Being close to the Pacific Ocean, Portland has many draws for outdoor enthusiasts. But for those who love the city life, Portland also offers plenty of entertainment and shopping. One example of this is the Pearl District. Originally a district devoted to light industry, a railroad and warehouses, today this neighborhood has become a destination for the arts and upscale businesses. The neighborhood has been undergoing urban renewal since the 1980s, reflecting the arrival of artists and the Portland Streetcar.
Real estate in Pearl District, Portland
For the real estate, this has meant that Pearl District has seen many of those former warehouses have received a second life as lofts and condo conversions. Additionally, many high rises have been built to accommodate the influx of new residents. So what is the draw of this northern neighborhood? Nestled just north of downtown, the Pearl District offers an easy commute into the business district.
The real move toward its renewal came when the Lovejoy Viaduct was demolished. Suddenly land close to the water was open for development. Two of the Lovejoy Columns have been preserved. These columns were painted by various railroad watchmen who worked under the viaduct. This artistic flair is also evident in the number of art galleries that have popped up throughout this neighborhood. The name of the district reflects how the warehouses can appear to be similar to crusty oysters, while the artists and their galleries are the pearls within them.
By combining artistic galleries, boutiques and restaurants, the Pearl District has grown into a mecca for the artistic residents and those who support the arts. The residents also have a few bars and clubs to visit for evening entertainment.
About the neighborhood
The neighborhood is also home to some of Portland’s most important icons. One such icon is Powell’s City of Books. The headquarters of this chain of bookstores holds the claim of being the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world. They are the source for out-of-print and used books. Currently, they purchase over 3,000 used books on a daily basis. The bookstore was also a charter member of Google eBooks, when it was announced in late 2010.
For those who enjoy outdoor green spaces, the Fields Park provides a dog park, along with performing spaces, community activity buildings and a walking trail. Tanner Springs Park includes a recreated wetlands area, along with walking trails and even a creek. Jamison Square is home to the fountains, such as artificial waterfalls that create a tidal pool. This pool is drained periodically by means of a grated draining system.
This district is more than just the artistic area, but also houses some of Portland’s local breweries. The former Winehard Brewery, which operated until 1999, was part of a brewing complex. When it was purchased by Miller Brewing, the complex was sold for redevelopment as the Brewery Blocks.
In addition to being a source of creativity, the Pearl District is also home to the main U.S. Postal Office processing facility for all of Oregon and southwestern Washington. The location for this facility was based on the need to make it accessible to the outlying towns. Throughout the years, the Pearl District has gone from being a port to a destination all its own.