I’ll admit it. When I was looking to move to Portland, I’d never heard of the Irvington neighborhood. I’d heard of Hawthorne, Mt. Tabor, Nob Hill, the Pearl District… but not Irvington. It turns out that Irvington has everything I’m looking for. It has tall, mature trees, it’s near parks, a mall, public transportation and just minutes from downtown.
Irvington is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Portland, established as an upper middle class neighborhood in the late eighteen nineties. In fact, walking these tree lined sidewalks if one looks carefully, one can see dates of construction imprinted in bricks on the sidewalk. There are also occasional metal rings along the sidewalk from the days when Irvington’s residents had to tie up a horse rather than park a car.
Just minutes from Lloyd Center, the biggest mall in Portland, Portland Community College’s Cascade Campus and the Mississippi, Hawthorne, Mt. Tabor and Alberta Neighborhoods, Irvington is a convenient source of city life sitting just outside the urban center. Those that drive can easily get to both I-5 and I-84, while those who choose to bike, walk, or Max it will find it just as easy to get around.
We live on a quiet suburban cul-de-sac just around the corner from the coffee shop where my wife works. She gets up in the morning, ties her hair up in a bun and walks around the corner. The amount of money saved on gas and parking allows us to enjoy other activities such as going to the zoo or doing karaoke at Suki’s.
At noon my wife calls and needs me to pick up something for the house. I hop into the car and drive for a few minutes until I reach Lloyd Center. This large carpeted mall has everything I need without the noise and ugliness of a warehouse super store.
Irvington. . . There’s a tennis court, an off leash dog park, and a playground.There’s a similar park on the other end of the neighborhood. No matter where you live in Irvington, you’re within walking distance to a fantastic park.
After we relive some childhood magic on the swings, we leave the park and walk past a myriad of interesting boutiques, art galleries, and aromatic restaurants. We settle on a Thai place (well, rather, she settles and I go along with her because I know what’s good for me). We sit under a heat lamp on the sidewalk, while our labradoodle sits and greets everyone passing by her. The food comes and we savor it while observing the bikes and pedestrians strolling by us. We finish our meal, leave a nice tip and as we walk back to our home, we notice that each and every house is unique and attractive. There’s not a loser in the bunch. No cookie cutter suburbs here, just wrap around porches, pointed eaves and folks of all ages reading books, smoking pipes or simply shooting the breeze on this fine autumn evening.
A sense of pride wells up in me as we trudge into our home, kick off our shoes and settle on the couch in front of a movie before bed. For me, this is Heaven.