When you think of Portland , do you conjure up images of a slightly stoned hippie utopia? Or do you envision mobs of twenty-something hipsters flashing tattoos and piercings in a slacker coffeehouse? Rest assured that both stereotypes are alive and well—in fact thriving—in Southeast Portland, the city’s most alternative neighborhood and a focus of progressive political energy.
Southeast Portland is actually a vast quadrant, and despite its reputation as a habitat for seemingly unaging hippie culture, in fact it’s quite a bit more complex.
The close-in Southeast is a gentrifying warehouse district flanked to the east by Portland’s most alternative neighborhoods. Centered on SE Hawthorne Boulevard , these Victorian residential neighborhoods are still home to Portland’s Youth Culture, even though some of these folks are reaching retirement age.
To the graying hippies, add in a thick overlay of Goth kids, gays and lesbians, and street musicians, and you’ve got a people-watching nexus.
The neighborhood stretches east across leafy neighborhoods filled with antique mansions to busy SE 82nd Avenue, the hub of today’s immigrant Asian community.
Two of Portland ’s greatest parks are in Southeast Portland—one designed by the famed Olmsted firm a century ago (Laurelhurst Park ), the other situated on the only extinct volcano in an American city (Mount Tabor Park )—along with some of the city’s most critically acclaimed independent restaurants.