Guide to the Sunnyside Neighborhood in Portland, Oregon

Also Known as Hawthorne or Belmont

The Bagdad Theatre opened in 1927 and was the site of the premiere gala of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1975, and of My Own Private Idaho in 1991. Bagdad Theatre by Cacophony.

Sunnyside is a neighborhood in the Southeast section of Portland, between SE Stark Street and SE Hawthorne Boulevard (north to south) and from SE 28th Avenue to SE 49th Avenue (west to east).  Sunnyside is bordered by the Laurelhurst neighborhood to the north, Richmond to the south, Buckman to the west, and Mount Tabor to the east. Sunnyside is 28 blocks east of the Willamette River. 

A part of Sunnyside is sometimes referred to as the Belmont neighborhood for its main commercial street, SE Belmont Street, is the border between the Sunnyside neighborhood and the Richmond neighborhood to the North.

The lure of the neighborhood is accessibility, plenty of locally owned shops that keeps the neighborhood creative, and homes with character. Because of its Victorian architecture and bohemian culture, Hawthorne along with Belmont is often compared to San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury district.

The landmark in the neighborhood is the Bagdad Theatre pictured on the left. Universal Studios spared little expense to build this ornate, balconied temple of entertainment in 1927. The Bagdad’s interior is an attraction unto itself with barreled arches, ornate, wrought iron fixtures, brilliant-colored mosaic work, and painted and stenciled Mediterranean designs and mythical characters. The Bagdad has featured an incredible array of performances ranging from bawdy vaudeville stage shows to Technicolor extravaganzas. The Bagdad was the site of the premiere gala of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1975. Today, with nearly 700 seats, the theater offers a grand, well-designed forum for multimedia presentations.

Portlanders refer to the area as simply “Hawthorne” and they have in mind the area that runs along SE Hawthorne Boulevard between 30th and 42nd Avenues. It is known for its young, liberal residents and pedestrian-friendly high-density mixed-use development. Historically, the district has been populated by Generation X and hippies, and more recently, hipsters. It is a young and vibrant neighborhood thanks to having two-thirds of the residents as renters. They are also attracted to Sunnyside’s access to public transportation and affordable older homes.

Two business areas are located in the neighborhood, one along Hawthorne Boulevard and the other along Belmont Street. All along Hawthorne, you will find eateries, coffeehouses, pubs, unique shops, bookstores, and the famous Bagdad Theatre & Pub. It is also has a large Fred Meyer supermarket, one of the few chain stores in the area. Visit the Hawthorne Boulevard Business Association website for more information about the area.

Six blocks north of Hawthorne, Belmont Avenue is a historic corridor thick with boutiques and ethnic restaurants, centered around the neon lights of the Avalon Theatre. A dollar and a quarter and you’re admitted. There are four screens; two will often carry first run flicks that cost a little more. Visit the Belmont Area Business Association website for more information about the area.

History of Sunnyside

hawthorne_1926Hawthorne Boulevard was originally held by John McLoughlin of the Hudson Bay Trading Co., the land was subsequently sold to James B. Stephens, who in 1850 designated Hawthorne (then titled U Street) the southernmost boundary of the new city of East Portland. The same year, Stephens established the Stark Street ferry to transport agricultural commodities from fertile eastern areas to the fledgling town of Portland and beyond. Used by farmers as a commercial transit route, U Street was only a small dirt road, extending as far as present day 39th Avenue.

During the California and Southern Oregon gold rush of 1849, Stephens’ s agricultural shipping monopoly made him a handsome profit. Outer east side Hawthorne Boulevard was slower to develop than the area closer to the Willamette River. One major event, the 1846 forest fire popularly known as the “Big Burn,” had a critical impact on this area’s development. The fire, starting at the base of Mt. Scott and spreading almost to the Columbia River, cleared much of the thick forest at a time when settlers had just begun to stake claims.1 The result was an inviting flat, grassy area that was perfectly suited for pioneering farmers.

In 1858, another important figure, Dr. J. C. Hawthorne, arrived in Portland to care for many of the county’s indigent patients. Impressed by Dr. Hawthorne’s devotion and eager to see his town of East Portland grow, Stephens donated seven acres of prime property to the Oregon Hospital for the Insane in 1862. The hospital was constructed on a tract bounded by present-day Hawthorne Boulevard, SE Taylor Street, SE 9th and SE 12th avenues. At this time, U Street became known as Asylum Avenue. Run by Dr. Hawthorne and Dr. A. M. Loryea, the hospital became a major employer for the small city; 18-20 percent of the population of East Portland worked there by 1873.

To read more about the history of the neighborhood, download the document Historic Context: Hawthorne Boulevard from SE 20th to SE 55th Avenues.

Origin of the Name Sunnyside and Hawthorne

The book, Oregon Geographic Names, states that a post office existed in the neighborhood in the 1890s. It was located in the vicinity of SE Belmont Street between SE 29th and SE 37th Avenues and it was called Sunnyview. Portlander Karen Der Vee believes the neighborhood name “Sunnyside” comes from the Sunnyside farm, so named because it’s not in the shadow of the West Hills. Karen notes that a plaque on a building at 33rd and Belmont, across from Zupan’s Market, reveals this information. Another explanation is considering the climate in Portland, it may have been sarcastic.

Hawthorne Boulevard was named after Dr. J.C. Hawthorne, the cofounder of Oregon’s first mental hospital which was located on Hawthorne Boulevard south of the Sunnyside neighborhood. The road was originally named Asylum Avenue. In 1883 the Oregon State Hospital moved to its present location in Salem. The street was renamed in honor of Dr. Hawthorne. Residents didn’t much care for the old name and they petition to change the name to ‘Hawthorne.’

Schools in the Sunnyside 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).

Sunnyside Home Styles

sunnyside_portlandMany vintage homes are located in the Sunnyside area. The predominate styles are bungalows, four-squares, and Victorians. The area’s housing styles are changing as townhomes and condos are beginning to appear. Developers can either buy an old home on a large lot and put up 2-3 townhomes or they buy two lots.

The 2000s have seen a number of smaller condo developments appearing in the neighborhood. Here’s a list: SE Hawthorne Boulevard and 35th Avenue, SE 42nd Avenue, SE 38th Avenue, and SE 33rd Avenue.

The neighborhood has numerous multi-family homes from small apartment buildings with 12-36 units in classic brick construction to plexes.

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: 

Sunnyside Demographics  Below are some facts about the Sunnyside 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:  1933
  • Percent of residents below poverty level:  13.7%
  • Percent of  neighborhood land area that is in parks:  0%
  • Percent of residents that live within a 1/2 mile of a park:  85%
  • Percent of residents that commute by bike or walking:  21.6%

1Sunnyside Home Prices:  2007-2015

  • Number of Homes Sold in Sunnyside—►  84 homes sold in 2015 and 1.2% were distressed sales. 100 homes sold in 2014 and 4% were distressed sales — 20 of the sales were for condos. 82 homes were sold in 2013 and 6% were distressed sales. 82 homes were sold in 2012 and 11%. 63 homes were sold in 2011 and 16% were distressed sales. 88 homes were sold in 2010 and 10% distressed properties sales.
  • Median Price for Homes Sold in Sunnyside—►  $459,250 in 2015, $394,500 in 2014, $359,500 in 2013, $333,000 in 2012, $300,000 in 2011, $305,000 in 2010, $284,900 in 2009, $349,950 in 2008, and $358,750 in 2007.
  • Average Cost per Square Foot—►  $240 in 2015, $208 in 2014.
  • 1-Year Median Sales Price Change in Sunnyside—►  The change was 16.4% in 2015, the change was 10% in 2014, the change was 8% in 2013, the change was 13% in 2012, the change was -2% in 2011, and in 2010 the sales price change was 7%.
  • 5-Year Median Sales Price Change in Sunnyside—►  2011 to 2015 the sales price change was 55.7%.  2010 to 2014 the sales price change was 12%. 2009 to 2013 the sales price change was 2%. 2008 to  2012 the sales price change was -5%. 2007 to 2011 the sales price change was -18%. 2006 to 2010 the change was -17%.
  • Portland Metro Area Median Home Price—► $308,000 in 2015, $285,500 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.
  • Metro Area Average Home Price—►  $354,500 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. 

Hawthorne Neighborhood Among the Most-Competitive Neighborhoods in the Nation in 2015
According to real estate brokerage firm Redfin, the Hawthorne neighborhood was among the most competitive neighborhoods in the entire nation for homebuyers in 2015. On a top 10 ranking of the most competitive home buying neighborhoods in the country, Hawthorne landed at number five (5). Topping out the list was Inman Square in Boston, followed by Overlake in Seattle, Boston’s Brighton/Allston neighborhood, and Roosevelt in Seattle.

Redfin analyzed a range of indicators, including the percentage of homes that sold above asking price, how quickly homes went under contract and the percentage of Redfin offers that faced bidding wars. The firm noted that the data came from multiple listing services, public records, and Redfin’s proprietary data. The median sales price in the Hawthorne neighborhood in 2015 was $521,250, an increase of nearly 19 percent over 2014. Fifty-six percent of homes sold in the neighborhood went for above the asking price, and the median number of days on the market for homes was just seven days.

In addition, 41 percent of sales in Hawthorne were all cash transactions, and 90 percent of offers involving Redfin agents in the neighborhood went into bidding wars.

Find a Home in the Sunnyside Neighborhood

  • Homes for Sale in the Sunnyside Neighborhood — View on all devices except Apple® mobile devices. To view homes for sale in the Sunnyside neighborhood on Apple® mobile devices key in “Sunnyside” in the “Location” field and click on the “Search Now” icon.
  • Displays Homes for Sale in the Sunnyside 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 Sunnyside

Parks in Sunnyside

The neighborhood has one park called Sunnyside School Park (1.9 acres and includes a picnic area, accessible play area, basketball court, playground, and softball field.) at SE 34th and SE Taylor. Residents have three parks are within a few blocks on two sides of it and a community pool/sports field 10-12 blocks to the west of it.

The 195 acre Mt. Tabor Park is on the east side of the neighborhood and on the north side is the 28 acre Laurelhurst Park. The Buckman Pool along with the 12-acre Buckman Field (athletic field) is on the west side of Sunnyside.

Christmas on Peacock Lane

peacocklaneSince the 1920s, each house in this quaint southeast neighborhood has been decorating for Christmas. Mostly Tudors, the houses are adorned with not only beautiful sparkling lights but also nativity scenes, rotating Christmas trees and stunningly life-like replicas of Santa and Frosty.

They even have their own song, The Peacock Lane Song, written by Elsie Bush. It goes, “It’s a spe-cial  time of year! Win-ter nights and Christ-mas cheer! North winds blow the wea-ther vane — have you seen the lights on Peacock Lane…” 

This is a very popular Portland tradition and the crowds can get quite thick. It is wise to park several blocks away and walk, rather than drive through the area. Better yet, take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage.

Walking in Sunnyside

Sunnyside is a “browser” heaven. Stroll along Hawthorne Boulevard and SE Belmont Street and peek into the shops along the way.

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 descend the summit. The payoff is the views. 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 Sunnyside neighborhood is 91, the Transit Score is 52, and the Bike Score is 98.

Sunnyside

Walker’s Paradise

Walk Score®

91

out of 100

Sunnyside is the 7th most walkable neighborhood in Portland.

Find Sunnyside apartments on Walk Score

More About Sunnyside

Learn more about  the Sunnyside neighborhood by visiting Portland Maps. The site provides information about 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 “3000 SE Belmont” or an address of your choice.

  • Neighborhood Association Website  Sunnyside.
  • Location  Drive out of downtown on the Hawthorne Bridge and after a few blocks, you will be on SE Hawthorne Boulevard. When you come to SE 28th Avenue, Sunnyside will be off to your left.
  • Sunnyside Boundaries  North – SE Stark Street. South – SE Hawthorne Blvd. East – SE 49th Avenue. West – SE 28th Avenue.
  • Map of Sunnyside Boundaries  Sunnyside.
  • Topography  Flat with mature trees on properties. Parks nearby are wooded.
  • Sidewalks and Streets  The street pattern is a grid with sidewalks for walking.
  • 2Drive Time to Downtown  10-11 minutes.
  • Public Transportation  Four bus routes run through the neighborhood. See schedule and routes at the TriMet website. 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  15.1% of the neighborhood residents use public transportation, 17.5% bike, and 4.1% walk.
  • 3Census 2010 Demographics  Population: 7,354. Area: 382 acres. Population density: 19 persons per acre. Households: 3,894. Average size of household: 1.89 persons. Median household income: $54,713. Families with children: 20.5%. Homeowners: 37%. Renters: 63%. Diversity: 10.8% non-Caucasian. More census data about Sunnyside at Portland Online and City Data.
  • 4Crime Stats  There were 399 property crimes  (assault, arson, burglary, larceny, robbery, theft from auto, vehicle theft) in 2014. There were 15 violent crimes (aggravated assault, homicide, robbery, rape) committed in 2014. There were 57 crimes per 1,000 residents in 2014. For the latest crime statistics and historical data for the Sunnyside 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. Sunnyside zip code(s): 97214, 97215.
  • 5Shopping and Services  Number of supermarkets: 2. Number of health club: 1. number of coffee shops: 6. Sunnyside has two commercial areas – one on the north side called Belmont and the other on the south side called Hawthorne. The main business activity takes place from the hub at SE 39th Avenue and SE Hawthorne. You will find a Fred Meyer supermarket, bookstore, deli, boutiques, a movie theater, and a few restaurants. In other words, just about everything you would need can be purchased in the neighborhood. New Seasons Market has a store at 41st and Hawthorne that they opened in late 2009. Click here to access a shopping guide/map of Hawthorne and click here for a shopping guide/map of Belmont.
  • Farmers Market  The Thursday Market in the Buckman/Sunnyside neighborhood of Southeast Portland is located at SE 20th & Salmon between SE Belmont & SE Hawthorne — in the parking lot of Hinson Baptist Church. A close street address to this market is 1137 SE 20th Avenue. 3:00 pm — 7:00 pm on Thursdays held May — September.  See Buckman Farmers Market.
  • Eating Out  The Hawthorne area has some well-established eating spots along with coffee and pizza places. 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. Visit Willamette Weeks’ Restaurant Guide by Neighborhood for a list of eating places in Sunnyside. The Belmont area has been adding new businesses in the last few years and now has 4-5 eating places.
  • Public Library  The neighborhood’s Belmont Library is located at 1038 S.E. 39th Avenue – between SE Yamhill and SE Taylor.
  • Who lives in Sunnyside  Singles as 42 percent of the residents live in a one-person household. Only 7.4% of the households have children. Close to two-thirds of the residents are under 39 years of age. The median age of a resident is 36.
  • Cars in the Neighborhood  Pickups, SUVs, Chevys, Fords, and a few Hondas/Toyotas/Nissans. Luxury autos are rare.
  • 6Biking  Quality is high. The neighborhood has 2.1 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 Sunnyside 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 2010 and www.portlandmaps.com.
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. 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 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.
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