10 Attractions to Check Out During #ELGL14

Posted on June 2, 2014

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Mac’s List: Networking Events You Don’t Want to Miss

Josh Halladay (formerly of Josh’s Job Search) kicks off our series previewing #ELGL14. So many questions surround the event – will fanny packs be given out? will Young MC perform? what kind of coffee will be served? High expectations surround #ELGL14 in the wake of a sold out #ELGL13 which was named a “can’t miss networking event” by Mac’s List.

Visiting Portlandia for #ELGL14


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by Josh Halladay, June 2, 2014

With the expansion of ELGL growing into the Midwest, Southeast, and Southwest, it is safe to assume that there will be some out of towners at the annual conference in October.  This post is dedicated to those journeymen and journeywomen making the trek to the Pacific Northwest so that they can begin planning to get the most out of their visit.

Journeyers: Here is a list of the top 10 things that local government administrators should include on their to-do lists when visiting Portland for the weekend.

 10.  Bridges

portland-bridges-coffee--21458-215dOne of the primary duties of a city and its administrators is to build and maintain transportation infrastructure.  The task of doing this becomes more difficult when a large river runs through the middle of your city.  Portland has overcome the river (pun intended) by building eight bridges to help local residents, the freight industry, and tourists freely move about the city.  While bridges can be expensive and don’t always work out as planned (Columbia River Crossing anyone?), Portland’s have helped create the city’s identity and add to its uniqueness.

If engineering or infrastructure is your thing, you will probably want to tour Portland’s bridges.  Among the eight are the Steel Bridge, the only telescoping double decker vertical lift bridge in the world, and the Hawthorne Bridge, the oldest operating lift bridge in the U.S. (If you do drive over the Hawthorne bridge, a certain ELGL blogger almost lost control of his car when his tires hydroplaned on a rainy day so obey the speed laws or you may be taking an unintentional swim!).

9. Local Hip Hop Concerts aka Controversial Public Safety Concern

Related article: Straight Outta St. Johns

giphy (1)Locally, hip hop artists and fans have been in an uproar about the many hip hop shows that have been shut down by police officers.  The issue has been explored by Willamette Week, one of the City’s premiere news magazines, as well as Oregon Public Broadcasting.  Local artist MC Illmaculate stated “I will not perform in this city as long as the blatant targeting of black culture and minorities congregating is acceptable common practice.”

The often-cited reason behind the closures is that the clubs fill way over capacity, however gang presence has also been mentioned.  If you are interested in exploring the dichotomy between public safety and bad PR that associated with the targeting of a largely minority based group, go check out a show and see what is going on for yourself.

8. Voodoo Doughnuts

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There is no association between local government and this one, but the doughnuts are unique and delicious and the downtown shop is an experience.

7. Forest Park

Want to take a walk or bike ride in the great outdoors while you’re here?  Do you work in Parks and Rec?  It may be worth your time to check out Forest Park.  At 5,000 acres, it is the largest urban Park in the U.S.  It is known for its lengthy trails that provide a great way to surround yourself in greenery without leaving the city.  After all, what would a trip to the PNW be if you didn’t hug a tree?

6. Public Transportation

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Thinking of renting a car for your stay?  Why not kill two birds with one stone and explore Portland’s public transportation?

Portland’s public transportation system is one of the Country’s best.  This is in part, due to Portland’s unique Metro government that created a master plan for the metropolitan region where they focused on transit-oriented development.  A few highlights of the system include the MAX light rail system, which can take you from the airport, through Portland, and all the way to Tualatin, the Portland Streetcar, which would be a good way to get a tour of downtown Portland, and the Aerial Tram if you would like a beautiful view of the city (and aren’t afraid of heights).

 5. Powell’s Books

The largest independent new and used bookstore in the world is certainly worth checking out.  Missing a treasured textbook from your MPA course?  Powell’s probably has it.  The store is the size of an entire city block and has three floors (I once got lost in there, but that’s another story).  If you don’t mind being surrounded by hipsters, checking out this mammoth bookstore is definitely worth an hour of your time.

4. Microbrews

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City managers sometimes have reasons to drink…so why not do it in style?  Portland is home to an obscene amount of breweries (31 to be exact).  While you will get the chance to try some of McMenamins finest beverages at the conference’s happy hour, there is so much out there to explore.  Some of Portland’s more popular breweries are BridgePort Brew Pub and Rogue Ales.

3. Tax-Free Shopping

You out of state visitors may not be aware that Portland has no sales tax, which means everything is cheaper!  Maybe you want to do your Christmas shopping a little early.  If you do want to check out a few of Portland’s shops, head to the Pearl District.  Once filled with rail yards and abandoned warehouses, the Pearl is the epitome of a successful Urban Renewal District.

Another thing to do, which could be its own bullet point, is checking out Portland’s Saturday Market.  The largest continuous open-air arts and crafts market in the country is filled with cool handmade trinkets and treasures.

2. Food Carts

images (5)Despite its size and consideration as a major city, Portland is a hub for local businesses in the food industry because of its many food cart pods.  Business owners save on capital by renting a space in a food cart parking lot and having a small kitchen in their cart.  It also allows some creative minds to make the cutting board their canvass, benefitting all who lineup at their pods.  Pretty much any food you want, you can find at the carts.

 1. ELGL Conference 2014!

ELGL-Conference-Poster21The reason why you came.  Spend the day with a ton of professionals with the same interests as you, going to work shops, developing your professional skills, and hearing the wonderful speakers that ELGL has chosen to speak to you.  Make sure to pay attention for any word on tickets because there is a capacity limit.

As a bonus, join us on Thursday night for a tour of Portland breweries, and then, stay around after #ELGL14 for a short road trip to watch the Oregon Ducks vs. Washington Huskies in Eugene.

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