Guide to the University Park Neighborhood in Portland, Oregon

University Park is a neighborhood in the north section of Portland. It borders the neighborhoods of Cathedral Park, Portsmouth, and Overlook. To the southwest side is the Willamette River. 

The neighborhood is home to the University of Portland, a private catholic college. The school is noted for its powerful women’s soccer team that are always ranked among the top teams in the nation. Although the campus, sitting on the south side of the neighborhood overlooking the river, is attractive and serene the area is most definitely not a “college neighborhood.” Where are the pubs, coffee shops, and other student related businesses? The problem is that there’s no town center where people can congregate and walk. Instead, you have to drive from establishment to establishment.

The northern border of University Park is the high traffic (mainly trucks) Lombard Street. Lombard is the main road through North Portland between I-5 and the St. Johns neighborhood. Along the road, you will see paycheck cashing outlets and bars along with fast food restaurants with a few other businesses. The Java Bean, 4823 N. Lombard Street, is the place to stop for a latte, pastry, and a chat.

University Park has seen an influx of new residents to the area as the housing prices are low enough to attract first-time buyers, many who are ambitious about remodeling their home. University Park has a handful of classic homes and those are mainly Queen Ann Victorians and Colonials. Most of the homes are on small lots. Surprisingly, there are no apartment houses as the University of Portland students all live on campus or in homes. So University Park now has some areas with improved homes and neighborhoods and some still in transition. Most homes were built after WWII.

History

Three groups of interesting street names in north Portland are survivors of an attempt by the Methodist Church to establish a university in the University Park neighborhood. The Methodists founded two other colleges in Oregon: Willamette University and Corvallis College (now Oregon State University) as well as the University of Portland. The Methodists’ institution, called Portland University, opened in 1891. Because of financial difficulties, it lasted for less than a decade. Subsequently, the campus and buildings were purchased by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, and the facilities re-opened in 1901 as Columbia University, with a faculty of priests from the Order of Holy Cross. In 1935, it was renamed University of Portland.

Surrounding the original Methodists’ University, and conceived as its financial base, was a large real estate development. The names which the Methodists assigned to the streets in their “University Park” subdivision were enduring. Nineteen of those street names are compliments to American colleges and universities (Amherst, Berkeley, Harvard, Oberlin, Stanford, Yale, etc.). Another 18 streets were named to honor educators, theologians, and authors who were prominent in the nineteenth century (Dana, Hurst, Kimball, Olin, Wayland, Winchell, etc.). Fourteen names commemorate Methodist bishops, ministers, prominent laymen, and places important in Methodist history. The 51 streets are within about half a mile of the University of Portland.

The University Park neighborhood website has more information about the history of the area. The Facebook page for the neighborhood.

Sun for Everyone

When the Methodists accumulated 600 acres around the present-day University of Portland in early 1891, the trustees set aside 71 acres for the university campus. The rest of the land  about 500 city blocks was platted into residential building lots. It was in making the plat maps for these subdivisions that the Methodists had the pleasure of selecting the street names listed above. An interesting feature in part of the development was this: the streets were laid out running northeast-to-southwest and northwest-to-southeast, so that, if a house were placed squarely on its lot, every side of the house would, at some time during the day, have the sun upon it.

Origin of Name

University Park is so named because the neighborhood surrounds the University of Portland, a Catholic college affiliated with the Congregation of Holy Cross. It actually was named for the Methodist Episcopal college called Portland University which closed the school due to financial problems in the early 1900s. The local Catholic archdiocese purchased the campus from the Methodists.

Schools in the University Park 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 University Park neighborhood.
  • Public Schools in the Neighborhood  Elementary and middle school:  Astor School.  High school: Roosevelt High School.
  • 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: 

University Park Demographics  Below are some facts about the University Park 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 University Park by visiting the Portland Monthly’s website.

  • Average year homes built in the neighborhood:  1953
  • Percent of residents below poverty level:  19.4%
  • Percent of neighborhood size with parks:  3%
  • Live within a 1/2 mile of a park:  100%
  • Commute by bike or walking:  26.6%

1University Park Home Prices:  2007 – 2015

  • Number of Homes Sold in University Park—►  97 homes were sold in 2015 and 1% were distressed sales. 105 homes sold in 2014 and 4% were distressed sales. 100 homes sold in 2013 and 6% were distressed sales. 89 homes sold in 2012 and 6% were distressed sales. 67 homes sold in 2011 and 13% were distressed sales. 64 homes sold in 2010 and 19% distressed properties sales were 19%.
  • Median Price for Homes Sold in University Park—►  $368,000 in 2015, $317,900 in 2014, $305,290 in 2013, $273,000 in 2012, $280,000 in 2011, $256,500 in 2010, $262,300 in 2009, and $280,500 in 2008.
  • Average Cost per Square Foot—►  $190 in 2015, $163 in 2014.
  • 1-Year Median Sales Price Change in University Park—►  15.8% sales price change in 2015. 2014 the sales price change was 4%. 2013 the sales price change was 12%. 2012 the sales price change was -3%. 2011 the sales price change was 14%. 2010 the change was -2%.
  • 5-Year Average Sales Price Change in University Park—►  31.4% sales price change for the years 2011-2015. 2010 to 2014 the sales price changer was 12%. 2009 to 2013 the sales price changer was 8%. 2008 to 2012 the sales price change was -4%. 2007 to 2011 the sales price change was -1%. 2006 to 2010 the change was -5%.
  • 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 University Park Neighborhood

Homes for Sale in University Park

Parks and Health Clubs

Columbia ParkOne of the crown jewels of the Portland Park system is the 35-acre Columbia Park located in the both the University Park and Portsmouth neighborhoods. The park includes baseball, softball, and soccer fields, two lighted tennis courts, volleyball court, horseshoe pit, swimming indoor pool, wading pool, playground, picnic shelter, and tables, electricity, restrooms, trails, and parking lot. This park has been “adopted” by the Friends of Columbia Park. For information about renting Columbia Cottage, go to www.focp.org.

Although the city has a placeholder on its Web site about a park called Harbor View City Park, it is an old industrial site along the river full of trash and perhaps some day they will either make a park out of it or it will be developed.

The neighborhood has two other parks:

  • McKenna Park The 4.5-acre park includes a basketball court, paths, picnic tables, playground, soccer field, and softball field.
  • Portsmouth Park The 4-acre park includes a playground, soccer field, and softball field.

Walking in the University Park Neighborhood

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 University Park  neighborhood is 43, the Transit Score is 43, and the Bike Score is 70.

University Park

Car-Dependent

Walk Score®

43

out of 100

More About University Park

Learn more about the University Park 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 University Park neighborhood — use ”5268 N. Harvard Street” or an address of your choice.

  • University Park Neighborhood Association Website  University Park. The neighborhood’s Facebook page.
  • Neighborhood Location  The west boundary is along the Willamette River about 3-4 miles north of downtown.
  • Boundaries of the University Park Neighborhood  North: N. Lombard. East: N. Chautauqua. South: The N. Willamette Blvd. bluff and slope from N. Chautauqua to N. Olin (ie: excluding the Mocks Bottom Industrial Area), the remainder of the bluff and slope southward from N. Olin along the foot path from N. Willamette to the Willamette River, and the Willamette River westward to the railroad cut (including all the remaining bottom area below Waud Bluff). West: The Burlington Northern Railroad line (the cut). Boundary lines shall run along the center of all streets, roadways, and right of way.
  • Map of Boundaries   University Park.
  • 1Drive Time to Downtown  18-20 minutes.
  • Topography  University Park seats on a bluff overlooking Swan Island and Columbia River. The topography is flat with mature trees on most properties.
  • Sidewalks and Streets  The street pattern is a grid layout. The neighborhood has sidewalks for walking.
  • Public Transportation  The schedule can be found at TriMet Website for the three neighborhood bus routes. The Interstate MAX light rail line is about a mile from the heart of University Park to a stop (Portland Boulevard). 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  5.1% of the neighborhood residents commute using public transportation, 6.3% bike and 20.3% walk.
  • 2Census 2010 Demographics  Population: 6,035 persons. Area: 798 acres. Average population density: 7 persons per acre. Number of households: 1,834. Average size of household: 3.29 persons. Median household income: $64,108. Families with children: 20.2%. Homeowners: 64.1%. Renters: 35.9%. Diversity: 16% non-Caucasian. More census data about University Park at Portland Online and City Data.
  • 3Crime Stats   There were 208 property crimes  (assault, arson, burglary, larceny, robbery, theft from auto, vehicle theft) in 2014. There were 19 violent crimes (aggravated assault, homicide, robbery, rape) committed in 2014. There were 37 crimes per 1,000 residents in 2014. For the latest crime statistics and historical data for the University Park neighborhood, visit the Portland Police Bureau website.
  • 4Shopping and Services  Number of supermarkets: 1. Number of health clubs: 0. Number of coffee shops: 0. North Lombard Street is the main street and it has a bit of everything from fast food outlets to a couple of coffee shops and taverns. A Fred Meyer supermarket is located at North Interstate Avenue and North Lombard. Portland based New Seasons Market is located on N. Interstate and N. Portland Boulevard. Traveling west on Lombard, you will not be impressed with the quality of the commercial area. East is a different story as the MAX light rail has changed the character of this commercial area along N. Interstate Avenue — you will now find banks, fast food outlets, restaurants, coffee shops, etc.
  • Eating Out  North Lombard Street is the main street and it has a bit of everything from fast food outlets to a couple of coffee shops and taverns. There are a few restaurants along Lombard but we cannot attest to the quality of the food or service as we have never ventured into one of them. Your best bet for a meal is to try some of the restaurants along N. Interstate such as Fire on the Mountain (buffalo wings). Visit Willamette Weeks’ Restaurant Guide by Neighborhood for a review of eating places in University Park.
  • Public Library  The closest branch library of the Multnomah County Library system is the St. Johns at 7510 N. Charleston Avenue.
  • Who Lives in University Park  University staff and students, professionals who commute to downtown Portland, and industrial workers because of the close proximity to the Northwest Industrial area. The median age is 23.6 according to Census 2010.
  • What They Drive in University Park  Modest vehicles to include a few SUVs and pickups.
  • Biking  University Park has 4.4 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 University Park Neighborhood

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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 2000 and www.portlandmaps.com.
4Crime Statistics  Numbers on crime were obtained from Portland Police Bureau. The Uniform Crime Reports documents Part I crimes 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 University Park 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.