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Neighborhood Guide: Sellwood-Moreland

Shopping and outdoor activities are never far at this charming corner of Portland that feels like its own small town.

Take full advantage of the flourishing sidewalk culture. | Photo via @sellwood_scenes

Take full advantage of the flourishing sidewalk culture. | Photo via @sellwood_scenes

Table of Contents

No matter the time of year, there’s always something that brings people to Sellwood-Moreland: summer nights skating at Oaks Park Roller Rink, beautiful fall weddings at Oaks Pioneer Church, twinkling lights in the lofty Christmas tree, or the cherry blossoms along Crystal Springs Creek. People stay because of the tightly-knit community — and you might too after seeing all that it has to offer.

The early days

For centuries, Indigenous peoples lived and traded across the region that’s now considered Southeast Portland. In the mid-1840s, settlers began arriving on the Oregon Trail to stake land claims, establishing fruit orchards, logging operations, and livestock farms. A muddy passage through the brush linked residents to the nearby town of Milwaukie; the original course lives on as Southeast Milwaukie Avenue.

In 1882, a real estate company purchased 321 acres from John Sellwood, an Episcopal minister, and in 1887, Sellwood was officially incorporated (it was annexed by Portland in 1893). By the end of the 1920s, Sellwood was better connected thanks to the original Sellwood Bridge (finished in December 1925) and a streetcar line.

Need to know

Sellwood-Moreland ecompasses two districts: its northern half is Westmoreland, while the southern part is simply called Sellwood. For clarity, if you venture beyond the Max Orange line and golf course on Southeast Bybee Boulevard, you’ll find Eastmoreland, an entirely separate neighborhood.

The current Sellwood Bridge (built 2013-2016) also provides Portland’s southernmost crossing of the Willamette River, connecting to the South Waterfront neighborhood and Lake Oswego via Oregon Route 43.

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Can’t miss

A trip to Sellwood-Moreland isn’t complete without lunching on loaded Tillikum fries at PDX Sliders, or visiting the Sellwood Farmers Market (Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., May to October). Though it may seem morbid at first, Wilhelm’s Portland Memorial Mausoleum and Garden of Remembrance is one of the city’s most tranquil and elegant places to respectfully explore; the facility opens to the public on Memorial Day + for monthly guided group tours.

A plant store in Sellwood

Roots of Joy Botanicals | Photo via @sellwood_scenes

Shop

Antiquing is the ticket to a guaranteed good time, and there are a lot of options, but there are also contemporary stores to peruse.

Outdoors

With connections to the Springwater Corridor, this neck of the woods is a retreat for birders, bicyclists, and everyone in between.

  • Covering 163 acres, Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge’s diverse habitats make it a haven for hawks, great blue herons, and many other feathered friends. Observing frogs + salamanders in Tadpole Pond is a popular field trip for local school kids. Pro tip: Catch the sunset from the bluffs on 13th Avenue and Sellwood Boulevard.
  • Westmoreland Park contains a nature-themed playground, sports fields, pétanque courts, a fly-casting pond, and a boardwalk that immerses you in the wetlands.
  • Pondering the perfect place to stage a picnic? Try Johnson Creek Park.
  • Sellwood Park has towering evergreens, baseball diamonds, horseshoes pits, trails that connect to other natural areas, the public Sellwood Outdoor Pool, and an off-leash, riverfront dog park.
Loaded Tillikum fries with fried chicken and buffalo sauce at PDX Sliders

Our eyes can’t get enough of these fries. | Photo via @pdxsliders

Eat + drink

Dining here is as convenient as it is tasty — most bars and restaurants are located along either Southeast Milwaukie Avenue or Southeast 17th Avenue.

  • Come for the snarky menu, stay for the framed napkin art; Bertie Lou’s Cafe does breakfast as it’s supposed to be done… slathered in gravy.
  • Dig into Reverend’s BBQ’s sliced beef brisket (holy cow) and smoked St. Louis-cut pork ribs, plus delicious sides like griddled polenta with creamed corn + Tasso ham, collard greens, and creamy potato salad.
  • Variety is the spice of life at Piknik Park and Sellwood Corner Food Carts.
  • You’re on track to zen at Tea Chai Té, where you can browse 120+ looseleaf options inside a train caboose painted bright red.
  • Speakeasy and don’t spill the secret. Up the stairs to a nondescript yellow house, enter Bible Club, a Prohibition-style cocktail lounge with memorabilia, crystal glassware, and sometimes even flapper + dapper mixologists.

Entertainment

Between the annual Milk Carton Boat Race, train rides with the Oregon Pacific Railroad, and of course, the iconic Oaks Amusement Park, there’s never a dull moment. Here are some other ideas.

  • Grab a pint and popcorn, sit back, and watch new releases and beloved classics at Moreland Theater — matinees (before 6 p.m.) are only $8.
  • The Sellwood Community House presents plenty of things to do, like camps for kids, dance lessons, concerts from local musicians, and more.
  • Someone’s pulling strings to get you to the Portland Puppet Museum, where all ages can learn about the ancient art form, enjoy seasonal exhibits, and even take home a puppet building kit. The museum is also free to the public.
A mural depicts two black bears, flowers, and other natural motifs.

Artist Jeremy Nichols gave The Iron Horse building in Westmoreland a facelift. | Photo via @heather.v.keeling

Arts + culture

From wildlife-inspired murals to colorfully-painted intersections, Sellwood-Moreland is a place where creativity thrives.

  • Lighthearted browsing or serious collecting are both okay at Mark Humpal Fine Art, a gallery that features paintings and sculptures produced by Oregon artists from 1860 to 1970.
  • Connect with a diverse selection of works at Grounded Gallery, including sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, and more.
  • Open your eyes to the limitless creative possibilities (a little caffeine won’t hurt) with Awake Coffee & Art, where the lattes and group classes bring everyone together.
A view from the Sellwood Bridge looking south at floating homes

Waterfront and on-the-water property | Photo via @focalcords

Where to live

If you’re sold + looking to buy a home in the area, here are some housing options currently on the market:

  • 7975 SE 19th Ave. | 3 BD, 1.5 BA | $595,000 | Revel in summer evenings on the front patio and chase the winter chill away around the living room fireplace.
  • 1604 SE Claybourne St. | 3 BD, 3 BA | $644,900 | This townhome is just steps from the main drag, Llewellyn Elementary School, and a QFC grocery store.
  • 6901 SE Oaks Park Way #14 | 2 BD, 2 BA | $1,200,000 | Wake up every morning on the Willamette River in this dual-level floating home.
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