Portland is known for its easy to navigate grid of streets. It’s not hard to find your way around the city once you know the quadrant and street name or number. For example, if you’re at 2605 NE Alberta, that means you’re on NE Alberta near NE 26th Ave.
Seems pretty straightforward, right? Well it is, until all of a sudden the streets aren’t on the grid. So why are some Portland streets diagonal?
Portland’s First Planned Neighborhood
Welcome to Ladd’s Addition, Portland’s first planned neighborhood, and one of the most unique neighborhoods in terms of the layout of the streets. It is among the oldest planned neighborhoods in the Western United States.
As the name suggests, Ladd’s Addition was an adjunct region to the City of Portland. It was planned with a unique circular layout and intended to be an upscale neighborhood away from the bustle of the city.
When William S. Ladd acquired the land there weren’t many bridges over the Willamette River and his farmland plot seemed far removed, somewhat unusable for anything other than agriculture. Once the bridge now known as the Hawthorne Bridge was built to span the Willamette River, Ladd’s land was suddenly the city’s closest open plot - and perfectly poised for new residential development.
Why Does Ladd’s Addition Have Diagonal Streets?
To add to the quiet serenity of this separated zone, the streets of Ladd’s Addition were designed to relegate utility services - garbage collection, milk delivery, etc. - to the back streets and allow the expansive, tree-lined front streets to be the true showcase of the neighborhood. The smaller service alleys still exist to this day and are often used for much the same purpose. The streets are broad and long with few sidewalk interruptions, all pointing people to four small diamond-shaped rose gardens and a central traffic circle surrounding a park.
Ladd’s Addition was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.
A Tranquil Portland Neighborhood
The neighborhood has retained its tranquil charm. Lovely historic homes line the streets and towering trees keep this beloved Portland neighborhood shady. Ladd’s Addition is bordered by Hawthorne Boulevard on the north end and Division Street on the south end - both filled with popular restaurants, shops and a vibrant retail district.
Find the Best Portland Neighborhood for You
Each Portland neighborhood is unique, with a rich history and residents who are drawn to that particular region. No matter which neighborhoods “speak to you,” one of our Urban Nest agents can help you explore the area as you look for a home. If you’re not sure which Portland neighborhood is the best one for you, our agents can help you tour various areas. They’ll even take you out for coffee so you can get a feeling for the neighborhood.
How Much is Your Portland Home Worth?
Your neighborhood matters! When you’re selling a home, our agents are well versed in the unique features of each Portland neighborhood. They carefully establish a sale that reflects the value of your neighborhood, either as a historic district, an up-and-coming neighborhood or something in between.
Our agents are Portland experts; their knowledge of (and love for!) this cool city runs deep.