"old separate city, Now Known for Antiques, Eats" Sellwood by glabah

Sellwood Travel Guide: 20 reviews and 103 photos

The area now known as Sellwood was originally owned by the Reverend John Sellwood, and in 1882 he sold his land to a real estate development company. By 1887 the area had attracted enough business and residents that it was officially incorporated into a city.

In 1893, the city was merged into the city of Portland, but even today there is a bit of an independent spirit about the place, just as is the case in many of the older Portland neighborhoods that were once independent cities.

There are basically two types of streets in Sellwood: extremely busy, congested through streets that are very difficult to cross, and quiet residential streets with almost no traffic. There are very few streets that are anywhere in between: it is simply a night or day question.

This is one of the examples of the quiet residential streets that make up the vast majority of the street space in Sellwood. This is in contrast to the busy scene above, which was taken on SE Milwaukie Avenue.

For many years, Sellwood was known for its local businesses which concentrated on locally produced items.

In the 1980s and 1990s the area changed, so that many of the stores became antique stores and various other curiousities.

During the 2000s, there was yet another shift in the community, as the community attracted new residents from out of state that had considerably higher disposable income. A number of the anitque stores moved, though there are still a few around. There are a number of restaurants, and a variety of stores selling quite a number of different things: everything from several art galleries to the remaining antique stores, to some specialty grocery stores, hardware chain stores, and a variety of other retail outlets are here.

Sellwood has become a popular restaurant location, and you will find a variety of price ranges here in a small area. Portofino is in the high range, at about $20-$30 a plate (and they are still in business after well over 10 years in Sellwood, so you can bet the food is well worth it) to Cha! Cha! Cha! Sellwood, which is located in an old house and is one of the cheapest restaurants in the Portland area.

There are two places of significant interest in Sellwood: for children and teens there is a small amusement park that is generally referred to as Oaks Park. On the other side of the railroad tracks from this, is Oaks Bottom. Not so very long ago, this wetlands area was rapidly filling up with debris from constructing Interstate 405 through downtown Portland. However, before the destruction of the wetlands was completed, the effort to preserve the area was successful. It is now called Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge and a fairly popular bird watching and hiking area.

Along the railroad line that goes between Portland and the western part of Milwaukie, there is a very popular bicycle pathway. For its entire length the path is referred to as the "Springwater Corridor Trail" but the section along the river here is of particular interest. Further east the path runs through typical residential and commercial areas and isn't as interesting as the path along the river - and only occasionally will you see any bird life there, while the section through Sellwood only requires patience and open eyes to see bird life.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Nice little wildlife refuge by the Willamette River, with a few interesting local stores and restaurants.
  • Cons:Great place to come if you enjoy playing in traffic.
  • In a nutshell:Definitely worth taking a look here if you want to explore restaurant and store options outside downtown Portland.
  • Last visit to Sellwood: Mar 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Comments (1)

  • sirgaw's Profile Photo
    Dec 14, 2011 at 3:53 AM

    Closed in track inspection cars are for wimps - they need to be open to all the elements otherwise the inspectors can't really see the faults - LOL


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