Like this North Portland area’s name suggests, this compact neighborhood is named after a university — the University of Portland (pictured above). In fact, the Catholic campus, first founded in 1901, takes up a large swath of realty in the neighborhood’s southern corner. The neighborhood is snuggly wedged between the Willamette River to the south and bustling Lombard Street to the north, where you’ll find a diverse mix of established eateries and local services, like grocers, health care offices and CPAs. But University Park isn’t just home to college students, lots of families also live here. Here, modest homes line the streets and kids enjoy the green-space provided by two city parks.
What Neighbors Say
When Jillian and Conor Wing were house hunting in Portland, they were looking for a quiet, family-friendly neighborhood, with an easy commute around the city and to Vancouver for work. “We wanted the best of both worlds,” says Jillian Wing, “the neighborhood vibe and the city perks!”
The Wings have two kids, Warren, age 6, and Elsie, age 3, and family dog, Oak. They’ve lived in University Park for 10 years and love the neighborhood’s strong sense of community. “It is the kind of place where if a neighbor is ill, neighbors that don’t know them will be dropping off hot meals; if a tree is down, people are there to help move it; if you need a break from your crying baby, someone will volunteer to give you respite,” says Jillian, adding that University Park is also the Halloween neighborhood in Portland.
Neighbors also love that University Park has parks within walking distance. And most grade-school kids attend the public school and can walk or bike there. Jillian says despite the walkability, one challenge of living here is that many homes don’t have a driveway or a garage and have to rely on securing street parking. “University Park is an old neighborhood,” she adds. “When we first moved here there were way more large lots with old, interesting houses, the trend has been to tear them down and put up two smaller houses with very little green space.”
Neighbors looking to eat in this neighborhood head to Lombard Avenue, the neighborhood border, and dining hot spot. For classic seafood, visit The Fishwife (pictured above). Longtime University Park residents, Sharon and James Laughlin, opened the restaurant in 1989. Today, their daughter Lindsay runs it. There’s everything from Pacific oysters and clams, to cod and salmon, and kids will love the fried goodies in a basket, including fish and chips, or chicken fingers and fries. For family-friendly and sharable comfort Chinese classics, neighbors go to Chef Zhao, also on Lombard Avenue. Kids love the orange chicken, or the no-sauce-required mar far chicken. And for caffeine on the go, and stellar baked goods by Shoofly Vegan Bakery, families love No Wave Coffee on Portsmouth Avenue.
A perk of living in University Park is having the University of Portland campus in your backyard. Neighbors enjoy strolling through the picturesque campus, dotted with manicured lawns and trees, and being able to attend sports events (pictured above). Families also love easy access to McKenna Park. This 4.52-acre park has all the amenities for athletes, including soccer and softball fields, a basketball court — which was resurfaced in 2021 — and a playground for littles. Head west, and you’ll find another greenspace neighborhood gem, Portsmouth Park. This city park also features soccer and softball fields, a playground and picnic tables.
$599,900: Median home price
$2,025: Median rent for a 2-bedroom apartment
To read about more fun neighborhoods like this one, check out the rest of our Neighborhood Guide.
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