John Clark

Embark on a day trip to one of Portland’s most interesting neighborhoods

Johanna Silver  – March 10, 2011 | Updated March 2, 2020

Why go now: What you might recall as a stretch of musty antique shops is now a neighborhood blooming with chic boutiques, farm-fresh eats, and garden inspiration.

A real urban hike: Take a woodsy walk through the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge (S.E. Milwaukie Ave. at S.E. Mitchell St.), and you’ll think you’ve left the city limits.

Fresh cuts: By the Bunch (closed Sun, 7042 S.E. Milwaukie, 503/236-4286) uses fern curls and berry-laden branches as the foundation for its whimsical arrangements.

Farm to table: A Cena ($$$, 7742 S.E. 13th Ave., 503/206-3291) does springy takes on Italian dishes, like potpie with local lamb and morels foraged by the chef himself.

Remember roller skating: It’s alive and well at Oaks Amusement Park (from $7.50, skate rental from $2, 7805 S.E. Oaks Park Way, oakspark.com), where all ages skate to 80’s rock and occasionally to a live Wurlitzer organ.

A park made for a picnic: On the east bank of the Willamette River at Sellwood Riverfront Park, picnic tables are perfectly placed and the lawn is an ideal spot to spread a blanket. The park is popular with dogs, and if you want to take a walk, the wetland at the northern edge makes a pretty loop. S.E. Spokane St. at S.E. Oaks Park Way.

Gardeners’ HQ: Compost, tools, and seeds are just the beginning: Naomi’s Organic Farm Supply will help you become the urban homesteader you’ve always wanted to be. On land owned by the local tire store, you’ll find miniature goats, chicks, and demonstration garden classes. A city oasis transformed by Naomi Montacre, husband Neil, and mom Mary. 2500 S.E. Tacoma St., 503/517-8551.

And for antiquers: At Unique Antique, you’ll find buckets of garden inspiration: bird feeders and birdhouses, outdoor art, locally made potting benches crafted from old barn planks, charmingly rusted metalwork. Don’t miss the back patio. 7908 S.E. 13th Ave., 503/232-5865.

Urban gardening 101: Through it has been operating since 1913, there’s nothing out of date about Zenger Farm. Its latest iteration as a nonprofit educational farm lands it at the forefront of the city’s ag scene. Visit on the first and third Saturdays of the month, or sign up for classes in composting, chicken keeping–even sausage making. 11741 S.E. Foster Rd.

From arugula to zucchini: Portland Nursery has so many edible seedlings, it has no choice but to organize them alphabetically. There are two locations; the 5.5 acre Southeast Division Street store is hopping with free April classes. 5050 S.E. Stark St and 9000 S.E. Division St.

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