Hearing wind chimes, seeing felines sleeping in wooden window panes and stepping around shrubbery that overtakes the sidewalks are very typical in this SE Portland neighborhood. One of my favorite aspects to Buckman is that you can look west, down whichever avenue you are on, and see downtown Portland across the Willamette River. What a beautiful area! With an eclectic mix of people, and for the most part a younger Portland crowd, this area embraces its coffee shops, local businesses and lively crowd. The quirky characteristics of the neighborhood are what reel in visitors, bringing them to nearby areas such as the Hawthorne and Belmont districts.
Buckman is surrounded by the Sunnyside, Kerns and Hosford Abernethy neighborhoods as well as the Willamette River. This area covers a lot of residential area with a multitude of businesses that range from cafes, bars, coffeehouses, restaurants, clothing stores and boutiques. The boundaries of the neighborhood are SE Burnside to the north, SE 28th to the east, SE Hawthorne Boulevard to the south, and the Willamette River to the west.
While the eastern side of Buckman is a mix of residential and local businesses, the west blocks of the neighborhood are designated to industrial and commercial businesses that provide over 17,000 jobs. The west side of this neighborhood is also a great area for some late night eateries, such as Le Bistro “Montage” which is open until 4 am on Friday and Saturday nights. This is a great restaurant for anyone who indulges in late night cravings of Cajun food such as jambalaya with crocodile or the classic “Spold.”
Distinct Buckman Features
The ivy and shrubbery that overwhelms the houses, the rocking chairs and cushioned couches on front porches, and the green thumbs that inhabit this neighborhood all add to the individuality of Buckman. I noticed while eating on Hawthorne, and walking around the parks and the neighborhood that the neighborhood has a lot more adults and less children than other SE Portland neighborhoods I have visited. One of the businesses in the neighborhood, the Happy Sparrow Cafe, adheres to the funky tastes of Buckman. With a friendly and welcoming atmosphere provided by the baristas, the cafe has a pile of boardgames aligning one of the walls with not only one, but two sets of Scrabble. Samantha who works at the Happy Sparrow Cafe on Belmont says that it is a growing neighborhood, and there are mostly adults that come into the cafe. One thing she loves about this neighborhood and Portland in general is how conveniently placed it is in reference to everything. With this area, Samantha says it takes fifteen minutes to get anywhere in Portland, and it takes up to an hour and a half to go anywhere else i.e. the beach, gorge and mountain. Just the night before, she was saying that her and her friends went to Timberline, and it took a mere 45 minutes to get there. Samantha gives some advice to people looking to move to Portland, and says why this area is set apart from other neighborhoods in the city.
Home & Real Estate
The neighborhood features old Portland architecture, craftsman bungalow, Victorian, foursquare and other great designs. I loved the vibrant colors of houses that aren’t typically seen in suburbia or neighborhoods that lack the flavor that Buckman has so much of. Buckman puts Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca” to shame.
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If Buckman were a person, he or she would ride their road bike to work (with the appropriate racks to carry essentials), have a large garden in the front and back of their beautiful Victorian home, be an active member in the Buckman Neighborhood Association and be a regular at one of the funky coffee shops, always ordering a drip or a mocha. This is just a theory.
Buckman Elementary School
Da Vinci Middle School
Central Catholic High School
Buckman Neighborhood Association
Another great aspect to this neighborhood is its active neighborhood association. The group meets thrice a month to discuss issues in the neighborhood, proposed plans and changes, as well as land use and public safety. The community has two sub-committees known as the sustainability committee, that focuses on projects with energy and conservation, and the historic committee, which focuses on preserving the historic character of Buckman.
Parks & Recreation
Colonel Summers City Park is on SW 17th and SW Taylor.
Colonel Summers Community Garden is located on SW 20th and SW Taylor.
Buckman Community Garden is located on SW 18th and SW Oak.
Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade is on the west border of the neighborhood, along the Willamette River and beneath the Hawthorne Bridge.
Commuter & Biker Friendly
With the bike route that leads to downtown going through this neighborhood, there are lots of bikers on their way to work or simply taking a stroll to a local cafe such as Jam or the Fresh Pot, both of which are located on SE Hawthorne Boulevard. I went to Jam on Hawthorne and received the ultimate breakfast experience. The service was great, the food was delicious and the atmosphere was that of typical Portland, Oregon. With art placed upon the walls and Stumptown Coffee for those waiting for a table, this is a great cafe to get a little taste of the five course meal known as Portland.
Who is Buckman?
Buckman is the crazy aunt that we all love and enjoy. Buckman is a great neighborhood to get involved in the community and to have fun in. It’s in a great location in SE Portland that is conveniently placed next to downtown Portland, and has a quirky personality that can’t be matched. Come find out for yourself how great this neighborhood is, and experience the depths of it on foot or by bike.