East Columbia Neighborhood Guide
Click the image for a East Columbia neighborhood map including homes for sale.
Features of the East Columbia Neighborhood
As a result of the Portland real estate market boom and like many other Portland neighborhoods, East Columbia has seen an influx of new residents to the area. As one might imagine, East Columbia has some wonderful areas with beautifully improved homes and neighborhoods, and some still in transition.
One of the most unique highlights of this neighborhood is that it’s split into two sections. The main section, bordered by the Peninsula Drainage Canal and Columbia Edgewater Country Club, is a mix of residential and industrial sites. Additionally, there is a small area to the north that borders the Columbia River. This spot is comprised of mostly houseboats, giving residents incredible views of the water. It’s unclear why East Columbia is split like this, but this distinction helps the neighborhood stand out among the more stylish areas of Portland.
Another notable element of East Columbia is that it is technically in a flood zone. Native Portlanders should be aware of the historic Vanport flood of 1948, which destroyed the Vanport neighborhood and caused many nearby residents to seek shelter further inland. Fortunately, while flooding did reach East Columbia, the area wasn’t hit too hard. Since then, the Army Corp of Engineers has built levees and dikes to withstand extreme conditions, so the neighborhood is safe. The Columbia Slough runs along its southern border and acts as a natural barrier. The slough also offers excellent walking trails if you’re into that sort of thing.
Since East Columbia doesn’t have many shops or retailers, residents have to go outside its borders to find dining and shopping options. Fortunately, Hayden Island is close by, which has the Jantzen Beach Shopping Center. South of Lombard Street is North Portland, which also has plenty to offer.
What this neighborhood lacks in shopping it makes up for in green spaces. Two elements stand out the most: the Columbia Edgewater Country Club and the Columbia Children’s Arboretum. If you and your family enjoy the crisp Portland weather and love nature, you’ll appreciate these highlights.
Columbia Edgewater Country Club
There are several high-profile golf clubs in Portland, but one of the most scenic is Columbia Edgewater. Founded in 1925, this club has some of the most well-manicured courses, making it an ideal choice for golfers of all ages and skill levels. The course was designed by A.V. Macan, who had helped build over 60 other golf courses before working on Edgewater. When it opened, it was the seventh 18-hole course in Portland, illustrating how much Portlanders loved the sport, even during the Prohibition era.
A year later, in 1926, the original clubhouse opened with massive fanfare. Unfortunately, due to a Christmas tree fire in 1979, the clubhouse burned to the ground. It was replaced by the current structure, which reopened in 1981. Columbia Edgewater’s clubhouse is well-known throughout the city as a high-class wedding venue. The ballroom and patio area are perfect for couples to share their nuptials, and the backdrop of the course makes for some incredible photos.
Over the years, Columbia Edgewater has hosted regional golf tournaments, including qualifiers for the PGA, LGPA, and the U.S. Open. Since 2013, the course has been home to the LGPA Portland Classic. Groups can rent the grounds for personal tournaments, as there is the original 18-hole course and a smaller, more casual nine-hole option as well.
Columbia Edgewater Country Club – 2220 NE Marine Dr.
Columbia Children’s Arboretum
Back in the 1910s, the area of East Columbia was still mostly a flood basin, which meant that it had excellent greenery and waterways. Much of the neighborhood and the surrounding area was farmland, but residents began to settle down and form a community. In 1920, the Columbia School District was formed, with a schoolhouse built on 6th ave and Marine Dr. Land was purchased for a high school, but the building was never developed. That original site is now home to the Columbia Children’s Arboretum.
After the Columbia School District was annexed by the Portland Public School District in 1964, the students were struggling and well behind the rest of the city. To help them catch up and develop a better education, the principal of Columbia School created a unique program that blended studies with nature. Students helped turn a mass of blackberry bushes and flood plains into an arboretum. Thousands of trees were planted and the land was reshaped to form an educational arboretum. The goal was to have trees from every state in the country.
During this construction period, the arboretum became a massive endeavor, with various groups contributing to its cause. An orchard was planted, along with a community garden. However, by 1983, Columbia School closed, which meant that students and faculty were no longer managing the grounds. A nearby school, Whitaker, tried to continue maintenance operations, but the distance from the school to the arboretum was too far. Eventually, the program collapsed by the mid-90s. In 1999, the Portland Parks and Recreation Department acquired the land, and has been in charge of it ever since.
Because of its loose development, the Arboretum isn’t as polished as others in the Northwest. However, many trees and plants have plaques that describe what they are, and there are plenty of trails to walk through the grounds. Overall, it’s a gorgeous experience and can provide a learning opportunity for budding arborists. It takes about an hour to stroll through.
Columbia Children’s Arboretum – 10040 NE 6th Dr.
Fazio Farms Corn Maze
If you’ve never been through a corn maze, the experience is quite unique. Fazio Farms has one of the largest in Portland, which they update regularly. If you look at the maze from Google Maps, you can see the intricate design, which incorporates the Fox 12 logo. Several years ago, Fox did a story on the maze, and the owners decided to put the station’s logo for PR reasons. Since then, the design stuck, and it remains an integral part of the maze.
Although you can go through the maze during other parts of the year, we highly recommend visiting it during Halloween season. Fazio Farms creates a chilling and spooky atmosphere, which makes the twists and turns even more alluring. Back in 2014, the farm started giving maze runners maps, since it was becoming too difficult for them to find their way out. Searching through the corn stalks at night certainly gives it a creepy vibe. It’s not necessarily at the level of “The Shining,” but it’s pretty close. If you’re not using the map, it can take about two hours to navigate the maze. During the fall season, the farms offer additional amenities, such as inflatable slides, pumpkin patches, and hay rides.
Fazio Farms Corn Maze – 9028 NE 13th ave
East Columbia Parks
St Johns Community Center Basketball court, gymnasium, rock climbing wall
St Johns Park Softball field, paved paths, picnic tables, soccer field
Cathedral Park– Boat dock, dog off-leash area, paved paths, picnic tables, and stage for summer concerts. This park is believed to be a Lewis and Clark expedition landing site.
Multnomah County Library – St Johns library
East Columbia Neighborhood Vibe
Marine community. Outdoorsy and active. A mix of young and old, blue and white collars and entrepreneurs, too. Since the neighborhood is a blend of nature, trucking, and riverfront properties, it attracts a variety of homeowners and visitors. The vibe of East Columbia is quiet and reserved. Since it doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of other neighborhoods, most residents here keep to themselves. Plus, the lush greenery helps solidify the laid-back atmosphere.
Zip Code 97217
East Columbia Real Estate
As with the surrounding neighborhoods, East Columbia’s real estate values have launched from “fixer-upper starter home” just a few years ago to “established”.
To learn about the Portland real estate market, we recommend this local Portland-based, top 100 real estate blog in the world.
If you are interested in buying a home in Portland, we recommend meeting up with these top 1% Portland buyer’s agents, or if you are considering selling a home we recommend these top 1% Portland seller’s agents. Visit our Portland Real Estate Page for more information.
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