Small Town in the City
Residents of the Hayhurst neighborhood in SW Portland praise its rural feel and easy commute.
Marcia Liebe and her family were first drawn to the Hayhurst neighborhood of southwest Portland by the beautiful old oak trees that arch over its hilly streets. Two decades later, the longtime teacher at the Southwest Portland Parent-Child Collective is still there, and says that there are more kids and families than ever living in this quiet pocket of the city, walking to school under those same trees.
Settled in the mid-1800s as part of the larger community of Hillsdale, Hayhurst was a farming stronghold at first. But when the Oregon Electric Railway began service to the area in 1907, residents began commuting to downtown jobs, a pattern that continues today.
The housing market
Bev Blume, broker with Keller-Williams Realty says the housing market in and around Hayhurst has been brisk this year. Houses are rarely on the market more than 90 days, many selling within a week and the median list price is $485,000, a 17 percent increase in the last 12 months.
Having a Portland address is important to a lot of buyers, says Blume, even those who prefer not to live directly in the city.
“I like that I live in Portland, but it still feels like a small town with a hilly, natural feel and not a lot of traffic,” says Caitlin Spears, mother of two boys, ages 3 and 6.
Hayhurst Elementary serves as the neighborhood school for grades K-5, but also houses the K-8 Odyssey Program, a Portland Public Schools focus option that teaches all curriculum through the lens of history. According to state figures, 79 percent of the school’s nearly 500 students are white, 25 percent come from economically disadvantaged homes, 11 percent have disabilities, and only 5 percent are English language learners.
Both Hayhurst Elementary and Robert Gray Middle School scored about average on 2013-2014 state tests, falling in the middle third of schools with similar student demographics. Scores at Wilson High School came in below average in comparison to demographically equivalent schools.
Pendleton Park, soccer and baseball fields, and the elementary school (with plans for a new, modern play structure) create a five-block stretch from SW 50th-55th with no intersecting streets, encouraging families to head outdoors.
Gabriel Park and the Southwest Community Center, the only Portland Parks and Recreation facility with on-site drop-in childcare, are also within walking distance. There’s a Laughing Planet right across the street, which makes a good post-gym lunch stop.
Flanked by Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway to the north, and SW Vermont Street to the south, Hayhurst residents are just 10 minutes from downtown Portland, with quick access to I-5, Hwy 26, Barbur Blvd or the Sellwood or Ross Island bridges, says Spears. Traveling 10 to 15 minutes to the west, commuters can reach the Beaverton business district, the Nike campus or Intel.
Marcia Liebe’s husband commutes by bicycle to downtown Portland, sometimes putting his bike on a Tri-Met bus for the return trip, though the route is a slow one that stops often. Multiple park & ride locations increase public transportation options.
Visitors can cheer players at a ball game on diamonds used for the Little League Softball World Series, watch cyclists race by in a blur at the Alpenrose Velodrome, one of only 20 bicycle racing tracks in the United States, or stop by the 4-H Discovery Farm.
In December though, it’s time to head to Christmas in Dairyville and Storybook Lane. The replica frontier town with its vintage storefronts becomes a holiday treasure, complete with holiday movies in the Opera House, carolers and Santa Claus.
6149 SW Shattuck RD; 503-423-4868
Christmas in Dairyville and Storybook Lane , December 5-21. Fridays 3 p.m.-6 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays 11a.m.-6 p.m.
Pictured top: Brothers Felix (3) and Jarvis (6) love the trees in their Hayhurst neighborhood.