East Portland is often talked about as an issue, but not often as a lived-in place.
According to the U.S. Census, East Portland is the fastest growing part of the city. Many of the area’s youngest residents live there. Only a quarter of the population lives in East Portland, but it’s home to 40% of the city’s children.
OPB’s radio series looks at the resources available for kids in East Portland. On this tumblr, we take broader look at this community by highlighting the voices, places, and people who live East of 82nd Avenue. Read through many of the responses that came to us via OPB’s Public Insight Network, or share your own story at the link above.
82nd Avenue in 1932 An early state highway - 82nd Avenue looking north from where the Banfield is now (Madison H.S. now on top of the hill). This was built as a bypass road to serve the same function that I-205 does today.
Better Than My Life
Just moved to Mill Park
My husband and I just bought a house in Mill Park, around 122nd and Division. We like that house prices in this area are reasonable compared to the rest of the city. For what we spent out here on a gorgeous 1950s ranch house, we would have gotten a fixer or a tiny cottage in a neighborhood like Tabor or Creston-Kenilworth. We love our house and its spacious backyard, and all of the neighbors we’ve met have been very friendly.
My husband works from home, we share one car, and I take a combination of TriMet and a bicycle to get to my job south of Downtown every day. It’s fine - low stress, low effort, very easy. For groceries we either head to the Fred Meyer at 142nd and Division, the Safeway at 122nd and Powell, or we make a trip to Trader Joe’s on 82nd or all the way out at 39th and Holgate. We like being able to get fresh meat at the Original Steer, and we also like being close to Portland Nursery on the other side of the highway, where we’ve purchased lots of great stuff to make our outdoor space beautiful.
Downsides: Nowhere really to walk, as Division is a mess of heavy traffic and cracked or nonexistent sidewalks. Our beagle-terrier Wendy rules her backyard but we can’t walk her to the park (sometimes we drive her). No cute cafes like in some of the hipper neighborhoods. But we’re only a quick drive from the Montavilla shops & restaurants, the Hawthorne and Belmont area, and an easy bus/Max ride to downtown.
Overall we’re pretty happy here. And we’re looking forward to the possibility of adopting a child in a year or two, and giving that child the opportunity at an education in the David Douglas district, where he’ll (more than likely we’ll adopt a boy) get a chance to study music as part of his core curriculum. That’s a wonderful bonus.
Love out little neighborhood, but hate the deadly road
We moved from inner SE Portland to the Gilbert Heights neighborhood just over a year ago. We live next to a school and a wonderful park, and have very friendly neighbors. However, both my husband and son take public transportation to work and school. Every day they have to cross 122nd ave with NO cross walk and NO light! I’ve also seen little children get off the bus and dash across 122nd. In the winter when it gets dark early, the people crossing are invisible.
Our other concern is the Safeway that is just down the street from us. We are lucky that we can drive to other stores for food, because this Safeway is horrible! They seem to treat the area, and the people in it, as lower class citizens. Trash is the first thing I thing whenever I stop the Safeway on 122nd and Powell. It’s in the shopping carts and on the walk in front of the store. inside the store it isn’t much better. We have found (and taken pictures) of rotting, green meat for sale in the meat department. The fruit and vegetables are always old and close to being inedible and the shelves are often empty. When it comes time to check out, there are never more than 2 checkers, no matter how many people are waiting. I have spent 30 minutes waiting in line, before, and once let a woman with melting frozen goods go before me. While the checkers are usually very nice (as are most of the shoppers) they seem very stressed and over worked. The worst experience I had with this Safeway, was when I had an unopened, frozen package of hamburger that was in recall. The recall was still in the early stages, but mine matched all the numbers and dates in the recall. I took it to our local Safeway and after being ignored for 20 minutes, they refused to take the meat back and give me a refund, or even just exchange it. I even had the receipt! The manager I spoke to treated me very rudely and as if I was trying to get away with something. So, I took it to a nicer Safeway, and they gladly took it back. I don’t understand why one Safeway can be so different from another based on location.
My hope for Gilbert Heights is that we can gather together and bring about great changes to make our neighborhood the greatest it can possibly be!
Fourth Grader Josh Striedinger-Hubbard, Dad Steven, And Friends Walk Through Their Neighborhood