Commercial strips are concentrations of storefronts in a double line, along arterial streets, in otherwise residential areas.
Portland's urban pattern (supposedly because of streetcar routes), and its support for locally-owned businesses, have preserved at least a dozen of these small-scale neighborhood downtowns around the city. They're populated with independent shops, restaurants, offices, and only an occasional national chain.
Some of the familiar commercial strips in Portland are:
- Along SE Hawthorne, leading up to Mount Tabor, between the Sunnyside and Richmond neighborhoods, east-west, with the Bagdad Theater and a branch of Powell's Books
- Along SE Belmost in Sunnyside, parallel to Hawthorne, with The Tao of Tea, the Avalon Theater, the Paradox Cafe, and the Pied Cow Coffeehouse
- Historic Mississippi Avenue in the Boise neighborhood, north-south, with The Fresh Pot and The Meadow
- NW 21st Street and NW 23rd Street running parallel north-south in Northwest ("Nob Hill")
- SE Woodstock Blvd from roughly 40th Avenue to 50th Avenue, east-west, with the Delta Cafe, the Lutz Tavern, Papaccino's, Laughing Planet and the Bike Gallery
- SE Milwaukie Avenue through Sellwood, north-south, with Keana's Candyland, Papa Haydn, Fat Albert's, and the Moreland Theater