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Hawthorne Boulevard

September 25, 2009

Just sayin'...

All of the young, hip, creative types flocking to Portland even though they have no job lined up have caused some to suggest that this is the coolest place in the world to be unemployed. And if that’s the case, one of the coolest places in Portland is the Hawthorne neighborhood.

I began the journey by merging onto the eastbound onramp of the Hawthorne Bridge. There’s a stop sign at the top of the ramp, and that’s where you’ll meet Working Kirk Reeves.

Working Kirk Reeves

Just about every day, he’s got his one-man band set up across from the stop sign. Not only does he play trumpet, he produces a local-access cable TV show. And, of course, he has a Web site. And he’s been the object of a bit of controversy.

The Hawthorne Bridge is the one that’s all grating, all the way across, for a considerably longer distance than the northbound 1st Avenue S Bridge in Seattle. I really wasn’t looking forward to riding on it, but I haven’t made this trip since I got here.

It wasn’t bad, actually. The non-round Sava front tire slithered and shimmied, but the rear Kenda was unaffected. Once I install a Kenda on the front, bridge grating should cease to be an issue.

From a Seattle perspective, the Hawthorne neighborhood looks and feels like equal parts Wallingford and Capitol Hill. Lots of places to eat and drink, lots of entertainment available on Hawthorne Boulevard, like Broadway on The Hill. Venture a few blocks north or south, you’ll find modest older houses of the scale you’d find in Wallingford.

Yes, there are brewpubs.

Portland was famous for craft brewing back when there was an espresso cart on every corner in Seattle. Pyramid and Bridgeport are two brewers that became famous outside the Rose City.

Further east, there’s another business that’s big in Hawthorne. Can you guess what it is by the name of this store?

Lounge Lizard

That would be vintage, well, anything. In this case, so much vintage furniture it overflows into the street.

Lounge Lizard's inventory

In the same building is this Lebanese restaurant.

Riyadh's Lebanse Restaurant

I can’t recall ever seeing a Lebanese restaurant in Seattle.

Go a bit further east and you’ll see these cool little cottages.

Hawthorne cottages

For the better part of two decades, Seattle city officials have said, yes, we should have things like this to address the need for “affordable” (i.e., not price-gouged) housing. But making something like this happen there would involve taking some legislative action, like changing zoning laws. Taking action? In Seattle? Don’t hold your breath.

What makes these little residences even cooler is what’s across the street.

Uncle Paul's Market

Fresh fruits and vegetables mere yards from your front door. What could be better?

Hawthorne Boulevard is not a long street, the arterial turning right at SE 50th. That’s Mt. Tabor directly ahead.

Looking east

Orin O'Neill photos

I’m sure you get the idea about Hawthorne. Favicon


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