Where to Live Now

Neighborhood Guide: Cully

Namesake pizza, textile heaven, and the coolest new public parks

By Fiona McCann

Khunamokwst Park

This Northeast Portland neighborhood owes its name to a couple of homesteaders—Thomas and Rebecca Cully—who followed the Oregon Trail to town in the 19th century and grabbed some of the “free land once home to a Native tribe related to the Chinook. For a long time considered the city’s hinterlands, this diverse neighborhood with a strong community focus has in recent years become a vibrant destination and thriving community hub, thanks to some strong neighborhood association advocacy and entrepreneurial residents.  

Pizza Jerk

Image: Michael Novak

Defining diagonal swathe NE Cully Boulevard is home to Cully Central, a low-slung, kid-friendly beer bar serving up Laotian street food—crispy rice salads, handmade noodles in broth, grilled beef brisket, and more—with a healthy splash of local favorites on tap. The same street also boasts the city’s only Native Americanowned coffee shop, Bison Coffeehouse, named for the giant bison that adorns the wall and watches over owner Loretta Guzman. Besides the coffee, often from Native and/or local roasters, there’s also a worth-the-trip baked-goods selection—try the unmissable bacon, jack, and green chile house biscuits. On Cully’s western edge at NE 42nd Avenue, Pizza Jerk has been serving up old-school American pizza with a side order of punk rock since 2015. The menu includes a pizza fittingly named It’s Always Sunny In Cully, topped with pepperoni, pineapple, hot peppers, basil, and honey.   

Bison Coffeehouse

Image: Michael Novak

On summer Thursday evenings (JuneSeptember), the Cully Farmers Market offers up farm-fresh produce, a pop-up library, plus a youth booth for budding entrepreneurs to sell handmade products. Year-round shoppers visit the crafters’ delight that is Bolt Fabric Boutique with its stacks of neatly rolled, colored textiles and rainbows of shiny thread, as well as nearby Portland Bloem for gorgeous greenery and plant pottery, while NE Prescott vinyl paradise Jump Jump Music, helmed by Dan Berkman for its 31 years of existence, is home to all manner of musical finds.  

The neighborhood is blooming in landmark parks. Cully Park, the largest, sprang from a landfill after a neighborhood nonprofit partnered with Portland Parks & Recreation. The result? A 25-acre park including a community garden, a Native Gathering garden, a soccer field, an off-leash dog zone, and a sand and water play area. Khunamokwst Park, which opened in 2015, takes its name from the Chinook word for “together” and includes a nature play area for kids and a small skateboard park.