Lents Neighborhood Portland is in transition. It was a run down area that is really close to Portland, but it had been neglected, and was rampant with drugs and prostitution. In 2004, Portland set in motion an urban renewal plan for Lents, that meant a new Max Light Rail would be coming in, and the neighborhood would have low cost loans available to build and start businesses, and remodel homes. Portland also spent millions of dollars upgrading streets and sidewalks. It looked like things were off to a good start, housing prices were going up, things were selling……until the crash in 2008….when everything screeched to a halt. It stayed down, even thought the Max was in, until just recently. Lents was listed as one of the top 10 hottest neighborhoods, which shocked me, but it is probably because it is changing, getting discovered, and houses are selling again.
So looking to the future, The new MAX orange line has 3 stops right in this neighborhood alone! This neighborhood is only a few minutes from Portland if you take Foster to Powell, and go into town. And it has, I think, a bright future. Now more about the neighborhood and what it has to offer now.
Where are Lent’s boundaries?
The northern boundary of Lents Neighborhood is SE Powell Blvd, the west is somewhere between SE 78th and 82nd…depending on where you are. The south boundary is Mt Scott Blvd and Flavel- and the east boundary is SE 112th. The neighborhood is one of the largest in the city- and one of it’s oldest. It is also very diverse- with many Asian, Russian/Eastern European, and Latino immigrants.
The NE corner of the Lents Neighborhood overlaps with the Powellhurst-Gillbert neighborhood. In addition to Powellhurst-Gilbert on the north and east, Lents Neighborhood also borders Foster-Powell, and Brentwood-Darlington on the west and Pleasant Valley on the east.
Lents Neighborhood has so many historic homes with hardwood floors, character, wide moldings, attics and basements and big yards! There are several parks here too- Lents Park being the biggest at 38 acres. It is a huge beautiful park with lots of trees, fields for playing ball and Frisbee, a water feature for kids to play in, playground equipment and even a summer crafts program for kids. There is a lot of community involvement- and programs to get people together. This is an awesome place for young families to live, because it’s still affordable, but on it’s way up! Check out the community calendar and the neighborhood website.
The new MAX line rns along 205- from Clackamas Town Center to connect with the east west MAX that goes into downtown. When I go to Lents, I just go across the Ross Island, out on Foster to 82nd, and am there from downtown in less Lhan 10 minutes. You can also take I-84 to I-205 and get off at Foster and 92nd. There are also several good bus lines- TriMet lines 10-Harold, 14-Hawthorne, 17-Holgate, and 71-60th Avenue/122nd Avenue and 72-82nd Avenue.
The map above splits Lents Neighborhood into the different areas that make it up. The Springwater trail runs right through it. It is going to be a 40 mile long trail that starts in Sellwood and goes out to Gresham. It has spots along it that the homeless camp out on, and the city is trying to fix that problem. Other than that it is an amazing feature to have in your neighborhoood. Lents Neighborhood community established the first-ever international farmers’ market. Food vendors at the market will represent a variety of ethnic foods, including Hmong, Hispanic, Turkish and Mien. The market features fresh produce, live music, chef demonstrations and kid’s activities. The Lents market is unique – it’s the only market that will accept WIC and senior coupons this year, and beginning next year, vendors will accept Oregon food stamps. The markets are held in the summer from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. next to Crossroads Plaza on Southeast 92nd Avenue and Foster Road .
They also have several festivals, that I have listed below under parks and festivals.
Parks, Farms, festivals and Markets
Lents Farmers Market
Lents community has established the first-ever international farmers’ market. Food vendors at the market will represent a variety of ethnic foods, including Hmong, Hispanic, Turkish and Mien. The market features fresh produce, live music, chef demonstrations and kid’s activities. The Lents market is unique It’s the only market making an effort to be accessible to people who might not normally attend farmers’ markets due to financial or language barriers. Vendors at the market will accept WIC and senior coupons this year, and beginning next year, vendors will accept Oregon food stamps. They take place in the summer. The markets are held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. next to Crossroads Plaza on Southeast 92nd Avenue and Foster Road.
Urban Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Stand
Right on the corner of 80th and Foster is a wonderful fresh fruit and vegetable market with huge crates of whatever is fresh and in season…..at a huge discount. I have gone there many many times, and think it’s the best deal in the whole Portland Metro area for fresh produce. The staff is super nice- and it’s right on the main road, so easy to get in and out of.
- The Springwater Trail goes right through Lents- it starts in Sellwood- goes north along Oaks Bottom and connects with the Esplanade that floats on the Willamette River- and goes east from Sellwood along Johnson Creek through beautiful wetlands and forests- coming out in Lents- and going on to form a future 40 mile loop. I’ve ridden it from Sellwood- it is pretty cool! I can be in Lents in just 10 or 15 minutes! There is more about the Springwater Trail with maps, links, photos and more If you look below to the Park Section.
- Zenger Farm A unique working urban farm that is open for tours, teaches classes to kids about sustainable farm practices, and helps build community closeness!
- Festivals: Music in the Park are outdoor concerts in Lents Park all summer long! Check out the calendar to find out when and what.
- There is also the Founders Day Parade that celebrates Lents History.
- The Slavic Festival, which is a celebration of slavic history and people that live in Portland. It is held each summer in Lents park with entertainment, food, games and fun for all ages
- Lents Street Fairis a fun, free, family-friendly community event with more than 50 craft and food vendors plus the Lents International Farmers Market, children’s area with a bouncy castle, face-painting and fun activities, live music and dancing, games, beer garden, the Belmont goats, Lents history display, community booths, free bike repair, and a chicken beauty contest.
History of Lents Neighborhood
Lents was originally platted as the Town of Lent by Oliver P. Lent (1830–1899) in 1892. The original town was bounded by SE Foster Rd., SE Duke St., SE 92nd Ave, and SE 97th Ave.
Lent’s town was originally built as a self-sufficient town and suburb of Portland. As Portland spread further out, Lent’s was annexed into the city in 1912. Because of its distance and lower income class, it has been repeatedly neglected by the city. The I-205 Freeway was originally destined for 39th Ave., but the money in Laurelhurst fought it off. Then it was planned for 52nd Ave, but by the time it came to final planning, the city had grown. This necessitated moving it further out to 95th Ave. Lents did not have the money to fight the city, and the freeway was built, ripping the suburb in half. In contrast, Maywood Park at NE Prescott St., was able to secede from the city, establish themselves as their own city, and politically fight the freeway from cutting through their neighborhood.
The City of Portland has seen the huge potential in Lents- and is bringing her back to life establishing it as an Urban Renewal Zone, subsidizing new building and remodeling costs and temporarily waiving property taxes. Many new homes and businesses have been established and more are planned. The MAX light rail system is being expanded southward from the Gateway hub, along I-205 to the Clackamas Town Center.
Other Important Links
The MAX and buses make public transportation really good!
You can find all kinds of [pmaps] even exactly what happened where, if you just put in an address in Portland. There are lots of other things you can learn there- like census information, maps, school info, parks, environmental issues, permits on houses, nuisance complaints and taxes.