Parents are relocating to Portland...
June 9, 2006 5:46 PM   Subscribe

Need input from Portlanders (Oregon) on city dwelling...

My folks are looking at purchasing a condo in a new building located on SW 10th avenue, between Clay and Market. They have looked at the Pearl (a little too pricey, a little too intensely urban) and the Nob Hill area (very little available). I know a bit of the SW area - the park always looks nice, I've been to the Schnitz a bunch, and SouthPark restaurant more times than I can count.

I'm wondering about the perspectives from other natives - coffee shops, neighborhood feel (?), safety issues? They seem to really like the more green, pastoral feel of the SW area, and don't mind a bit more walking for services, etc.

Thanks all.
posted by docpops to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I lived over there a while and I'd say that's a pretty nice area. It's close to the trolley/food/parks. There are a few tweekers, crackheads, and panhandlers downtown but they are more in chinatown and on burnside. Accually I hear there is a lot of weird stuff going on around the plaid pantry up on 10th and Jefferson I think, but its in a very small area: just around the parking lot and across the street where there's a dive bar, a porno theatre and some skeezy apartments.
posted by psychobum at 6:44 PM on June 9, 2006

I used to work very close to that area and I think it would be a great area to live in. It will have an urban feel but the nearby South Park blocks are some of the best blocks in the entire city. This little grassy, green strip is lined with museums, cafes, and PSU (which has tons of interesting things). The new Safeway is great, and it's a 10 minute walk to the Fox Tower theater, the Guild Theater, and Pioneer Courthouse Square. You can take the streetcar to the Pearl, Powells, NW 23rd, the Max, etc. Heck, even the Market Street McMenamins isn't too shabby if they need a local pub.
posted by Staggering Jack at 7:20 PM on June 9, 2006

Yep, great neighborhood, one of the more urban places you can live in Portland.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 7:28 PM on June 9, 2006

I live about five blocks from there, and I agree with the others. It's such a mix of rich & poor that you get all kinds, but in a safe (feeling, I don't know the statistics) environment. If they're comfortable with walking in the park, then most of the streets feel the same way. And being able to walk to the Farmer's markets at PSU and the park blocks is a huge plus. Any coffee shops close by will have lots of students, but they're not overly noisy or anything.
posted by RobotAdam at 8:23 PM on June 9, 2006

I walked by there every day for two and a half years. The building they're looking at is directly across the street from the Safeway, and is in the old Safeway building lot, right? I think they'll have finished that one by now.

Now, this advice depends on if they're used to urban living or not.

If they're NOT used to urban living, read this part:
They should know that the building kittycorner from them, along the facade of the Safeway, is a low income housing building. It's not as bad as many other buildings, but it has it's share of crap happening in front of it. The safeway's bottle redemption facility also attracts a lot of bums. That's not any different from any other part of downtown, though.

If they ARE used to living in an urban area...
The streetcar runs right past the building on both sides, so it's easy to get up to Powells or really anywhere else downtown. They're *exceptionally* close to OHSU, which is a good thing for retirees. They're within walking distance of most of the museums, and they shouldn't really need a car anymore thanks to Tri-Met. I say go for it ... if they can stand the bums. ;)

I spent a lot of time right in that hood. And they should get their hair cut at Bishop's, just to shake things up a little. ;)
posted by SpecialK at 8:57 PM on June 9, 2006

By the way, you should plug the intersection into for all kinds of interesting statistics -- including crime-related -- about the neighborhood.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 10:14 PM on June 9, 2006

I am staring at that building right now, from my apartment across the street. Let me know when they move in; I'll wave.

Very nice neighborhood. Fairly quiet—clubs are half a mile or more north of here, so the only real nightlife noise is drunken college kids, and the occasional surly neighbor telling them to shut up. Clay is a fire lane and access to a highway, so we hear fire engines kinda frequently. The new condos are probably better soundproofed than my rickety '30s building.

Plenty of coffee shops and restaurants within ten blocks, and Portland city blocks are small—200 ft a pop, maybe—and the streetcar, bus, and MAX are all pretty darned convenient from here.

Safety—it's downtown, but for downtown, again, pretty quiet. In the three+ years I've been living here, there's been a smashed car window on the block, and someone threw a rock (?) through one of our fourth-floor windows.

The art museum and the historical society are right there; wide variety of churches (handy for churchgoers and architecture nerds); the park is nice, though it tends to attract Damned Kids, transients, &c when the whether is nice.

Safeway is extremely convenient. Whole Foods is a streetcar ride away, or a pleasant fifteen minute walk if they feel ambulatory. Proximity to PSU means they can sneak in the occasional class if they dig that sort of thing (though commuting to PCC would be cheaper).

Street parking is a pain in the ass, or so I hear—I don't drive, because the transit system is awesome.
posted by cortex at 10:16 PM on June 9, 2006

Just an aside, (although they suck) has a neat listing of all the crime per neighborhood. I think they also even have a police scanner you can listen to.
posted by psychobum at 11:31 AM on June 10, 2006

Heh. Yes, they do have a police scanner you can listen to. It's Real Media, but still not bad. It's a trunk tracking scanner that is on continuous rotate through the unsecured police, fire and EMS frequencies, including tactical... but you can miss some of the action sometimes as the scanner flips channels during a break in chatter.

As to how I know all that ... I set it up when I was working for them in 2000...
posted by SpecialK at 11:27 AM on June 13, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks everybody. This really helps.
posted by docpops at 9:25 PM on June 14, 2006

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