St. Johns: An Up and Coming Neighborhood in North Portland
Moving to St. Johns, With One of the City’s Best Bridges
Tucked away in North Portland, the St. Johns neighborhood is essentially a small town in a big city. St Johns is often described as being somewhat isolated from the Portland metro, however, this quaint neighborhood is well connected to the city with bus lines (74, 4, 17) and the Max, making it an easy ride to the city center.
With a terrific balance of urban activity and small town charm, St. Johns is gaining attention from Millennials and other young Portland residents looking to relocate or to buy their first home. Yet despite the area’s steady population growth, St. Johns remains one of the most unpretentious neighborhoods in Portland.
Strong Community Ties in Portland’s St. Johns Neighborhood
Portland neighborhoods thrive on community, and the St. Johns neighborhood is no exception.
When couple Stacy Rutherford and Bryce Poulin moved in to their new St. Johns home last year, they were touched by the palpable community ties. “Our neighbors have been nothing but kind and welcoming since we arrived. Neighbors look out for each other on vacation, and there’s a network of community engagement and support – it’s very different from other neighborhoods we’ve lived in, but we’re here to stay.”
Other residents love experiencing St. Johns’ sense of community through the ever-growing supply of independent businesses. Scarlett Broore, a teacher in the area, says she too loves being a regular at the Mercado. “It’s great to support family run businesses in the neighborhood, Panaderia Santa Cruz Taqueria brings people together over good food and good practice.”
And St. Johns is brimming with locally run spots. Pay a visit to 2 Stroke Coffee for your morning cup of Joe, or Mama San Soul Shack for a bite to eat, and the The Fixin’ To for an evening drink, and you’ll experience the strong sense of community and entrepreneurship that St. Johns offers.
Nature in the St. Johns Neighborhood
One of the greatest draws to the St. Johns neighborhood is its expansive green space. Cathedral Park is the neighborhood’s largest outdoor recreation area. In the summer, this beautiful riverfront park hosts Jazzfest beneath the St. Johns bridge, creating a stunning scene of musicians, park-goers, and local passersby.
St. Johns also offers easy access to Portland’s prized nature spots, including Forrest Park. For a quick morning hike, residents can cross over the bridge to begin exploring 5,157 acres of lush urban forest.
Looking for something on a smaller scale? Bike over to the Skidmore Bluffs instead. Pack a picnic basket, and soak in the Bluffs' sweeping views of the West Hills, the Willamette River, and the downtown skyline.
St. Johns Attractions Worth Noting
Any article talking about the St. Johns neighborhood would surely be incomplete without at least a cursory mention of the historic St. Johns Bridge. Spanning the Willamette River and connecting St. Johns to the industrial district of Linnton on the other side, the bridge is famously the only suspension bridge in the Willamette Valley, and cited among many Portlanders as being their favorite of the many bridges in the city.
When it comes to the aesthetics of the bridge, one fervent Yelper even notes, “In the secular, progressive Pacific Northwest, crossing the St. John's Bridge is a religious experience, along with taking in Cathedral Park underneath it.”
Additionally, the neighborhood of St. Johns exists in close proximity to Sauvie Island, with the 20-plus minute drive bringing area residents to plenty of seasonal activities. Known for being the largest island along the Columbia River, Sauvie Island features a designated wildlife area, Sturgeon Lake, several beaches for sunning in the summer (including a famous nude beach), and many family farms. Those farms provide visitors the opportunity to purchase freshly cultivated vegetables and fruits, flowers in the appropriate seasons, and host a of special events that include things like the Pumpkin Patch and corn maze in the fall.
St. Johns Schools
St. Johns has a growing family-friendly reputation among Portland neighborhoods. In large part, this is due to the large number of Portland public schools in the area. For elementary students, St. Johns offers James John Elementary School. In terms of secondary schools, St. Johns is home to Roosevelt High School. Each of these St. Johns neighborhood schools is visually stunning, with historic brick facades. But here’s the real reason these schools stand out: teachers’ commitment to student success.
Jose Govea, a neighborhood parent, praises Roosevelt High School for its commitment to helping students graduate with plans for their future. Jose believes that, “with academic scores on the rise and the sports starting to show pride for their programs, Roosevelt High School is becoming what it was once created to be – a place to plan for success and a center of the community.”
Neighborhood Safety in St. Johns
As a freight/commuter corridor, St. Johns has a longstanding industrial history. While the area’s proximity to the interstates does contribute to crime rates in the neighborhood, the St. Johns Neighborhood Association recognizes the need to keep the community safe. The Association formed SALT, the Safety and Livability Team, which meets monthly to take proactive measures to improve public safety, crime and general livability concerns.
For its part, the community definitely welcomes these efforts. Jihae, a St. Johns resident, claims that, “St. Johns definitely has an eccentric vibe, but it is not a crime capital by any means. Recently, the neighborhood association banded together, applied for, and were rewarded a grant by the government to revitalize the main street area – I've seen some really great steps made by this organization to draw in businesses and unify the neighborhood.”
As a neighborhood dedicated to action, St. Johns shows much promise for improving local area safety.
Put Down Roots in the St. Johns Neighborhood
As Portland changes and adapts, St. John's remains largely isolated from the city’s growing pains. But with its wealth of local businesses and tons of community charm, this scenic enclave won’t be a secret for much longer. If you’re looking to stretch your budget, or if you’re on the hunt to relocate to a family-friendly area, let Options Financial help you start your search for a home in St. Johns today.