Pill Hill is an area in Portland, Oregon, located south of downtown on the ridge of what is known as The West Hills, or more precisely, The Tualatin Mountains. The other half of the area's name comes from the many medical facilities that are clustered near the top of the hill.

The area was formed around 1917, when some wealthy donors gave some land to the state as a place to build a medical university. the generosity of the donation is somewhat questionable, since the land was in an area that was not very viable for commercial or residential development. (Although there is also some very expensive residential development in the West Hills). The main hospital in the area is Oregon Health Sciences University, and its Doernbecher's Children Hospital, as well as the Shriner's Hospital and the Veteran Administration's hospital. There are also a number of subsidiary offices and private practices scattered over the area. The physical and organizational layout of the area is very confusing to a novice. Because the hospitals are built on steep hillsides, the ground floor of OHSU is the 8th floor. OHSU and the VA hospital are organizationally separate, but are connected by a 600 foot pedestrian skybridge. The buildings in the complex are also of assorted dates of construction, and the area is a hodgepodge of building styles. Outside of the hospital complexes, there isn't much in the neighborhood: a small amount of residential buildings, a convenience store, and then steep hillsides and gulches.

One obvious question about building three major hospitals high on a hillside is how people are transported to them, both in emergency and regular situations. This was not a problem in 1917, but it certainly has been since then. When the intensive public transit service to the area still couldn't keep up with the many employees and visitors to the hospitals, the City of Portland set about building a tram line up to the hillside, a project that came in far over budget and with many political complications. What will be done in the future to provide transportation to a neighborhood that is overcrowded and in a wildly inconvenient location remains to be seen.

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.