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Welcome to our Portland meeting planning guide – a city guide for Portland meeting planning. Named as America's Greenest City in 2008 by Popular Science magazine, Portland is a leader in increasing environmental awareness and making Portland event venues more energy efficient. From LEED-certified meeting facilities to eco-friendly accommodations, Portland provides meeting planners with all of the necessary resources to execute a successful green meeting or event. Over the past few years, the city has served as host to many environmental organizations' meetings including the American Solar Energy Society, the National Wildlife Federation and the U.S. Green Building Council.
Constructed with sustainable products and systems, the Oregon Convention Center was the first convention center to receive its LEED certification. The center has put an extensive recycling program in place, in addition to an organic composting program. Clearly-marked recycling barrels are placed in prominent locations throughout the facility to encourage attendees to discard waste more responsibly.
Not only is Portland's largest meeting space a recipient of the green seal of approval, Portland's largest hotel, the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower, is also green-certified. The hotel's eco-friendly meeting practices include double-sided printing on post-consumer recycled paper, individual temperature control in all meeting rooms, donation of leftover food to local charities and availability of local, organic and vegetarian foods. The Doubletree Hotel & Executive Meeting Center is also LEED-certified and several other properties are pursuing certification and implementing sustainability programs. The green experience extends to everyday activities, with eco-tours of organic vineyards and visits to protected tidal and freshwater wetlands making great day trips outside of the city.
Beyond the larger event facilities, the greater Portland area provides numerous unique event spaces. Planners can take advantage of the city's proximity to the water by hosting a small dinner at the covered deck at Salty's on the Columbia. The interactive Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is ideal for larger receptions of up to 2,500 guests. For day trips, several fine wineries less than an hour away such as those in the Willamette Valley beckon guests to enjoy an elegant day trip outside the city. Or, for a chance to revel in the magnificent outdoors of Oregon, several resorts cater to meetings of all sizes, including the Timberline Lodge and the Resort at the Mountain, both located on scenic Mount Hood.
Thanks to far-sighted and innovative urban planning, Portland boasts an excellent public transportation system called TriMet so that guests can reach attractions with ease. The system also services the city's more than 160 hotels. Current hotel rates in Portland are an average of $10 to $15 cheaper per night than hotels in Seattle or San Francisco.
Portland has transitioned from its former trade and shipping-based economy to become a modern mecca of high-tech industries, with over 1,200 technology companies operating in the city. Intel Corporation is one of the city's largest employers, along with Nike, Providence Health System, Columbia Sportswear and Pixelworks.
Linked to the Pacific Ocean by the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, Portland is the largest city on the west coast between San Francisco and Seattle. The city dates back to the mid-1800s when it was established as a strategic trading town. As the main shipping port in the Pacific Northwest, Portland grew in size and population through the beginning of the 20th century. Today the Portland metropolitan area is home to more than two million residents, making it the largest city in the state and the 3rd largest city in the Pacific Northwest.
Enjoying moderate temperature and dramatic outdoor scenery, Portland is a nature lover's paradise. With a skyline dominated by majestic Mount Hood, the city below is crisscrossed with waterways, bike paths and over 40 miles of wilderness trails. It is no surprise that Portland has been voted the top cycling city by Bicycling magazine on more than one occasion. The nature-friendly city boasts more than 37,000 acres of park ranging from the beautiful 5,000-acre Forest Park to Mill Ends Park, the world's smallest park at only 24 inches. Portland is home to numerous green golf courses, including Eastmoreland Golf Course and Heron Lakes Golf Course, both of which are included in Golf Digest's list of the nation's top 75 public golf courses. Skiers will find themselves in heaven having four ski resorts nearby and the longest ski season in North America, extending into 90 days of summer. Ice climbing, hiking, and fishing are also popular sports in the area.
Built on top of the Boring Lava Field, this once active volcanic zone has given rise to lush gardens that constitute many of the city's top attractions. Enjoy the fragrance of more than 8,000 rose bushes at the International Rose Test Garden, the oldest official unremittingly operated test rose garden open to the public in the nation. Visit the Portland Classical Chinese Garden built by Suzhou artisans and reawaken your senses amongst magnolias, rhododendrons and bamboo. Explore the winding pathways through the Portland Japanese Garden, which has become known as one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan. View thousands of plants displayed in over 20 colorful specialty gardens including water features, a 400-year-old oak tree and numerous artistic installations at the Oregon Garden. With an abundance of flora and fauna, it is easy to see how this blossoming city has become known as "the City of Roses."
As a cultural metropolis with a thriving pulse, Portland attracts more than seven million visitors a year. Enjoy a wide range of performances by the Oregon Symphony led by Carlos Kalmar or be captivated by one of the Portland Opera's internationally-cast operas such as Aida or Cinderella. Sit in awe while watching the mystifying acrobatics of Do Jump Theater's "actorbats." Visit the Museum of Contemporary Craft, the oldest cultural institution in Portland, which has housed many captivating ceramic exhibits of artists such as Hilary Pfeifer, Eliza Au, Zen Parry and Susan Taber Avila. Art fanatics will also enjoy the Portland Museum of Art, offering a wide range of media, including its nationally-acclaimed permanent collection featuring art from the ancient times to today.
From recreational to cultural, Portland's attractions are not just varied but very unique. Encompassing an entire city block, Powell's City of Books is the largest new and used bookstore in the world. The historic Pittock Mansion showcases antique furniture representing the splendor of Portland's trading days and has been on the National Historical Registry since 1914. The Oregon Zoo is home to 200 species, but instead of cages used at many other zoos, animals are kept in sunken pits to allow for more open exhibits. Other nearby attractions include the Pearl District, where historic industrial buildings have been transformed into trendy shops, restaurants and art galleries, and the Portland Saturday Market, which showcases local crafts and homemade foods. For a refreshing combination of big city attractions and gorgeous, open green spaces and sparkling waters, Portland is the place to go.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
Visitors to Portland might expect to experience generous rainfall during their stay, but they will be surprised to learn at 36.3 inches of average rainfall, the city receives less annual precipitation overall than most East Coast cities. However, when rainfall does occur during the region's rainy season November to April, it is rare to see a sunny, dry day. The city receives approximately 155 days of precipitation a year, frequently in the form of a light drizzle or fine mist. Visitors should be sure to pack an umbrella and raincoat if visiting in the winter.
Winter temperatures average a low of 37°F and a high of 46°F. Spring weather can be damp and chilly, particularly in March and April. The summer season is marked by mild temperatures, low humidity and predominantly sunny skies. Although temperatures can reach the mid-90s in the summer, northwesterly winds from the Pacific Ocean keep most days in the low 80s. June is considered the perfect month to visit Portland, many of the roses are blooming and days are long and warm.
Oregon Convention Center
The one-million-square-foot Oregon Convention Center is the largest such meeting facility in the Northwest, with 50 meeting rooms, two ballrooms, 255,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space and 800 covered parking spaces. With 16 read access docks with load levelers and 8,000 square feet of indoor dock space directly accessing the exhibit halls, the center makes the set up for any function an easy process. Additionally, in keeping with Portland's reputation as one of the greenest cities in America, the Oregon Convention Center is LEED-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council and was the first such venue in the country to receive the Salmon-Safe certification in recognition of its water safety measures.
Guests receive a unique taste of Portland at the Oregon Convention Center, which brings the city's green inside at the environmentally-friendly Rain Garden fountain, which complements the $2 million collection of art displayed throughout the center. Amenities include on-site catering and concessions provided by Northwest Fresh Catering, whose dishes such as salmon crab cakes and grilled flank steak highlight local fare. Two Starbucks coffee stores are also found in the main exhibit hall and meeting room lobbies. High-speed Internet and wi-fi connections are available throughout the center. An on-site parking garage has room for 800 vehicles to park at a maximum daily rate of $8.
Portland International Airport (PDX)
Approximate taxi fare: $35.98 USD
A 20-minute drive from downtown, Portland International Airport is serviced by 17 airlines, with direct service from many large cities including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Detroit and Denver. About three million passengers pass through the airport annually, traveling to and from more than 50 nonstop destinations. Portland International is composed of one terminal and five concourses, served by three runways.
Thanks to the area's mild year-round weather, Portland International has only closed once for a period of over an hour in the past 20 years. To make traveling at the airport a more pleasant experience, travelers enjoy free wi-fi connectivity in most areas as well as no sales tax on food and drink purchases. The airport's conference center caters to business and event guests by providing meeting rooms and private computer work stations and business services. Long-term, daily and economy parking is available.
Airline carriers serving Portland International Airport
Portland is serviced by Amtrak's national passenger rail system with three routes passing through the city's Union Station depot. The Coast Starlight route runs between Los Angeles and Seattle; the Empire Builder runs between Portland and Chicago; and the Cascades commuter line runs between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Eugene, Oregon.
TriMet operates Portland's buses and Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) light rail system.
Portland's buses run 94 routes, including many connections to the MAX light rail. Bus service is available to many of Portland's prime attractions, such as Washington Park, the Chinese Garden and the Oregon History Center. Fare is based on the number of zones traveled. A two-hour ticket for one zone is $1.40 for children ages 7-17 and $1.75 for adults. Fare for stops in the Fareless Square, an area around downtown Portland, is free.
Light rail trains connect downtown Portland with the airport and suburb communities such as Beaverton and Hillsboro. Other notable stops include Washington Park, which offers convenient access to the Oregon Zoo, Hoyt Arboretum and the Children's Museum. Trains run daily from 4:30 AM to midnight. Fare is based on the number of zones traveled.A two-hour ticket for one zone is $1.40 for children ages 7-17 and $1.75 for adults. Fare for stops in the Fareless Square, an area around downtown Portland, is free.
The Portland Streetcar lends a European flair to the downtown area, servicing an 8-mile loop including the Cultural District, Pearl District, RiverPlace and Nob Hill. Streetcar stops are located every three to flour blocks throughout the route with a total of 46 stops. Fare is based on the number of zones traveled. A two-hour ticket for one zone is $1.75 for adults and $1.40 for children ages 7-17. Fare for stops in the Fareless Square, an area around downtown Portland, is free.
Portland, Oregon offers all the major car rental companies, including Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, Alamo, and Thrifty. Airport rental shuttles are found at the lower roadway closest to the garage.
The Portland metro area has close to 100 taxi companies providing transportation for the metered rate of $2.20 per mile. Taxis are available at the Portland International Airport and the average fare to downtown locations ranges between $25 and $30. Travelers should call to arrange for pick-up from areas other than the airport.
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