Northeast Portland’s Cully was in the spotlight last week. The neighborhood received a grant of half a million dollars from the federal government to develop a 25-acre park on a former landfill. And a new home on NE Wygant was among 8 featured in the Modern Home Tour I attended on April 25th.
These events may seem unrelated. But they are part of a larger trend. If this large, diverse and historically low-income neighborhood were a stock, analysts would surely give it a “buy” rating.
Three census tracts covering most of Cully were gentrified between 2000 and 2015, according to a study by Governing, a Washington DC-based magazine targeting state and local officials. In fact, Portland was found to lead the national pack in this regard, with the highest rate (58 percent) of gentrification of any major city reviewed.
As Cully gentrifies, it has attracted new investment and in-fill like the home on Wygant. The 2,800+ square foot property resembles a Craftsman on the outside, but its interior space offers high-quality modern design and materials. Portland developer/builder Brent Keys has listed it for sale at $725,000.
Meanwhile, green social investment will likely take area property values higher. A well-maintained public park or recreational area can boost the value of nearby homes by 8-20 percent. Cully saw its first developed park open on April 24. Set on 2.4 acres and serving about 1,500 families, Khunamokwst Park features a playground, nature and water play areas, a picnic shelter, a small skateboard park and paths for walking and jogging.
The 25 acres set aside for Thomas Cully Park are already home to a 35-plot community garden designed by local middle school students. Further development is a joint venture of the City of Portland, the non-profit organization Verde, and private partners. With funding from these players and the new federal grant, the Park is expected to feature restored habitat, a playground and soccer field, a walking trail with exercise equipment, scenic overlooks, an off leash dog area, and a Native American garden.
In short, Cully is an ideal neighborhood if you value:
- a location close to downtown and to hip commercial hubs like Fremont Street and Alberta Arts
- lower home prices or more bang for the buck than many other eastside neighborhoods
- new or developing green spaces
- the prospect of further gains in property values