Where to Live Now

Neighborhood Guide: Foster/Powell

By Benjamin Tepler

Portland Mercado

Image: Ben Tepler

The triangle slung below SE Powell Boulevard is delightfully Division-Street-20-years-ago Old Portland. This is Foster-Powell—defiantly not FoPo—with haunts like the neon-signed George Morlan Plumbing (“The Water Heater King”), Devils Point strip club (home of Stripperaoke on Sundays), Variety Records (looking for five copies of Men in Black on VHS?), and probably the best dive-bar-per-resident ratio in the entire city. 

But New Portland is beginning to creep in. Median home prices vaulted an impressive 41 percent between 2015 and 2019, and with it, a wealth of fresh spots to eat and drink. For five years, Portland Mercado has been a place to find typically suburbs-only imports, excellent chorizo to chile-coated sweets, an always-changing food cart scene, and freshly roasted Sandino coffee. But it’s also a beacon for Latinx entrepreneurship and culture, from bumping Día de los Muertos celebrations to an annual Brazilian Festival. Pizza is a thing in Foster-Powell, with no fewer than five newcomers since 2019. The best and only Neapolitan pie can be found at Pizzeria Otto, a second location with a crazy-good $6 margherita deal before 5 p.m. or after 8 p.m. 

Not in the mood for a sticky dive? 5 & Dime offers stellar, affordable cocktails, weekend DJ sets, and consistent, high-def Blazers coverage. Should you go a bit overboard, Rose VL, a sister to legendary Vietnamese noodle shop VL, serves up the best brunch hangover bowl in the neighborhood, its turmeric yellow noodles topped with sesame rice crackers. 

Another sign of change in the hood: Navid Sam Nayebi and Deedee Clark’s Bread & Roses, a sweet little market with organic produce, an affordable, tightly curated selection of local producers, and Friday wine tastings. 

Foster-Powell also now has Foster Outdoor, a perfect fusion of funky consignment and new gear from Next Adventure veterans Mike Turner and Sarah Wagener. It’s not a shiny, concrete anchor tenant for some out-of-state condo developer; it’s two locals bringing their yen and some sweet Carhartts to a neighborhood ready for growth. 

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