The 10 Most Dangerous And Worst Neighborhoods In Portland

Heather Robbins
by Heather Robbins
Portland, Oregon is home to fabulous shopping, nature reserves, and friendly citizens. But, despite all the positive factors there, it is important to be aware that Portland is home to 10 dangerous neighborhoods that you MUST avoid. Whether it be Kenton or Parkrose, let’s take a look at the 10 worst areas in Portland, Oregon.

Portland is a highly-populated area in Oregon that is famous for having everything in one place. If you love shopping, the mountains, parks, forests, or city life, Portland is for you! However, that is not to say that it does not have a dark side. Even though you will rarely find anyone discussing the bad neighborhoods of Portland, they are there!

After extensive research, we have concluded that the worst neighborhood in Portland is Centennial. With its high population and high crime rate, this makes it not only a lousy community but a dangerous area to wander about, especially at nighttime. Following Centennial is Powellhurst and Oldtown-Chinatown, as well as many others.

If you are looking to move to Portland, or perhaps you are only hoping to visit, this article will help you pinpoint the areas you should steer clear of. After all, you don’t want to get stuck in a situation you can’t get out of. Read on to learn more!

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Determining The Worst Neighborhoods Of Portland

To figure out the worst neighborhoods of Portland, we decided to focus on five key areas. What we found remarkably interesting is that almost all these neighborhoods are near the freeway, which invites random acts of violence as there is an easy escape.

Not to mention, the overpasses for the freeways act as a shelter for the homeless. Many homeless individuals are harmless; however, it does bring the value of the area down. When the area’s value is brought down, this is when criminals can make their way into a neighborhood.

Factors We Used To Determine The Worst Neighborhoods Of Portland

Here are the five main key areas we used during our investigation:

  • Crime rate: We have poured through countless statistics to investigate the crime rate for these neighborhoods. The crime rate is a significant factor when determining the worst neighborhoods in Portland.
  • Median Income: while money is not everything, the income of an area is essential for the quality of the neighborhood. Are there high-quality businesses in the area? What is the level of commerce?
  • Unemployment Rate: The economic health of a neighborhood is apparent when it comes to the level of unemployed residents.
  • Prices for Homes in the Area: If there is a gorgeous Victorian-style home appraised for $750k, yet they are selling it for $400k, it is usually since the area is not a decent one. We have considered this as well to bring you the worst neighborhoods in Portland.
  • Density: What is there to do? Are there a lot of tourists that come through? If the area is bustling with activities, then chances are it is a good neighborhood and is getting taken care of. Yet, when a place does not have many activities, that’s when crime tends to thrive.

The 10 Worst Neighborhoods Of Portland Oregon

10. Kenton

  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 659
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 6,292
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 15
  • Population: 8,238

When you search up the Kenton neighborhood of Portland, you will find mixed results. Some articles will claim that Kenton is one of Portland’s best neighborhoods, while others, like us, say that it is one of the worst. What in the world is going on here?

Kenton is beginning to improve; however, we are not convinced that it is quite ‘there’ yet. What this means is that you can purchase a home at a fantastic price, and businesses are now just beginning to thrive. The demographic of Kenton is made up of lively young individuals who will do amazing things in life. However, there is still a problem.

Only 5 to 10 years ago, Kenton was an area that was avoided altogether by residents and visitors. When talking about the crime rate of an area, 5 to 10 years was very recent. It takes time for this to phase out, and not to mention, the outskirts of Kenton are still considered one of the most dangerous areas of Portland. So, while the area has improved, it is not quite enough to win our vote.

9. Bridgeton

  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 755
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 7,209
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 13
  • Population: 838

One of the common denominators, as mentioned above, is that these areas are near freeways and main travel corridors. Bridgeton is right along the I-5 corridor.

The great part about living in Bridgeton is that you can forgo the morning traffic on your way to work. However, that positive boost does not outweigh the risk of living in or visiting Bridgeton, unfortunately. Since Bridgeton is more of an industrial area with lots of dark alleyways, it invites many different criminal shenanigans, from drugs to murder.

Sadly, there is no sign that Bridgeton is up and coming or on its way to turn around. However, on the flip side, it is not getting worse, either.

8. Parkrose

  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 739
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 7,059
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 13
  • Population: 12,252

Keeping up with the highway commonality, Parkrose is no exception as it is tucked away in the middle of both highways 205 and 84. The closeness of both highways has opened a homeless epidemic within Parkrose, which invites a slew of criminal activity.

Upon our investigation of Parkrose, we had found a story on the forums where this couple found a fantastic home for a great price in Parkrose. It was a 5-bedroom, 3-bathroom home listed for $300,000. They had gone to see it, but the neighborhood was so sketchy that they did not even want to enter the house! If that does not say something about the area, then we do not know what will! Everything from burglaries to shootings are common here.

7. St. Johns

  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 682
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 6,515
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 14
  • Population: 7,933

Remember how we said that Kenton was a toss-up among the best and worst neighborhoods of Portland? The same can be said for St. John’s neighborhood, as it also has been up and coming but has not entirely made it there yet. Ten years ago, no one thought of stepping foot into the area.

The neighborhood itself is great! It is full of entertainment venues, shops and boutiques, stores, and a famous community to visit Portland. However, the issue is that the outskirts of the district are terrible. The crime is not necessarily in the middle of the neighborhood but around the outer areas.

Once this area begins to bring in more commerce and professionals, and its business starts to thrive, then this would perhaps be one of the great sites of Portland. However, this is still a few years out from 2021.

6. Lloyd District

  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 569
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 5,440
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 17
  • Population: 2,686

The Lloyd District is situated between several thriving areas of Portland; however, it cannot keep up for some reason. Since it is close to downtown, next to the Broadway Bridge, it is a very industrial section of Portland, which opens many crime opportunities, including violent crimes.

This district has been glazed over as far as areas that have become successful in Portland, and so it is known as the shady area in between all these great neighborhoods. Most people do not opt to visit here as there is nothing there to see. However, we still felt it was relevant to include this just in case you were thinking of coming here.

5. Sunderland

  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 844
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 8,061
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 12
  • Population: 760

The neighborhood of Sunderland is remarkably close to the airport and Columbia Blvd, a road notorious for violent crimes in Portland. While the area hosts two fantastic golf courses, there is nothing else that it has to offer. In fact, your chance of falling victim to any crime in the area is 1 in 12!

If you are a golf lover, we recommend staying on the courses, and that is it. Do not go to any local diners or shops in the neighborhood. However, it may even be a better option to find a golf course in a different area altogether.

4. Mill Park

  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 745
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 7,114
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 13
  • Population: 10,289

Another area that is impacted by the closeness of the freeways is Mill Park, which sits near I-205 and I-84. Of course, the closeness of two freeways causes double the trouble as there is more room for the homeless population and two main corridors to escape down.

Mill Park has been known for its random violent attacks. Most of the violent crime that happens here, the perpetrator is usually a passerby and not a local. Between this fact and its already high crime areas under the overpasses and at bus stations, it is good to avoid this area.

3. Old Town-Chinatown

  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 732
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 6,996
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 13
  • Population: 2,802

Old Town-Chinatown Portland is famous for its excellent restaurants and hot spots, but only during the daytime. So, if there is a place you have wanted to check out here, then it is a good idea to do it while the sun is still up, as this neighborhood becomes a whole new place when night falls.

When the sun goes down, there is trouble lurking on every corner in Chinatown. While we will not tell you to avoid this area 100%, we will say to leave before nighttime. Or, if you are staying here, lock your doors and windows, and do not leave until morning.

2. Powellhurst

  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 796
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 7,607
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 12
  • Population: 25,760

Powellhurst is just north of Happy Valley, known as one of the best neighborhoods of Portland. However, the same cannot be said for this neighborhood. It is smack dab in the middle of two separate corridors and has homeless camps everywhere. However, the homeless of Powellhurst are known to be more violent than other homeless communities.

The chance of becoming a victim of any crime within the Powellhurst neighborhood is 1 in 12. It is not a good area for you to be out and about in. We highly recommend you avoid this area as it has nothing to offer. If you are looking for the best restaurants, you are better served in downtown Portland than in this neighborhood.

1. Centennial

  • Violent Crime Rate Per 100K: 810
  • Property Crime Rate Per 100K: 7,741
  • Chance of Being a Victim: 1 in 12
  • Population: 20,932

Finally, we have rated Centennial as the worst neighborhood in Portland, just as many others have for the last few years. Nothing has changed, and the future of this neighborhood looks grim. Centennial is highly populated, but even with a population of 20,932, you still have a 1 in 12 chance of becoming a victim of a crime. Those are bad odds.

Not to mention, the violent crimes that take place in Centennial usually result in death or significant injury as they have a higher murder rate than the other neighborhoods on this list. That alone should be enough reason to steer clear of this neighborhood.

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Wrapping It Up

Moving to or visiting a new area can be daunting, especially when you know nothing about the local neighborhoods. It is essential to do your research to figure out which areas are safe so that you do not end up getting yourself into a dangerous situation.

If you are thinking about moving to Portland, make sure that you weigh the risks of moving to a particular area. If a house’s price seems too good to be true, the chances are that it is! Do some research on the area you are thinking of moving to, and steer clear of the neighborhoods we listed here. You will be glad you did! Check out our guide: Safest Neighborhoods in Portland.

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Heather Robbins
Heather Robbins

Heather is a passionate writer who loves anything DIY. Growing up, she learned everything from home repairs to design, and wants to share her tips with you. When she's not writing, she's usually hiking or searching for her next DIY project.

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