scott burned off most of the timber as far north as the Columbia River. This event had a profound effect on the settlement of the east side. Up until that year, much of the land east of the river was heavily wooded. The trees were soon replaced with coarse grasses. The area was so thoroughly cleared that the setting of farms was a simple matter not requiring the time-consuming and back-breaking job of clearing.
Killing the Eastside Freeway and Preserving Urban Living
One event defines Portland in the past 25 years! It was killing the Mount Hood Freeway – a 6-mile, eight-lane asphalt highway that would have vaulted across the Willamette River from Johns Landing to Interstate 205.
The story of the freeway’s demise is a lesson in what distinguishes Portland from other West Coast cities. Whereas most cities were building freeways after WWII, Portland was preserving neighborhoods. It gave us strong neighborhoods, proud schools and MAX (light rail). It cemented the region’s commitment to ecology and the reputation of a brilliant political leader, Neil Goldschmidt. Stopping the freeway not only saved 1,750 households in Southeast Portland from the wrecking ball, it also established Portland’s philosophy of urban livability-the idea that cities are for people, not just for commerce and cars.
In 1975 Portland took the $500 million in federal highway aid and built the transit mall, eastside MAX and a host of neighborhood and suburban transportation projects, such as Eastman Parkway in Gresham and Cornell Road in Hillsboro. Most of the money went to the light rail system.
The Oaks: A Web site About Portland Progressive Era
The Oaks in the Progressive Era is a Web site that uses the history of the local amusement park called the “Oaks Park Amusement Center” as a window into the cultural past of Portland, Oregon. It full of interesting information about Portland. For example, here is a paragraph:
Oaks managers attempted to draw as many paying customers to the resort as possible, and in some ways the park served as a meeting ground for people with different values, ethnic backgrounds, and social concerns. Portland’s working class, which included much of the city’s immigrant population, was the first to embrace the park. Some of Portland’s middle-class moral reformers rejected the park’s attractions because the consumer amusements there did not reflect their Victorian upbringing. While this tension eased during Portland’s “Roaring Twenties,” it produced some instances of conflict in early years.
Southeast Public Schools
As the demographics of inner Southeast Portland change so have the schools. There are two high schools exclusively for southeast kids: Cleveland High School and Franklin High School. Madison High School draws from both southeast and northeast Portland. One of the schools that has undergone a dramatic change is Cleveland. As an example of the change here are some high marks for the 2011-2012 school year at Cleveland:
- The choir took first place in the 5A division of the Oregon School Activities Association 2012 state championship.
- The “Cannibals” Speech and Debate team took first place in the 5A sweepstakes, scoring more points than any other team.
- The Jazz Bank garnered first place in the Skyview Jazz festival and took second place in four other competitions.
- Here are some of the colleges that seniors were admitted to in 2012: Brown, Columbia, Harvard, Northwest, Stanford, Yale, UCLA, USC, and Whitman.
- The US News and World Report rated Cleveland number 10 in Oregon and ranked it among the top four percent of high schools in the country.
Vintage Neighborhood Theaters
Portland’s east side is dotted with vintage movie theaters. Here’s the list:
- Academy Theater Address: 7818 S.E. Stark Street. Opened in 1948, the Montavilla neighborhood theater closed in the 1970s and fell into disrepair. After an extensive renovation, it reopened in 2006.
- Avalon Theater Located at 3451 S.E. Belmont Street. The Avalon opened in the 1920s as the Sunnyside Theatre. It was renamed the Avalon in 1935.
- Bagdad Theater and Pub Address: 3702 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd. Universal Pictures built the Bagdad, now part of the local McMenamins chain, in 1927 for $100,000. In 1975, it hosted the Oregon premiere of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” with Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher and Michael Douglas.
- CineMagic Address: 2021 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd. CineMagic opened in 1914 as the Palm Theater.
- Clinton Street Theater Address: 2522 S.E Clinton Street. The Clinton, opened in 1915, is the city’s oldest operating theater. It’s best known for showing cult classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” every Saturday at midnight since 1978. The theater says it’s the longest-running “Rocky Horror” in the world.
- Hollywood Theater Address: 4122 N.E. Sandy Blvd. The Hollywood was built in 1926 as both a vaudeville house and cinema and it is one of the Northwest’s most ornate theaters. The surrounding neighborhood was named after it. It was a single-screen theater until 1975, when the upper balcony was converted into two small theaters. Film Action Oregon, a nonprofit, bought the theater in 1997 and began restorations.
- Laurelhurst Theater Address: 2735 E. Burnside Street. The Art Deco theater was built in 1923 and almost met its dimise during the multiplex-dominated 1980s. In 2000, the theater was renovated into a theater/pub and now features four theaters.
- Moreland Theater Address: 6712 S.E. Milwaukie Avenue. The Moorish-style theater opened in 1926. The theater shows first-run movies and retains a devoted neighborhood following.
- Oregon Theater Address: 3530 S.E. Division Street. The Oregon opened in 1926 as a traditional neighborhood theater. Since the 1970s, it’s shown only porn movies.
- Roseway Theater Address: 7229 N.E. Sandy Blvd. The Roseway opened in 1925 as a single-screen theater with a balcony. The balcony was closed during remodeling in the 1950s. The theater closed in the 1990s but was bought and reopened in 1999. It close again and the new owner says it will reopen after it’s refurbished.
Sources: Shawn Granton, creator of a self-guided eastside vintage theater tour – see www.urbanadventureleague.blogspot.com. Also Cinema Treasures.org and The Oregonian.
Walking in Southeast Portland
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. Two Southeast Portland neighborhoods, Hosford-Abernethy and Sunnyside, are on the Walk Score list of the 300 walker’s paradises (Walk Score 90 or above).
We have created a Walk Score for each of the neighborhood profiles below. Please note that we use an address in the center of each neighborhood to determine the Walk Score. Scores will vary in a neighborhood depending upon the address.
Here are some walking tours in the southeast neighborhoods of Portland:
- Southeast Portland Creeks and Bridges On this 4.6-mile walk, ponder life at the convergence of two free-flowing streams and traverse three bridges on the Springwater Corridor Trails. It ends in Sellwood where you can shop and eat.
- Historic Brooklyn O n this 3.2-mile walk through historic Brooklyn are sites from the neighborhood’s close ties to industry, from small workers’ cottages to the Brooklyn rail yards where trains have run since 1868, to Bullseye Glass, a manufacturer of art and architectural glass.
In 2009, the non-profit Transportation for America named the Portland-Vancouver area as the ninth-safest metro area for pedestrians.
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.
Portland Monthly Neighborhood Guide
The Portland Monthly magazine features neighborhoods in their April issue every year. It has tons of information about neighborhoods to include their pick of the best neighborhoods for the year.
To help those in the housing market, the magazine combines all the data from 120 neighborhoods and communities in the Portland metro area. Include in the story are housing prices, school ratings, demographics, crime statistics, parks, commuting information, and services. For the past three years, Portland Monthly has been cautiously optimistic about Portland’s metro area slow-simmering real estate market. But 2013 saw a surge of good news. Home buying is up—way up. Almost half of the neighborhoods have returned to the median home prices they enjoyed five years ago. In many places, crime is down. Indeed, a whopping 73 percent of people who took the magazine’s reader survey think it’s a good time to buy—and to sell—a home.
To visit the magazine’s website 2014 stories and numbers visit their Real Estate section — click on “Neighborhoods” to view the numbers for the Portland 90 plus neighborhoods and click on “Suburbs” for the numbers on 26 communities in the metro area.
The Southeast Examiner keeps track of the happenings and events in Southeast Portland. It reports on activities of the various Southeast Portland Neighborhoods.
Search for Homes in Southeast Portland
To search for homes in Southeast Portland, goSpatialMatch®, 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 that match in Southeast Portland as well as a specific neighborhood.
Detailed Profiles of Southeast Neighborhoods
Here are five neighborhoods in Southeast Portland that have details profiles. The profiles include housing costs, crime stats, history, etc.