Portland Suburbs


 
A comprehensive list of city webpages can be found at Cascade link Government pages

Banks, pop 1430. Banks could be considered the gateway to the coast from the Tualatin Valley. The town is booming as of late with a large new subdivision. It has become Hillsboro's bedroom community. NW.
Banks homepage

Beaverton, pop 79,350. This town is so named because of the abundance of beavers that once lived there. Started as a town itself, but still works off Portland's grid. SW. Beaverton homepage

Cornelius, pop 10,150. Known as Oregon's family town, Cornelius and Forest Grove seem to be one city, but have their own grids, post offices, schools, etc. They share the westernmost part of the urban growth boundary of Portland. There is even a bus that goes out there. W. Cornelius homepage

Durham, pop 1400. This little community is postally part of Tigard, but apparently is a town all it's own. Works off the Portland grid. SW. Durham homepage

Fairview, pop 9,245. One of the older cities, this suburb has gained a bit of property. The houses within the original town are beautiful. They have been in the process of building themselves a new town on the property that has been vacant for so many years. They are moving EVERYthing there, post office, city hall, and other operations. Has it's own grid for oldtown, but operates off of Portland's for the rest. NE. Fairview homepage . Also, the Fairview Village

Forest Grove, pop. 19,200. Forest Grove is an edge city with it's own history, way, way, way to the west, beyond Hillsboro. It and it's twin city Cornelius are farming towns that have become more and more culturally diverse lately. Has it's own grid. W.
Forest Grove homepage.

Gladstone, pop 12,000. AKA Happyrock. Another old city, this suburb has also acquired more property than just its own. The old town area is fairly nice. Like Fairview, it has it's own grid for oldtown, but operates off Portland's for the rest. SE.
Gladstone homepage

Gresham, pop 94,250. About ten years ago, Portland and Gresham were fighting for a huge area of land in East Portland which was unincorporated. The State of Oregon finally decided to grant the land to these towns based on the service boundaries. Basically, Portland gained all the property for the houses its sewer, phone, and power served, and Gresham got the same. Gresham seems to be trying to win some sort of contest. Their population has taken them to the fourth largest city in the state. Not hard to do when you build a ton of apartment 'projects'. Gresham has it's own grid, but it overlaps Portland's in some places, making the outer eastside a difficult area to navigate in. Unless you know the area, stay out of the neighborhoods -- you may get lost... NE/SE. Gresham homepage.

Happy Valley, pop 6,640. This suburb confuses me. It isn't really a town, but more like an area that someone purchased or something. What I suspect happened is that residents banded together to create a town that would have power to curb the county. In the past decade, the town has grown rapidly. I would call Happy Valley a land whore. Their idea of a housing development is to tear down all the trees and build houses out of them. It looks terribly sterile. Crappy Valley's latest shenanigans include condemning a Boy Scout Lodge building with the eventual hopes of procuring its land to build more sterile homes on. SE.
Happy Valley homepage

Hillsboro, pop 80,000. I don't know if this is really a suburb or not, but it's close enough. Hillsboro is the county seat of Washington county. Hillsboro has it's own grid system, but I'm not sure how it co-incides with Portland's. The numbered streets overlap horribly: 60th, 238th, 239th, 58th, 56th... and that's along the same road. NW/SW. Hillsboro homepage.

Johnson City, pop 630. Portland must hold a record for the largest number of strange suburbs. Johnson City is actually a town, but all it is is a large trailer park with a fishing pond. It actually has a city hall, though! Works off Portland grid. SE.
Johnson City homepage

King City, pop 2,085. Another mini made to order town. King City is a retirement community that surrounds a small golf course. Street names include Royalty, Queen Mary and King George. I'll give you one guess as to the nature of the town name. Like Durham, it's postally part of Tigard. Portland grid. SW. King City homepage

Lake Oswego, pop 35,930. Lake Oswego is probably the richest suburb. Originally, the land was owned by the Mormons and parsed out. Lake O is a very nice community that butts up against Southwest Portland, making for an interesting border line. Within the city is Oswego Lake, of which all the lakefront property is privately owned. Snobs... ;-) Lake Oswego has THREE distinct numbering systems: downtown has its own grid, most of the rest works off Portland, but the remaining bit is very much like England. SW. Lake Oswego homepage

Maywood Park, pop 750. Maywood Park is a small neighborhood of 1/8 of a square mile sitting in a little curve of the I-205 freeway. This city was created from the community of Maywood Park, after I-205 was proposed to cut right through the middle of it. They seceded from Portland, and banded together as a separate political entity to enforce their beliefs. Interesting... the City Hall is not actually within the city limits. NE. Maywood Park homepage.

Milwaukie, pop 20,590. Portland city limits extend all the way to the Clackamas county line... and immediately Milwaukie starts. Milwaukie was at one time its own town, but has been taken over by the Portland grid. None of the streets or street names go through for more than a couple miles, but it is a nice little community, especially the downtown area. Note the different spelling than Milwaukee, WI. SE.
Milwaukie homepage

Oregon City, pop 28,370. Once the capital of Oregon, Oregon City is now the county seat for Clackamas County, and perhaps one of the oldest towns in the state. Many historic landmarks are here, such as the manmade falls, the old generator, the downtown area, and the Municipal Elevator. The Elevator is used to move people up and down the bluff that most of Oregon City sits on. Oregon City is sometimes prone to damage from floods. Oregon City is another suburb that is experiencing a population explosion. There is enough empty land for them to annex, and enough rural atmosphere for people to want to live in the houses being built. S. Oregon City homepage

Rivergrove, pop 340. This town is very much like, and very near to Durham. Rivergrove is postally part of Lake Oswego, but inherently its own town. My impression of Rivergrove is that it is the rich section of Lake Oswego, much like Lake Oswego is the rich section of Portland Metro. SW. Rivergrove homepage

Tigard, pop 44,650. Tigard is a town somewhat like Beaverton. It has remnants and tell-tale signs that it was its own city at one time, but has now been taken over by developers and the Portland grid. SW. Tigard homepage

Troutdale, pop 14,380. Named for the abundance of trout, Troutdale is another one of the older towns, and sits right next to Fairview. Lewis and Clark may have stopped here on their journey to Astoria. Downtown Troutdale looks very historic, especially sitting right above the Outlet Mall. NE. Troutdale homepage.

Tualatin, pop 24,940. Tualatin gets its name from an Indian name meaning 'Wide place in the river'. The entire town of Tualatin is not much more than a residential community of fairly good size, although it does have a tiny downtown area and a small industrial section. Tualatin uses the Portland grid without any trace of diversion. SW.
Tualatin homepage

West Linn, pop 24,000. West Linn is the name used for the area south of Lake Oswego, and across the river from Oregon City. This city shows traces of at one time having been many communities, apparently now all bound together under one city name. This town is all residential except for the small commercial zone called Willamette that is at the south end of town. West Linn uses two grids; The Willamette area has it's own grid, and the rest of the town (north of that) works off of Portland's grid, to a negative effect. Let me explain. Portland's '0' block runs well west of West Linn, but the river (the '0' in downtown) runs east of West Linn. Therefore, all the addresses in West Linn that are on east/west streets start increasing EAST from the Portland '0'. By the time the grid reaches the river, the numbers are up around 6000. Address math would make this such that the river is three miles away from the false meridian. E-mail me if you have any questions. SW. West Linn homepage

Wilsonville, pop 16,250. Wilsonville has its own 1st through 5th streets, but after that, it is much like Happy Valley -- just a big conglomeration of land that is called a city. However, Wilsonville's mayor has realized that the town has a bigger daytime population than at nighttime. In essence, this means that it is a commercial suburb. Due to this realization, the town is now fervently in the process of building many homes, including a large suburb on the old Dammasch mental hospital property in the southwest part of town. Portland grid is prominent, but some other diversions may be apparent. SW. Wilsonville homepage

Wood Village, pop 2,925. Wood Village is a small community that is nestled between Fairview, Gresham, and Troutdale. This is a company town that was built in the 1950's to house workers for the Reynolds aluminum plant. Wood Village is quite aptly named. All of the original streets have names of trees -- Elm, Birch, Ash, Maple, Walnut. Cute. NE. Wood Village homepage

Vancouver, pop 152,900. Well for those of you who know better, yes, Vancouver is actually in Washington. I personally have always considered it a suburb of Portland, only because it relies on alot of Portland's resources for jobs. Fort Vancouver was started in the mid 1800's and is still being used. The town itself is strange, and hard to get around in if you don't live there. Boulevards go here and there, street names don't usually continue for more than a few miles. The saving grace, however, is the area that is still county. All avenues are numbered, as well as all streets. Getting lost never got so easy!
Vancouver homepage



Portland Metro is odd in that it has a regional government that not only serves Portland and Multnomah County, but also the 23 other towns and cities that are included within the service boundary. Most people look upon this entity as a monopolizing dictator. Metro's goal is to turn Portland into another New York City, via high-density housing on remaining interior land, and traffic jams. Actually, they are not all that bad, they are trying to avoid the Los Angeles epidemic of sprawl. This government is called simply,
Metro




I have (as an added bonus) included a number of communities that stand out, even though they may be part of a city, or not one at all.

Boring, Clackamas Co.
Boring was one of the first areas in Oregon to be settled. It was named after the first Pioneer (Samuel?) Boring (who's descendants still live in town,) because he gave land to the school, then went on to build the school house too! This became the first school in the Oregon territory. When the orginal building burned down in the 1880's another large building was erected in it's place. This building can still be seen on Kelso Rd, off of Highway 26.
When Oregon achieved statehood, Boring was one of three finalists for state capital (along with Salem and Oregon City) losing not because of the name but because Oregonians of the time wanted their capital to be more centrally located. Due to this fact Boring was a fully incorporated town and had an elected Mayor until the 1930's. No new mayor was elected due to a general disinterest at the time in the position.
But, since it was in the position to be state capial the town had a large land area, almost as large as Portland's. In the 1890's it had the largest number of daily trains running from Portland to the centrally located train station (which was torn down about three years ago.)
Boring now serves as Clackamas County's 'ecological buffer zone', that is meant to keep Portland and Gresham from extending their political influence into Clackamas County. Currently the city itself is threatened by the proposed 'Sunset Corridor' Highway which will follow the current Highway 217 from Oregon City. Plans call for the highway to go straight downtown and meet Highway 26. Besides the school there is one other historical building in Boring. The 2nd Train station/hotel is now a convenience store in the downtown area.

-- submitted by Rick Hamell

SE.

Charbonneau, Clackamas Co. Charbonneau District is by all rights part of Wilsonville, but it is a distinct area in that it has a golf course, very regal sounding street names, and it is on the other side of the river from the rest of Wilsonville. SW.

Damascus, Clackamas Co. Much like Boring, Damascus is a distinct area at the convergence of three major roads. It has no post office, but may one day become incorporated. SE. (N.B. My prediction came true and Damascus is incorporated as of 2005.  They have a zip code now, but it is delivered from Boring).

Dunthorpe, Multnomah Co. Dunthorpe can't even be considered a town. It is however a very rich area on the Willamette River that seeks to remain unincorporated. Dunthorpe is the type of neighborhood that if you get a flat tire while in the middle of it, someone will happily come to your rescue quickly... just so that you can be on your way. SW.

Folkenberg, Multnomah Co. A little ways from downtown Portland, Folkenberg is situated at the north end of the West Hills. It is a sleepy residential community with its own 1st through 8th avenues. NW.

Hayden Island, Multnomah Co. Hayden Island is the last exit on the freeway before entering Washington. I'm not sure why I'm including it, but it's a nice area, complete with a mall, luxurious homes, expensive condominiums, TWO Doubletree Red Lion Hotels, and a marina. In the old days there used to be an amusement park that was built by the trolley companies. N.

Metzger, Washington Co. Even though Metzger is practically surrounded by and postally Tigard, it is unincorporated. What makes this area distinct is that it has street names in the tree genre that go alphabetically south. The avenues are also all 500 feet apart (as opposed to Portland's standard 200), giving it the impression of having at one time been someone's hope for a city. SW.

North Portland, Multnomah Co. North Portland is by all means still Portland, but at one time included one town called Albina and another called St. Johns. North Portland runs off the same grid as Portland, but the avenues are not numbered. Every street, avenue, road, or boulevard is named. This can make navigation slightly difficult, especially when trying to find Easy St.; It is one block long. Also, streets on the same parallel may not have the same name. Furthermore, the entire grid changes slant in about three places. The St. Johns area is nice, but be careful between 14th Ave. and Chatauqua Blvd. N.

Orenco, Washington Co. Orenco is a little 25 square block plat that was most likely somebody's dream for a city. It has now been surrounded by Hillsboro both geographically and postally. A multi-use community has been built just to the northwest of the original plat. Street names are alphabetical south with a tree motif: Alder, Birch, Chestnut, Dogwood, Elm, Fir, Quatama... hey, a 'Q' looks kinda like a 'G'... Orenco Station, as it is called, is a beautiful old-looking new community built around a new MAX station. NW.

Sauvie's Island, Multnomah Co. The southern half of Sauvie's Island lies within Multnomah Co., but the upper unpopulated half lies within Columbia Co. Sauvie's Island has a farmer's market in the summers, and plenty of nude beaches... so I've heard. This island hasn't yet been touched by Portland city limits, and I doubt it will be. NW.

Tonquin, Clackamas Co. Tonquin is a little area just south of Tualatin. Like Orenco, this town has traces that look like it might have been an actual town at one time. The whole of the remainder is no more than 9 blocks big, and the streets that still have number designations are now (still?) dirt roads. There is, however, a beautiful abandoned railroad depot on Tonquin Lp.
SW.