Northwest District, Portland, Oregon

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Northwest District
A shot of NW 21st Avenue, including the popular independent film theater Cinema 21
A shot of NW 21st Avenue, including the popular independent film theater Cinema 21
Northwest District is located in Portland, Oregon
Northwest District
Northwest District
Coordinates: 45°31′58″N 122°41′55″W / 45.53264°N 122.69872°W / 45.53264; -122.69872Coordinates: 45°31′58″N 122°41′55″W / 45.53264°N 122.69872°W / 45.53264; -122.69872
PDF map
Country United States
State Oregon
City Portland
 • Association Northwest District Association
 • Coalition Neighbors West/Northwest
 • Total 1.33 sq mi (3.44 km2)
Population (2000)[1]
 • Total 11,455
 • Density 8,600/sq mi (3,330/km2)
 • No. of households 7,567
 • Occupancy rate 94% occupied
 • % households renting 85% renting
 • Avg. household size 1.51 persons

The Northwest District is a densely populated retail and residential neighborhood in the Northwest section of Portland, Oregon. Craftsman- and Old Portland-style houses are packed tightly together with grand old apartment buildings and sleek new condominiums, within walking distance of restaurants, bars, and shops. The Portland Streetcar's first line (the NS Line) terminates here, connecting the district to the Pearl District, Downtown Portland and points to the south.

The district stretches west to east from the base of the West Hills (Tualatin Mountains) to I-405 (between NW 15th and 16th avenues), and north to south from NW Nicolai St. and the Willamette River to W Burnside St. It borders the neighborhoods of Forest Park and Hillside on the west, Northwest Industrial on the north, the Pearl District on the east, and Goose Hollow on the south.

This part of Portland is known more by names for various streets and areas within it than by its official name. These include:

  • NW 23rd Ave. Dubbed Trendy-third,[2] this major shopping street is lined with swanky clothing boutiques and other upscale retail, mixed with cafes and restaurants. This area is also known as Uptown (particularly its southern end near W Burnside St.) and includes Nob Hill (centered on NW 23rd Ave. and NW Lovejoy St.). Music retailer Music Millennium, considered a local icon and national leader in the music-selling industry,[3] operated what was then its main store on NW 23rd Avenue from 1977 until 2007.[4]
  • NW 21st Ave. The neighborhood’s other main commercial district is a dining and entertainment destination, with popular restaurants, an independent film theater, and numerous bars, pubs, and nightclubs.
  • The Alphabet Historic District, an area zoned for historic preservation extending roughly between NW 17th and 24th Avenues, and between W Burnside and NW Marshall Streets.[5] It is named for the alphabetical progression of street names in the area[citation needed] and in 2000 was added to the National Register of Historic Places.[6]
Alphabet District street sign topper in Northwest Portland

Beyond NW 21st and 23rd are residential districts and recreational areas, such as the forested Macleay Park (acquired 1897, in the Forest Park neighborhood). Parks within the Northwest District include Couch Park (1977) and Wallace Park (1920). Northwest District public schools include Chapman Elementary School and the Metropolitan Learning Center. Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital and Medical Center and Linfield College-Portland Campus are located between NW 23rd and NW 22nd avenues.

Several characters in Portland native Matt Groening's television show The Simpsons have names based on the alphabetically named streets in the Northwest District: Ned Flanders, the bully Kearney, Reverend Lovejoy, Mayor Quimby, Milhouse Van Houten (actually in North Portland), and possibly C. Montgomery Burns[ide] (also named for the large neon Montgomery Park, formerly Montgomery Ward, sign).[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Demographics (2000)
  2. ^
  3. ^ Carlin, Peter Ames (December 24, 2010). "Terry Currier and Music Millennium: The growth, and near-death, of a Portland icon". The Oregonian. Retrieved February 6, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Neighborhood Briefs". Portland Tribune. August 21, 2007. Retrieved September 21, 2014. 
  5. ^ City of Portland, PortlandMaps, retrieved May 18, 2014 .
  6. ^ "Oregon National Register List" (PDF). Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. June 6, 2011. p. 29. Retrieved June 20, 2011. 
  7. ^ Larry Carroll (2007-07-26). "'Simpsons' Trivia, From Swearing Lisa To 'Burns-Sexual' Smithers". MTV. Retrieved 2007-08-17.