Arlington Heights Neighborhood
Click the image for a searchable Arlington Heights neighborhood map, including all homes for sale.
Features of Arlington Heights Neighborhood
You’ll want to ease your foot off the accelerator as you drive the narrow, steep, winding streets of Arlington Heights, but then you’d want to slow down anyway. Much better to leave the car in favor of your feet or a bicycle, because those are the best ways to fully appreciate this neighborhood. The houses alone, built in all manner of styles, are worth the tour, and the stunning greenery borders and embraces every curve in the road and sidewalk.
Arlington Heights Businesses of Note
The Arlington Heights neighborhood is almost entirely residential, so you won’t see any business strips here. However, the perks of being up in these Southwest hills keep coming, as Northwest Portland’s amenities wait only a short hop away. We’ve gathered here some of the closest—and most exciting— businesses that you can hope to visit on your trip to Arlington Heights.
But Arlington Heights is defined as much by what lies just the other side of its boundary as by what lies within it. As you ramble along on your exploration, it will seem absurd that the downtown sector of a city is only minutes away to the east. Much more plausible is the idea that you’re on the southern outskirts of the largest urban park in the United States, which, in fact, you are. The immense expanse of Forest Park is a mere short hike away, passing the historic Pittock Mansion as you go.
Beautiful upscale homes, located in the middle of Washington Park and at 1000 feet above the city, offer a stunning view of downtown Portland and the mountains. Residents can walk or bike to popular northwest neighborhoods like Nob Hill, and to downtown Portland.
Forest Park isn’t the only name in the game. The neighborhood actually resides within 400-acre Washington Park. Of all the neighborhoods bordering the park, Arlington Heights possibly takes the cake for being closest to some of the park’s most iconic features.
Just steps to the west you’ll land on the Hoyt Arboretum and its Redwood Observation Deck and Wedding Meadow. To the south, you’ll stumble upon even more, including the International Rose Test Garden and Portland Japanese Garden.
The Arlington Heights neighborhood is almost entirely residential, so you won’t see any business strips here. However, the perks of being up in these Southwest hills keep coming, as Northwest Portland’s amenities wait only a short hop away.
In addition to all the spectacular parks and attractions located within them, Arlington Heights has one restaurant. Umani Cafe is located within the Japanese Gardens, so to get to it you need to purchase a ticket to the Garden. Not a bad deal at all when you consider what you get.
After a transcendent walk through the lush, well-maintained Garden, you can continue your Zen-like experience while sipping on world-class Japanese tea and sweet treats like Mochi Ice Cream, Adzuki Cheesecake, and Matcha & Hojicha Brownies.
The cafe design is a nod to Kyoto’s Kiyomizu-dera temple, floating over the hillside, allowing for the best views of the area.
Umani Cafe—611 SW Kingston Dr
Arlington Heights Neighborhood Parks and Attractions
Forest Park—One of the most beautiful parks in the country, Forest Park offers miles of hiking trails through lush green woodland. This park truly personifies the Pacific Northwest. Starting at NW 29th Ave. and Upshur St. and spanning all the way to Newberry Road, Forest Park sits smack dab in the middle of Portland, literally neighboring downtown Portland. Enjoy hours of foot, bike, and equestrian trails, all while relaxing in the intoxicating natural beauty. Forest Park is dog friendly—your four-legged friends will love it here!
Washington Park—One of Portland’s gems, Washington Park has a playground, soccer field, lighted tennis courts, and hiking. The park is also a popular wedding site, and within its confines, are several other Portland gems.
- Japanese Gardens—Considered one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan, this beautiful, serene 12-acre environment, maintained with meticulous care, offers curving walkways surrounded by lush vegetation, babbling streams, and a magnificent view of Mt. Hood.
- Hoyt Arboretum—Deemed Portland’s “living classroom,” the 190-acre arboretum is home to 12 miles of hiking trails and more than 1,000 plant species, including exotic trees like the Chilean Monkey Puzzle, weeping sequoias, and a nearly countless flowering specimens like magnolias and dogwood.
- International Rose Test Garden
- Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- Oregon Holocaust Memorial
Arlington Heights Neighborhood Community Resources
Arlington Heights Neighborhood Schools
- Elementary School: Ainsworth Elementary School
- Middle: West Sylvan Middle School
- High School: Lincoln High School
Arlington Heights Stats
Zip Code 97205
Arlington Heights Neighborhood Vibe
Upscale, without a doubt. We’re talking gorgeous, expansive homes with stunning views of nature and cityscapes. Greenery and nature abounds, in the park and beyond. This neighborhood is an amazing choice for those who can afford the view and close proximity to Downtown and Washington and Forest Parks.
Arlington Heights History
Arlington Heights has a somewhat colorful history with plenty of mishaps and false starts. Yet, has become one of Portland’s most desirable neighborhoods.
Portland became a city in 1851 while the hill that became Arlington Heights neighborhood was still wilderness. Logging in the area and the Great Gale of 1880 that wiped out most of the forest cleared a path for what was to come.
In 1845, Daniel Lownsdale opened a tannery along what would become knkown as Tanner Creek. Lownsdale later sold his land to two men who then sold it to Amos King. King’s intention was to keep the tannery, located where the stadium now sits, up and running.
Despite King selling off parts of the land, it took sixty years for the area to be developed. Federal law stipulated that the Kings split their land in half when they acquired it. A clear boundary was drawn around Melinda’s half when she died in 1887.
Amos King, his son, and his son-in-law formed King Real Estate Association (KREA) in the fall of 1888, with Melinda’s half deemed Melinda Heights (which never caught on, with the neighborhood being called King’s Heights on publicity and by residents).
In February, 1871, the City of Portland bought 40.79 acres from King for park development, now known as Washington Park. In 1887, pharmacist Richard Knight brought two bears to the city for children to view, and Head of the park, Charles M. Myers, took care of wildlife that lived there before a section of it was established as the Oregon Zoo. The menagerie of animals grew noticeably over the next several years.
In 1905, Portland mayor, Dr. Harry Lane, recommended that the imprisonment of animals should not continue, that no new animals be introduced, and that those already on the grounds be allowed to finish their natural lives on the premises.
The efforts of the city’s Water Committee to rescue the area and turn it into a viable residential neighborhood consisted of buying sixty acres of the land in 1893, excavating, and pouring concrete to fill in land areas that had caved. Unfortunately, land sliding became obvious in the cracked concrete. When no attempts were made to repair the damage, KREA filed suit, and what was known as the “Sliding Land Trial” against the City of Portland ensued. KREA cited loss of revenue by removal of the rail system that had been constructed (see more below in “Transportation”), which they claimed would have attracted people, and damaged to their property.
A solution to water drainage in the area took the form of tunnels between 1901 and 1903 when the land appeared to have stopped shifting. After thousands of dollars in repairs, the area’s non-operational reservoirs were filled in.
In 1909, the Water Board offered their sixty acres of land to the Park Board for development. This section of land and the adjacent historical section were then named Washington Park.
Arlington Heights’ first residents were John Bennes, an architect, and his family. Their home was located at 122 SW Marconi St. Only 19 homes would be built in the neighborhood from the construction of the Bennes home to 1919. In the ten years that followed about 100 more homes were built, but when the Depression happened, construction in the area dropped. The neighborhood would see 23 more homes between 1930-1939. Construction was halted again with World War II, with only 10 homes being built before that time in adjacent Westwood Hills. Growth of the neighborhood continued to be slow with nine homes built in the late 1940s, 25 in the 1950s, 27 in the 1960s, and 24 in the 1970s.
After seeing the success of nearby Portland Heights, thanks to the streetcar that ran to that neighborhood, Amos King proposed a new line to his neighborhood, which KREA had platted to sell lots. It was created shortly thereafter and ran along Jefferson and 15th Ave.
Due to structural issues with the new streetcar line, which caused the embankment created to fill in two ravines to sink and cave in and the lots not selling, the neighborhood struggled to get its footing. Eventually, service to the area was abandoned.
As new business came, so did new streetcar lines. The 23rd line ran along Burnside, with the Council Crest line starting from 23rd and Burnside in 1904. By 1911, a line ran, known as the “funeral car,” up the canyon Mt. Calvary Cemetery. Arlington Heights finally got its own neighborhood-designated line in 1913.
With Arlington Heights being a dead end for years, no one is quite sure when the Fairview Blvd. through the Arboretum was built, but likely not before 1922 when the Poor Farm, a place for the city’s disadvantaged, became part of Washington Park.
The neighborhood streetcar line had a good run, but it was put to rest in 1941 due to sparse population. Residents weren’t left hanging, though, as bus service was used starting the following day.
Kingston Rd. came along in 1961 to handle the Zoo’s growing traffic. The area now welcomes thousands of visitors every year to the gardens, park, and arboretum.
Arlington Heights Neighborhood Real Estate
The neighborhood consists of mostly older style Portland homes. Homes run the gamut of 20th century architecture—classic Bungalows and Old Portland styles to Cape Cods, Foursquare and more. Beautiful gardens and landscaped yards. The area prides itself on the old growth trees, which are found on nearly every street.
If you are interested in buying or selling a home in this Portland neighborhood, visit our Portland Real Estate Page for more information, or visit our Portland Real Estate Map to search the RMLS for neighborhood homes for sale.
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