District Boundaries – SE Division Street from 117th to 148th
Midway is an East Portland neighborhood situated roughly “midway” between the Willamette River in downtown Portland, and the city of Gresham. The greater Midway district is located between I-205 and the Portland City Limits, and from Market Street to Holgate Avenue. The “Heart of Midway” has always been at 122nd and Division. Midway is located within the David Douglas School District.
During the middle class prosperity period of the 1950’s, residents of Portland moved east to find new homes on large lots in residential suburbia. Businesses sprung up on 122nd and along Division & Powell streets to service the needs of the new homeowners. Lawyers, insurance agents, gas stations, grocery stores, appliance repair shops, florists, and restaurants were just a few of the businesses serving Midway’s residents.
Midway still has many attributes of the area’s rural past but as Portland expanded and many of Midway’s early residents moved or passed away, large residential properties gave way to additional homes or apartment complexes, and auto lanes were added to Division accommodate the influx of people.
Currently, Midway is one of only two minority-majority census tracts in the City, but it has always been quite diverse. The pre-World War II farmland, much of which was owned and operated by the Japanese community, became the suburban houses of the 1950’s. As those post-World War II houses aged, other parts of the city began to gentrify and rents and property taxes began to rise. Seeking lower housing costs, People of Color began to move to East Portland, and many of the businesses in North and inner-Northeast Portland relocated to East Portland, as well. In the past 20 years, the influx of immigrants and refugees has had a direct impact on the district’s demographics. Today, over 70 languages are spoken at David Douglas High School, and SE Division is one of only two minority-majority census tracks in the city.
DMA aims to attract new businesses who will meet the community’s needs. These businesses are hire locally, which will improves Midway’s the financial base, and business owners who are women, immigrants, and People of Color bring a new vibrancy to the community.
With greater employment comes a greater need for services and planning and input from the community. Unfortunately, sidewalks, crosswalks, lighting and basic safety improvements were not part of Midway’s urbanization and infrastructure improvements are desperately needed.
Much can be done to improve the Midway district and steer the changes in the direction that will benefit us all.
Be a part of the solution. If you own a business or a property, hire locally. Look for business owners on web sites like the DMA Business Directory or the Midway Business Association’s website. If you are a citizen of Midway, please shop locally where 60% of what you spend will stay in the area. Working together we WILL make a difference.