Modern day Kenton is known for its boutique neighborhood eateries and cool dive bars – not to mention its iconic, larger-than-life Paul Bunyan statue (who recently enjoyed a restorative makeover) – but the truth is, Kenton started out with a more humble concept…and a lot more cows.
Sold to the Associated Banking Trust Co. in 1892 for the purpose of real estate development, the untouched land comprising Kenton was later resold in 1897 for a total sum of $15,000, and the tract remained undeveloped for years.
Not until 1906 did the area start seeing signs of growth – even if development may have lacked a little in sophistication, with cattle still loitering on the main strip up until 1928. However, this was the foundation for the origins of the Union Meat Co. (later purchased by Swift & Co.).
Soon, land was being snapped up to house the booming meat packing plant, heralding the birth of an industrial company town. This project was helmed by Kenwood Land Co., and while “Kenwood” had originally been proposed as the new neighborhood’s name, the influential moniker had already been used elsewhere. And thus, the town of Kenton was formed.
As many as 1,500 people were employed along the Oregon Slough during this period, with Portland even being described as “The Livestock Market of the NW”. The Slough became the main meat manufacturing center, second only to St. Johns.
This district quickly became the fastest growing neighborhood in Portland. The Kenton area was a groundbreaking model for a self-contained company town, with “executive” housing constructed for Swift officers, workers, and their families.
In 2018, we are witnessing the already tight-knit community of Kenton experience wonderful growth, and admire the residents for their empathetic outreach programs that support and benefit their neighbors.
Kenton not only saw growth in the neighborhood but also in home values, with the price appreciation in Kenton seeing a hefty increase of 18.9% compared to last year.
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