On May 1, 2020, Portland got a new district: South Portland. Carved out of Southwest Portland, the long, tall area is bordered by the Marquam Bridge to the north, then runs down the waterfront to the Sellwood Bridge and west along Southwest Barbur Boulevard. The neighborhoods of South Waterfront, Corbett, Lair Hill, Terwilliger and Johns Landing make up the new sextant (or as some stubborn, math-be-damned Portlanders may say, “sixth quadrant”).

The main reason for the addition of South Portland was to fix a pesky zero attached to the beginning of certain addresses in the area — and the headache it caused for delivery drivers and, more important, emergency responders. Jennifer Daneluk, Lair Hill resident and owner of neighborhood gathering spot Ross Island Grocery & Cafe, felt the name change was important despite some of the challenges it caused. “Our neighborhood is very unique in being one of the oldest and the newest neighborhoods in Portland,” says Daneluk. “Its long and rich history deserves a nifty, new name.”

Daneluk, who also serves on the South Portland Neighborhood Association, worked on the committee to celebrate the new name, but COVID-19 quashed the plans for a large outdoor concert with food and goodies donated from local businesses to introduce Portland to the boundaries of the new quadrant. 

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Still, residents do feel there is a lot to celebrate about the area that’s dotted with green spaces such as Elizabeth Caruthers Park and many beautiful Victorian homes. Daneluk’s neighbor Kecia Welt loves the neighborhood’s walkability. “South Portland is the best neighborhood for walking along the river or hiking up to Council Crest,” says Welt. “I can walk to Hillsdale or walk to Northwest, the Pearl or Southeast in less than an hour.” 

Elizabeth Caruthers Park, Photo: Portland Parks and Recreation

For Daneluk, it’s her neighbors. “My favorite thing about this neighborhood is its strong sense of community. Day after day we come together and support each other through this unprecedented challenge. It makes me very sure that South Portland is a great place to live.” 

Denise Castañon
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