Multnomah – Portland, OR

The hit television show Portlandia hits the nail on the head when it says that young people go to Portland to retire. The walkability and abundance of easygoing service-industry jobs characterize the city's laid back feel. Once the young people bore of retirement and prepare to settle down and start families, the ones who want the perfect mix of suburban quiet and city convenience move to southwest Portland. Most of southwest is overrun by suburbia, but one exception is Multnomah. Parents in Multnomah know that their kids can spend the afternoon out riding bikes and make it home safe. They know that the members of their small community, who know each other by name, keep an eye on the little ones and remain ready to lend a hand. People take part in many community activities, such as festivals and volunteering at the Neighborhood House community garden. Locals enjoy a small-town vibe just minutes away from the city's urban downtown. The heart of the neighborhood lies in the aptly named Multnomah Village, a charming stretch of shops and dining destinations. A two-minute drive from Interstate 5, the Village occupies the triangle formed by Southwest 31st Avenue, Capitol Highway and Multnomah Boulevard. The neighborhood rests six miles south of the Portland city center.

Schools in Multnomah

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Restaurants & Nightlife

When hunger strikes, Multnomah residents walk over to the Village to eat at one of the many restaurants lining Capitol Highway and Southwest 35th. For taking up such a small space on the map, Multnomah Village packs in an extensive selection of dining destinations, such as diners and elegant brunch spots. You can even find Japanese and Indian foods tucked in between the burger joints. Good seafood can be elusive in Portland, but the Village's Seasons & Regions Seafood Grill serves up some of the best in the city. The chef pairs fresh seafood with produce harvested straight from the restaurant's own farm. Locals rave about the tomato basil soup and the Dungeness crab wontons. For great food at low prices, visit between 3:00 and 5:30 p.m. or 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. during the week, or 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday to order from the seasonal cheap eats menu. At $3.50 a plate, you can afford to try more than one thing. For brunch, head to the Down to Earth Cafe on 35th Avenue, where you can get natural foods prepared from scratch in-house. The menu caters to everyone, including gluten-free and vegan diners. Local favorites include the stuffed French toast and the salmon Benedict, served with fresh-cut home fries. When you want to wind down with a drink after work, head to Renner's Grill, a laid back Capitol Highway bar and grill with a dive look but clean and friendly service. While Renner's serves a decent selection of local microbrews on draft, don't miss their bloody Marys, which cost $2.50 every day from open to close. Stop in Wednesday for Bingo night — get there early and have the signature cheeseburger for dinner.

History & Culture

Few residents inhabited the then heavily forested Multnomah area throughout the 19th century. After the turn of the 20th century, a community sprouted up around the Oregon Electric Railway's Multnomah Station. The village grew steadily until finally becoming a part of the city of Portland during an 8-year annexation process spanning from 1954 into the 1960s. In developing Multnomah Village, locals chose to keep most of the old buildings, and the neighborhood still emanates its old historical charm. Hundreds of residents come together each year in August for the Multnomah Days Parade, which kicks off a weekend of festivities at the street fair. Community members also take part in the neighborhood's Halloween in the Village and the Holiday Gala. The Multnomah Arts Center provides a space for locals to learn and display various skills, such as woodshop, printmaking and theater. Art lovers can visit the Le Meitour Art Gallery on Capitol Highway.

Transportation

If you live close to the village, you can leave the car at home. All Multnomah Village establishments lie within a short walk of one another. Bike lanes make passage safe for cyclists, but the hilly terrain deters some people from riding. People who live a little farther out like to drive, but quickly cars fill the Village's unmetered street parking. If you have time to circle the block several times, a space usually opens within about 10 minutes. If you need to leave the neighborhood, drive two minutes up Multnomah Boulevard to hit Interstate 5, which takes you straight into the heart of Portland and connects to Interstate 84. Trimet serves Multnomah, with lines 44 and 45 intersecting the Village and lines 1, 12 and 43 picking up riders on the edges of the neighborhood. Plan ahead, though. Depending on what bus you need to catch, service can be as rare as once every hour. If you need a cab, call Radio Cab or Broadway Cab. Taxi drivers in Portland don't usually drive around looking for fares, especially so far from downtown. Rideshares like Uber and Lyft don't yet serve the Portland area.

Cost

Residents of Multnomah sustain a cost of living slightly higher than the Portland average. The median monthly rental price for a one-bedroom apartment sits at $1,035, and a pint at the neighborhood bar averages about $4. For trips to the city center, buy a Trimet day pass for $5 — the pass works for all trips on Trimet buses, streetcars and MAX light rail trains. Drivers pay about 9 percent more per gallon of gas than the national average.

Shopping

Local shoppers enjoy a selection of boutique and antique shops as well as hobby supply and toy stores at Multnomah's commercial center in the Village on Capitol Highway. Visit Indigo Traders and immerse yourself in the rich colors and textures of the Middle East. This family-owned boutique stocks fine Mediterranean-sourced linens and housewares celebrating the region's culture and traditions. While you're there, check out the Turkish coffee. Prices run a little high, so stop by the sale room to find something lovely at a lower price. Portland is famous for its independent bookstores, and the Village's Annie Bloom's Books stands out as one of the city's best. This cozy shop sells a variety of titles for every age and every interest. Pick a book from the shelf, and curl up in an old chair for a while, but don't be alarmed if Molly Bloom, the bookstore's cat, strolls by. In fact, you might see more than one animal at this pet-friendly establishment. For groceries, area residents have easy access to all the chains, but if you'd rather support a local business, head to Barbur World Foods at Barbur Boulevard and Capitol Highway at the very southern edge of the neighborhood. The store stocks fresh, natural meat and produce, kitchen staples and interesting Middle Eastern options. For snacks in the Village, stop by John's Marketplace. John's stocks an immense array of local brews and breaks up packs to sell singles, so you can try a variety. Stop by the deli, where you can get an incredible sandwich served on Portland-based Dave's Killer Bread. Locals get farm-fresh produce at the Parsons Farm Stand at Multnomah and 35th.

Parks

Multnomah's Gabriel Park, in the neighborhood's northwest corner, packs in tons of free stuff to do in its 90-acre expanse. Little ones can burn some energy in the ADA-compliant playground while the older kids pop ollies in the 10,000-square-foot skate park. Sports nuts can choose from a host of facilities, including baseball and softball fields, a soccer pitch and basketball, tennis and volleyball courts. If hiking is more your speed, check out the trails. Joggers like the paved trails, while others can get closer to nature on the unpaved hiking trails. Bring Fido too — he can run around in the fenced off-leash area. In southeast Multnomah, the smaller Custer Park houses a softball field and a soccer pitch. The ADA-accessible playground features a merry-go-round and two play structures, one for big kids and one for little kids.