SE Portland Oregon holds a special place in my heart. I grew up in a suburb on the SE side called Milwaukie. I went to View Acres grade school, McLoughlin Jr High and Rex Putnam High School for my first year of high school.
The whole of the SE Portland Oregon area is made up of Hawthorne, Belmont, Clinton/Division, and Sellwood/Westmoreland.
Southeast Portland is a place where old meets new. Like most of the rest of Portland, the SE area is in a constant state of renovation and improvement. Tree-lined avenues are a big draw for incoming families to make a life for themselves. The older houses where many a kid grew up are met with newer condos with some of the highest rents in Portland (over in the Hawthorne area).
SE Portland Oregon was among the first areas to really accommodate the storm of bicyclists with paths and corridors. It's a great place for shopping and antiquing, with stores for everyone spread throughout. If you don't have a plan for the day, you can just wander around and bump into art galleries, unique boutiques, ethnic stores, and some yummy places to fill your tummy. You'll still find abandoned stores and some rather seedy strip joints and head shops, but they are rapidly giving way to a Portland overhaul.
Since I was very young, I loved heading to the 100-year-old Oak Amusement Park to go roller skating with my friends. If I remember correctly, I even went a couple of times with my grade school class.
Ashamed as I am to say it, I haven't been there in some time, but I fondly remember the old Wurlitzer music playing as us kids did laps around the indoor skating rink. Man, that was some fun times that I really miss! In addition to the rink, you can bring the family and enjoy other old standard carnival rides as well as some fun new ones at Oaks Amusement Park on the banks of the Willamette River, 7805 SE Oaks Park Way.
Another warm and fuzzy memory of my childhood was going to the Organ Grinder Restaurant over on SE 82nd. The Organ Grinder was a family pizza parlor with a huge pipe organ placed in the middle of it all and underneath a movie screen, showing old silent movies. The wonderful films of a past age were accompanied by someone playing the pipe organ. It closed it's doors in 1996, but those memories will always stay with me.
For some nighttime excitement, visit the Clinton Street Theater any Saturday night to catch the "Rocky Horror Picture Show". They've been playing the movie every single weekend since April 1978 and the popularity is just as extreme as it ever was.
Of course, the Clinton Street shows other unique and underground films, but Rocky Horror is what it is really well-known for. Make sure you bring your toast! ;)
Portland's only volcano, Mt Tabor, is a lovely 200-acres of parkland to relax in and overlook the city. It's a great place to pack up a picnic lunch for and enjoy yourself, indulging in a good book or some rousing conversation with a friend.
If you've ever been to Portland Oregon, you'd have more than likely seen the "Keep Portland Weird" bumper stickers that people proudly show off on their vehicles. Well,Music Millennium, a popular record store over here in SE Portland Oregon was the originators of those. Now, you know for your next game of Trivial Pursuit. ;)
If you're looking for a terrific cup of coffee, head over to Stumptown Coffee on SE Division.
Stumptown is an independent coffee roaster that has been serving up steeping cups of Joe to the SE Portland Oregon residents since 1999. Here's another piece of surprising trivia for you: the people of Portland drink more gourmet coffee than any of place in the nation. Betcha didn't know that one, huh? Visit my Portland Coffee page for other coffee shops around town.
Just as any other part of Portland, the SE side is a place to discover all kinds of cool things.