Woodlawn is a great, old neighborhood finally coming into it’s own. Woodlawn neighborhood is the oldest settled area in the old Albina area — now referred to as the Woodlawn Historic District. Initially settled in the 1860’s as a rural farming village, it was the only independent town that existed outside the city of Albina (now Portland). Woodlawn’s character changed dramatically in 1888 when the railroad running from Portland to Vancouver located a train station in the center of the village. This connection to a larger market stimulated commercial and residential development. The commercial uses centered around the train station with homes development surrounding the city center. The train depot was located at the intersection of today’s Durham and Dekum avenues and the station’s waiting room was built in the middle of a triangular park which is still present today.
Woodlawn is a commonly overlooked neighborhood as it seems somewhat tucked away. Bordering industrial north and northeast Portland, Woodlawn really is a little gem of a neighborhood which is being slowly but surely built into a wonderful family oriented neighborhood. New businesses have popped up in the last few years such as: Buffalo Gardens, Woodlawn Coffee and Pastry and Breakside Brewery are local hangouts and area favorites. Others like the Good Neighbor Pizzeria shop and The Firehouse, are well known staples having weathered the early dormant years. The Firehouse is a must-visit restaurant, well known for their excellent wood-fired pizzas and amazing locally sourced dishes served in a beautiful and unique dining setting.
The Firehouse in Woodlawn
Woodlawn Street Art
The Woodlawn Coffee and Pastry
Woodlawn’s Breakside Brewery
Woodlawn’s Good Neighbor Pizza
Woodlawn School is connected to the Community Garden which is connected
to Woodlawn Park -which is complete with a fun water feature and big basketball
court- making for a huge neighborhood gathering area. Nearly all the
businesses in Woodlawn are locally owned.
Woodlawn boasts a wonderful view of Vancouver, Washington at night. There are over 14 buildings on the historic registry in our small area. Cyclists have often been the very few “outsiders” to navigate Woodlawn as once one knows the diagonals, Woodlawn is an excellent cut-through when coming from Jantzen Beach or other northern destinations. One would gather that it’s also a neighborhood that is home to cyclists, as “Share the Road” and “My other car is a bike” bumper stickers abound. Cyclist residents enjoy the calm streets and proximity to downtown (4 miles).In the 1920’s, paved major roads, the improved automobile and a bridge between Vancouver and Portland gave residents more shopping options and businesses in Woodlawn were either swept aside for housing or converted to factories. Woodlawn is 15 minutes travel time by car to Washington, 10 minutes to the Portland International Airport, 15 minutes to downtown Portland and 15 minutes to excellent shopping malls in good traffic conditions. Woodlawn is well served by buses and freight trains glide by at the base of the bluff. Some residents move here because they love the sight and sound of trains. Many residents commute by bicycle to their jobs. The proximity to the airport has caused some issues due to plane noise.
Atop the bluff, Woodlawn is mostly residential, with Queen Annes, Craftsman bungalows, and an influx of modern infill housing and condos. Some of those homes are occupied by families who have lived in Woodlawn for six generations. In the 40’s and 50’s many ranch and smaller homes were built throughout the neighborhood to house the working class residents and evacuees of the Vanport Flood. Many of the Vanport people had worked in the shipyards during WW2.
Woodlawn is a very desirable neighborhood with the Woodlawn Park as a centerpiece. Art and culture are eagerly supported here, and overflow crowds attend the productions of Trek in the Park each summer. Woodlawn in the 21st century has fascinating businesses and unique landmarks. In recent years there’s been a revitalization of businesses along Dekum, as envisioned in the 1993 Woodlawn Plan. We have exquisite pastry and coffee houses, fabulous restaurants, a brewpub, and a public benefit pub, a movement studio and a massage studio, a resale shop, a bicycle repair shop, ceramic studios, plant nurseries and many other fascinating businesses. The newest addition to the commercial triangle is a LEED Platinum remodel of a historic building housing a company that makes high quality, locally sourced, organic foods for local businesses. Light and heavy industrial businesses flank the current train route, as do a variety of businesses that need space, such as plant nurseries.
A special thanks to locals Ayleen Crotty and Anjala Ehelebe who
contributed this Woodlawn neighborhood profile.
Find more photos like this on PortlandNeighborhood.com
Woodlawn Park, 13th Ave and Dekum. Includes basketball court, disabled access play area, disabled access restroom, paths – paved, picnic tables, playground, soccer field, softball field, stage, statue or public art, and water play feature.
Woodlawn Community Garden – In June 2008, in collaboration with the Portland Trail Blazers and Fred Meyer, the Woodlawn Children’s Garden Program was launched. An industrious group of volunteers from Fred Meyer and the Blazers worked with neighborhood children to clean up the garden area, completing several weeks of work in a matter of hours. A ceremonial planting of vegetables by mascots Blaze the Trail Cat and Fred Bear commemorated the new partnership. (Source: Portland Parks)
Here is a fun YouTube Video featuring “Trek in the Park” at Woodlawn Park. If you have photos or videos of Woodlawn to share, please contact us!
Like the neighboring communities, Woodlawn homes are fantastic turn-of-the-last-century classics such as Bungalows, Cape Cods, a few Victorians and Four squares. Tree-lined, crooked streets are very quiet and mostly well maintained.
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.
Woodlawn Public Schools:
Quiet, community conscious, cyclist and family friendly– definitely up and coming.
Woodlawn Neighborhood – More Information
If you have more information about Woodlawn and would like to contribute, or if you have photos to share, please contact us.
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