The City of Troutdale, 16 miles east of downtown Portland along I-84, bills itself as the Gateway to the Columbia River Gorge. And in this Southeast suburb you are indeed closer to outdoor adventures in the Gorge and on Mount Hood. You can also find plenty of family-friendly arts and culture opportunities at museums including the Rail Depot Museum; the beautiful, German Art Nouveau Vista House with its wonderfully scenic views; art galleries dotting the main drag of Columbia River Highway; summertime outdoor movies and concerts; and monthly art walks during the summer months.
Troutdale also offers more bang for your housing bucks with larger homes and bigger lots at a more affordable price tag than you can find in Portland proper. For example, a 3-bedroom, 3-bath, 2,000-square-foot house on a quarter-acre lot recently sold for $445,000.
What Neighbors Say
Ale and Ben Kloch and their daughter moved from Southeast’s Foster-Powell neighborhood to Troutdale in 2014 and have been extremely happy since. “We like the duality of Troutdale,” says Ale. “It has the calmness and quiet of a small town, while still having great amenities and nature. It’s a short hop onto the freeway, and you can get to the mountain or to the city in roughly the same time! As a family that craves nature and good restaurants this little town has struck the perfect balance for our lives.”
Troutdale wasn’t initially at the top of their list for a new home, but the ability to have a large space for gardening at a price they could afford, won them over. “My husband and I joke that we bought the yard, (and) the house was just an added bonus,” says Ale. As for the downsides, Ale wished there had been more families with younger children when they first moved in. She also notes that while there is public transportation, owning a car makes it much easier to get around. She’d like to see more diverse families in the area as well.
The Imagination Station at Columbia City Park draws families from all over the Portland-metro area (pictured above). The playground rebuilt in 2018 offers a dizzying array of play features and is an excellent spot for a summer birthday party. Pro tip: Reserve the tables in the covered picnic area. And in addition to the usual park amenities, Glen Otto Park on the Sandy River also offers a swimming beach and riverfront access. (Life jackets are highly recommended if you enter the water!) It’s the most used park in the Troutdale system and also the site of a summer arts festival.
And, of course, McMenamins Edgefield is a well-known destination for summer concerts on the lawn (pictured above right); its soaking pool; family-friendly Oktoberfest and other festivals; and brews and pub food. And shoppers looking to snag some deals can head to the Columbia Gorge Outlets for discounted Carter’s, Adidas and Columbia gear.
The Instagram-famous Sugarpine Drive-In on the Sandy River is more than just a spot for ice cream. Sugarpine’s elevated sandwiches and salads are must-tries as well. Neighbor Ale Kloch, is excited about the new Wayfinder Beer tasting room under construction, and the cart pods around downtown. “As a former chef, I’ve been thrilled with the growth in the culinary scene since we’ve moved here! Places like Sugarpine have carved a wonderful foothold in the community against a backdrop of the Sandy River and Gorge,” she says.
$525,000: Median home price
$1,695: Average rent for a 2-bedroom apartment
Sources: Realtor and Zumper