Please understand that I DID NOT stay at this hostel. I live very near to Portland, and don't really need to stay anywhere in Portland.
However, some information from a local might be useful:
This hostel is the ONLY place that has public lodging on SE Hawthorne west of 82nd Avenue. In fact, on the entire central Hawthorne and Belmont eastside area (Portland's old east side residential neighborhoods area) there are precious few places that offer respectable public lodging. (There is a homeless shelter or two in the true "Central Eastside" district 1 mile closer to downtown, but those are not "respectable public lodging" by any means.)
The location is, however, one of the best in Portland for this type of accomodation. Hawthorne is a busy street, but still reasonable for pedestrian use during most hours. The neighborhood surrounding the hostel is very quiet, except for SE Hawthorne, and therefore one doesn't have to walk or ride a bike on a busy street to get around. Downtown Portland is very close to this accomodation. For me, it is a 20 minute or so walk. Bike ride and transit (#14 bus) are other options, and equally convenient. Several small neighborhood parks are nearby, and Mt. Tabor Park, which offers some great views of downtown and eastward to Mt. Hood, is about 2 miles away.
Since I wrote my original review of the hostel, several other reviews have appeared on VirtualTourist, and thus I will also redirect you to them, as some of these are people who actually stayed at this hostel, and contain very useful information for those who are considering it an option:
(Please note that there is one slight error in this last review: the Hawthorne District is east of downtown Portland, and not west of downtown Portland. In fact once Hawthorne crosses the Hawthorne bridge into downtown Portland, it ceases to exist on the west side of the river. However, just because someone got a little confused in their sense of direction doesn't mean their review of where they stayed should be any less relevant.)
Unique Quality: Aside of its great location:
The hostel also has a number of ecologically sound features. For example, they have installed an "eco-roof" - a roof made of plants that help insulate the building as well as help keep the air in the city clean. Rainwater is collected and used for watering plants, rather than dumped onto the street. The web site (below) has a section that describes their ecological commitment.
Need food? Safeway is across the street and west two blocks. There are also several nearby convenience stores, and a Zupan's Market not far away on SE Belmont, as well as various other options.
Need restaurants? Hawthorne is full of them.
Want a cheap movie? The Bagdad shows movies, has food, and entrance (which does not include drinks or food) is only $3.
Need goofy gifts? Hawthorne has some interesting stores and if that isn't enough Belmot is an easy walk to the north and Division is an easy walk to the south, and the convenient bus line will take you to downtown Portland where you can visit Saturday Market or a host of other interesting spots. Or, you can take the #14 bus east to the end of the line at Lents, where you can visit Trillium Artisans and get other interesting and unique items.
Need an ATM? Bank of America is 8 blocks east, and Rivermark Credit Union is 6 blocks west.
As I say, I have no need to use the hostel as I already live here, but if I were visiting Portland this would be high on my list of places to stay.
Directions: North side of street, just after the Safeway store which is on the south side of the street.
Update: March 2008
From Union Station/Greyhound Depot: The Greyhound Depot is a only a block or so south of Union Station on NW 6th Avenue. From there, walk due west one short block along NW Hoyt Street to NW Broadway. The lot to the left on Hoyt is where the Hoyt Hotel once stood, built to accommodate travelers & railway workers.
Cross at the traffic light. Board the southbound #9 Broadway bus at NW Broadway & Hoyt. Exit @ SW 3rd & Alder. Walk one block due east to SW 2nd & Alder. Board #14 Hawthorne bus, the last downtown stop before the bus veers right over the Morrison Bridge.
L A N D M A R K: Hawthorne Street Safeway grocery store on the right.
Exit @ SE 30th & Hawthorne, a bit past Safeway. National flags representing foreign visitors should be flying from nearby IYH roof across the street.
From Airport: Purchase & validate Trimet ticket via ticket machines at airport Trimet boarding station. Visa, Master Charge, Discover cards accepted. Pennies & $2 dollar bills not accepted; all other US currencies up to & including $20 USD accepted.
Board Red MAX Beaverton train. Exit @ SW 2nd/3rd, the first downtown stop after turning right off 1st Avenue.
L A N D M A R K: Borders Bookstore on the left. You are there.
Walk due east to SW 2nd Avenue, then left to SW 2nd & Alder. Board #14 Hawthorne bus, etc.
The Hawthorne youth hostel in SE Portland is the older of the two Portland IYH's. A long walk away, on SE 39th, is a Freddies (Fred Meyer) superstore. Hawthorne between the youth hostel & 39th is a tourist mecca in its own right & favored by most locals over the more trendy NW 23rd Avenue; plenty of restaurants, book stores, boutiques & the like.
Most (all?) Freddies have a serviceable deli as well as fresh produce and canned & packaged food. All open at 7, seven days a week. Pay phones, clean rest room facilities.
The Belmont branch library is located on SE 39th between SE Belmont & SE Hawthorne just north of Freddies & across the street. Clean restrooms, clean books. Dirty books, naked ladies & the like, are in the main library downtown; 3rd floor, art department.
Unique Quality: Portland has two Youth Hostels. Each had a 3 day limit the last time I checked for a total of 6 days if you work it right. Either is close to anything since PDX has an excellent public transit system. Cash not accepted by bus drivers. Tickets can be purchased online via Trimet link below.
This is where I learned the difference between an exploitative money-making hostel and a sweet Hostelling International one. My partner and I had a private room for only $38. Plus, the rooms were decorated in bright colors and the staff had a sense of humor. The smaller capacity of the hostel -- it seems like it could hold 20 people max, with about a dozen when we were there -- kept things friendly.
Being a lesbian couple, we always have to worry a bit about being hassled by others or about our safety. But it was really a non-issue at the hostel -- there was even a nice young gay man staying there already.
I stayed up late the first night, talking with a nice guy from Chicago, a staffer, and a woman from Australia (where I learned about "'Roo bars" to keep Joeys from harming Australian drivers!) It was quite fun.
This hostel is in a great neighborhood. Out of some kind of good luck, Sarah and I had landed ourselves in the Portland Hawthorne District. I felt quite at home among the liberals, young hippies, and hipsters. You know you're in a happening place when there's a vintage clothing store, Ben and Jerry's stand, and a Clogs-n-More all within a few blocks of each other.
Unique Quality: There was cheap or free food -- tea, granola, etc. -- available in a homey kitchen. There were a washer and dryer in the basement.
Look at the walkspace around the windows on the second floor. See green? Yes, there is grass growing on the roof! It was very neat to look out of the second floor "lover's room" (decorated with a cheesy 70's-ish print of 2 lovers in a field lacquered to a scalloped wood frame) and see grass outside.
Directions: Hawthorne District, City Bus 14
Located in a really funky neighborhood in Portland, this hostel has a friendly feel to it. You can also camp in the back like I did the night I have spent there and there is a garage in the back to lock up your bike.
Unique Quality: You get 3$ off for being a cyclist. Also there is 1$ all you can eat pancakes in the morning. There is a kitty at the hostel so beware if you are allergic...
Directions: View directions from the website below. Directions will vary depending how you are arriving and also where from!
506 S.W. Washington, (formerly 5th Avenue Suites), Portland
1510 S.W. Harbor Way, Portland
11936 NE Glenn Widing Drive, Portland
1001 SW Broadway @ Salmon, Portland
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Address: 3031 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, Oregon, 97214, United States