Top 5 Portland, Oregon Zip Code Maps
Most people don’t think about the importance of zip codes when house shopping. However, understanding how these numeric representations of cities, their neighborhoods, and their districts work can play a big part in gaining valuable information when deciding where to live.
Let’s first take a look at how zip codes work.
How Do Zip Codes Work and What Do They Tell Us?
The necessity for zip codes to achieve expediency and accuracy in mailing anything in the U.S. is common knowledge. That was the U.S. Postal Service’s intent in 1963 when they first instituted the use of the five-digit number at the end of any address to which a letter or package would be sent.
Finding ways to streamline delivery at that time arose from the transformation and increased air and ground shipping use. Twenty years later, the USPS would add an additional four digits to zip codes for even more detailed accuracy to streamline mail delivery. The use of these numbers was optional then, and still is.
The process of assigning zip codes was methodical, starting with the east coast and working westward. Each number in a zip code represents a designated area, from largest to smallest.
For example, the first number in a zip code represents a group of states. The few states in the uppermost part of New England begin with “0,” moving southward into Florida, whose zip codes begin with “3.” Numbering continues as we move north, then south, repeating all the way
The second number in all of Oregon’s zip codes is “7.” Notice in the above image how Washington and California have multiple variations after the first number, indicating more populous areas.
The third number in the Portland area is a “2,” indicating an area specific to all of Portland, with “0” as the fourth number, designating central Portland (and “1” or “2” for less central Portland neighborhoods). The last number is specific to each neighborhood.
Here’s how to break down a Portland zip code.
|9 –||West Coast|
|2 –||Portland metro area (main mail distribution center)|
|0 –||Central Portland (“1” or “2” for neighborhoods further away from central Portland)|
|2 –||A specific part of central Portland|
What Can You Learn from Zip Code Maps?
Zip codes maps help you to drill down to a smaller local area that you might want to live in or visit. From there you can reference other local maps to learn about that zip code and surrounding area. Bottom line, zip codes are a great reference point to start learning about a location you’re interested in.
Nearby Schools and Amenities: Knowing the zip code of your new prospective home can help you figure out what school districts are in the area. This can greatly impact your homebuying decision if you have a family, as different school boundaries overlap different zip codes. While it is possible to have your child go to a school not in the same school district, this can impact bus routes and more, so it’s worth knowing the different districts in your area before you buy.
Here are a few of our local school boundary maps:
- David Douglas (mostly east Portland)
- Reynolds (Troutdale and surrounding areas)
- Forest Grove
Utility and Service Costs: Unfortunately there are not reliable utility costs maps available, perhaps due to the wide variance between home’s energy efficiencies. It might help to know that Portland, Hillsboro, and Milwaukie have city mandated home energy scores, a rating from 1 to 10 that is displayed with most homes for sale. When searching for homes for sale (and many expect this to be required for rental properties in the future) in these cities you can find the score, and there should be an attached report along with it that helps you estimate utility costs for that property. If you need to obtain a home energy score for a property, or want to learn more about home energy scores, we recommend this hes company.
Noise and Activity Levels: While zip code may not tell you exactly how loud an area is during the summer months, for example, you can use your zip code to figure out the average transit noise levels near you. The US government puts out an average noise level map for transit, including rail, air travel, and more, allowing you to search by zip code easily. While this won’t help noisy neighbors, it will help you know if you’re moving down the street from the metro.
Even better, we wrote about an official Portland noise nuisance map, that clearly helps you see what parts of the city might be too loud for you.
Unique Neighborhood Cultures and Amenities:
Portland, Oregon is well known for its 95+ colorful neighborhoods. We know of no better guide for each one of these gems than PortlandNeighborhood.com. Go here for the site’s clickable Portland neighborhood map.
Top 5 Zip Code Maps for Portland
Discerning zip code boundaries can feel like a mystery, but it’s worth your time when thinking of moving to a new area, even in your own city. If you’re new to Portland or are considering changing neighborhoods, we found some useful zip code maps to help.
1. Metro’s Regional Zip Code Map. Portland’s Metro Council for Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties offer this useful map. You can count on this one for accurate information that extends beyond Portland proper all the way south to Canby, west to Forest Grove, and east to Troutdale. This map is also downloadable.
2. Google Earth Pro. Go to “Layers” > “More” > “Government,” and select “Postal Code Boundaries.” While this feature is not available in the browser version of Google Earth, Google Earth Pro is free to download and includes this zip code overlay and many other useful overlays that can make house hunting easier, such as the school district boundary layer.
3. United States Postal Service Zip Code Map. Okay, this is really the USPS’ official direct mail map service, but I find it to be an incredibly detailed zip code map down to the street and house level. To try it out, simply enter any zip code into their search bar.
4. Zipdatamaps.com. This map is not a government map, so user beware. Data might not be entirely accurate, especially if boundaries have shifted, which happens sometimes. That said, though, the color-coded maps are a great way to get an at-a-glance view of Portland zip code areas.
5. TIGERWeb by the US Census Bureau.
While not as easy to access as the other maps on our list, the US Census Bureau has an incredibly detailed mapping software called TIGERweb that is free to use. Not only can you look at current zip code data, but you can compare how zip code designation has changed over the years.
In order to access this map, you need to visit the TIGERweb page. While the number of layers on this map can seem overwhelming, make sure to select the “PUMAs, UGAs, and ZCTAs” check box to enable the map itself. ZCTAs stands for “zip code tabulation area,” which are generalized areal representations of the zip code service areas used by USPS.
To make finding Portland easier, make sure to also check the “Places and County Subdivisions” button, as this shows major urban areas on the map so you can navigate. There are also settings for major roadways, water features, school districts, and more, allowing you to experience Portland from several geological and sociological perspectives at once.
Best Ways to Look Up Portland Zip Codes
When you find a home you love and want to know more about the neighborhood and general area, use these three tools to start your investigation.
- City of Portland Zip Code Lookup: This website is Multnomah-specific and lists metro area zip codes, including the city they’re in and approximate boundaries.
- Google Maps: Google Maps is different from Google Earth Pro in that you won’t find a zip code map. But what you can do is enter a zip code, and the map will show you its boundaries. You’ll then be able to zoom in and see restaurants and other businesses, as well as parks, grocery stores, and the area’s proximity to highways.
- United States Postal Service ZIP Code™: Use this resource to look up zip codes by address, city/state, or zip code to see which cities or parts of a city it covers. Found on the USPS’s own site, you can count on this one to be accurate.
Use a Portland Zip Code to Look for Real Estate
As we’ve said, zip codes can be a useful real estate tool. House hunting? Visit PortlandHomesforSale.com and search by zip code. You’ll be taken directly to an interactive map where you can zoom in and gather details about homes that spark your interest.
So what if you’ve decided to sell your home? How can this map help you? It can save you time. Instead of sorting through the entire mass of RMLS listings, search for your current zip code to see what home prices are in your area. You can also save your searches and receive updates about new sales.
Take the Next Step in Your Real Estate Experience
The next step in setting yourself up for a successful real estate experience is to find a trusted, licensed agent. Our top 1% buyer’s agents or top 1% seller’s agents are here to help you. Give us a call or chat with the bot on our site. We look forward to working with you!July 27, 2023