PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — There’s a place in Oregon that is literally a city within a city.
Maywood Park is surrounded by Portland but it has its own mayor, a city council and 850 residents. Its 300 homes sit on less than a quarter-square-mile of land located six miles east of Downtown Portland.
The tiny city is nestled at the foot of Rocky Butte and is bordered by NE 102nd Avenue, Sandy Boulevard, Prescott Street and I-205.
Maywood Park’s origin story goes back to 1926 when the City of Portland expanded Sandy Boulevard into a four-lane highway cutting through Northeast Portland. The highway made way for more development to the east, specifically in the Parkrose district which was mostly farmland.
Within that area was a triangular area dominated by old-growth forest. It was bought by the Columbia Realty Company and turned into the Maywood Park subdivision.
Home sales in Maywood Park started taking off toward the end of the 1930s. Buyers were attracted to Maywood Park’s small-town feel despite being surrounded by a big city. It was also easily accessible thanks to Sandy Boulevard.
City Council President Arthur Winslow said Maywood Park was incorporated in 1967 in an effort to preserve the neighborhood.
“There was a rumor that a freeway was going to be built in this area,” Winslow said.
Interstate 205 was originally planned to slice through Maywood Park, destroying homes and majestic trees. Residents figured the best way to derail the project was to incorporate and battle the state as an independent city.
Winslow said the outcome wasn’t in their favor — but they managed to get concessions.
I-205 was built below Maywood Park although 82 homes were still lost in the process. The state also agreed to noise abatement, including a landscaped berm that became the tiny city’s central park.
When it was over, Maywood Park decided to remain a city.
“Because of that fight, people grew closer together,” said Winslow.
Over the years, Maywood Park has held many community events. Generations of children were raised there and today younger families are moving in. Surrounded by fast-growing Portland, Maywood Park remains much as it has for decades. People who live here like it that way.
“It’s like a smalltown community kinda,” said Maywood Park resident Andrea Ervin. “We live in a big city but everybody knows each other, we all look out for each other. It kinda feels like a little Mayberry.”
Maywood Park is funded by property taxes and it has agreements with surrounding agencies for many of its services. The big issue now is whether to finally abandon its underground cesspools and connect to Portland’s sewer system.