Guide to the Boise Neighborhood in Portland, Oregon

Mississippi_AvenueBoise is a neighborhood in the North and Northeast sections of Portland that has and still is in the process of undergoing rapid development and gentrification. Boise is bordered by the following neighborhoods:  Humboldt to the north, King to the east, Eliot to the south, and Overlook to the west.

In the mid-1980s, maybe 5-6 businesses were operating on the five-block North Mississippi Avenue commercial strip between Fremont and Skidmore streets in the Boise neighborhood of North Portland.

It was a grim place! You name it, N. Mississippi had it: drugs, gangs, street crime, prostitution, abandoned houses — all the elements of urban decay. Today, there are more than 40 businesses on the street. Restaurants, coffee shops, a bike shop, a nursery, furniture makers, a home rebuilding center, and even a couple of recording studios. Take a virtual shopping trip on Mississippi Avenue by clicking here.

What happened? For one thing, in 1999 the city of Portland created the Mississippi Historic District Target Area to improve public safety, upgrade housing and attract businesses. The city brought an army of bureaucratic tools — including home improvement loans, technical assistance, and help — in dealing with the new designation. And the results are now starting to play out.

Has the effort been a success? The city hasn’t succeeded entirely in making sure that gentrification doesn’t drive out existing residents. Yes, crime and drugs are down while optimism is up. But the area still deals with undercurrents of racial and class mistrust in one of Oregon’s poorest and most diverse neighborhoods. Changes are happening quickly. People walk to the shops by day; at night, live music can be found at the Mississippi Pizza Pub where crowds and the music spill out onto the sidewalk on warm evenings.

The new Interstate MAX line is three blocks away, and neighbors hope that the low rents will attract more young artists who will help continue the revival. More than 60 percent of the neighborhood today is under 35, census figures show.

Mississippi Avenue Street Fair

The Mississippi Avenue Street Fair began in 2001 as a simple community-building event called the Boise-Eliot Multicultural Fair. The one-day event has since become Portland biggest street fair — attracting thousands and sprawling over five city blocks in the heart of the Historic Mississippi Avenue Business District.

The attractions have grown along with the fair and there are now multiple stages of entertainment with nearly 30 acts performing. Historic Mississippi Avenue Business Association (HMBA) and Boise Neighborhood Association (BNA) are the fair sponsors and it benefits the Boise-Eliot Elementary and Albina Youth Opportunity schools.


North Mississippi Avenue was populated in the 1800s by ship workers of European descent. It became home to blacks after the 1948 Vanport flood and was part of Portland’s thriving postwar black community. In the 50s and 60s, construction of Interstate 5 and Memorial Coliseum tore out businesses and long-time neighbors were cut off from each other. The neighborhood has gone through a revival starting in the early 2000s and is now one of the most interesting areas in Portland.

Origin of Name

Reuben Patrick Boise (June 9, 1819 – April 10, 1907) was an attorney, judge and politician in the Oregon Territory and the early years of the state of Oregon. A native of Massachusetts, he immigrated to Oregon in 1850, where he would twice serve on the Oregon Supreme Court for a total of 16 years, with three stints as chief justice.

Schools in the Boise Neighborhood

Find your school attendance area or a school site and view the boundary area using School Locator. Read how to use the interactive map by clicking on the “Information” icon (circle with an “i” in the center).

  • Schools in the Neighborhood  A list of public and private schools in the Boise neighborhood.
  • Public Schools in the Neighborhood  Elementary and middle school: Boise-Eliot. High School: Jefferson.
  • School Report Cards  Report Cards for schools and districts in Oregon. Select “Portland SD 1J” to view individual schools within the Portland Public School District. 

Portland Monthly Magazine Guide to Neighborhoods

PDXMonthlyMag_April2014In 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 and 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: 

Boise Demographics  Below is some facts about the Boise neighborhood gleaned from the magazine’s website. A few numbers can tell much about the character of a neighborhood. You can view more data about Boise by visiting the Portland Monthly’s website.

  • Average year homes built in the neighborhood:  1951
  • Percent of residents below poverty level:  17.5%
  • Percent of neighborhood size with parks:  2%
  • Live within a 1/2 mile of a park:  97%
  • Commute by bike or walking:  23.5%

1Boise Home Prices:  2007 – 2015

  • Number of Homes Sold in Boise—►   47 homes sold in 2015 and  no distressed sales. 43 homes sold in 2014 and 0% distressed sales, 46 homes sold in 2013 and 0% distressed sales, 35 homes were sold in 2012 and 20% were distressed sales, 32 homes sold in 2011 and 16% were distressed sales, 38 home sold in 2010 and 8% distressed properties sales.
  • Median Price for Homes Sold in Boise—►  $450,000 in 2015, $407,000 in 2014, $380,450 in 2013, $311,000 in 2012, $273,050 in 2011, $299,950 in 2010, $274,000 in 2009, and $300,000 in 2008.
  • Average Cost per Square Foot—►  $237 in 2015, $201 in 2014.
  • 1-Year Median Sales Price Change in Boise—►  10.6% sales change in 2015, in 2014 the sales price change was 7%, in 2013 the sales price change was 22%, in 2012 the sales price change was 14%, in 2011 the sales price change was -9%, and in 2010 the change was 9%.
  • 5-Year Average Sales Price Change in Boise—►  64.8% sales price change for the years 2011-2015. 2010 to 2014 the sales price change was 28%. 2009 to 2013 the sales price change was 19%. 2008 to 2012 the sales price change was -3%. 2007 to 2011 the sales price change was -7%. 2006 to 2010 the change was 2%.
  • Portland Metro Area Median Home Price—►  $308,000 in 2015, $285,500 in 2014, $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—►  $354,500 in 2015, $333,000 in 2014, $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. 

Find a Home in the Boise Neighborhood

  • Homes for Sale in the Boise Neighborhood — View on all devices except Apple® mobile devices. To view homes for sale in the Boise neighborhood on Apple® mobile devices key in “Boise” in the “Location” field and click on the “Search Now” icon.
  • Displays Homes for Sale in the Boise Neighborhood — View on all devices. Photos of home displayed along with detailed description of the property.
  • Search for Homes — Search on all devices. Map-based on devices configured with Adobe Flash and Javascript and text-based on any device.

Homes for Sale in Boise

Parks and Health Clubs

Denorval Unthank Park is a 4.5 acre park in the heart of the Boise neighborhood. Facilities include a softball field, soccer field, basketball court, and playground.

The Matt Dishman Community Center and Pool includes an indoor basketball court, fitness room, gymnasium, meeting room, party room, indoor stage, weight room and an indoor swimming pool. The 25-yard, L-shaped pool has a one-meter diving board. The water is heated to 84 degrees and whirlpool spa heated to 102 degrees. Water depths range from 2 to 12 feet.

This community center is the site of the former Eliot Grade School. After the school was relocated, Portland Parks and Recreation took it over in 1950 and remodeled the building, naming it the Knott Street Community Center. In the late 1960s, the local community lobbied to name the center after Matt Dishman, the first African-American Multnomah County sheriff and police officer in the city of Portland.

The Boise-Eliot Community Garden is a .25 acre plot where citizens can grow their own food.

Walking in the Boise Neighborhood

This 2-mile loop starts at a bluff in Overlook Park, then to a pedestrian bridge over I-5 to the neighborhood restaurants, shops, and galleries along North Mississippi Avenue. 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 Boise  neighborhood is 88, the Transit Score is 54, and the Bike Score is 91.


Very Walkable

Walk Score®


out of 100

Boise is the 9th most walkable neighborhood in Portland.

Find Boise apartments on Walk Score

More About Boise

Learn more about the Boise neighborhood  by visiting Portland Maps. It offers you with a list of businesses, demographic data, crime stats, parks, schools, aerial photos, maps, elevation, etc. All you need is a property address within the Boise neighborhood — use ”3553 N. Mississippi” or an address of your choice.

  • Neighborhood Association Website  Boise Neighborhood Association. The Historic Mississippi Avenue Business Association is packed with information about the Boise neighborhood.
  • Neighborhood Location  Three miles north of downtown Portland just to the east of I-5. Take the Broadway Bridge and just after you get across the river, proceed on North Interstate.
  • Boise Boundaries  West – Interstate 5. East – N. Rodney Ave./ N. Mallory Ave./N. MLK. North – N. Skidmore Street. South – N. Fremont Street/Underpass of I-405.
  • Map of Boise Boundaries  Boise.
  • 2Drive Time to Downtown  About ten minutes.
  • Topography  Grid pattern with tradition blocks and flat. Walking or driving from the north down N. Mississippi, you look right into “Big Pink”, the downtown skyscraper.
  • Sidewalks and Streets  The street pattern is a grid layout. The neighborhood has sidewalks for walking.
  • Public Transportation  TriMet’s No. 4 bus, Fessenden, runs between downtown and St. Johns via Mississippi Avenue every 12 to 15 minutes. There are six bus routes running through Boise. The Interstate MAX (light rail) Overlook Park stop (walk to Mississippi via the Failing Street Pedestrian Bridge) or the North Prescott Street stop (walk to Mississippi via North Skidmore). 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  13.2% of the neighborhood residents commute using public transportation, 18.4% bike, and 5.1% walk.
  • 3Census 2010 Demographics  Population: 3,311 persons. Area in acres: 276. Average population density: 12 persons per acre. Number of households: 1,537. Average size of household: 2.15 persons. Median household income: $41,937.  Families with children: 17.7%. Homeowners: 45%. Renters: 55%. Diversity: 35.3% non-Caucasian. For more census data about Boise visit Portland Online and City Data.
  • 4Crime Stats   There were 307 property crimes  (assault, arson, burglary, larceny, robbery, theft from auto, vehicle theft) in 2014. There were 16 violent crimes (aggravated assault, homicide, robbery, rape) committed in 2014. There were 89 crimes per 1,000 residents in 2014. For the latest crime statistics and historical stats for the Boise neighborhood, visit the Portland Police Bureau website.
  • 5Shopping and Services  Number of supermarkets: 0. Number of health club: 0. Number of coffee shops: 1. A number of small shops to include a drug store are located on N. Mississippi Avenue and none of them are national chains. The Rebuilding Center is the place to find bargains for home remodeling. Boise is lacking a food market.
  • Eating Out  A paradise of eating with such establishments as Gravy, Lorenzo’s, and many others on Mississippi Street. Visit Willamette Weeks’ Restaurant Guide by Neighborhood for a list of eating places in Boise. One of our favorite restaurants is Mississippi Pizza because they have live music, gluten-free pizza, and gluten-free beer.
  • Public Library  The closest branch library of the Multnomah County Library system is the North Portland at 512 N. Killingsworth Street. This is about ten blocks from Boise’s north boundary.
  • Who Lives in Boise  Census figures show many ethnic backgrounds and occupations but that is changing as the neighborhood’s diversity is changing. In Census 2000 the non-white population was 64.3% and in Census 2010 it had dropped to 35.2%. The median age of a resident is just 32.
  • What They Drive in Boise  Big and little. You will see big American made cars and every increasing number of smaller foreign vehicles. Lots of bikes and many residents use public transportation exclusively.
  • 6Biking  The neighborhood has two miles of bike lanes. Bicycle Trip Planner will map a route for you and just provide a starting point address and your destination address.

Map of the Boise 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. The One Year Median Sale Price Percent Change is based on a comparison of the rolling average sale price for the last 12 months with the 12 months before — this is an example for 2014:  (1/1/2014 – 12/31/2014) with 12 months before (1/1/2013 – 12/31/2015). The Five Year Median Sales Price Percent Change is calculated in the same way using a five-year time span.
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 Portland Police Bureau In Part I, the Uniform Crime Reports indexes reported incidents in two categories: violent and 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. Crimes per 1,000 figures are based on reported incidents of violent crime as well as larceny, burglary, and vehicle theft. For the latest crime statistics and historical stats for the Boise neighborhood, 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.