Sellwood Neighborhood in Portland, Oregon
The low humming of lawn mowers, a steady laughter coming from a far off distance and a safe haven for families, young adults and the like. These are things that come to mind when I think of Sellwood.
Located in Southeast Portland, Sellwood is surrounded by the Eastmoreland and Brooklyn neighborhoods and the Willamette River. The neighborhood is lively and vibrant, while also pulling off a quiet solitude that is tucked away yet merely a six-minute drive from downtown Portland.
The “Mayberry of Portland”
A Sellwood local, Brandie Difalco, considers Sellwood the “Mayberry of Portland.” True to its nickname, the city is “great for quirky families” and very safe. Difalco doesn’t drive, but says she doesn’t need to. “I can walk to the doctor, dentist, market, acupuncturist… We have everything,” she states.
My time at a Sellwood coffee shop
I ran into Difalco at the Ugly Mug Coffeehouse on 13th Avenue. The local coffee shop serves Portland’s Stumptown Coffee as well as wine, beer and an eclectic mix of drinks such as ginger lemonade and honey lavender steamers. The crowd of the coffeehouse gave me my first taste of Sellwood, and it proved to be accurate with everything else I have experienced in the neighborhood. While an older man sat on a comfy retro chair typing away on his laptop, a couple of young women chatted on the sofa adjacent to him drinking out of homemade ceramic mugs. The age gap sets no barriers in this neighborhood. The barista called a young girl by name, asking if she would like whipped cream on her hot chocolate. The “regular” mentality of the café is very comforting, and it makes you want to be a part of it. Towards the back of the coffeehouse is a bookshelf with titles such as “Sneeches” by Dr. Seuss and “Blue’s World of Wonderful Words” for children who would like to sit and read at a small wooden table, conveniently provided for their small bodies. And then the man doing the daily crossword on a barstool quietly drank his coffee while two college-aged boys walked in, asking for their regulars. Sitting back on the wooden pew, aligning the wall full of photographs and paintings by local artists, I caught a glimpse of Sellwood.
Photos of Sellwood
The people of Sellwood
Working together to create a quirky and homey atmosphere, the people of Sellwood fabricate the vibe that makes this area so attractive. Randy, the owner of Madison Park antique shop, says that Sellwood is “busy and fun, but you won’t find a lot of hipsters in Sellwood like other areas of Portland.” Instead there is a multitude of people who are eclectic in style and very welcoming. I had plenty of encounters with polite and helpful strangers, who by the end of the conversations became friends. The baristas, the shop owners and the locals of Sellwood are genuine and unique.
Restaurants and Food in Sellwood
The neighborhood thrives on its locally run businesses that cultivate a self-sustaining atmosphere. When it comes to food, Sellwood has everything your taste buds desire from fine dining to food carts. On the corner of 13th and SE Lexington you can find a gravel lot with a selection of food carts, and a short walk down the road is an even larger selection, from the Jade Teahouse & Patisserie featuring Southeast Asian entrees and international teas to Portofino, which serves creative Italian-inspired dishes.
Sellwood Homes & Real Estate
In Sellwood there are a lot of older homes that have been updated and well kept. There is an array of architectural styles in the neighborhood, featuring gorgeous Victorian homes with lots of green shrubbery that the NW is known for, as well as more modern homes. The streets are quiet and lined with trees, and occasionally there are dogs lying on the front porch of their homes, keeping a lazy watch over the neighborhood. If there is one thing that this neighborhood loves, it is their dogs (and their antiques, which Sellwood is most known for).
Things to do in Sellwood
The Sellwood Riverfront Park paints a clear picture of the canine love that is present in this neighborhood, as owners let their dogs run free along the riverfront with other dogs. Another great park in the neighborhood is Sellwood Park that overlooks the Willamette River, Oaks Park and the Sellwood Bridge. Connected to the Sellwood Community Center, the lush green Sellwood Park is a frequent stop for many of the families in the area. On a community board placed in front of Llewellyn Elementary, there is a list of “Summer Sellwood Happenings” that happen at the park, the pool, the community center and the library. With activities such as cooking classes, tennis lessons, Tai Chi, and Dive-In movies at the pool, there is always something happening within the community that is great for the families.
The Sellwood-Moreland schools are Llewellyn Elementary, Sellwood Middle and Cleveland High School.
To sum up Sellwood
One of the greatest things about Sellwood is its ability to value family and community. Always keeping the convenience of the family and the individual in mind, this city thrives as another one of Portland’s unique and thriving neighborhoods.
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