Welcome to Portland!
Moving to a different city can be an overwhelming experience, with a whole host of new sights, sounds, and opportunities for a new resident. Consequently, I've catered this portion of my website specifically towards people moving to Portland who may not be entirely familiar with our lovely town.
You'll find information on local parks, schools, recreation, transportation, neighborhoods, suburbs, and the 5 sections of town enclosed below. I want to include as much information as possible on this page; however, if you find that you have questions that aren't addressed by the information here, feel free to give me a call! I'd be happy to work with you towards feeling as comfortable as possible in Portland. After all, I relocated here too, so I know how it feels!
Again, welcome to Portland. I'm happy you'll be joining us here and I hope I can be a great resource for you as you familiarize yourself with PDX.
Portland's “5 Quadrants”
Having 5 quadrants of anything seems like a bit of a misnomer, but the ever-quirky Portland has managed to embed that phrase into the local lexicon. Portland is divided into 5 main sections: North, Northeast, Southeast, Northwest, and Southwest. Below is a brief discussion of the boundaries and qualities of the respective sections.
North Portland: North Portland is a roughly triangular region that extends westward from Williams Ave to the Willamette River, northward to the Columbia River, and south to roughly where Williams Ave reaches the Willamette. This region is generally a more affordable section of Portland, with lower housing prices and rents, but still features a good selection of restaurants, shopping, and public transportation. North Portland is especially notable for its wetlands, its extensive selection of parks, and for containing the University of Portland within its boundaries.
Northeast Portland: Northeast Portland extends eastward from the aforementioned Williams Ave all the way to Gresham (a suburb roughly 200 city blocks east), north to the Columbia River, and South to Burnside St. NE Portland features an eclectic mix of neighborhoods and housing stock: Irvington and Alameda are two neighborhoods with some of the oldest, grandest, and most expensive houses in Portland, while going further north to Alberta will lead to a vibrant, bustling commercial district, and moving further east will reveal more affordable neighborhoods.
Southeast Portland: Southeast Portland extends from the Willamette River eastward to Gresham, and southward from Burnside St to SE Sherrett and Clatsop Street. Southeast Portland contains much of what has come to typify “Portland” to the outside eye as of late, with colorful and eclectic housing stock, locally-sourced restaurants and cafes, food carts, and farmers' markets. Beyond this, though, SE Portland contains its fair share of shopping options and a host of walkable neighborhoods and solid schools. Important Note: some residents of SE and NE Portland argue that, once you travel east of 82nd Ave, the division between NE and SE should cease and it should simply be labeled “East Portland.” It's hard to argue the point, as the city sharply changes once one passes 82nd Ave and especially Interstate 205. However, that's yet to become a formal designation.
Northwest Portland: Northwest Portland extends from Burnside St northward to roughly Newberry Rd, and westward from the Willamette River to roughly Skyline Blvd (the border is a fairly jagged line). NW Portland contains Chinatown, the Pearl District, and the Alphabet district, all of which can be considered part of Portland's Downtown; however, the region itself is bisected by Forest Park, Portland's enormous city park filled with hiking and cycling trails. The west side of Forest Park features rolling hills, newer subdivisions, and some older midcentury homes on larger lots.
Southwest Portland: Southwest Portland extends from the Willamette River to Beaverton, a suburb west of Portland that begins, roughly, at 65th Ave, and from Burnside St southward to Lake Oswego, another suburb that begins south of Stephenson Rd and lacks a tangible boundary. SW Portland features much of Portland's downtown and has a more textured topography with many quiet, higher-end residential neighborhoods. This section of Portland is much less walkable than the flatter East Side but contains a quality housing stock and strong schools.
Portland's 5 quadrants contain almost 100 formally designated neighborhoods, each with its own unique flavor and distinctive qualities. Some neighborhoods that are listed bear different colloquial names (for example, “Sunnyside” is often simply called “Hawthorne” after the primary commercial street running through the neighborhood). Rather than discuss every neighborhood in this space, we invite you to follow the links below to Portland Neighborhoods and Neighborhood Notes; they'll do a much better job of explaining it than we ever could! In addition, if you'd like a larger electronic copy of a neighborhood map, please let us know!
The Portland Metropolitan area contains over 2 million residents; many of those residents live in the numerous suburbs surrounding Portland that have slowly connected to the city itself. Below are brief statistics and information on the various suburbs in the Portland Metro area.
Portland Schools, Parks, and Tranportation
Portland has really focused its efforts on promoting public transportation and a healthy parks and recreation department as part of its involvement in encouraging public well-being. Below are a few links to Portland transportation (colloquially called “Tri-Met”), Portland Public Schools, and Portland Parks and Recreation, as well as a few supporting websites. Don't hesitate to follow up on these with any questions!
Great Schools (School Ratings)