The North Portland neighborhood of Kenton has everything a family could ask for — parks, a library and restaurants galore. A Kenton resident for more than 60 years, Paul Bunyan greets passersby at the corner of Denver and Interstate avenues. The 31-foot-tall metal statue was erected in 1959, on the 100th anniversary of Oregon becoming a state. While the mythical hero lumberjack is the neighborhood’s most iconic figure, this area of North Portland offers everyone who visits and lives there character, charm and plenty to see and do.
What Neighbors Say
Rachel Bogdanoff and her husband Kurt Brucato moved to Kenton two weeks before their daughter was born. That was 15 years ago and they’ve been proud residents ever since. “It’s been fantastic,” says Bogdanoff, who also has a 12-year-old son. Like many places in Portland, she says Kenton has developed over the years, including the addition of more houses, the library — which she and her family love — and new businesses popping up along Denver Avenue. “It’s easy not to leave the neighborhood. We can spend the whole weekend here.”
Like an emerald in a setting, Kenton Park sits nearly square in the middle of the neighborhood. The 12.4-acre park features a basketball court, soccer and softball fields, and our summertime favorite, a splash pad. In 2018, the city of Portland replaced the picnic tables, benches and drinking fountain — plus made the playground and play surfaces more accessible. Another gem of the neighborhood is the Kenton Library. It’s known for its large playroom used during storytimes and other programs. Just across the Columbia Slough is the Portland International Raceway, where you can watch drag and auto races, motocross and more. It’s also home to the popular Winter Wonderland holiday drive-through light show.
North Denver Avenue is Kenton’s main street and serves as the neighborhood’s social hotspot. It’s also where many of its best eateries are located. For locally sourced coffee, house-made pastries and hearty sandwiches, Posies Bakery & Cafe is a neighborhood mainstay. Pro tip: There’s even a kids menu, with approved favorites like peanut butter and jelly, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Residents love Fino Bistro and Pizzeria for its made-from-scratch pastas and pizzas. Kenton newcomer Casa Maya — which opened in 2020 — already has a loyal following because of its tacos and burritos. Don’t forget to get a churro!
To read about more fun neighborhoods like this one, check out the rest of our Neighborhood Guide.