Portland Neighborhood Guide: University Park
University Park is young, sleepy neighborhood of peninsular North Portland. Though it’s home to the University of Portland, and a large student population, the neighborhood definitely doesn’t give off the college town vibe you might expect. Quite the opposite, its character reads as a very small town. It’s an excellent location for those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Portland without being removed from the conscientious and hyperlocal culture. Bussers and Bikers beware, though; this is one of the few neighborhoods in the city where owning a car is perfectly reasonable. The commute times are long to most places in the city and public transit is heavily limited by the local geography. But, the extra miles just might just be worth it if you’re looking for a slower pace of life.
(from the University Park Neighborhood Association)
University Park was originally platted in 1891 as the site of a Methodist college and surrounding neighborhood to serve it; but, due to financial difficulties, it lasted for less than a decade. The campus and buildings were purchased by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, and the facilities re-opened in 1901 as Columbia University, with a faculty of priests from the Order of Holy Cross. In 1935, it was renamed University of Portland (presumably to prevent confusion with THE Columbia University). The streets in University Park, named by the neighborhood’s Methodist founders, remain an enduring tribute to prominent American universities, writers / intellectuals, and Methodist theologians.
Home Styles / Architecture:
Homes in this neighborhood are more modest than in many other parts of the city, have fewer improvements, and are often cited as being among the last affordable locations in the city. Perfect for first-time homebuyers!
The University of Portland is the private Catholic college that gives the neighborhood its name. The women’s soccer program has a long history of excellence and has very often been rated among the best in the nation.
Astor Elementary School is the neighborhood public k-8 serving University Park.
Food and Entertainment:
Pay no attention to its relative isolation, University Park residents still have a number of awesome options nearby. Lombard, running along the northern border of the neighborhood, provides excellent food and drink within walking distance. Mock Crest Tavern is a cozy pub featuring live music (no cover!), open mics, and a very popular pub trivia series. Just down the street, King Burrito, a North Portland staple, offers up unpretentious Mexican cuisine on the cheap. Open til 3 am Friday / Saturday, it’s a popular destination at the end of a night out in the neighborhood.
The Flavor Spot, a hidden legend of NoPo, bills itself as Portland’s Original Waffle Sandwich. Offering its own waffle-y twist on the breakfast sandwich, this unassuming food and coffee cart, located in a video store parking lot, is a hidden culinary gem. Beware: hidden means hidden! It’s easy to miss. Carnivores should definitely give the THB (Turkey Havarti & Bacon) a try.
Residents of University Park also have easy access to the commercial districts of both St. John’s and Kenton for daily needs like beer or organic groceries.
(from the City of Portland Parks and Recreation)
Columbia Park is the primary green space of University Park and Portsmouth neighborhoods. The main park and its annex to the south feature baseball and soccer fields, horseshoe pits, tennis court, tennis court and volleyball courts. The Columbia Cottage, located inside the park itself, serves as a community space for ~75 people to gather.
Portsmouth Park and McKenna Park are smaller and located amongst residential University Park. Though smaller than neighboring Columbia, it’s an excellent place to stop in while walking fido or enjoy a waffle sandwich with your special somebody.
Demography & Statistics:
(from Fidelity arcGIS Maps)
|2015 Median Household Income||57,032|
|2015 Median Age||25|
|2015 Median Home Value||327,302|
|2015 Population Density (persons/sq mi)||4,714|
City Data for University Park Neighborhood