Faces From The Neighborhood

East Side Mini Tour Highlights City’s Change and Spirit

This spring I want to rediscover many of my favorite Neighborhood Greenways and discover new great places to ride. The Neighborhood Greenways were my best friends when I first landed in Portland. I discovered Portland by bike, and biking was a great way to experience the city. If you don’t know about these bike routes, check them out! I still love riding along these quiet streets nestled in Portland’s neighborhoods.

Portland East Side Mini Tour

Nice Little Tour: Yesterday’s ride was no exception. The sun was bright, and the winds were calm. So I set out on a quick little east side tour. Starting near Montavilla, I enjoyed my ride through North Tabor down NE Davis and Everett towards Laurelhurst. I couldn’t help but notice how the city has changed since I first took this route. More, newer homes line the streets.  More traffic on the streets. More bikes taking the greenway.

Eastside Industrial Area Portland

SE Ankeny is Growing Up: Some of the biggest changes are further west down SE Ankeny. The street is bustling now with cafes and shops. Apartment buildings dot the landscape. It’s a bicycle mecca it seems, with more bikes than cars at times. The changes come alive while on bike. I thought if I were 20 years younger and didn’t want a car, this neighborhood would be a great place to live!

The Trains of SE: The greenway abruptly ends near the waterfront, so I carefully navigated my way towards SE Water Avenue. It wouldn’t be a ride down to the east side waterfront without waiting for a train. After waiting 5 – 10 minutes, I decided to cut through one of the industrial side streets between SE Stark and SE Hawthorne. Despite dodging some large vehicles, the detour was worth it! Again, I couldn’t help but notice how different this area is from 7 years ago.

The Next Pearl? While it is still industrial at its heart, cafes, brew pubs and retailers scatter throughout the area. Cranes from development further east on SE Belmont/Morrison and E Burnside fill the horizon looking east. “Is this the next Pearl District?” I wondered. And then I asked “Is this a good thing?”

Big Questions: This is a question all Portlanders grapple with right now. Portland is growing. We cannot deny that. It feels like Portland is growing into a big city with all the inherent benefits and problems. Portland is a city full of creative people, natural beauty, weirdness and arts. Yet Portland is a place with a serious affordable housing problem. The streets are changing around us as we make room for more people.

Waiting for a Train

Portland’s Heart: How do we best manage this growth so all who live here benefit – the newcomers and long-time residents, the well-to-do and those who struggle, and everyone in between. I have faith in the heart of Portland because it is the heart of all of us who live here. I experience the Portland spirit through this blog and where I work. I believe that spirit is strong and will survive. I’m hopeful Portland will emerge as a wondefrul big city with the heart of the Portland we love.

PS. A new story from an amazing artist is coming soon.

Lisa Ratzlaff

Lisa Ratzlaff is a web designer who loves telling the amazing stories of interesting people and businesses in Portland, Oregon. Her web design business is Share Your Story Media, where she builds powerful websites for small service-based businesses that help them succeed online.