Portland Neighborhood Guide: Cathedral Park
Centered around its namesake, Cathedral Park is a quiet riverside neighborhood of peninsular North Portland. Cathedral Park, both diverse and affordable, is secluded from most of the bustle of Portland’s daily life. Many students, professionals, and generations long residents come together to form an active and engaged neighborhood citizenry. With walking access to both of the peninsula’s designated off-leash areas, Cathedral Park residents have fostered a thriving culture of dog ownership. Located at the farthest tip of the residential peninsula, all transit options across the St. Johns Bridge make for easy 30-minute commutes downtown by bus, car, or bike. Though commutes are a bit longer than in many other parts of the city, the St. Johns area offers an excellent balance between affordability and convenience; a must-consider location for new buyers.
(from the City of Portland Parks and Recreation)
The site which now bears the name Cathedral Park is steeped in history. It is believed to be one of the 14 Lewis and Clark landing sites in the Vancouver-Portland area: William Clark and eight men camped there on April 2, 1806. This spot had been a fishing and camping site for many area Indian tribes. In 1847, the founder of St. Johns, James John, settled on the site and operated a ferry to Linnton across the Willamette River. In 1931, the St. Johns Bridge was built on the site with 400-ft towers and a main span of 1,207 feet. It is the only steel suspension bridge in Portland.
In the early 1970s, Howard Galbraith, the “honorary mayor” of unincorporated St Johns, got tired of the junkyard state of the area under the eastern end of the bridge. He organized a drive that eventually raised $7.5 million to build a park. After eight years of community fundraising, combined with state, county and city funding, the park was dedicated at a community celebration on May 3, 1980. Cathedral Park received its name from a photo of the St. Johns Bridge by Al Monner that appeared on the front page of the Oregon Journal in 1968. Reference was made to its beautiful cathedral-like arches and the park found its name.
Home Styles / Architecture:
Cathedral Park contains the full spectrum of Portland architecture. Close proximity to the park has spurred an impressive level of revitalization since the late 80’s; though, being close to the river, there are still some industrial spaces located close to the neighborhood.
James John Elementary is the neighborhood elementary serving the Cathedral Park and St. Johns area.
Also nearby, University of Portland is the private Catholic college located in University Park. The women’s soccer program has a long history of excellence and has very often been rated among the best in the nation. Many of its students have taken up residence in the surrounding neighborhoods, Cathedral Park included.
Food and Entertainment:
At the very tip of the peninsula, Cathedral Park and St. Johns boast a wonderful selection of eateries, breweries, coffee houses and bike shops. Located along Lombard, The St. Johns Beer Porch is a combination beer garden, food cart pod, and Kruger’s organic grocery. Featuring their own brews from Captured by Porches Brewing Company and permanent local guest brewers, Natian and Occidental Brewing, the beer porches are an excellent community space for North Portlanders to share a locally made beverage with their neighbors. They also host a monthly, classic movie night that makes for an excellent evening out.
Main Street St. John’s, within walking distance of Cathedral Park’s residences, is the primary destination for most trips out and has been the focus of a new wave of businesses relocating to the area. Nearby Proper Eats is committed to providing tasty, affordable vegan cuisine and groceries to North Portlanders. St. Johns Coffee serves up delicious coffee, with small batches of fair-trade and organic beans being roasted on-site. Tienda Santa Cruz provides the neighborhood with latin groceries (and carneceria!) along with some of the most highly regarded Mexican eats in the entirety of portland.
For routine errands, St. Johns residents have their choice of Fred Meyer, Safeway, and New Seasons both in St. Johns and along Lombard.
(from the City of Portland Parks and Recreation)
Cathedral Park, in its own right, is a destination worth visiting if you just happen to be passing through Portland. The pillared, arched supports of the St. Johns bridge call to mind the Gothic cathedrals of Western Europe; but, with the added twist of being located amongst the lush greenery of the Willamette valley. The views are especially striking in spring and early summer and the park often serves as the site for wedding parties during this time of year. Each July, The Cathedral Park Jazz Festival is a must see event that packs the neighborhood with both awesome sound and people. The park also features river access with a boat dock and canoe launch, and an awesome off-leash area for dogs. Close proximity to this green space is a major selling point of the neighborhood, as a whole.
St. Johns Park is another neighborhood park serving the greater St. Johns area. Smaller than Cathedral, it offers play areas, jogging paths, and baseball fields to nearby residents.
Demography & Statistics:
(from Fidelity arcGIS Maps)
|2015 Median Household Income||$39,536|
|2015 Median Age||39|
|2015 Median Home Value||$260,520|
|2015 Pop Density (persons/sq mi)||3,543|
City Data for Cathedral Park Neighborhood