New! Seven tips for moving to Portland Silly things that make Portland great!
Portland Fashion Pages Well, Portland Plus Fashion Feed
Portland Food Pages It's a foodie town
Kid Friendly What to do with those toddlers? Here's some inexpensive ideas and resources
Moving to Portland, Oregon? How to get around, neighborhood tips
I did it. Sight Unseen. Loaded up the car and drove from the Midwest 12 years ago. There is only so much I can tell you. Please do a lot of research before coming out here. I suggest reading the Moon Handbooks Guide to Oregon. Moon Handbooks now has a Portland Guide, too. Portland changes constantly. Books give you a good overview with maps, and highlight things about the city that stay constant.
Much new social media has evolved surrounding Portland. Check out Portland Yelp if you want to ask specific questions. Yelpers may be a bit snarky, but they'll give you honest and varied answers.
Portland is divided into five quadrants - North, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest. The Willamette river sets the East/West boundary, and Burnside Street the North/South.
My personal favorite part of town is SE Portland- South of Burnside, East of the Willamette, West of Gresham, and North of Foster Road. The southeast is split up into different neighborhoods, like Buckman, Mt. Scott, Arleta, Sellwood, Brooklyn etc. Add to that new monikers, such as Inner SE Industrial district (close to the Willamette), 'outer SE' including Lents, East County which is that no-hipster land where the line between Portland and Gresham blurs, Felony Flats (includes a several block radius east and west of 82nd street).
It's almost like there are 2 or more SE Portlands these days. Hawthorne Ave. is the established "hippie" corridor from Mt. Tabor in the East to the bike/pedestrian friendly bridge across the Willamette to downtown. Home to Powells Books, Bagdhad Theater, Red Light Clothing Exchange, and many other Portland institutions. Housing around the area is packed with craftsman bungalows and larger 4-Square homes. Definitely a more laid-back vibe than other parts of town.
Division/Clinton St, a bit south of Hawthorne, is changing fast. Division was Hawthorne's shabbier cousin, but now it's being hyper-developed with huge street-front apartment buildings (with no parking available for residents on an already car-dense narrow thru-street) that butt up to the sidewalk with no greenspace. Many new and wonderful shops and restaurants, and some lasting favourites including Village Merchant Resale (like the hippest garage sale ever) and Loprinzi's Gym.
Clinton Street is still a nice little hide away bike-friendly neighborhood. Home to classics such as the famous Clinton Street Theater and Dot's Cafe, the n'hood can take a while to figure out. Some winding streets, 1-ways that stop abruptly, etc.
Going farther east past 82nd and south of Burnside there are some very nice properties, but you're getting farther away from the main PDX grid. It varies block by block from say 82nd to 164th (Powell Butte). Felony Flats is still Felony Flats. What used to be a real meth-nest has been cleaned up, but is still waiting for the boom of development money. Considering how condensed central Portland is, you'd think Lents, 82nd Street and Felony Flats would recieve part of the overflow but that hasn't happened. Nonetheless, it has changed in the past 10 years and is working on changing as more younger families with children want to stay within bike/MAX distance of Portland, and also want small single homes with yards. New businesses are popping up including coffee shops and bakeries. Bike paths, community gardens, and much more are working their way in. Portland Neighborhood Notes maintains up to date info on all of Portland.
Sketchy? Sure but there are true gems, beautiful parks, amazing asian food and much more to explore in the outer-ish SE
N/NE Portland So when you say "I live in NE Portland" folks immediately assume your'e living around Alberta Street. Alberta has been gentrified and is hipster heaven. Don't miss Last Thursdays on Alberta, or the street fair or the art hop in the summer.
North / Northeast also includes the more blue-collar Kenton area ( Yes, home to the world famous Kenton Club) and St. Johns - a wee city all unto it's own but still part of Portland. St Johns is pretty much what Portland looked like 20+ years ago and is in the target of the twee-makers. Stay stabby, St. Johns!
SW Portland includes Downtown Portland and areas to the west. Very nice area, less urban. If I had kids and stuff I'd try to get a house in Hillsdale, or near Multnomah Village. SW gets higher in the hills for lovely views of the valley. Public transit is still good, but a little less accessible than living on the grid in downtown or SE/NE
NW Portland Babbaloo baby you've hit the big time when you can live in the West Hills/Portland Heights. Actually, affordable apartments can be found in the chi-chi Nob Hill area. NW is serious yuppie town with all the good-bad points that go with it.
Portland Maps maps all data for the PdX Metro area, including aerial photos, crime statistics, property values, etc. Just plug in a address and click to your heart's content. It even has Google maps for sex offenders complete with address and pictures (yipes).
A word about crime: Many new transplants are surprised to learn that gang activity is alive and well all parts of Portland - sushi bars AND nightly gunfire. Crime in the PDX area is mainly property crime - breaking into homes, stealing bikes, stealing mail for identity/check theft, car break-ins and theft. Car break-ins are #1 REGARDLESS of where you live. So please, just hide your crap in your car. Don't brag about your awesome stereo system and put a bunch of status-stickers on your windows. Keep your car insurance up-to-date. And if you have an easily-stolen car, invest in a CLUB thingy that locks your steering wheel.
Personal crime/ street crime - like assaults and robbery - is relatively rare but it does happen.
The Portland Police Bureau offers FREE holistic self-defense classes for women and girls. See the class schedules at WomenStrength and GirlStrength.
Surrounding the Portland Metro area are the suburbs of Beaverton, Hillsboro, Aloha. To the south..sort of..is Clackamas county, including Lake Oswego and West Linn. To the north is Vancouver, Washington. North and west, there's Linnton and Sauvie Island (still in Oregon).