North Gresham – Portland, OR

One of Portland's many suburbs, Gresham acts as a buffer between the urban confines of Portland proper with the expansive vistas of the Columbia River Gorge and the lush greenery of the Mount Hood National Forest. North Gresham touches the Columbia River and expands down past I-84 into the more densely populated Central Gresham area. Traveling to North Gresham takes about 25 minutes by car from North Portland. The fourth largest city in Oregon, Gresham's low population density, compared to Portland, gives the city an idyllic, rural feel, with proximity to a major metropolitan area. The city serves as a great stepping-off point for visiting the great outdoors of Portland; Mount Hood lies only two hours away by car, Mount St. Helens only an hour and fifteen minutes, and Multnomah Falls only a half hour away. Outdoors lovers will also appreciate Gresham's dedication to green energy; the EPA recently anointed Gresham as the 14th Green Power Community in the nation.

Schools in North Gresham

School data provided by GreatSchools

Restaurants & Nightlife

North Gresham boasts a more traditional, less diverse restaurant selection than central Gresham. The neighborhood's proximity to the freeway means more casual fare abounds, but some of Portland's culinary flair spills over into North Gresham. Tucked away in a small row of shops, Meeka Sushi serves the namesake Japanese platter with a grace usually found only in larger metropolises. Take a seat at one of the ground-level tables (Meeka provides pillows to sit on) and order the tuna roll, made with ahi tuna flown in from Hawaii. Adults will love the saké and beer selection, but families ought to call ahead and make sure the atmosphere isn't too lively for young children. Restaurant-goers looking for American fare, look for the friendly facade of Abby's Legendary Pizza . A large family-friendly dining establishment, Abby's serves pies of the outrageous variety; locals recommend the Philly Cheese Steak pizza, and trumpet the service as a beacon of North Gresham hospitality. Adults may appreciate the beers on tap, as well. Lovers of Mexican food ought to stop by Tacos Salsa, located in a strip of shops in southwestern North Gresham. Serving tacos and more traditional Mexican cuisine, the restaurant draws on the wealth of the latino diaspora in the East Portland and Gresham area. Try their cabeza tacos for a flavorful peek into a less traditional meal. Patrons recommend getting anything with a side of their menudo, a traditional tripe soup uncommon in many Mexican establishments. North Gresham loses a fair amount of nightlife draw to central Gresham and clubs in East Portland, but havens for those looking to stay out past 9 pm exist. CJ's Pub lies on the outer edges of North Gresham, where the neighborhood spills into Fairview. Residents in need of a watering hole appreciate the location for its cozy bar and pool table. If you didn't get a full dinner before heading out on the town, CJ's also serves a renowned burger platter.

History & Culture

The town of Gresham was named after Walter Quinton Gresham, who served as a Union general in the Civil War and went on to become Postmaster General. The government officially recognized Gresham as a township in 1905, after the establishment of a Post Office in 1884 spurred government incorporation. The Gresham Historical Society preserves the lives of Greshamites (Black, Hispanic, Japanese, German, Russian, and Swedish) and that of the indigenous people in a small museum. It also has an ongoing exhibit which contains unidentified artifacts and invites visitors to submit guesses as to what they might be. They constantly host events, so be sure to check their website on a regular basis for ideas that are fun for friends and family

Transportation

With a walkabilty score of 43, most errands in North Gresham require a car. North Gresham's scale cannot match the rest of the city, but it has large boulevards and small highways that beckon for automobiles or bicycles. Downtown Portland lies about a 25 minute drive away from North Gresham, and car users ought to not worry about looking for public parking in the plentiful suburbs. The League of American Bicyclists recently recognized the city of Gresham as a silver-status bicycle-friendly community, which means that the city meets the "five Es" of engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation and planning to create a positive environment for bicyclists. Bikers ought to prepare for wet weather, though, as the Northwest's rainy climate often takes people by surprise. Portland's TriMet public transportation supports North Gresham with numerous bus lines and a light rail line, the MAX, that runs through central Gresham. Expect about an hour and ten minutes of travel time if you want to go to downtown Portland. Most major Portland taxi services, such as Union Cab and Broadway Cab serve Gresham. Expect to call ahead, however; residents have a hard enough time hailing a cab in downtown Portland, much less one of the outlying suburbs. Uber provides Gresham with an on-demand cab service as well.

Cost

While Gresham lies 2% below the Oregon average cost of living, the area's cost of living is still 12% higher than the national average. Median one-bedroom apartment prices lie around $850 in North Gresham, the same as the city at large. Like the rest of the area, a beer in North Gresham costs around $3.50 and gas prices sit at 10% above the national average. A two-hour TriMet pass costs $2.50, and an all day pass costs twice as much.

Shopping

North Gresham hides away a few shopping gems from the rest of the area, but for the most part, residents and visitors do their shopping in the greater Gresham area. For vintage clothing, check out Robin's Walk-In Closet, located in the southwestern part of North Gresham. Boutique 5 De Mayo has the most fabulous Quinceanaria dresses and posh outfits for the wee ones, too. For beautifully designed goods made locally in Portland, Union Rose is a must-visit group of female designers in the area who create unique and special handcrafted treasures with love and soul. Residents purchase most of their groceries on the west side of town at Safeway. The nearby Montavilla Farmer's Market runs from May through October.

Parks

North Gresham, with its industrial areas and residential neighborhoods, has only one park, but the 3.7-acre Aspen Highland Park more than makes up for the lack of diversity. Take family to the picnic area or playground, and let dogs roam free in the commons. Joggers and strollers alike will enjoy the walking path because of its beautiful views of North Gresham.
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