Argay Russell and Wilkes Neighborhoods

The Argay Neighborhood, Russell Neighborhood and Wilkes Neighborhood are found in far east, far north, Portland. They are part of the city of Portland, but almost to Gresham.

wilkes, russel, argay neighborhood photo tourI will talk a little about each of these neighborhoods in this section of my neighborhood Guide.This area, in 2018 which is when I am updating the guide, came up in the top 10 hottest neighborhoods in the Portland area because houses are selling fast, and prices are going up. I know that won’t last, the neighborhoods just haven’t caught up with the prices or frenzy of the rest of Portland! I have labeled each neighborhood with a subheading. This area does have a higher crime rate than most of Portland, but there are pockets that are safe, and others that are not so safe. It is important to understand the neighborhood and do your research. You can check crime by going to, put in the address, and it will show you all the crimes that have occured over the past year or so. It is pretty interesting. If you are by one of the main streets, like Glisan, Halsey, Sandy etc, crime is higher, but if you are in a little protected neighborhood with no outlet to the main drags, it is usually safer.

Argay Neighborhood

Argay neighborhood is just east of Parkrose, it goes along the Columbia River, then goes south at 162d and stops at Halsey.  The Argay neighborhood is really divided into 2 sections, the industrial commercial section that is to the north of Sandy Blvd, and the area south of Sandy that is mostly residental.  The area close to Sandy has some rundown parts, and the crime seems to be higher here, mainly because Sandy Blvd and the industrial is so close. As you get farther south, the neighborhood gets nicer. The area right around Freemont has some cute houses with some winding streets, and some of these streets are protected from direct influence of Sandy.  The Argay neighborhood actually came up as one of the fastest selling areas of Portland, in 2018, because it has stayed so low in price, and now it is trying to catch up!

The area north of Sandy has lots 0f industrial type businesses, plus big stores like Costco, Home Depot, Ikea, and the Portland Airport is really close.  You have really good transportation options with 84 and 205 being so close to the neighborhood, plus you can go into town on Sandy Blvd or Marine Drive too.  So both shopping and restaurants are really close by, although there is no cute little artsy business area to go for a cup of coffee like the inner Portland neighborhoods have.

columbia river bike trailWhat I like about the Argay neighborhood is it’s proximity to the Columbia River and the Columbia Slough.  The Columbia River has some houses that you can buy along Marine Drive, right on the River with boat docks, which is pretty cool,   and the Columbia Slough has trails along it that you can walk on, or you can paddle up the slough, which connects all the way back to the Willamette River, Columbia slough - Argay Neighborhoodand ends in the Wilkes Neighborhood.  Houses here can have views of the mountains or if you are close to the river, you can see the Columbia and Washington beyond.

There are a couple of parks, Argay Park which has a reconstructed beautiful tennis court, play area, basketball court, dog off-leash area, paths – paved, paths – unpaved, picnic tables, playground, soccer field, softball and tennis back ball.  It is 8 acres.

The houses are mostly from the mid century era through the 90s, with quite a few apartments.   The Argay neighborhood is not really a walkable neighborhood, and most people don’t use public transportation that much, although you could get a bus on Sandy and take it into town.

Russell Neighborhood and Wilkes Neighborhood

Russell neighborhood and Wilkes neighborhood are put together with a hyphen most of the time, and they are quite similar.  Wilkes neighborhood is bigger, covering the area from the Columbia River all the way to Glisan  Most of the residential area is away from the industrial area, partly because the Wilkes neighborhood is alot longer, stretching closer to the center of NE Portland.  There are some really nice pockets in this neighborhood that may be surrounded by areas that are not so nice.  There are some neighborhoods that have mid century homes with big yards and hardwood floors, curved streets and sidewalks.  Most of the houses were probably built in the 70s and 80s, so they have decent sized yards,  although new houses are being built wherever they can fit them in, with the smaller yards and cookie cutter style.  It seems like the Wilkes neighborhood has alot of older people who have lived here all their lives, and are finally downsizing or moving out, so it is opening up to families.

columbia river bike trailWhat I like about Wilkes is the proximity to the Columbia River and the Columbia Slough. There is an amazing trail that runs along the Columbia in this neighborhood- it is long and wide and flat, and goes right along the river, perfect for biking with families. The first time I rode on it, we stopped at a little beach and dipped in the water to cool off. There was a sand beach that you could relax on.  Marine Drive goes right along there, but when you are down by the river you kind of forget the cars.  You can also put your kayak or canoe in along here if you are careful and don’t get into the current.   It is also nice because the neighborhood butts up against Glendoveer golf course, whichglendoveer golf and tennis is a huge golf and tennis club with a jogging trail that goes all the way around the perimeter. My daughter used to live out here several years ago, and used to jog everyday on the trail. She loved it!

I also like the Columbia Slough.  It is a narrow, small river that joins up with the Columbia about where it hits the Willamette. It also continues past the Willamette and goes all the way to St Helens. We used to take our motor boat out in the western section, and pass through miles of untouched beautiful farmland and forest.  The part of the slough that is here is pretty narrow, it is basically the beginning of the slough, but they are continuing a trail along it, and kayaks paddle down it and enjoy the small amount of nature in the big industrial park area.

Blue lake ParkThe Russell neighborhood is also close to Fairview and Blue Lake which is a fun place to take little ones in the summer to go swimming, as long as there isn’t an algae bloom. We used to go there when the kids were little.  But found it closed when the weather got too hot because of the algae.  You are also close to the gateway of the Columbia Gorge, which is breathtakingly beautiful!  There are so many waterfalls and trails through the foot hills of Russell neighborhood, it is nice to be so close!

The Russell neighborhood is also close to the airport, 84 and 205, but traffic can be bad going into the city, so it can take a long time to commute into town during rush hour.  Sandy Blvd or Marine drive can be a way to get closer into the city, but then you still have to brave the traffic getting over the bridges.   This isn’t a walkable neighborhood, really, unless you like to walk to strip malls and big plazas with stores.  There are alot of fast food restaurants, or big chain restaurants located here.

Russell neighborhood is between Parkrose Heights and Wilkes neighborhood.  It has some cute mid century neighborhoods with big yards and hardwood floors.  It is a little closer to the city, so has a few more of the older styles of home.

Parks in the Neighborhoods

columbia slough east portland

This shows the full Columbia Slough and the Columbia River with the trails and access points. It is an amazing area, even though parts of it have been caught up in industrial and business.


Columbia Slough Trail

Here is the full Columbia Slough Trail map that shows the whole area of the Columbia and how it branches into the narrow slow water sloughs that feed into it.