The old neighborhood


The castle at the intersection of NE Wistaria Drive and 39th Avenue was a familiar sight during our years of living in the Grant Park neighborhood.

More often than not, it seems I’m doing my urban hikes in the rain or at least cloudy skies. That was the case again last week, so I picked out a route that I knew didn’t have any hilltop vistas. I mean, why waste the scenic rewards if visibility is limited?

That’s how I wound up doing the Alameda Ridge Loop, a 4.75-mile trek through the four neighborhoods — Beaumont, Hollywood, Grant Park and Alameda — that once provided a home base for my family.

Here is where we lived for 25 years on a corner lot on a leafy street. Here is where our kids attended elementary and middle school. Here is where we took them and our dogs to the park. Here is where we shopped for groceries, went to nearby restaurants and belonged to the old YMCA.

(Click on images to view captions.)

We moved away six years ago, packing fond memories but no regrets. Our new home frees us from yard work (a huge time-saver on weekends) and puts us right in the middle of an urban neighborhood where just about every service is 10-15 minutes away on foot.

So while I enjoyed being back on familiar turf, I can’t say I was overcome with emotion. Strolling the residential streets on a Thursday afternoon, I appreciated the tranquillity and enjoyed seeing familiar sights.

Following a route described in Laura O. Foster’s “Portland Hill Walks,” I started my hike near NE 51st Avenue and Sandy Boulevard and headed north and west at almost a 45-degree angle as I walked along Wistaria Drive, Klickitat Street, down 32nd Place, up 30th Avenue, and finally onto Alameda Street. The route back took me along Ridgewood Drive, Edgehill Place, Fremont Street (the only commercial street on the hike) and Alameda Street before dropping back down to Sandy Boulevard.

There were five staircases along the way, starting with one of 88 steps leading from the flat lands to Alameda Ridge. Thanks to Foster’s guidebook, I’ve been on more of these staircases than I can count — each one providing a short-cut and many of them offering a leafy respite from sun or rain.

All in all, another outing to put in the memory book.:




2 thoughts on “The old neighborhood

  1. I so wanted to see your family home! Love that area. Love the staircases. Glad you aren’t overcome with emotion there and see the value of your choices in two very different eras of life.

    • It really is a beautiful area. I’ve seen it described as a Leave It To Beaver neighborhood– and there’s a lot of truth to that.
      Where we live now has a lot more economic diversity and a greater variety of housing — lots of duplexes, triplexes and apartments mixed in among century-old historic homes.

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