My son attends Pacific NW College of Art which is also in The Pearl. He has found the following criteria important when selecting an apartment and would also apply when buying a home. It's crucial to be near the school- saves on commuting time and gas. He eventually found a place that is an easy bike ride or walk as parking is very expensive and the meter maids diligent!! Think hard about a single family home, it will require more upkeep than a condo or townhouse (i.e. yardwork, gutter cleaning, exterior paint). Also take into consideration the amount of natural light the property receives, I don't know what medium you work in, but good natural light is important especially during grey Portland winters.
Here are a few options you might like, go to http://www.rmls.com
and enter the following MLS numbers:
7108780, 7098031, 7112726
Good luck, you are going to love the vibrant arts community in Portland!
Mardi Davis, ASP, Broker