Cathedral Park Neighborhood Portland
Cathedral Park is located in North Portland near the St Johns Bridge. Cathedral Park is a quaint neighborhood community with a gorgeous park located on the waterfront which is its namesake. The St. Johns and University Park neighborhoods are its nearest neighbors. A trip to downtown Portland is about a 15-minute drive or 30-minute bike ride. Cathedral Park residents use the Interstate Max light rail train for a convenient commute to downtown and other Portland neighborhoods.
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Features of the Cathedral Park Neighborhood
As a result of the Portland real estate market boom, Cathedral Park has seen an influx of new residents to the area. The University of Portland is local to the area and brings a lot of students to the neighborhood. As one might imagine, Cathedral Park has some wonderful areas with beautifully improved homes and neighborhoods, and some still in transition.
Residents use the St Johns Safeway, Fred Meyer, Arbor Lodge New Seasons Market, and have their pick of St Johns, Kenton, Arbor Lodge (and more) restaurants, boutiques, bike shops, and of course, coffee shops.
St. Johns Bridge
When most people think of bridges in Portland, they tend to focus on the ones that cross over into downtown, like the Steel, Hawthorne, and Morrison Bridges. However, just a bit further up the Willamette is a bridge that both looks incredible and offers some of the best views of the city – the St. Johns Bridge. Unofficially known as the “Grand Lady” of Portland, this bridge was first built in 1931. Even today, it’s one of the largest suspension bridges in all of Oregon.
The original design of the bridge was not meant to carry too much weight. At the time, cars and trucks were lighter, and the amount of traffic crossing the bridge was relatively minimal. Unfortunately, over the years, parts of the bridge began to crumble and fall into the river. In the early 2000s, engineers were able to add reinforcements to the structure so that it could accommodate the heavier loads. Today, it stands as a beacon of Portland ingenuity and pride.
Considering that the neighborhood is named after this park, it has to be pretty amazing. Not only is Cathedral Park one of the most versatile and accommodating green spaces in Portland, but it’s rich with Northwest history. Many historians believe that this was one of the original sites of the Lewis and Clark expedition. According to legend, the titular pair and eight others camped on the banks of the Willamette at this spot in 1806. At the time, the area was wild and untamed.
As the neighborhood of St. Johns grew in the early to mid-1900s, the site of Cathedral Park became a dumping ground. Once the bridge was built, the problem became even worse. Howard Galbraith, the “mayor” of St. Johns (at the time an unincorporated territory) decided to do something about it in 1972. By 1980, after extensive cleanup, the park was born. Its name derived from the cathedral-like arches that helped form the foundation of the St. Johns Bridge. The city placed a time capsule under the ground, complete with ash from Mt. Saint Helens, which erupted that year. The city plans to reopen the capsule in 2030.
Amenities you can find at Cathedral Park include a boat ramp, off-leash dog areas, and an outdoor stage. During the warmer months, the park is host to many concerts, including grand orchestral symphonies. Overall, because of its proximity to the water, this is one of the best parks in the whole city. Many residents take pride in having something so nice in their backyard.
Cathedral Park Businesses of Note
While most of the action is located in St. Johns next door, Cathedral Park has a few hotspots of its own. Willamette Blvd weaves through the neighborhood, and Cathedral Park Place on Baltimore Ave serves as a breeding ground for new businesses. Here are the highlights we were able to round up.
Coffee shops in Portland are more than just a place to get a cup of delicious brew. Spots like Cathedral are designed to create an experience, both with the atmosphere and the food. Cathedral Coffee was founded as a place where artisans and culinary craftsman could hone their skills and deliver high-quality results. If you’re looking for a quick bite and a coffee to go, you probably want to go somewhere else. Cathedral is all about finding your zen.
This location is the original site of Cathedral Coffee, but the brand recently expanded to Scappoose in 2017. However, considering that the spot is named after its neighborhood, this storefront will always have a special place in Portland. The store focuses on local ingredients and fosters partnerships with other local brands. This dedication to quality is apparent in every cup.
Cathedral Coffee—7530 N Willamette Blvd
Located on the border between St. Johns and Cathedral Park, this taphouse is quickly gaining in popularity. It’s a relatively new addition to the neighborhood, focusing on serving IPAs and other Portland beers. The space itself is unassuming, but the beers are incredible. Hoplandia keeps a rotating list of beers and ciders on tap, but you can find tons of canned and bottled options in the coolers on-site as well.
In Portland, places that serve alcohol are supposed to offer food, but they don’t have to cook it themselves. If you need to nosh while downing your beer, there is a pizzeria next door. Overall, Hoplandia is a quintessential neighborhood taphouse – not too chic and a perfect spot to unwind after a long day.
Hoplandia—8600 N Ivanhoe St
Moonstruck Chocolate Factory
If you’re a chocolate lover, then you’re probably familiar with Moonstruck. This Portland-based chocolatier is famous for creating some of the most decadent treats you’ve ever tasted, which can send you over the moon in ecstasy. Although there are multiple Moonstruck cafes in the city, this location is notable because it’s where most of the chocolate is made. Be sure to arrive early to get a glimpse at the magicians in action, as visiting hours end at 1 p.m. daily.
The unassuming building is easy to miss at first, thanks to its relatively drab surface. It can be hard to believe that something so wonderful is crafted inside. If you miss the factory tour, don’t worry – there is a showroom where you can find all of Moonstruck’s offerings. Just be careful not to get carried away.
Moonstruck Chocolate Co.—6600 Baltimore Ave
Urban German Wursthaus
It may not look like it at first, but Portland is home to some of the best German restaurants and delis in the whole Pacific Northwest. Spots like Edelweiss on Powell and Ottos on Woodstock give residents an authentic taste of the Fatherland. The Urban German Wursthaus, while not as varied as other places, does deliver one heck of a sausage. You can get regular and spicy bratwurst, as well as traditional German Frankfurters. Also, no German deli would be complete without a delicious Reuben. The schnitzel sandwich here is also excellent if you like schnitzel.
While we highly recommend buying a sausage plate while you’re here, you can also buy the wieners in bulk. This way, if you’re planning a get-together, you can impress your guests with some of the best wursts in town. If you can’t make it to the store for a bite, Urban German also has a roaming food cart, which sets up at various events around the Northwest. It’s also a mainstay at the Wilsonville Oktoberfest if you’re ever down there during the holiday.
Urban German Wursthaus—6635 N Baltimore Ave, St 201
Although this brewery has been around for less than a decade, it’s quickly taken over the Pacific Northwest. Many stores and outlets serve Occidental beers, which is a testament to how well they’re made. What’s even more surprising is that Occidental doesn’t specialize in IPAs, since Portland is generally bitter city.
Instead, Occidental brews German-style ales, including a pilsner, hefeweizen, Kolsch, and altbier. The brewery does offer seasonal selections every year which helps expand one’s tasting palate. This site is the main brewery, which has a taphouse attached. Since Occidental is in the same building as Urban German, we recommend getting some brats to go with your beer. They’re a match made in Himmel (heaven).
Occidental Brewing—6635 N Baltimore Ave, St 102
LoveVerona Pizza & Pasta
As with many Portland restaurants, LoveVerona started out as a food cart and expanded to this brick and mortar located in Cathedral Park. And as the name indicates, they vend a lengthy list of pizzas and pastas. In honor of its namesake—Verona, Italy, the location of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet—their menu boasts one pizza each for the love-struck teens.
The Romeo has Alfredo sauce, mozzarella, roasted chicken, bacon, mushrooms, and black olives. The Juliet is covered in tomato sauce, mozzarella, gorgonzola cheese, roasted pepper, artichoke hearts, and mushrooms. And these are just two of the many mouthwatering pies you’ll find here.
They also offer salads and delicious pasta dishes, like Cavatini, Biancaneve Pasta, Fettuccine Verona Pasta, and Spaghetti Bolognese, to name a few. With your choice of dine in, delivery, and carry out, there’s no reason not to pay this revered eatery a visit.
LoveVerona Pizza & Pasta—8436 N Ivanhoe St
Cathedral Park Neighborhood Parks
Cathedral Park—a 21.85-acre area with riverfront views, boat dock and ramp, paved paths, picnic table, and a dog off-leash area.
Baltimore Woods—a swath of land with oak and maple trees that connects Cathedral Park and Pier Park and serves as a buffer between the neighborhood’s industrial section and residents. It also provides shelter to animals and plants and has been preserved as an area for the proposed future North Portland Greenway Trail.
St. Johns Community Center—a community center with a basketball court, gymnasium, and rock climbing wall.
St. Johns Park—a 5.7-acre park with a softball field, paved paths, picnic tables, soccer field.
St. Johns Racquet Center—an indoor tennis facility.
Cathedral Park Community Resources
Cathedral Park Neighborhood Association
Cathedral Park Schools
Elementary School—James John Elementary School
Middle School—George Middle School
High School—Roosevelt High School
Cathedral Park Neighborhood Vibe
Community conscious. A good mix of students, young families, singles, and local old-timers. Dog walkers, blue collars, hippies and professionals. Joggers, bicyclists, and babes in strollers.
Cathedral Park Stats
Zip Code 97217
Cathedral Park Neighborhood History
As with neighboring St. Johns, the history of Cathedral Park started with James John. In 1846, John filed a land claim and relocated from Linnton to operate his store and ferry operation in 1852.
The town of Cathedral Park, originally part of St. Johns neighborhood, was plaited in October of that year and was first named St. Johns on the Willamette. It consisted of four blocks on the waterfront with Burlington Ave. and Richmond Ave. serving as north and south boundaries, respectively.
St. Johns Bridge was built in the late 1920s and replaced the ferry system James John created. After the war ended, the shipyards went quiet, and the waterfront area under the bridge became a place for crime, and the area became a dumping ground.
By the 1970s, residents banded together to bring the area back by addressing issues around both crime and the environment, with a shared interest in developing the section under the bridge as a space for the community and to honor it as land once inhabited by local Native American tribes.
The Cathedral Park Neighborhood Association was formed in 1980 in response to vandalism that arose in the area and a move to engage residents in city issues and is still in existence.
How did Cathedral Park Get its Name?
Cathedral Park’s name was inspired by a photo taken by Al Monner, which appeared on the Oregon Journal’s front page in the 1968 issue and showcases the cathedral-like stanchions beneath the bridge.
Getting in and out of Cathedral Park is made easy via the iconic St. Johns bridge just off Highway 30. Portland’s mass transit also has a presence in the neighborhood with the Max yellow line and busses 16, 35, and 44. There’s also a bike lane on North Willamette for commuters who work downtown.
Business and Commerce
Industrial activity started in the mid-1860s with the Pacific Barrell Company. The OR & N railroad came about forty years later, which improved the area through job creation through the growth of ships using the docs, followed by more residents moving to the area.
Meanwhile, the boom continued with business growth, consisting of manufacturing tools, asbestos, flour, lumber, wool clothing, and more up through the 1950s, which took a toll on the soil and waterways.
Some of the neighborhood’s industrial sites are still in operation near the river. Others have been converted to retail businesses. A small business park near the city park’s west end boat ramp is home to a few of Cathedral Park’s businesses.
Cathedral Park Real Estate and Homes for Sale
Cathedral Park homes run the gamut of 20th-century architecture, from classic Bungalow to Old Portland, to Cape Cod and condo and apartment-style housing. A drive through the neighborhood streets reveals many quiet streets and modest homes. The area seems focused on restoration and is overall community-minded.
Click here to see all current Cathedral Park homes for sale.
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Cathedral Park Neighborhood Association. “The History of Cathedral Park Neighborhood Association.” Website.
KGW8 News. “What’s in a name? The history behind Cathedral Park.” Website. August 8, 2019.
LovePortland.com. “Exploring the Cathedral Park Neighborhood.” Blog. March 10, 2020.