Today on the Land Use Trail: The Pearl District

Throughout the summer, we'll be featuring stops on our Land Use Trail. Today, August 22: The Pearl District. No longer known as the “Northwest Industrial Triangle”, Portland’s Pearl District has completely transformed its identity.

It now represents one of Portland’s thriving neighborhood attractions, and one of its many cultural nodes.

About: The Pearl District is located in Northwest Portland, near the Willamette. Once occupied by warehouses and railroad yards, after a series of several successful urban renewal and transportation projects and visionary planning beginning in the 1990s, it is now, according to Walkscore, the most walkable neighborhood in Portland.

Containing the historic North Park Blocks and vibrant new parks like Jamison Square, Tanner Springs, and the Fields amid a burgeoning residential population, the Pearl District is home to many Portland icons, such as Powell’s Books. The neighborhood is also known for its numerous art galleries, restaurants, educational spaces like PNCA, and innovative office space—many housed in carefully restored buildings. Meanwhile, new developments like The Ramona and Station Place are helping ensure the neighborhood’s residents include a diversity of incomes and backgrounds.

Key Fact: First Thursdays events in the Pearl have increasingly grown in popularity, currently attracting 10,000 – 15,000 people. First Thursdays of every month hosts wine tastings, art gallery showcasing and a variety of happy hour food menus.

Another Cool Fact: Henry Weinhard came to northwest Portland from Washington territory in 1862 to brew his popular Weinhards beer. His brewery ran strong up until 1999 when the Pearl District was forming, and the current owners of his company- Stroh Brewery was bought out by Miller Brewing company, who closed the Portland operation down.


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Going to the Pearl this summer? Share your photos with us! We'll pass them on.

See the whole Land Use Trail, featuring exceptional Oregon natural places, communities, and working lands from every corner of our state.

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Text by Nathen Lamb, Communications Intern. Photo of Portland's Pearl District by Bernice Paul. Creative Commons.