An Insider’s Look at Moving to the Montavilla Neighborhood in SE PDX

New to the Neighborhood: Discover Montavilla

Isolated between 82nd Avenue and Mount Tabor, Portland’s Montavilla neighborhood is home to a choice selection of historic homes, local business operations, and many under-the-radar eateries. With easy access to one of the best city parks and a host of conveniences with local flair, this neighborhood offers a desirable and affordable location for those looking to settle down in Portland.

While you may be further removed from central and downtown areas of the city, what the area lacks in proximity, it more than makes up for in neighborhood loyalty and charm.

If you’re planning to move to Montavilla, it’s important to realize you are moving into a tight-knit community filled with local establishments that people are proud to visit and support. Ready to settle in to community life in this tucked away neighborhood? Here’s what you need to know about life in the SE PDX neighborhood of Montavilla.

Home Sweet Home in SE Portland

Part of the close community feel that’s alive and well in Montavilla stems from the homes themselves; after all, you’ll be hard-pressed to find high-rise apartments in this neighborhood. Instead, most of the homes in Montavilla are single-family residences.

Traditional blocks of early twentieth century Bungalows and mid-century homes fill the streets located behind a few main thoroughfares. In turn, the high proportion of homes and quiet streets invite scenes of neighborhood block parties, children riding bikes, and people walking to dinner on busier Stark and Burnside streets.

If you’re moving to the area, be ready to embrace the neighborhood warmth and get to know those living around you.

Shop Local in Montavilla

Another factor that contributes to Montavilla’s old Portland charm are the local shops and longstanding establishments. On Stark Street alone, you’ll find favorite local watering holes like Roscoe’s and Montavilla Station.

You’ll also find cafés and restaurants that have been there upwards of a decade, like Bipartisan Café and the Country Cat, where the owners are equally invested in the community and what they make and sell. Bipartisan owners Peter and Hobie note that “Dozens and dozens of students, artists, and healers have been part of our family while they build their passions up. We have a farmers market, a theater, fantastic restaurants and more coming. We could not imagine the Bipartisan Café in any other neighborhood.” It's commitments like this from local businesses that have helped to build the neighborhood into what it is today.

Amongst these more well-established businesses, you’ll also find new locally-run shops like Montavilla Brew Works, which just celebrated its one-year anniversary.

While the success rate for restaurant industry-related businesses surviving after their first year is daunting, businesses have been able to establish roots and grow in this community. Why? Because people who live in this area take great pride in supporting their neighbors, a cause you should probably be ready to further upon moving to the Montavilla neighborhood.

The Community of Montavilla

The biggest factor that contributes to the strong thread of community that runs through this neighborhood is the people. Employees at the historic Academy Theater offer babysitting services for children ages 2 to 8 years old during movies Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The people who live here act in community-like fashion, supporting one another, to enjoy the best of what this little piece of Portland has to offer.

Proprietors know their customers by name and phone number, creating a sense of prized familiarity. When asked what he loves about the community and the relationships with his customers, local barber Johnny of Johnny’s Original Montavilla Barbershop responded by saying, “The Montavilla neighborhood has given me their trust and patronage all these years, and I’m now the village barber. I love Montavilla, it’s a real neighborhood, like back in the day.”

What’s Next for Montavilla

The neighborhood secret is out: Montavilla is a fantastic vestige of old Portland. Montavilla may also be the answer for families looking for a community-driven neighborhood with access to choice schools. The neighborhood provides access to desirable brew culture, indie theaters, and weekend brunch without ridiculous lines, throngs of tourists, and over-inflated prices.  

But with Portland’s rapid growth, and an influx of rent hikes spreading east, how long will this last? Portland native and Montavilla resident Bradley Vaughan shared, “Of course Montavilla is not immune to change, but if any neighborhood is going to hold out against new growth and commercialism, it’s Montavilla. This neighborhood has a pretty firm grip on what Portland used to be, and what it still is, to those that love this city.”

Local business owners echoed this sentiment. In resident barber Johnny’s words, “Montavilla is coming out of retirement.” But in the meantime, the neighborhood of Montavilla continues to offer an authentic, affordable experience in Portland, drawing newcomers and visitors to the area. The locals just want you to know one thing – they too are here to stay.

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2 Comments

  • Posted September 5, 2016 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really
    something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and very broad for me.
    I am looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the
    hang of it!

    • Adam Grabel
      Posted September 15, 2016 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      We always try to make our topics helpful and accessible for our audience. Our goal with this blog is to introduce people to the highlights of the Montavilla neighborhood as just one consideration. Absolutely feel free to reach out to us with specific questions that we can help you with on this topic, as well as the MCC program. We're happy to help!

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