Brooklyn neighborhood Portland is right on the Willamette River, next to the Ross Island Bridge, Tillicum Crossing and across from Ross Island, which has become a wildlife area. Brooklyn neighborhood is one of the oldest neighborhoods on the east side, with houses ranging from the 1890s on up. The neighborhood is small, sitting between Hywy 99E and the RR tracks. Some of my favorite streets in Portland are in this neighborhood. When I first started selling real estate in 2005, I had a listing on SE Pershing St. It was the cutest little narrow street with houses set close together that were built in the late 1800- early 1900s, with leaded glass windows, little gardens and Victorian high ceilings and bay windows. It felt like I was on a little street in a Europe, like I was stepping back into time or going into another era!
The boundaries for Brooklyn neighborhood are the Willamette river on the west, SE Powell Blvd on the north, Holgate and a little beyond on the south and SE 26th on the east. The neighborhoods it is bordered by are the Willamette River , Hosford-Abernathy, Creston-Kenilworth, Reed and Sellwood-Moreland neighborhoods.
There are a lot of cool old homes in Brooklyn neighborhood – but it has been divided and cut up by Powell Blvd, the Ross Island Bridge, Mcloughlin Blvd and 17th Ave and a lot of commercial and industrial down near the river. The houses are still cool, the neighborhood is getting fixed up- but it makes you wonder what happened- how did it get the way it is? So I decided to do some research on it, and found a very interesting history that sheds light on why the neighborhood looks the way it does. See the history below..
Here are some awesome future plans for the neighborhood- taken from it’s neighborhood site
The newly built Eastbank Esplanade and the OMSI-to-Springwater Trail extension allows the Brooklyn Neighborhood to embrace the Willamette river front once again. You can read more about the Springwater Trail under parks below. You can get on the Springwater Trail if you go south of Milwaukie- there is a trail entrance that takes you down into the beautiful wetlands and forest along the Willamette River. The new part of this trail will link the Brooklyn neighborhood to the entire 40 Mile Loop trail system. TheBrooklyn neighborhood board has been working with city officials to design a more direct access to the Springwater Trail from Brooklyn .
Public Transportation here is good. Tri-Met opened the new Orange line which stops at 17th and SE Rhine, goes out to Milwaukie, and across the river into Portland, so it has made a wonderful lind from the Brooklyn Neighborhood to downtown Portland , the inner Eastside area, and the communities of Sellwood , Oregon City, and Clackamas. A pedestrian bridge, also for bikes, has also opened recently, called Tilikum Crossing, is a cable stayed bridge that was built by Tri Met for the Max, but also services the Portland Street Car, buses, pedestrians, bicycles and emergency vehicles. The bike and pedestrian paths line both sides of the bridge and are 14 feet wide! It connects the Max station at OMSI to the OHSU south waterfront area. This makes it easy for people who live on the inner east side to get across the river and take the tram up to OHSU. The Willamette River is so pretty as it sparkles and glitters in the sunlight, or at night when the lights of the city are reflected in the water! Going across the bridge allows you to soak in this beauty!
Parks in Brooklyn Neighborhood
- East Side Esplanade is an amazing floating trail that you can walk or ride your bike on, along the east side of the Willamette River. It connects to the Springwater Trail on the east side, which goes all the way out to Gresham. Or, if you want to go to the west side, or downtown Portland, you can go across Tillicum Crossing pedestrian bridge and be in the south waterfront. Then take the trail south that goes along the river, through an area of cute and trendy restaurants and shop, past the Spaghetti Factory, and then along the river to Willamette Park. Or you can go over one of the northern bridges, like Steele Bridge, and ride along the river either east, into the Pearl District, or south through McCall Park, past the amazing McCall Fountain, and keep going all the way to Willamette Park….or take the Tillicum Crossing bridge back to Brooklyn area! Someday there will be a trail that will connect all this to the Sellwood Bridge on the west side.
- Brooklyn Park
is a small park 2.3 acres, in the center of Brooklyn neighborhood, that has a big grassy area, basketball court, horseshoe pit, paths – paved, picnic tables, playground, softball field, and statue or public art. It is a gathering place for young parents with their children, or kids who want to play ball. It has a unique art piece; three large golden granite boulders, situated near the play area, were sculpted into heads by California artist Marcia Donahue. The boulders, each weighing approximately 2-3 tons, were hand-picked by the artist at a ranch near Bakersfield, CA. The sculpture is aptly named Tête à Tête à Tête
Powell Park is 8 acres at 26th and Powell, so not technically in Brooklyn, but it has baseball field, basketball court, paths – paved, paths – unpaved, picnic shelter, picnic site – reservable, playground, soccer field, and volleyball court.
is an amazing wildlife refuge along the Willamette River in Portland. You can get to it by taking the Springwater Trail, just off Milwaukie, into Sellwood. You will get to Oaks Park first, which is a fun place for families with an old fashioned roller rink, and carnival rides. Just past Oaks Park, is Oaks Bottom, a grassy area that goes down to the river, where you can put in your kayak or canoe, run with your dogs, or jump in the river on a hot day! Hawks, quail, pintails, mallards, coots, woodpeckers, kestrels, and widgeons are just the start of the list of birds that one might encounter in Oaks Bottom. Scores of great blue heron are found in the area because of its proximity to one of the rookeries on Ross Island.
History of Brooklyn Neighborhood
The Clackamas Indian tribe lived here until 1851- when the first white trapper, named Tibbet, settled it, built a grist mill and built a home- naming it Brookland because of all the lakes, ponds and creeks on it. In 1868 he subdivided lots and allowed the railroad to come across it, which helped it to grow- and was settled by a lot of German Catholics- who built their homes and a big town square. The area thrived until 1920, when the city of Portland spread it’s wings and built the Ross Island Bridge- which destroyed the town square-and filled in many of the lakes and rivers. Then, as they expanded further, they built McGloughlin Blvd -and the 17th Ave overpass-the neighborhood was divided and completely cut off from the waterfront. It plunged into poverty- property prices dropped, and crime abounded. It wasn’t until the late 1970′ s and 1980’s that the neighborhood began it’s ascent back up to where it originally had started- a beautiful neighborhood. Today it is area in one of the more desirable of the SE neighborhoods- and the East Esplanade and plans for the betterment of the east waterfront area will help it continue to improve.
In 1999, The Ross Island Sand And Gravel Company announced a five year plan to cease operations on Ross Island and return control of the land back to The City of Portland. Details are not clear, but it appears that the island will be undergoing habitat restoration efforts in hopes of establishing a wildlife sanctuary.
Oaks Bottom is a floodplain wetland on the east bank of the Willamette River, that used to be a sanitation landfill. The city was going to develop it into industrial or housing back in the 1960s, but residents fought it, and it was instead turned into a protected wetland. It is really peaceful and beautiful, and the Springwater Trail goes right by it, so it is a fun place to stop for a dip when you are riding your bike on a hot day!
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.