Hayden Island Neighborhood
Hayden Island is located in North Portland. It is bordered by the North Portland Harbor and Columbia River, Tomahawk and Hayden Islands. The St. Johns, Kenton, Bridgeton, and East Columbia neighborhoods also mark the island’s southern border.
Features of Hayden Island
As a result of the Portland real estate market boom and like many other Portland neighborhoods, Hayden Island has seen an influx of new residents to the area. As one might imagine, Hayden Island has some wonderful areas with beautifully improved homes and neighborhoods, and some still in transition.
Residents use the Jantzen Beach shopping center Target and Safeway for groceries and have a handful of restaurants available on Hayden Island. Max light rail access is available at Delta Park, just a few minutes south on I-5.
Hayden Island residents are right between Portland and Vancouver, Washington. Commuter traffic during rush hour is a concern as residents head north to Vancouver. The bridge stays packed for most of the day, so residents have to plan accordingly.
Jantzen Beach Amusement Park – A Window to Portland’s History
Hayden Island is already a unique part of Portland’s landscape, as it’s one of the few river islands in the country. These days, Hayden Island is home to the Jantzen Beach shopping center, as well as plenty of marinas and houses. However, early in its development, this neighborhood housed one of the premier entertainment destinations in the Northwest – the Jantzen Beach Amusement Park.
It might be hard to believe, but Portland used to be home to the largest amusement park in the country. When the location opened in 1928 to great fanfare and celebration, it showcased all of the greatest hits. A flyer illustrating the grand opening of the 123-acre park highlights attractions like picnic grounds, mammoth swimming pools, and the Merry Mix-Up. However, the crown jewel of the park was the Big Dipper – a massive wooden roller coaster than thrilled guests of all ages.
Beyond the Dipper, Jantzen Beach was primarily an entertainment venue. People would flock to Hayden Island from all over the country to partake in swimming competitions, dance competitions, and dwarf auto racing. The swimming pools were a significant highlight, as the park was one of the few places residents could gather to swim for fun. However, it makes sense that swimming would be a cornerstone attraction – one of the park’s founders, Carl Jantzen, was a swimming suit designer. The success of Jantzen’s knitting company inspired him and his partners to open the Amusement Park.
Over the years, the park added various attractions, including a Ferris Wheel, a carousel (one of the first in the country), and even robotic circus callers to beckon visitors. In the 30s, the dance hall became even more popular, and several new rides were added, including a Venetian canal, a funhouse, and the Jantzen Beach Railway.
In 1948, the park lost much of its business, thanks to the Vanport flood. While the park wasn’t affected too much by the floodwaters, most of the residents moved away. From then on, attendance was never the same. Jantzen Beach limped along for another 22 years, finally shuttering in 1970. Shortly after that, the Jantzen Beach Shopping Center was built on its foundation.
Hayden Island Businesses of Note
Like other North Portland neighborhoods, Hayden Island is a mix of residential and commercial space. The western half of the island is the commercial side, although a significant portion of it is undeveloped. Most of the businesses are chains, and many of them are inside the Shopping Center. However, if you explore the rest of the island, you’ll discover some hidden gems. Because it’s on the water, Hayden Island is perfect for those who like boating and other watersports.
Island Sailing Academy
What could be ritzier than cruising down the Columbia River on a sailboat? Don’t worry if you’ve never sailed before, this Academy will train you! The company has been around for over 40 years, turning green landlubbers into true sailors. Classes are perfect for all ages, so bring the family along for a day of fun you won’t forget!
There are three courses available for beginners, and the instructors will teach you everything you need to know. Boat terminology, how to measure the wind, cruising speeds, and more. You can also get certified if you plan on buying a sailboat for yourself. Once you master the basics, you can advance to more complicated lessons, or you can simply rent a sailboat and see where the wind takes you.
Island Sailing Academy – 515 NE Tomahawk Island Dr., Slip D-85
Although sailing along the Columbia is the classiest option, sometimes you just want to cut loose and get wild. For those who want more of an adventure on the water, X-Treme Rentals is the place to visit. This company offers hourly and daily rentals of jet skis, pontoon boats, and ski boats. Renters get a quick set of instructions, and they can get a test drive on a jetski to feel how it will be on the water.
For a relaxing day on the river, nothing beats renting a pontoon boat. Since you can rent for the day, feel free to float down the Columbia to see the stunning scenery. The Columbia River Gorge is particularly appealing. On clear days, you might be able to make out Multnomah Falls. X-Treme Rentals takes care of all of the paperwork and licensing, so all you need is a credit card and you’re good to go.
X-Treme Rentals – 11505 NE Yacht Harbor Dr.
Since Portland is far from a tropical paradise, living on Hayden Island isn’t as glamorous as it would be if we were in the Caribbean. However, you can get a taste of white sandy beaches and fruity drinks by stopping by the Island Cafe. Technically, this cafe is named after Tomahawk Island, which is actually a peninsula attached to Hayden Island. However, semantics aside, this is one of the few places where you can kick up your heels after a long day of boating and relax while sipping a Mai Tai or Pina Colada.
Although cocktails and spectacular river views are the primary appeals of this restaurant, the food is also quite delicious. Island cafe specializes in standard bar and grill dishes, such as juicy burgers, crispy fries, tasty sandwiches, and deluxe salads. The Cafe is quite accommodating to those with food sensitivities as well, so vegans and gluten-free visitors can join in on the fun.
Island Cafe – 250 NE Tomahawk Island Dr., #22
Columbia River Yacht Club
If you’ve ever wanted to see how the other half lives, a trip to the Columbia River Yacht Club will offer some valuable insight. Established back when the Jantzen Beach Amusement Park was still operating, the Club has stood as a Hayden Island landmark for almost 75 years. The club itself is both elegant yet minimalist, creating a calm and relaxing atmosphere for members.
Speaking of members, the only way you can get a glimpse inside is if you know someone with a membership. However, the main clubhouse does also serve as a wedding venue, so you can hold out hope that someone you know wants to get married in style. If you live on the island and own a powerboat, you can feel free to join. Don’t worry, you don’t have to own a luxury yacht to be included (although it certainly helps).
Columbia River Yacht Club – 37 NE Tomahawk Island Dr.
Over on the other side of the island, across from the Jantzen Beach Shopping Center, is one of the best barbecue joints in all of Portland. Boomers BBQ takes pride in its meats – so much so that they don’t even slather their signature sauce on top. Instead, they want you to try the seasonings and rubs untainted by any additional flavors.
While brisket, pulled pork, and ribs are the main draw, Boomers is also a local watering hole. In fact, the place becomes adults-only after 3 p.m. every day. So, if you’re planning on bringing the kiddos, you’ll have to come for lunch only. This spot is perfect for watching football games, as nothing says tailgating like a full rack of ribs and some ice-cold beer. Boomers BBQ also serves breakfast and a late-night menu, so you could theoretically stay there all day and graze. We highly recommend the brisket, although the pulled pork tater nachos are another excellent staple.
Boomers BBQ – 1335 N Hayden Island Dr.
Parks in Hayden Island
Hayden Island Community Resources
Hayden Island Neighborhood Vibe
Marine community. Outdoorsy and active. A mix of young and old, blue and white collars and entrepreneurs, too.
Hayden Island Zip Code 97217
Hayden Island Real Estate
Hayden Island is located north along the Columbia River. A mix of home styles can be found, including houseboats, condos, apartments and trailer homes. Hayden Island offers a great lifestyle for those who love the water.
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