You could go years passing through this community at the east edge of the Portland metro area without realizing what you’re missing: bird-filled wetlands, boating lakes, bike trails and a pedestrian-scale walkable village. With its waterfront parks, open spaces and a postcard-perfect vantage point of Mt. Hood, this city of 9,000 offers not just a fair view, but a downright lovely one.
Village Green: Just south of Halsey Street’s commercial core, Fairview Community Park anchors Fairview Village, a tucked-away, mixed-use neighborhood where homes and pocket parks mingle with businesses like Ye Ol’ Grog Distillery Tasting Room. Across the street, Fairview City Hall has maps and other visitor information. At the park, cross the covered bridge and follow the gravel path under shaggy cedars and past a shopping center to Salish Ponds Wetlands Park. Years ago, this land provided fill for Interstate 84 construction. Today, the 70-acre park is a healthy ecosystem of marsh and meadow, alive with twittering songbirds, waterfowl, turtles, deer and other animals — a sign of a sustainable development ethos. Trails encircle the larger ponds and connect with the Gresham Fairview Trail, part of the East Multnomah Cycling Hub. Head to the neighboring community of Wood Village and stroll along a newly created wetlands habitat in the Donald L. Robertson Park, which also has a playground, a basketball court, and soccer and baseball and fields.
Halsey Dining: Many locals start their day on Halsey Street at Stomping Grounds Coffee House. Along with pulling shots of espresso, the kitchen turns out a nice variety of breakfast and lunch sandwiches; you also can’t go wrong with the maple cinnamon rolls. Two of Fairview’s busiest dining spots are on the same block. Carlino’s Pizza and Deli serves up a variety of hot sandwiches and pizzas; the menu at Bumper’s Grill and Bar includes entrees for every food-mood, from burgers to halibut with lobster sauce.
Historic District: Fairview’s original downtown lies a short drive north on 223rd Avenue. The pale yellow Heslin House, built in 1892, marks Main Street. The city’s original 1915 two-cell jail still stands nearby. Both are open for tours through the East County Historical Organization. A self-guided historic walk brochure can lead you past several other historic buildings in the neighborhood.
Water, Water Everywhere: North of I-84, Lakeshore Park provides a pretty greenspace alongside Fairview Lake and a launching area for kayaks and other non-motorized craft. “Discovering the Sacred in Nature,” reads a marker near the launch. It’s part of the Legacy Pathway, a school arts initiative partnering with the Confluence Project. Nearby, Blue Lake and the expansive Blue Lake Regional Park offer more outdoor opportunities, with trails, playgrounds, picnic areas and a professionally designed disc golf course.
Across Marine Drive, Chinook Landing Marine Park fronts the Columbia River, with picnic areas overlooking wetland and wildlife habitat. Six launching ramps provide access for boaters. The waters offer good fishing, along with undeveloped islands for exploring and shoreline camping, part of the Government Island State Recreation Area and the Lower Columbia River Water Trail.
And don’t forget to look up and enjoy the view.