Hosford-Abernethy / by Chris Bonner

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Are you looking for a charming Portland neighborhood that’s full of history and beautiful homes? Do you want to be close to downtown and near shops, restaurants, and cafes?  Do you crave streets lined with big trees?  Do you like traffic circles?  Then head over to the Hosford-Abernethy Neighborhood! Bordered by the Willamette River on the west, Hawthorne Boulevard to the north, Powell Boulevard to the south, and 29th Avenue to the east, the Hosford-Abernethy(H-A) neighborhood is a convenient jump over the Hawthorne Bridge from downtown and close to the bustle of the Hawthorne District, yet it retains that quiet, residential feel we love so much. The neighborhood is best known for Ladd’s Addition, where the streets are liberated from Portland’s usual grid layout, and instead run diagonally in an 80-square-block, wagon-wheel-like display of roadway defiance.

The development of the H-A neighborhood began in the mid 19th century.  A gentleman named Gideon Tibbetts came to town via the Oregon Trail and claimed the land that is now just south of Division Street, from the river to about 26th Avenue.  He cleared the land, started growing wheat, and eventually opened the Brooklyn Mills Flour plant. The land he claimed is now known as Tibbetts’ Addition. During that time, James B. Stephens was involved in his own crazy land-claiming business, snatching up the land that is today called - you guessed it - Stephen’s Addition, which stretches west from SE 12th Ave to the river and from Hawthorne Blvd to Division St.  Stephens owned Portland’s first Willamette River ferry and operated it from his home on the east bank.  Meanwhile, William S. Ladd, a one-time liquor and wine merchant, who became Portland’s mayor in 1854, was also staking claims to land.

Ladd eventually left the liquor business and got into real estate, banking, and transportation. When he bought the 126-acre area we know today as Ladd’s Addition (just to the east of Stephen’s Addition) it was farmland. The design for Ladd’s Addition was done by Ladd himself who was inspired by areas of Washington D.C. that used the European hub and spoke layout. The result is a totally unique Portland neighborhood complete with a central traffic circle and four small diamond-shaped rose gardens. Ladd’s Addition was designated a historic district in 1988 by the National Register of Historic Places, and today you can see a beautiful variety of old homes and huge elm trees, which line the streets. 


Elementary Schools include Abernethy Elementary and the Woodward Montessori School. There is one middle school, Hosford Middle School, and one high school, Grover Cleveland High School. For kids interested in music, there is the popular School of Rock and for kids who are drawn to dance and movement, the Center for Movement Arts.

While Hosford-Abernethy does not have huge acreage in parks lands within its boundaries, the neighborhood maintains a park-like feel because of its many large, older trees. When the Portland Parks Department did a tree study in 2012, they counted over 5400 individual trees of 97 different species within the neighborhood!

Three wonderful parks–Powell Park to the south, Sewallcrest Park to the east, and Colonel Summers Park to the north–are either adjacent or a few blocks beyond the neighborhood boundaries.


Palio Espresso and Dessert House is a great spot right in the middle of Ladd’s Addition, where you can enjoy a cup of coffee and some first rate desserts in a cozy setting. Little T Bakery is also nearby and offers gorgeous breads plus a selection of tasty breakfast and lunch options. 

Anyone in the Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood will get to know old standby like Genie’s Cafe for brunch or Los Gorditos for old-school Mexican food, as well as all the neighborhoods newer arrivals that are clustered around SE Division and SE 11th like Pine State Biscuits, Virtuous Pie, and Aviv. New Seasons will provide all the local and organic goodness you could hope for.  For science enthusiasts there, OMSI in the neighborhood, providing a great day of science exhibits, talks, activities, and OMNIMAX entertainment.

There are plenty of breweries to keep you drinking locally too. Baerlic, Grixsen, Ground Breaker, and if you like more variety there’s always the beer garden APEX with 50 beers on tap at any given time.

In the evening, head to Nuestra Cocina for some classy Mexican fare or saddle up to the bar at Jacqueline for some freshly shucked oysters, then hit the Clinton Street Theater for an interesting movie or documentary (or the weekly Rocky Horror Picture Show on Saturday nights!).  The Night Light Lounge is a nice spot for some post-film drinks, and Hammy’s Pizza is famously open till 4am for the late-night craving.

The Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood is the perfect place for taking walks, admiring architecture, heading to a local cafe, and enjoying Portland. It’s a great place to visit and you might find you also want to live there!