Neighborhood We Love: Goose Hollow

Photo courtesy Craig Mitchelldyer

The Goose Hollow neighborhood is actually older than the city of Portland.  And, yes, it was named after long-ago geese that women tended in the flood basin that stood before the neighborhood’s development. But you won’t find geese keepers these days in the neighborhood nestled just west of downtown Portland. One of the most walkable neighborhoods in the city, Goose Hollow gives families easy access to downtown culture and activities. Housing options range from tiny studio apartments to sprawling, historic, 6,000-square-foot Victorian homes. And Providence Park, which is the home of the Timbers, Thorns and Portland State (PSU) Vikings, is right in the neighborhood boundaries. If easy access to all that Portland has to offer is a top priority, Goose Hollow brings just that.

What Neighbors Say

Photo courtesy Vikki Rubens

While city living comes with many advantages, it can bring you face-to-face with Portland’s affordable housing and mental health crises as well. “I really like that living in Goose Hollow makes my kids pretty street-smart,” says 16-year resident Vikki Rubens, mom of a 9-year-old and 5-year-old. “They know how to maneuver public transportation and they have the stamina to walk all over town. As we walk into downtown, we are not cocooned from the realities of the homeless and the mental health crises. I remember having to explain to my then 4-year-old why a woman was screaming across the street at no one. It has built up an empathy and an understanding in my kids at an early age, not fear or ignorance.”

Rubens also likes that while Goose Hollow is so close to downtown, it has a strong neighborhood feel with long-term residents and a long history. “We have an annual Goose Hollow picnic, hosted and provided by Providence Park. And I really like that we are relatively close to everything — most things in Portland are 20 minutes away because we are in the center of Portland.” Rubens says a downside of living in Goose Hollow is that the houses tend to be older, with no garages and small backyards. Plus, the roads are a little too busy for kids to ride their bikes around the neighborhood.

Play Here

Just east of Goose Hollow, Portland State University offers a rich variety of fun for families from kicking a soccer ball around on the intramural field, to going to the university’s many cultural events to hitting the huge weekly Farmers Market at PSU. Plus downtown’s Central Library boasts one of the biggest and most beautiful children’s sections in the whole city. Families can also easily walk to Oregon Symphony Kids’ Concerts at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall and Oregon Children’s Theatre productions at the Newmark Theatre or Northwest Children’s Theater & School’s productions at its theater. Also, just out of neighborhood boundaries is Washington Park, home to the International Rose Test Garden, Japanese Garden and Oregon Zoo. And soccer fans, of course, have Providence Park right in the center of the neighborhood.

Eat Here

Goose Hollow is truly a neighborhood for doughnut lovers. Not only is it home to the Blue Star Donuts headquarters and a Coco Donuts location, but Hunnymilk, a brunch spot centered all around variations of fried dough, resides right on the border at Burnside. Even savory items like the Everything Beignet Benedict and Popcorn Chicken and Waffle Donuts have a doughnut twist. For those looking for something a little healthier, The Soop on West Burnside features Korean dishes with house-grown hydroponic greens. Also just outside of Goose Hollow, hit the Duck House Chinese Restaurant for steamed soup dumplings; resident Vikki Rubens says her kids can eat a whole basket by themselves. And Ding Tea PSU is a fun place to indulge in chewy boba drinks.

To read about more fun neighborhoods like this one, check out the rest of our Neighborhood Guide.

Denise Castañon
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