For our second episode of the new year, we’re visiting the booming zip-code of 97124 in Hillsboro. This suburb, located just 17 miles west of Portland, has seen an enormous amount of growth within the past two decades and is now the fifth largest city in Oregon, with a population just under 100,000.
This is largely due to the influx of technology companies making their homes in this once rural area. The hub of Silicon Forest – which includes Intel campuses, Tektronix, Laika, SolarWorld, and more – is located in the heart of this industrial corridor.
But, Hillsboro contains much more than some of the most innovative technology companies in the world – it’s home to great restaurants, shopping, award-winning communities, sports teams, beautiful parks, fantastic libraries, and more. In this episode of UnZip The Zip-Code, we’ll be exploring just a fraction of what Hillsboro has to offer. To see more for yourself, all you have to do is hop on the MAX and take a short ride right into the heart of 97124.
The MAX Blue Line will take you all the way to Hillsboro’s city center, but to experience 97124, hop off the train right at Orenco Station and 231st Avenue. Orenco Station is a 500-acre “European style” village located in the heart of the tech district and has so much to offer.
Orenco Station won the Best Masterplanned Community in America Award in 1998 and continues to expand with new shops, restaurants, a farmer’s market, green spaces, and even an ice skating rink during the winter. Residents enjoy being able to walk to their favorite stores and restaurants, which are just steps away or easily take the MAX right into Downtown Portland.
Taking a car or one of the frequently running Tri-Met busses will afford you access to other fun destinations in 97124, like Helvetia Tavern. If you’re a native to Hillsboro, you’re more than familiar with the historic tavern’s baseball cap-lined ceiling and that delightfully full feeling you get after indulging in the famous Helvetia Jumbo burger (and I mean JUMBO).
Helvetia Tavern, built in 1922, is located on the north side of Highway 26 – just far enough away from Intel and the housing developments of 97124 to make you feel like you’ve left the suburbs. In the summer, the tavern offers outdoor seating with views of the stunning Helvetia countryside. With a deliciously greasy meal at just under $10, it’s worth the 20 minute drive from Portland.
Close by and right off of Highway 26 is the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals. This family-friendly, educational museum is home to one of the best collections of rocks, minerals, fossils, meteorites, and gemstones in the Northwest. The museum, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a site to see in and of itself, due to it’s unique architecture and natural stone and woodwork.
The Rice Museum offers classes, workshops and events year round. Check out the museum’s calendar of events for more information. And don’t miss the upcoming Mystery Mineral Day on February 25th, where you can bring in your own rocks, minerals, fossils, or gems to be identified by the museum’s expert panel.
Many Oregonians may be surprised to learn that Hillsboro is home to one of the most highly regarded stop-motion animation studios in the country –
Laika, which recently celebrated it’s 10th anniversary. The studio, which is owned by Nike co-founder Phil Knight, has produced box office hits like Coraline, ParaNorman, The BoxTrolls, and Kubo and the Two Strings.
Hillsboro has some great things to look forward to in the summertime. One being games from the two-time defending Northwest League Champion baseball team, the Hillsboro Hops. This minor league baseball team came to Hillsboro in 2013 and hosts games at Ron Tonkin Field, just off of Highway 26. Hops games are a fun and affordable way for the whole family to enjoy warm summer weather. Reserved seat tickets start at just $12. See the 2017 Schedule for more information.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief tour of just some of the fun things you can find around 97124 in Hillsboro. Tune in to KATU’s AM Northwest this Friday, January 20th from 9-10am to see this episode of UnZip The Zip-Code.
Until next time!
Mortgage Specialist • NMLS 506902