Some say Portland Heights is much like San Francisco with quaint streets, sidewalks and mature trees. Unlike most West Hills neighborhoods, Portland Heights mostly adheres to downtowns grid pattern and street orientation. Also unlike other parts of the West Hills, Portland Heights has a tiny commercial district, centered on SW Vista Ave and Spring Street home of the aptly named Vista Springs Cafe and the Windermere Portland Heights Office! Also at the intersection of Vista and Spring is Ainsworth Elementary School, one of the top elementary schools in the city.
One of the charms of Portland Heights is the variety of houses that can be found in the neighborhood. In addition to the "grid", several streets twist throughout the southwest hillside adding to the interesting cross-section of homes to be found. Some large, some small, early 20th century mansions next to 1950's style ranches next to custom contemporaries.