Getting Around Portland: Portland Public Transportation
In This Section
No matter how you get around Portland, it helps to know the lay of the land. The city is divided by the Willamette River, which runs south-north, and Burnside Street, which runs east-west, into quadrants: southwest, northwest, southeast and northeast. A fifth region, North Portland, is bounded roughly by the Willamette and Columbia rivers and Williams Avenue.
You’ll also hear the terms “east side” and “west side” in reference to the halves of the city on either side of the Willamette River. The phrase “Central City” is often used to describe downtown, Old Town/Chinatown, the Pearl District, the central east side and the area around the Convention Center — basically, the neighborhoods surrounding the intersection of Burnside and the Willamette River, on both sides of the river. Locals also refer to locales near the river, especially on the east side, as “close-in.”
In the central city and most of the east side, streets are laid out in an easy-to-navigate grid. In general, the streets running north-south (parallel to the river) are numbered, and the streets that run east-west (parallel to Burnside) have names. Street addresses go up as you travel away from the dividing lines of Burnside and the river. See map >>