Laurelhurst Neighborhood in Portland, OR
The Best of Both Worlds
Laurelhurst is in the center of everything, and it is an urban residential neighborhood, with front yards and all. When I say the center of everything, I mean it is central to downtown, Hawthorne, and all other mega visitor attraction districts in Portland. Yet Laurelhurst has something that other Portland neighborhoods don’t have, and it’s the ability to be central to the life of Stumptown and not be aware of it. The greenery of Laurelhurst Park tends to blind people to the fact that it is in the middle of a city. I love the northwest for that.
Via Google Map
Laurelhurst is located south of I-84, north of Stark Street, with 44th Avenue on the east and 32nd Avenue on the west. The surrounding neighborhoods and districts are Buckman, Kents, Hollywood, Belmont, Hawthorne, Hollywood and Sunnyside. Each of these neighborhoods attracts different people for different reasons, because they all have their own distinct personalities.
Laurelhurst’s own personality
There are a great number of families in this neighborhood who love it for the beautiful homes, safe residential streets, large front lawns and its location next to the park and other attractions. I was surprised to see the front lawns; they were some of the first attributes of the neighborhood that stuck out to me once I got past the large homes. In all the other neighborhoods I have visited thus far, there were small lawns that had character. But I was surprised to see these large lawns in a neighborhood that’s in the middle of Portland. I saw mother simultaneously walking dogs and carrying children. That takes talent! Though it was an overcast day in Portland, the neighborhood stuck out like a green thumb. The lawns are well kept and they give the neighborhood a fresh, clean feeling (almost like Orbit gum).
Similar to the parks, attracting kids and families from the neighborhood and beyond, the schools in the area are a great amenity to the neighborhood as well.
Elementary: Laurelhurst K-8 School
Middle: Fernwood Middle School
High: Grant High School
Laurelhurst Homes & Real Estate
The homes in the area are pretty large and diverse in size and style. There are lots of low slung bungalows with front porches, wrap around porches, and sometimes white picket fences. All of the homes are very well kept and tidy, charming and suitable for families of all sizes. In the fronts of lawns there were tree swings, porch swings and makeshift forts that children had used as headquarters for clubs and top-secret meetings (I would have, at least). A lot of window frames with charming shutters, and large trees in front lawns that multitask as another tree in the neighborhood and an organic lawn decoration. There are plenty of balconies that overlook rose bushes aligning the steps up to front doors and some driveways suitable for more than one car. This is unlike most urban-neighborhoods, and that is what makes it so unique!
The Heart of Laurelhurst
I was walking along the southern end of Laurelhurst Park when I ran into Dennis who has been living in Laurelhurst for one year. Dennis used to live in SE Portland near Tom McCall Waterfront Park, but he loves the location he lives in now. He said that it’s not only convenient to the max, downtown and the airport, but everyone is very friendly and he loves that. Dennis said there is a good mix of families in the neighborhood in terms of age. Not only are there younger families, there are couples that have grown old in the neighborhood, sending their children who also grew up in the area off to college and eventually marriage. I asked Dennis what makes Laurelhurst distinctly different than other Portland neighborhoods and he mentioned the pride that locals take in their gardens. Lush gardens, trees and shrubbery have been constant themes throughout SE Portland, and I don’t know if it will ever get old.
“An Urban Oasis”
I talked to Lenny, Jen and Nicky in Laurelhurst Park also. Though Lenny lives in a separate part of SE Portland, she loves coming to Laurelhurst Park with her granddaughter, who likes the ducks in Laurelhurst Pond. Jen loves running in Laurelhurst Park in the mornings. She says it is great for the trails and the trees, and it’s an all around great place to be. Lenny called Laurelhurst Park an “urban oasis,” which I could not put in a better way. It’s central to Urbania, and a refuge to come when city life becomes too much. Because Laurelhurst Park is a significant size, 26.81 acres, it is a good portion of the neighborhood and is central to many activities that happen in the neighborhood. The park hosts events such as movies and concerts in the park, there is constantly a game of basketball being played on the courts, along with tennis players in the tennis court, and children in the play area. And in February 2001, it was the first park to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Laurelhurst Park is historically a place in Portland that has been an asset to the forefront of environmental change and concern in this city, as it has been around since the early 1900′s.
It is some kind of wonderful that residents of Laurelhurst can have the best of both worlds. With the cityscape setting a backdrop to beautiful homes and large trees, Laurelhurst sets the standard for the urban-residential coexistence that is happening in this SE Portland area.