A Neighborhood on the Rise with a Historic, Charming Downtown
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A 31-foot tall statue of Paul Bunyon stands watch at the north end of Kenton’s historic business district. It’s a quirky and colorful symbol for a neighborhood on the rise. Kenton’s charming downtown is anchored by a newly-renovated public library along with an increasingly hip array of shops and restaurants. You’ll find paleo-friendly fare at the Cultured Caveman, contemporary soul food at Po’Shines, home-style treats at Posey’s Bakery and Café, and refined gastropub offerings at Swift and Union. Among downtown’s storefronts and vintage shops, one stand-out is Mantel, which features modern ceramics and elegant home goods.
Just off the main drag, Kenton offers two great coffee shops (Prince Coffee and Presso Coffee Bar) and a number of one-of-kind finds. Makers and DYI-ers will swoon over Salvage Works, which features reclaimed woods, antiques, and handmade furniture. At Bamboo Craftsman, you’ll find an inspired collection of bamboo plants and products. Disjecta Contemporary Art Center supports an array of forward-thinking works by local visual and performing artists. Overlooking Kenton Park, Parkside is a cozy bar with a fireplace where you can borrow lawn games for the park or play board games by the fire.
Kenton was originally founded in 1911 as a company town for the meat packing industry. Its legacy lives on in the charming cast-stone concrete houses that were designed by architect Charles Speis and built for employees of the Swift Meat Packing Company. In addition to the concrete homes, the neighborhood includes a mix of modestly-sized bungalows, cottages, and Craftsman homes interspersed with grander Old Portland and Victorian mansions.
Though Kenton is among the northernmost neighborhoods in Portland, public transportation via Trimet’s yellow line light rail train makes it a breeze to get downtown in less than 30 minutes.