Walking Through New Neighborhoods

Portland’s Neighborhoods

Dear Liza,

I can tell Grandpa Nelson is feeling better, because we are going on more really long walks. Yesterday we covered five and a half miles on foot!

We headed north from our house in Sunnyside ( a green rectangle near the center of the map), and passed familiar places like The Pie Spot, which used to feel like a long walk.

1928 High School in Kerns

Along the way we passed through the Kerns neighborhood, which is home to the da Vinci Arts magnet school, in a building that was built in 1928 as a girl’s polytechnic school.

We left Kerns when we crossed the Banfield Freeway on a noisy pedestrian overpass, and entered the Sullivan’s Gulch neighborhood.

Sullivan’s Gulch is actually the name of the ravine which for years was a barrier to city development, and now holds three different sets of train tracks and eight lanes of freeway.

Crossing the Banfield Freeway

Sullivan’s Gulch is home to many historic homes and businesses, such as the now-closed Sunshine Dairy, with its 50 foot tall carton of milk. This building is set for demolition and will soon be a 20 story apartment building. It is also the home of the Helen Bernhard Bakery on Broadway, Grandpa Nelson’s favorite doughnut maker in the world. We stopped for a snack.

We will miss you, Sunshine Dairy!

Leaving Sullivan’s Gulch, we entered the Irvington neighborhood. This area is where the monied class moved around 1900, when the downtown area became too crowded to be genteel. Many large, beautiful Victorian and Craftsman style homes were built on large lots, and have been well maintained. The century-old chestnut trees gave us good shade and made us feel welcome.

Wonderful Irvington home

In Irvington we met Jane, a lady who lives in the 1913 F.E. Bowman apartments. She liked our appreciation of history and invited us in to see her apartment, which has really large windows and classic 1920s built-in cupboards.

1913 apartment building (love the brickwork!)

Grandpa Nelson’s original goal was Irving Park, which has a baseball diamond, large wooded area, and fun water play fountains. We got our tired feet wet, cooled off, and decided if we wanted to continue on. We did!

Fun fountains at Irving Park

In the Eliot neighborhood, which had interesting home made art projects on display, we enjoyed a pleasant rest at Denorval Unthank Park. The park is named for an African-American doctor who was brought to town in 1929 to treat the domestic servants and railroad porters, who were also African American and whom none of the local (white) doctors would treat.

We walked a little further and found a wonderful lunch of hamburgers and french fries at at “barbar”, where we had eaten sometime last year.

Crossing the 5

By now we were eyeing our return home, and crossed the 5 freeway on another pedestrian bridge. This one had good views of downtown, and our favorite skyscraper, Big Pink. It dropped us at Overlook Park, where we had views of the Fremont Bridge and a Trimet stop for the yellow line train. This took us to the Pearl and Downtown via the Steel Bridge, and we transferred to the magic number 15 to get us back.

The view from Overlook Park

What a wonderful day!


Grandma Judy

Author: Judy

I am a new transplant to Portland from Salinas, a small city in Central California. This is a blog about my new city.

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