Sylvan-Highlands Neighborhood Guide
Sylvan-Highlands is located in Southwest Portland. It is bordered by the Forest Park, Arlington Heights, and Southwest Hills neighborhoods. A quiet, mostly residential neighborhood, it’s particularly attractive for bordering Washington Park, which encompasses everything from the Oregon Zoo to the Japanese Gardens.
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Features of Sylvan-Highlands Neighborhood
Sylvan-Highlands is like living in a forested city park. Beautiful homes offer stunning views, and you’ll feel secluded and set apart from the rest of Portland. Nearby, you’ll find the lovely Forest Park. One of the most beautiful parks in the country, Forest Park offers miles of hiking trails through lush green woodland. But while Forest Park may be Portland’s most famous park, it’s far from the only attraction to be found in Sylvan-Highlands.
The westernmost portion of the enormous Washington Park falls just within Sylvan-Highlands’ boundaries. But this small slice of the park hosts some its most interesting and beautiful attractions found in Portland. The Hoyt Arboretum, a self-described “living museum,” is a destination for any lover of trees and Pacific Northwest native flora.
And while you’re in the area, don’t miss the World Forestry Center, which promotes sustainable forestry practices locally and worldwide. Don’t miss their Discovery Museum to learn more about the history (and the future) of forestry.
For those more in the mood for human history, the Vietnam Veterans of Oregon Memorial sits just in Sylvan-Highlands southwest corner. This memorial came about when a group of Oregon Vietnam vets found themselves inspired by the 1982 dedication of the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington, DC. They were moved enough to raise funds for Oregon’s own place to remember those fallen or missing in action.
The Aubrey Watzek House
For any architecture buffs in the house, one of the downright neatest landmarks in quiet Sylvan-Highlands is a must-see. The Aubrey Watzek House, built in the 1930’s for the lumber baron Watzek, holds a place as one of the nation’s most notable homes of the era. And it’s easy to see why. At only the tender age of 26, the now-famed architect John Yeon designed this home in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright. The philosophy behind the design asks that the structure work with, not against, the natural landscape.
Not sure what that entails? Take a tour and find out! The University of Oregon’s John Yeon Center for Architecture and the Landscape offers daily tours of the interior and exterior of this remarkable home. They also host lectures for anyone even more curious about Yeon and his design philosophy.
Sylvan-Highlands Neighborhood Businesses of Note
Sylvan-Highlands neighborhood may be mostly trees and quiet homes. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t play host to some fantastic local restaurants and shops. Keep reading to find out more about some of Portland’s best kept secrets.
Clift House Ceramics & Claystation Studio
At Clift House Ceramics, you’ll find some of the most elegant and creative hand-made bowls, vases, etc. in all of Portland. And that’s saying a lot! The artist, Andy Clift, takes his craft seriously. His artist statement, for example, demonstrates his dedication to connecting with his clients. Inspired by nature, he seeks to “give the viewer a child-like sense of wonder about the natural world, as when noticing a flower for the first time.”
Feel like doing more than viewing? Get your hands dirty by signing up for a one-on-one clay throwing lesson with Clift. Or, check out the online Claystation Studio to learn more and watch live-streamed pottery making.
Anyone who’s ever been intimidated by shopping for a bikini will find solace in Bikini Hut, an all women-run bathing suit store. With a focus on body positivity, they pride themselves on finding the right suit for your individual body. And it shows in their level of service. You can book a private shopping experience to enhance your privacy and your level of personal attention! Not feeling like a bikini? They have you covered. Bikini Hut also offers a range of styles and cuts, as well as cover ups.
For the environmentally conscious, check out their Pacific Ocean Swimmie collection, which they design and fabricate themselves. Made from locally recycled fabrics, these suits are friendly to both your body and the environment.
A local darling for artisanal pizza, Pizzicato has expanded to locations across the Portland area. But those who’ve been around a while may remember that owners Marc and Tracy Frankel opened the first Pizzicato right here in Sylvan-Highlands over 30 years ago! Come for the pizza and stay for the history. Whether you opt for a classic Margherita or chow down on the ol’ Canadian Bacon & Pineapple, Pizzicato offers something for everyone. And that includes some more adventurous toppings like lamb sausage or wild mushrooms. Count us in!
Sylvan-Highlands Neighborhood Parks
Forest Park—A 5,000+-acre park the borders the northern boundary of Sylvan-Highlands.
Washington Park—A 458+-acre park, shared with neighboring Arlington Heights, that includes the World Forestry Center, Hoyt Arboretum and the Bamboo Garden, Vietnam Veterans of Oregon Memorial, Wildwood Trail, Wedding Meadow, Winter Garden, and the Oregon Zoo.
Willamette Stone State Heritage Site—A small forest tract created to preserve the origin point of the land survey system for Oregon and Washington, marking the intersection of the Willamette Meridian and Willamette Baseline, established June 4, 1851, by John B. Preston, the first Surveyor General of Oregon.
Sylvan-Highlands Neighborhood Community Resources
Sylvan-Highlands Neighborhood Association
Sylvan-Highlands Neighborhood Schools
Elementary School—Bridlemile Elementary School
Middle School—West Sylvan Middle School
High School—Lincoln High School
Sylvan-Highlands Neighborhood Vibe
Much of the Sylvan-Highlands neighborhood has a rural, rather than urban residential, look. Narrow lanes wind through the community, and often when you find a broader street with a line of homes side by side, you’ll soon find that it ends in a cul-de-sac. But the greenery and the beautiful homes make a little fussy navigation an easy price to pay.
Just a few miles from Downtown Portland, Sylvan-Highlands will feel upscale, family-focused, and community-conscious. Dog walkers and babes in strollers abound.
Sylvan-Highlands Neighborhood History
In 1850, Nathan B. Jones, an eccentric who kept to himself, settled at the north end of Tanner Creek and platted lots to create a community. His vision was that the new burg would become the capitol of Oregon. The post office was established in 1890 and was located at the intersection of Sunset Highway, Schools Ferry Road, and Skyline Boulevard. Four years later, Jones was murdered in a robbery. The post office closed in 1906.
How Sylvan-Highlands Neighborhood Got its Name
Nathan B. Jones originally called the community “Zion Town,” but to prevent confusion between it and two other post offices of the same name, a resident suggested a new name for the Roman diety of the woods, Silvanus.
Trimet buses 20 and 58 serve Sylvan-Highlands Neighborhood.
Friends We’ve Lost (closed businesses)
- Portland Children’s Museum—The 6th oldest children’s museum in the world and the oldest West of the Mississippi, founded in 1946 and closed in 2021.
Zip Code 97221
Sylvan-Highlands Real Estate
Homes in the Sylvan-Highlands neighborhood run the gamut of 20th century architecture. From classic Bungalow, to Old Portland, to Cape Cod, Foursquare, and more—you’ll see it all. You’ll also find new construction condos spattered about the area.
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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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Wikipedia. Sylvan-Highlands, Portland, Oregon. Accessed August 13, 2022.