When people think Fairview, I think a lot of people think Fairview Village, the award-winning planned community that is home to our city hall, post office, and library, as well as a daycare center, an elementary school, retail shops and offices and 600 homes – single family houses, row houses, duplexes, townhomes, and apartments.
Fairview Village also holds more than 150,000 feet of retail space and over 70,000 square feet of office space, plus our main city park and nine pocket parks dotted throughout the 88-acre development, which is bounded by Halsey to the north, Glisan to the south, 223rd Ave to the east and Fairview Parkway to the west. It’s made to be walkable and bikeable, a place built to get you to school or out shopping or visiting with neighbors without forcing you to get in a car. And there’s Target! Target is our general store. If you live in Fairview, you shop there.
Walking Fairview Village this weekend to deliver campaign fliers, I got a deeper appreciation for the design of the neighborhood.
Driveways and garages are cleverly hidden, while the housing mix allows for a range of people – old and young, working class to upper middle class. Sidewalks, street trees, and small parks and squares knit together neighborhoods. And dang, Fairview Village is cute. Homes are designed in the Craftsman tradition of the 1890s to 1940s – the same design style as many old Portland neighborhoods. And Eastmoreland and Ladd’s Addition, in fact, provided inspiration for Fairview Village along with historic garden suburbs like Shaker Heights in Cleveland, OH and the Country Club District in Kansas City, MO. The front yard gardens and seasonal decorations and porch wreaths and furniture are off-the-charts adorable.
Walking and talking also revealed some troubles, and unrealized potential, in the Village. A voter named Sandi Jo loves her neighborhood but feels it has gotten congested. Another voter complained about a notorious neighborhood drug house that finally got shut down this spring by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. A couple of residents also complained about parking; There’s not enough.
But Sadie, whose mom owns Quad’s Garden floral, loves the Village. Great customer base, she says, and a strong sense of community. She’d love to see more affordable, family-friendly businesses to attract more people downtown – like a paint-your-own pottery place. And cheap smoothies and tacos! Daniel, who owns Springwater Chiropractic, was out walking with his two young girls, Rosie and Ellie. They like being able to walk and go to the library. But they wished some of the vacant lots were community gardens – so the girls could plant a rainbow array of flowers – and that the sidewalks on undeveloped land would be built out. It would be easier for them to get around. And ice cream!
Fairview Village is a lot like Fairview – small-town charming but needs improvement in order to reach its potential as a world-class bedroom community. Fairview needs more critical mass – more restaurants and retail, more community amenities like parks and bike trails, more art and more festivals and fun events – to make the place a real magnet. Fairview also needs an identity, one that embraces the diversity of the people who live here as well as the natural assets – water, wetlands, parks, open space – we all share.