Meet Your Neighborhood, FoPo

I know, we typically introduce you to one of our neighbors on a Monday, but we feel it’s time to dig deeper into what makes FoPo what it is.  So with that in mind, and thanks to Portland Monthly for publishing neighborhood statistics, we’re going to share some of the numbers that tell us about who lives here.

So just how many people do call Foster-Powell home?  There are 7,895 FoPoians, with a median age of 38, although the number of young couples and babies seems to increase by the day, which surely brings this number down next time a census is taken.  This makes us a bit smaller than nearby Woodstock, but also a couple years younger.

Of the nearly 8,000 people that call Foster-Powell home, 38% consider themselves non-white, 43% are married, and 60% of them own their home.  To go further, only 13% of the population has a bachelors degree, but 8% have managed to get their masters.  In terms of earnings power, the median household income in Foster-Powell is $50,879.

How does our real-estate stock look?  Well, according to Portland Monthly, the median price of a house is $188,500, which is about 5% less than it was the year prior, and 15% less than five years ago.  And of the 86 homes sold in the neighborhood last year, more than a quarter of them were distressed properties.  Sheesh!  Hopefully that turnaround comes sooner than later.  When comparing the numbers, our real estate picture puts us sort of in between Mt. Scott-Arleta and St. John’s, both with similar prices and declines in value.

Is our neighborhood safe?  This is always a tough one to read into.  In many ways, we don’t need the stats to tell us how safe we feel.  If I were to look at the number of kids running around freely and happily in Kern Park, or my neighbors who visit with each other while gardening in their front yards, or leave their front doors open on a sunny afternoon, I’d say most people feel safe.  If I were to ask one of my other neighbors, they may say no, as it wasn’t long ago that their bikes were stolen, house broken into, or they had to call the police because tweakers were fighting in the street.  In looking at the numbers, you can be the judge.

In 2011, there were 30 violent crimes, 39 residential burglaries, and 65 motor vehicle thefts.  That sounds like a lot, for sure.  And it almost made me wonder if I have a false sense of security in FoPo.  Digging a little deeper, though, it’s safe to say that some of those crimes don’t necessarily perpetuate the Felony Flats label.  For example, Kenton, which has a had nice turnaround of their own, and is home to Mayor Sam Adams, has about the same number of violent crimes, but nearly twice as many residential burglaries.  Ditto for the gentrified Overlook neighborhood, who had comparable violent crime and burglary rates, but with a smaller population.  And when looking at our crime rate of 51 crimes per 1,000 residents, we’re safer than Hosford-Abernathy, Goose Hollow, and Kerns.

What does it all mean?  Foster-Powell is sometimes hard to get a grasp on.  I suppose that would be true of any neighborhood in transition, especially one that’s been “transitioning” for several years now.  We don’t necessarily stand out in any one category, and there’s nothing to get overly excited or worried about based on these numbers.  Stats are stats, though, and they only tell us part of the story.

What can you tell us about the neighborhood that the numbers don’t capture?

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