Sylvan Highlands

Guide to the Sylvan-Highlands Neighborhood in Portland, Oregon

sylvan_highlandsThis heavy wooded area just west of downtown has narrow winding streets with an absent of sidewalks. Its attraction is the quick drive to downtown and its closeness to the Oregon Zoo and Hoyt Arboretum trails.

Many of the houses that now face Highway 26 are from the 1930s and 1940s, when houses were built along the south edge of the neighborhood near the Portland Racquet Club. The rest of the neighborhood sprang up in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s. And the change continues as new condos and townhomes are being constructed on the western edge of the neighborhood.

The neighborhood association supported the tunnel for light rail, which could have run above ground through the residential area. Residents also expressed concerns when the Oregon Department of Transportation began to redesign the U.S. 26 highway between Sylvan and Camelot Court, including a new overpass bridge. The overpass project now has a bridge with stanchions at each end that read ‘Sylvan’ on a background of trees. The design that came from the neighborhood.

You see a few of the Sylvan-Highlands residents walk from their homes to the MAX Light Rail stop at the Zoo to either head into downtown for work or out to the west suburbs for work in one of the high-tech companies.

Origin of the Name of Sylvan-Highlands

The word ‘sylvan’ is derived from Silvanus, the Roman deity of the woods. The name seems appropriate for an area that is more like a forest than an urban neighborhood.

Sylvan-Highlands Home Styles

You will find a few older homes along with 50s – 60s homes which is the predominant style. Homes facing west have a view of the coastal mountain range. The last few years have seen some new condos being built along with townhomes.

Most homes in Sylvan-Highlands are owner occupied. An apartment complex is located at the south end of the neighborhood near the business district. Most of the detached single-family homes are owner occupied.

1Sylvan-Highlands Home Prices for 2007-2013

  • Number of Homes Sold in Sylvan-Highlands—►  20 homes were sold in 2013 and 5% were distressed sales. 22 homes were sold in 2012 and 18% were distressed sales. 30 homes were sold in 2011 and 57% were distressed sales.  14 homes were sold in 2010 and 36% of these were distressed sales.
  • Median Price for Homes Sold in Sylvan-Highlands—►  $476,000 in 2013, $372,325 in 2012, $304,705 in 2011, $427,500 in 2010, $500,000 in 2009, $530,000 in 2008, and $585,000 in 2007.
  • 1-Year Median Sales Price Change in Sylvan-Highlands—►  The change was 28% in 2013. The change was 22% in 2012, -27% in 2011, and -15% in 2011.
  • 5-Year Average Sales Price Change in Sylvan-Highlands—►  2009 to 2013 the change was 11%. 2008 to 2012 the change was -13%. 2007 to 2011 the change was -43%. 2006 to 2010 the change was 14%.
  • Portland Metro Area Median Home Price—►  $265,000 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—►  $310,600 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.

Sylvan-Highlands Homes for Sale

Parks and Gardens in the Sylvan-Highlands Neighborhood

Hoyt Arboretum (232 acres) offers ten miles of walking trails and adjoins the neighborhood. Washington Park with its numerous attractions also borders the Sylvan-Highlands neighborhood.

Sylvan-Heights has 67 acres of park land and open spaces according to Metro and the Portland Department of Parks and Recreation.

Walking in Sylvan-Highlands

The SW Trails Group is a committee of Southwest Neighborhoods Inc that uses volunteer efforts to make trail improvements, lead walks, work with Safe Routes to School, plan and advocate for pedestrian and bicycle safety and other improvements in SW Portland Their walks are the second Saturday of each month, meet at 9 a.m. sharp under the Hillsdale Oak, behind the Dance Studio at SW Sunset Blvd and SW Capitol Highway near the concrete bleachers of the Wilson football field.

Hoyt Arboretum (232 acres) offers ten miles of walking trails and adjoins Washington Park and borders the Sylvan-Highlands neighborhood. The Arboretum’s plant collection is made up of over 8,000 individual trees and plants, representing over 1,000 species, many of which are accessible and well-labeled.

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. with a Walk Score of 66 and 57% of the residents have a Walk Score of 70 or above. The Sylvan Highlands neighborhood ranks 84 out of 88 Portland neighborhoods.

More About Sylvan-Highlands

Learn more about the Sylvan-Highlands neighborhood by visiting Portland Maps.  The site offers a list of businesses, demographic data, crime stats, parks, schools, aerial photos, maps, elevation, and more for the Sylvan-Highlands neighborhood. All you need is a property address within the neighborhood — use “1626 SW 58th Avenue” or an address of your choice.

  • Neighborhood Association Website  Sylvan-Highlands.
  • Location  Take West Burnside out of downtown and when you approach Skyline Boulevard, look to your left.
  • Sylvan Highlands Boundaries  U.S. 26 forms the south boundary for the neighborhood, with West Burnside Road marking the north end. The west edge of Washington Park is the east boundary and the Washington County line is the west boundary.
  • Map of Boundaries   Sylvan Highlands
  • 2Drive Time to Downtown  About ten minutes – more if you’re traveling West Burnside during rush hour.
  • Topography  Moderate rolling hills, very wooded, winding roads. Very few homes have views.
  • Streets and Sidewalks  Not a straight street in the neighborhood and no sidewalks.
  • Public Transportation  TriMet has four bus routes in the neighborhood. Number 20 goes up Burnside Road, and Nos. 58 and 63 go to the Sylvan overpass. A MAX light rail stop at the Oregon Zoo is within walking distance for residents living on the east side of the neighborhood. 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.
  • 3Census 2010 Demographics  Population: 1,317. Area size: 697 acres. Average population density: One person per acre. Number of households: 575. Average size of household: 1.94 persons. Median household income: $117,641. Families with children: 23.2%. Percent of home owners: 86%. Percent of renters: 14%. Diversity: 9.6% non-Caucasian. More census data about Sylvan-Highlands at Portland Online and City Data.
  • 4Crime Stats  Part I crimes  (aggravated assault, arson, burglary, homicide, larceny, rape, robbery, theft from auto, vehicle theft) were 25 in 2013. There were two violent crimes (assault, homicide, robbery, rape) committed in 2013. For the latest crime statistics and historical data for the Sylvan-Highlands 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. Sylvan-Highlands zip code(s): 97021, 97025.
  • 5Shopping and Services  This neighborhood has a few commercial establishments on SW Skyline Boulevard. You will find a convenience store, cleaners, a couple of gas stations, and a pizza take-out. It is an easy 7-8 minute drive to the Northwest District where you will find all kinds of shopping.
  • Eating Out  Pizzicato, a well-regarded pizza take-out is located at the intersection of Highway 26 and SW Skyline Boulevard. Residents are minutes from restaurants in Northwest District and downtown.
  • Walking Score  Most of the addresses have a walking score in the 40s (not walkable) as recorded by Walk Score.
  • Public Library  You have to go downtown to the Multnomah County Central Library or to the Northwest District branch located at 2300 NW Thurman Street.
  • Who Lives in Sylvan-Highlands  With its proximity to downtown, the Sunset Highway, freeways and the light-rail line, Sylvan Highlands has attracted a diverse group of residents. Former Governor Tom McCall lived in the neighborhood when he worked for The Oregonian and Channel 8. Median age is 45. It has the second highest median household income among the 95 Portland neighborhoods. Once you live in Sylvan-Highlands you stay as 69% of the residents have live in their home since 2004 or earlier.
  • Cars in the Neighborhood  SUVs, luxury autos, and a few vans (soccer moms).
  • 6Biking  Quality is low. The neighborhood has seven miles of bike lanes.
  • Schools  Elementary schools: Ainsworth Elementary and Chapman Elementary. Middle school: East-West Sylvan. High school: Lincoln 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 Sylvan-Highlands Neighborhood


1Real Estate Values  Data on real estate values provided by RMLStm. Distressed properties refer to the percentage of total homes sold that were short sales and bank-owned properties.
2Drive Time to Downtown  Estimated commuting time obtained from Yahoo Maps and Google Maps. Drive time was calculated from a central intersection in each neighborhood to Pioneer Courthouse Square during the morning peak commute time.
3Demographics Data   Numbers were obtained from Census 2010 and
4Crime Statistics  Numbers on crime were obtained from the Portland Police Bureau.  The Uniform Crime Reports documents crimes in three categories: Part I, Part II-A, and Part II-B. Part I crimes are classified as either violent or property crimes. Aggravated assault, forcible rape, murder, and robbery are classified as violent while arson, burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft are classified as property crimes. Part II-A crimes are drugs, embezzlement, forgery, fraud, prostitution, sex offenses, simple assault, stolen property, vandalism, and weapons.  For the latest crime statistics and historical data for the Portland neighborhoods, visit the Portland Police Bureau website. 
5Shopping and Services  Numbers were determined from local directory listings and county/municipal library systems.
6Biking  Quality rating based on the 2007 Cycle Zone Analysis conducted by the City of Portland Office of Transportation. The six-tier ratings have been reduced to three levels: High, Fair, and Low.
7School Report Card Grades  The format of report cards were changed from simple letter grades to detailed reports starting  in 2013.
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