By Aryne + Dulcinea, July 2, 2018
By Aryne + Dulcinea, July 2, 2018
Since the 1880s, the area now recognized as Portland’s Sabin neighborhood has undergone several socio-economical shifts. Beginning in the late 19th century, workers immigrating from Europe and Russia settled the area in pursuit of farming and factory work. This created tight-knit communities of immigrant populations near present-day Martin Luther King Boulevard, formerly Union Avenue. Following the devastating Vanport flood, many of the 17,500 individuals left without homes sought refuge in Portland’s northeast quadrant. As one of few areas unimpacted by exclusionary redlining practices, Sabin became a haven for black families and displaced individuals. Another demographic shift occurred in the 1990s, when a new wave of homeowners began moving to the area. Today, Sabin is notable for being one of Portland’s most culturally and economically diverse areas, maintaining its heart as an inclusive and community-focused district.
One of the major perks of Portland’s Sabin neighborhood is its many outdoor attractions, so plan your adventure for a day that’s neither too wet or too hot. In starting your tour of Sabin, you have a couple of options. To enjoy a more traditional sit-down breakfast, head over NE 14th & NE Fremont, where you’ll find neighborhood staple, Caffe Destino. For something lighter, park near NE 15th& NE Prescott and head to VilleVelo Bake Shop for their exceptional selection of baked goods, which pair perfectly with the artisan beverages and pour overs from Extracto Coffeehouse.
After you have effectively fueled up, it’s time to partake in one of Sabin’s famous pastimes – a self-guided walking tour of the area’s bee-friendly gardens. Participating residential gardens are scattered throughout the neighborhood, so visitors are welcome to begin their tour at any point. These gardens can be identified on the map, and a comprehensive list can be viewed on the neighborhood association’s website. Get more insight into the nearly 30 gardens by following along with the audio track, which can be streamed by calling (503) 205-0326. Enter the garden “stop number,” which can be found at the garden location or on the list, and enjoy learning more about the gardens from the owner’s perspective.
Along your self-guided tour, you’ll happen across some hidden gems that illustrate the tight-knit aspet of the Sabin area, such as the Sabin Community Orchard and Sabin’s charming HydroPark. If you’re the type to plan ahead, aim to reach Sabin’s HydroPark around midday. This iconic park features two prominent water towers. Operated by the Water Bureau, Portland’s HydroPark program utilized the area surrounding the infrastructure to create a community greenspace. Here, you can soak in combination of industrial and natural beauty beneath the shade of old growth trees. Additionally, the facility is home to water-based activities and the local community garden.
Near the park is Pok Pok Noi, an offshoot of national acclaimed thai restaurant, Pok Pok, the Noi location offers up delicious cuisine in an intimate environment. The selection of small plates and refreshing cocktails make the perfect midday meal. For a hands-on activity, head a few blocks south from Pok Pok Noi to reach Bird’s Eye View, a local gallery and art school, where you can partake in a wide range of creative endeavors.
Primarily a residential area, Sabin quiets during the later hours of day. Its low-key vibe is meant to throw you off, as the neighborhood is actually home to a selection of Portland’s best-kept culinary secrets. Among these gems are established creole-inspired bistro, Acadia; contemporary, French-inspired Verdigris Restaurant; and the popular local hub, Mojos Sushi. Along this stretch of Fremont, you can also find some Old Portland dive bars. We suggest rounding out the evening at one the remaining Old Portland-style bars located along NE Fremont, which include Daddy Mojo’s Cafe and County Cork Public House.
What does your perfect day in Portland’s Sabin neighborhood entail?