Guide to the Mount Tabor Neighborhood in Portland, Oregon
Mount Tabor, named for the 636-foot high extinct volcano that is its landmark, has a sweeping city and mountain views, proximity to downtown, a scenic 195-acre public park, and an easy mix of modest older homes and stately mansions.
Mount Tabor is bordered by these neighborhoods: Sunnyside and Richmond on the west, North Tabor on the north and west, Montavilla on the north and east, and South Tabor on the south.
The neighborhood is noted for two features. The 196-acre Mount Tabor Park, including the maintenance yard, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. The other feature are the reservoirs, three of which were accepted to the National Register of Historic Places in January 2004.
Hawthorne Boulevard, the street full of shops and restaurants, ends at the base of Mount Tabor Park and it’s one of the most used parks in the city. As you enter the park you will immediately notice reservoirs. They hold a large portion of Portland’s drinking water, piped straight from the Bull Run Reservoir in the Cascades. The park has trails, bike paths, and stands of old growth Douglas Firs and other trees. Catch a summer sun setting on downtown and the West Hills from the park.
Mount Tabor is a very stable neighborhood, and people stay in Mount Tabor once they relocate to the area. Homes come in a variety of styles and shapes so people can usually find what they are looking for in a home.
History of Mount Tabor
The neighborhood has a long history that goes back almost as far as Portland itself. The Reverend Clinton Kelly settled on the east side of the river in 1848, and though his claim was west and south of Mount Tabor, his family figured prominently in the later history of the area. After purchasing claim rights for $50 he settled and began to farm while continuing circuit riding and preaching.
Reverend Kelly’s circuit riding duties took him throughout the lower Willamette Valley. He came into contact with Dr. Perry Prettyman, a fellow Methodist who had come to Oregon with his family from the east. After nearly two years in Oregon City, Prettyman and wife, Elizabeth, and family moved to Mount Tabor and staked out their claim. Probably a naturopath rather than an M.D., he had studied medicine at the Botanic Medical School in Baltimore. We have Prettyman to thank for that nemesis of the green lawn—the dandelion—for it was he who introduced that plant to the Northwest, having brought it here from Missouri for medicinal purposes. Prettyman practiced medicine up until his death in 1872.
The settlers in the Mount Tabor area were farmers, primarily engaged in fruit growing, and the area grew most of the fruit shipped from Portland to California. The gold rush in California created a demand for fruit and afforded huge profits to those who supplied it.
- 1846: The year of the “Big Burn” which destroyed the forests on the eastside.
- 1862: James B. Stephens donates land on U Street (now called Hawthorne) between Ninth and 12th avenues to J.C. Hawthorne for the Oregon Hospital for the Insane. U street becomes Asylum Avenue.
- 1870s: Railroads are introduced, fueling further settlement and expansion on the east side.
- 1883: The hospital closes and the land becomes a park. It takes another five years before Asylum Avenue is renamed, and takes the Hawthorne name.
- 1887: Morrison Bridge is completed, launching an East Portland building boom. A year later, the streetcar runs from downtown along Hawthorne and eventually south on SE 50th to Lents.
Origin of the Name Mount Tabor
Portland’s Mount Tabor was named after another Mount Tabor, which sits six miles east of Nazareth in Israel. Our Mount Tabor makes Portland one of only two cities in the continental U.S. to have an extinct volcano within its boundaries; the other city is Bend, Oregon. It was named by Plympton Kelly, son of Oregon City pioneer resident Clinton Kelly.
Mount Tabor Home Styles
Mount Tabor is a neighborhood of detached single-family homes. This is an older neighborhood so most homes were built in the 1900s. You will see Arts and Crafts, Bungalows, Colonials, English Cottages, Tudors and a hand-full of modern styles.
Portland Monthly Magazine Guide to Neighborhoods
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. To read the magazine’s latest stories and numbers visit the Real Estate section.
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.
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. Note the detailed numbers for each of the four sections for homes sold in 2015 are displayed below the map.
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:
Mt. Tabor Demographics Below are some facts about the Mt. Tabor neighborhood gleaned from the magazine’s website. A few numbers can tell much about the character of a neighborhood.
- Average year homes built in the neighborhood: 1947
- Percent of residents below poverty level: 7.9%
- Percent of neighborhood land area that is in parks: 17%
- Percent of residents that live within half mile of a park: 85%
- Percent of residents that commute by bike or walking: 11.4%
1Mt. Tabor Home Prices: 2007-2015
- Number of Homes sold in Mount Tabor—► 164 homes sold in 2015 and 0.6% were distress sales. 193 homes sold in 2014 and 2% were distressed sales. 35 homes sold in 2013 and 1% were distressed sales. 131 homes sold in 2012 and 8% were distressed sales. 124 homes sold in 2011 and 10% were distressed sales. 111 homes sold in 2010 and 6% distressed properties sales.
- Median Price for Homes Sold in Mount Tabor—► $514,000 in 2015, $437,500 in 2014, $384,250 in 2013, $367,500 in 2012, $349,950 in 2011, $355,000 in 2010, $359,000 in 2009, $374,850 in 2008, and $399,500 in 2007.
- Average Cost per Square Foot—► $218 in 2015, $192 in 2014.
- 1-Year Median Sales Price Change in Mount Tabor—► The change was 17.5% in 2015, in 2014 the change was 14%, the change was 5% in 2013, the change was -11% in 2012, the change was -1% in 2011, and in 2010 the change was -1%.
- 5-Year Median Sales Price Change in Mount Tabor—► 2011 to 2015 the sales price change was 46.9%. 2010 to 2014 the sales price change was 20%. 2009 to 2013 the sales price change was 5%. 2008 to 2012 the sale price change was -10%. 2007 to 2011 the sales price change was -12%. 2006 to 2010 the sales price change was -4%.
- Portland Metro Area Median Home Price—► $308,000 in 2015, $288,500 in 2014, $310,600 in 2013, $235,000 in 2012, $221,000 in 2011, $239,900 in 2010, $247,000 in 2009, $278,000 in 2008, and $290,000 in 2007.
- Portland Metro Area Average Home Price—► $454,500 in 2015, $333,000 in 2014, $265,000 in 2013, $275,000 in 2012, $263,300 in 2011, $282,100 in 2010, $289,900 in 2009, $330,300 in 2008, and $342,000 in 2007.
Please be aware that the above figures are subject to error and are intended as guidelines only.
Mt. Tabor Homes for Sale
- Homes for Sale in the Mount Tabor Neighborhood — View on all devices except Apple® mobile devices. To view homes for sale in the Mt. Tabor neighborhood on Apple® mobile devices key in “Mt. Tabor” in the “Location” field and click on the “Search Now” icon.
- Display Homes for Sale in the Mount Tabor Neighborhood — View on all devices. Photos of home displayed along with detailed description of the property.
Parks in Mount Tabor
The 195-acre Mt. Tabor Park is one of Portland premier parks. The park includes basketball court, play area, a restroom, picnic area, dog off-leash area, picnic tables, playground, and tennis courts. This park is made for walking as it has miles of trails.
At the top of the park is a bronze statue of Harvey W. Scott, editor of The Oregonian newspaper from 1865-1872 and from 1877 until his death in 1910. A gift to the city by Scott’s widow, Margaret, and family, it was sculpted by Gutzon Borglum in the early 1930s while at work on his monumental sculpture of four American presidents on Mt. Rushmore in the black hills of South Dakota.
In 2000, the city renovated park structures, roads and bathrooms. But the sprawling park had plenty of trails and places that offered spots where people could drink, use drugs or cause other problems. Parks officials began working with the Mount Tabor Neighborhood Association for ideas to make the park inviting and safe. From those meetings, the nonprofit Friends of Mount Tabor Park began. The group collects dues and sells T-shirts to raise money for park projects. Over the years, the group has paid for such things as bike racks, timber to replace rotted steps and a water supply in the picnic area. The patrol with 40 active members celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2010. The group has logged more than 2,700 patrols and donated more than 18,000 hours.
Take It Outside Fitness, a class taught by Kristin Jackson, a licensed personal trainer and lifestyle coach who lives in Southeast Portland has one of his classes meets at Mount Tabor Park twice a week, rain or shine, for an hour of cardiovascular exercise, strength training and stretching.
Mount Tabor has 184 acres of parkland and open spaces according to Metro and the Portland Department of Parks and Recreation.
Mount Tabor Historic Reservoirs
Mount Tabor has three reservoirs, all of which were accepted to the National Register of Historic Places in January 2004. The reservoirs are located in the Mount Tabor Park. Its elevation and central location relative to the city of Portland made this an ideal place for the city to house a water supply from the Bull Run reservoir in the Cascade Mountains.
The reservoirs were built during the period of 1894 and 1911, along with two reservoirs in Washington Park. The reservoirs and their gatehouses are artistically constructed, incorporating extensive stonework and wrought-iron. There were initially four above-ground reservoirs, numbered 1, 2, 5, and 6. Reservoirs 3 and 4 are at Washington Park, and Reservoir 7 is a small underground reservoir near Mount Tabor’s summit. Reservoir 2, on the corner of SE 60th and Division, was decommissioned in the 1980s, and the property was sold to a private developer. Its gatehouse remains, and is used as a private residence. Reservoir 6 is the largest, with two 37 million gallon chambers; it also contains a fountain, which was unused for many years, it was reactivated in early 2007.
These reservoirs are not filtered. This came to light on June 30th, 2008, when a local TV station reported two people were caught skinny dipping in one of the offline reservoirs the night of June 29th. Reservoir officials say it’s fortunate this particular reservoir was offline at the time, because draining and refilling it would have cost tens of thousands of dollars. However, it should be realized that birds, insects and wildlife contaminate the open-air unfiltered reservoir on a daily basis. After 9-11, the federal government mandated that all open water supplies be covered. This will cost the city millions and citizens organized and fought the covering of the reservoir both at Mount Tabor and Washington Park. They gain some concessions as far as leaving some of the reservoirs open but lost the battle to use the open reservoirs for storing water that comes out of your faucets.
Work to disconnect the three open Mount Tabor Reservoirs began in 2015. Reservoir 7 will remain in use since it is below ground. For additional project information, visit www.portlandoregon.gov/water/mttabor.
The Mount Tabor neighborhood website has detailed information about the reservoirs and their struggle to stay uncovered. Here is the link to the source.
Hawthorne Business District
Ask any Portlander where ‘Hawthorne’ is located and they will know. Hawthorne is not a “neighborhood” as such, but five neighborhoods converge on the area for shopping and dining. The Hawthorne Business District is about 20 blocks long starting at 30th Avenue and ending just a few blocks from the neighborhood’s west boundary. Most of the establishments are small shops and locally owned except for the Fred Meyer superstore. It is one of the city’s more interesting shopping areas.
Video of Mount Tabor Park and Playground
This video is about kids in the park and produced by Portland Family Advenures.
Walking in Mount Tabor
Explore the paths and historical features of Mount Tabor Park, home to reservoirs and a remnant volcanic cinder cone. The 2.1-mile walk combines stairs, closed roadways and unimproved paths as you climb and descent the summit. The payoff is the views. Click here to download the guide.
Another walk in Mount Tabor Park is the tree walk in which you identify over 30 trees. Click here to download the 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 14th most walkable city in the U.S. with a Walk Score of 63, a Transit Score of 50 and a Bike Score of 72. There are over 3,000 restaurants and coffee shops in Portland. People in Portland can walk to an average of five restaurants and coffee shops in five minutes.
The Walk Score for the Mount Tabor neighborhood is 64, the Transit Score is 52, and the Bike Score is 79.
More About Mount Tabor
Learn more about the Mount Tabor neighborhood by visiting Portland Maps. The site provides a list of businesses, demographic data, crime stats, parks, schools, aerial photos, maps, elevation, hazards, and more for the neighborhood. All you need is a property address – use “5921 SE Hawthorne Blvd” or an address of your choice.
- Neighborhood Association Website Mount Tabor Neighborhood website. The Mount Tabor neighborhood has a terrific website that is full of history and information about the community.
- Location From downtown cross over the Willamette River on the Burnside Bridge. Drive out on East Burnside and when you get to SE 50th Avenue, the neighborhood will be on your right side.
- Mt. Tabor Boundaries North – East Burnside. South – SW Division Street. East – SE 76th Avenue. West – SE 49th Avenue (from Burnside to Hawthorne) and SE 50th Avenue (from Hawthorne to Division).
- Map of Mt. Tabor Boundaries Mount Tabor.
- Topography Flat to hilly on east end of neighborhood. Mature trees on properties. Parks are wooded.
- Sidewalks and Streets The street pattern is grid with sidewalks for walking.
- Public Transportation Mount Tabor has five public transit lines. Bus routes 4, 15, and 20 run east/west and deliver passengers downtown. Route 71 runs north/south. See schedule and routes at the TriMet website. Mount Tabor does not have a MAX light rail line or a streetcar line. 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.
- Commuting 9.5% of the neighborhood residents commute using public transportation, 9% by biking, and 2.4% walk.
- 2Drive Time to Downtown 12-13 minutes.
- 3Census 2010 Demographics Population: 10,162. Area: 1,018 acres. Average population density: 9 persons per acre. Number of households: 4,689. Average size of household: 2.17 persons. Median household income: $57,244. Families with children: 20.5%. Percent of homeowners: 63. Percent of renters: 37. Diversity: 12.5% non-Caucasian. More census data about Mount Tabor at Portland Online and City Data.
- 4Crime Stats There were 195 property crimes (assault, arson, burglary, larceny, robbery, theft from auto, vehicle theft) in 2014. There were 14 violent crimes (aggravated assault, homicide, robbery, rape) committed in 2014. There were 38 crimes per 1,000 residents in 2014. For the latest crime statistics and historical data for the Mount Tabor neighborhood, visit the Portland Police Bureau website.
- Sex Offenders Click here for the State of Oregon Sex Offender Inquiry System. After agreeing to the “Conditions of Use Statement” you will be redirected to a “Enter Search Criteria” page. Insert a zip code in the “Zip” field and click on the “Query” button. Mount Tabor zip code: 97215.
- 5Shopping and Services Number of supermarkets: 0. Mount Tabor is all residential but surrounded on all sides by neighborhoods that have commercial centers. The main business activity is just west of the neighborhood around SE 39th Avenue and SE Hawthorne in the Sunnyside neighborhood. You will find a Fred Meyer supermarket, bookstore, deli, boutiques, a movie theatre, and a few restaurants. New Seasons Market, a local chain, revamped a building located at SE 41st and Hawthorne vacated by a natural food store and it opened in late 2009.
- Eating Out Just blocks (walking distance for the west end residents) to the west are two well-regarded restaurants: Three Doors Down at 1429 SE 37th Avenue and Bread and Ink at 3610 SE Hawthorne. Close by is Cup & Saucer and Chez Machin (the main attraction is the crêpes). Bridgeport Brewing at 3632 SE Hawthorne is the place for a cold one and a good burger. Also in the neighborhood are pizza shops, BBQ, and a fish sandwich eatery. See Willamette Week for reviews of restaurants in Mount Tabor.
- Public Library The neighborhood does not have a public library but two libraries are about the same distance from the center of the neighborhood. The Belmont Library at 1038 S.E. 39th Avenue and the Woodstock Library at 6008 S.E. 49th Avenue.
- Who Lives in Mt. Tabor White collar singles and young married couples. Because of the range of home prices, you will get affluent couples. They tend their lawn and gardens, walk in the park, and stroll along Hawthorne Boulevard. The median age of a resident is 38.
- Cars in the Neighborhood Loads of smaller Japanese cars with a few pickups and SUVs. You’ll see a luxury car at some of Mount Tabor’s more elegant homes.
- 6Biking Quality ranges from high to fair. Mount Tabor has seven miles of bike lanes. Bicycle Trip Planner will map a route for you and − just provide a starting point address and your destination address.
- Schools Elementary schools: Glencoe and Richmond. Middle school: Mount Tabor Middle School. High school: Franklin High School.
- 7School Report Card Grades Click here for report card details on the above schools. Select “Portland SD 1J” to view individual schools within the district.
Map of the Mount Tabor Neighborhood