Hillsdale’s Accomplishments:

Building a community
The name “Hillsdale” was an integral part of life in the rural southwest outskirts of Portland at least as early as the 1880s. Children attended the Hillsdale School and Swiss/German pioneers founded the Hillsdale Community Church, whose congregation still exists. Hillsdale was also the name of the postal carrier route for the area.

In the 1950s, the name was attached to the Hillsdale Shopping Center and several other commercial establishments. Hillsdale Park and the Hillsdale Branch Library also reflect the name’s history here.

Recent interest in improving Hillsdale began in January 1993 with the beginnings of what would become the Hillsdale Vision Group, The volunteer organization would focus Metro’s attention on Hillsdale as an urban growth center in the 2040 plan.

Even then, Hillsdale had nebulous boundaries. As one old timer put it, “If you think you live in Hillsdale, you do; if you don’t think you do, you don’t.” In 1996 that changed with a neighborhood-wide vote that resoundingly established the new Hillsdale Neighborhood. The success resulted from the work of an active and growing group of neighbors and business owners that emerged from the Vision Group. Continuing to shape Hillsdale into a thriving, planned commercial center, they built on Hillsdale’s civic strengths: Our schools, Rieke, Robert Gray,  and Wilson, the Hillsdale Library, a status as regional transit hub with seven bus lines—more than any other locale other than the transit mall.

After the official neighborhood was formed, neighbors continued to meet to earn Hillsdale its Metro-designated town center status. Because of the designation, the Hillsdale Town Center has new street trees, a signalized pedestrian crossing, a realigned intersection at Sunset and Capitol Highway, new sidewalks and several other amenities including the recently installed gateway signs. Signcaps were installed around Hillsdale’s boundaries, to mark them as they appear on official Portland and Metro maps.

The Hillsdale Neighborhood Association and the Hillsdale Business and Professional Association worked closely on all of these improvements. Today the two organizations share a board member/representative and communicate formally and informally through often overlapping memberships. Recently the two groups joined with others, including Hillsdale Votes, SWTrails and the Hillsdale Farmers Market, to form The Hillsdale Alliance, which meets quarterly to assess progress and to find ways to help each other. The Alliance is also encouraging the formation of a “Hillsdale Schools” organization.

Today Hillsdale is more than a neighborhood; it is a community built on open communication, proud accomplishment, thriving commerce and a hopeful vision.

The following is a list of some of the community’s many accomplishments:


Founding of the Hillsdale Farmers Market
Founding The Hillsdale Holiday Market
Secured a grant from the Oregon Dept of Agriculture for the 2004-05
Hillsdale Winter Market
Continuing the Annual Pancake Breakfast (held for 27 years)
Building the Hillsdale Business and Professional Association to 70 member


Founding and supporting the Hillsdale Connection newspaper (Now the Southwest Community Connection)
Creating the Hillsdale Alliance, an umbrella group for Hillsdale organizations
Creating community list serves and websites, including Explorepdx.com
Developing communication links to the City Council and City bureaus
Publishing the HBPA newsletter (published 10 months of the year)
Organizing Hillsdale Votes. a voter registration and get-out-the vote drive
Holding an election on neighborhood boundary changes which created the Hillsdale Neighborhood for parts of neighborhoods that straddled Capitol Highway.
Organizing the vote on under grounding, (narrowly approved but rejected by the City Council)
Reforestation of Rieke Hill at Vermont and Bertha
Recruiting members for the Hillsdale NET team.
Exploring ways to create a Hillsdale Plaza on the Rieke triangle
Organized a series of focus groups to understand the needs and interests of uninvolved people of various backgrounds to encourage neighborhood participation and help to set the course of the neighborhood for the future.
Creating Stephens Creek Nature Park
Arranged for a July 05 Charrette for Hillsdale Park dog-off leash area
Proposing and supporting creation of high-tech, all-season soccer field at Rieke Elementary School


 Creating and lobbying for the Hillsdale Town Center Plan
 Reviewing the Barbur Shops Development
 Creating the Hillsdale Vision Group Report
 Establishing design review for Hillsdale Town Center.
 Participating in the Southwest Community Plan.
 Siting the Hillsdale Branch Library
 Siting the Turning Point Transitional Housing project
 Forming a “Good Neighbor” agreement with Turning Point
 Supported efforts to assure owners of view property they can prune for
  view preservation and renewal.
Participating in the development of:
SW Master Street Plan
SW Barbur Streetscape Plan
SW Urban Trails Plan
Transportation System Plan
Bertha Court improvements
Regional Transportation Plan
Pedestrian Master Plan
Marquam Hill Plan
Tram advisory committee
South Portland Circulation Study
Mittleman JCC master plans
Terwilliger Parkway Plan and gateway monuments
Capitol Highway Plan
Worked to assure community amenities were included in Wilson Pool


Sponsoring and initiating the Hillsdale Cow project
Lobbying for clean-up of the Wilson bus stop at Sunset and Capitol
Encouraging “Hillsdale Schools” organization through the Hillsdale Alliance
Assisting in funding and building of the original Rieke school play equipment
Involving schools in singing at Hillsdale Holiday Market
Supporting fund-raising for many purposes
Participation on the PPS Southwest Boundary Task Force
Lobbying for to keep Rieke Elementary School open

Trails, Bikeways, Sidewalks and Pedestrian Safety

Creating SWTrails Map and trail designations
Securing a mid-block crossing in Town Center
Securing bike lanes through Hillsdale
Spearheading Bertha Court sidewalk, bike lane, landscaping and street improvements
Working to expand Hillsdale Pedestrian District to include schools Supporting creation and work of the SWTrails Group
Participating in Safe Routes to School effort at Robert Gray School
  Including safer street crossings and reduced speed limits
Participating in development of the SWNI Safe Routes to School Policy.
Lobbying for safer school crossing at SW 25th and B-H Highway
Securing a parking ban along SW Sunset Blvd to make shoulder safer for pedestrians, particularly Robert Gray students
Insisting on pedestrian crossing at 13th and Barbur
Leading effort to get the Hillsdale to Lake Oswego trail on the Metro Regional Trail list, and beginning the steps to make the trail happen.
Securing funding for and participating in the Red Electric Location Study
Building 19th Avenue trail from Fairmount to Council Crest Drive
Lobbying for speed bumps on SW Sunset Blvd

Signs and Appearance

Initiating, designing and funding Hillsdale signcap project,
Lobbying to make Hollywood Video signage less intrusive
Initiating, funding and designing Hillsdale Town Center gateway signs
Opposing massive billboard at Shattuck and Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway
Removing illegal signs on utility poles
Making a ban on A-board signs in Hillsdale Town Center part of sign code
Funding 27 hanging flower baskets in the Town Center each summer
Working to get light cut off shields put on the outside lighting in Hillsdale

Joint National Night Out Community Party
August 7, 2003
Hillsdale - SWHRL - Bridlemile