Portland 2007


Meg and I went to visit Portland Oregon for a long weekend this summer.We scheduled two college interviews over the long weekend.My understanding is that it is better to visit the colleges when class is in session.That way the students can get a better feel for campus life.So theoretically, this trip should have happened over her junior year spring break.Well for whatever reason, we didnít manage to pull it off.So we scheduled the trip for this summer.


Portland is an interesting place to visit.I really liked the city.There are many educational opportunities in the Portland area.There are Portland State University, Evergreen State University, Lewis and Clark College and Reed College.Meg had interviews scheduled at Lewis and Clark College and Reed College.She had an interview at Lewis and Clark Thursday afternoon and Reed Friday afternoon.We booked the travel through Orbitz.I made a tactical error.I chose the Airport Ramada Inn.If I got a do over, I would stay downtown.I choose the Ramada because it was easy to get to both Reed and Lewis and Clark from there.I had Google maps for both trips.


The travel to Oregon was uneventful.We just barely had enough time to grab a snack in the Denver airport.We had lousy seats on the Wichita to Denver leg.Our luggage got there fine.We had a long wait in the rental car line.We found the hotel without too much trouble.


I can find very little nice to say about the Airport Ramada.It was in significant need of updating.The high speed internet did not work in ours rooms.The air conditioner barely worked at all and it does occasionally get hot in Portland.Their exercise equipment was in significant disrepair.Meg didnít like the hotel restaurant at all.Also there was very little to do any where near the hotel.All in all, it was a marginal place to sleep during the interview process.It was cheap though.This brought in several little league teams.Little boys make a lot of noise and donít sleep much.The kicker was that it was so hot there was a transformer fire and we were without power much of Thursday night.It was a good thing the interview was in the afternoon because we both needed to sleep in.


The first interview was at Lewis and Clark.I didnít sleep well and was tired.I left the camera behind and donít have any pictures to show.I did link the web site in case you want to take a virtual tour.We decided to get lunch on the way.We drove through some of downtown Portland to get there.There was some construction but we had too large a cushion of time.The college is located on the edge of a state park.It is very nicely situated, almost a rural environment in downtown Portland.However, we had to back track quite a ways to get lunch.We settled on a Subway as the best option.


We were taken on a tour by a student guide.Freshmen are required to stay on campus and have to share a dorm room with another student.Sophomores are guaranteed housing, but juniors and seniors are in a lottery.They have at least three dorm complexes.There is only one all womenís dorm floor and the rest is Coed.There are many themed dorms, so there is quite a lot of variety to choose from.The Lewis and Clark kids think the Reedies are nerds.Sort of a degree of nerdiness if you ask me.


After the tour, Meg went to an interview with a Admissions officer.I was directed to an information session.Meg said the interview wasnít what she expected.The interviewer spent a lot of time stressing the strong points of Lewis and Clark to Meg.What I gleaned from the information session was that Meg was qualified for non need based scholarships based on her academic performance.So I suspect that Meg will get admitted to Lewis and Clark.


We went adventuring Thursday night after the interview.We ended up going to a Chinese restaurant a good few miles from the hotel.We also stopped at a grocery store and got breakfast food.There is a significant Asian population in the area we were in.We were one of a few Caucasians in the restaurant populated by Asians.I think they dumbed down the food for us as it was not nearly as good as I expected.Somewhere along the way, my watchstrap broke.


The next day we went to Reed College.I did remember the camera this time so I have some pictures to share.Reed is about a quarter the size of Lewis and Clark.It is also in a wilderness area in downtown Portland.The old dorms are on the academic side of the campus.The new dorms are across a ravine from the academic buildings.But it is not a long walk to get to the classrooms.We started with a student led tour.We all met in a room and introduced ourselves and then there was time for questions and answers.Meg had several questions for the student guides.There were more people in this group than the Lewis and Clark group.I was surprised.They admit about 400 kids per year and there were quite a few kids interviewing.


For the tour, we split into two groups.Meg went with one and I went with the other.Here are a sampling of the pictures.


Welcome to Reed




Dorm Room


Nature Preserve


Campus Tour


Student Center


One of the requirements at Reed are that each student does a thesis.This can comprise anything from a manuscript to a project.This mural in the student center was the result of one such thesis.There is a tower in the library where the past student theses are collected.During the junior year, they get a mini term to do a thesis prospectus.Then the entire senior year is dedicated to thesis work.


The incoming freshmen are not required to stay on Campus at Reed.The dorm rooms are arranged in suites.However unlike Lewis and Clark each student has a single room to sleep in.Meg will have a single at Cranbrook as a senior.I suspect that she prefers not to have a roommate if it can be helped.The bathrooms are fully coed.This is new to me.The stalls are private but both males and females have access to the same areas.Also the sinks are in a common area.It seems to work for them.


My impression at Reed was that it was largely student run.The person who interviewed Meg was a student.It seems the Reedies are largely self selecting.Meg was supposed to have a twenty minute interview, but it lasted more than forty.The interviewer asked Meg when she was leaving.She was impressed by the fact that Meg was staying over the weekend to get a feel for Portland.Meg said that the interview was not at all liked she expected.She was left with a favorable impression of Reed.


Friday night we went exploring.We did manage to find a prime rib for Meg to eat.Then Saturday morning we dropped the car off at the airport a day early.The Hertz computers were down and it took more than an hour to get a receipt.It was a good thing we didnít try to do that when we were taking a flight.


Then we took the rapid transit downtown.We walked all over downtown.The stop we got off at was the Saturday Market, sort of like a flea market.So we shopped.The first thing we did was get my watch repaired.The next thing was to get a sports watch for Meg.


Watch Repair


Saturday Market


Meg liked some of the clothes at the flea market but we didnít purchase any.We did buy some knick knacks as gifts for people.There were all kinds of stalls.There were quite a few arty/craft stalls.There was also food stalls.It was early and we didnít eat there.We did start exploring downtown until we got hungry.We stopped at a faux French restaurant for lunch.Portland has quite a few exotic eating establishments.


Brunch Ė Hash




We wandered into a photo store.I intended to just browse.We ended up buying Meg a new digital camera for our trip to France next week.She got a 7.2 mega pixel camera with a two gig memory card.She had the old Cannon that was 2.1 mega pixels.It also had been dropped on our trip to visit Jayne in Monterey.It still functions thanks to tape holding it together.It was time.She promised to maintain her web page now that she can take nice pictures.


Then we stumbled into the outdoor theater were there was a sand sculpture exhibit.It was a benefit for a local charity.So we donated and went in and took a few pictures.They had a lot of comic characters including Calvin and Hobbes.It was enjoyable.


Sand Sculpture


Calvin and Sand Sharks




Monsters Inc.


We walked until we could walk no more.We did find a book store that filled a whole city block.Unfortunately we were too tired to appreciate it.We did sit in a pizza parlor across the street to get out of the heat and enjoy people watching.We just chilled and got an early dinner.It was fun to just relax in a strange city.


The Portland mass transit was fairly easy to use.We followed the map and just missed our train.So we got to people watch again while we waited for our train to return.It was not too long a wait, maybe twenty minutes.We took the train back to the airport and then the shuttle to the hotel.


We had a six oíclock flight back to Wichita Sunday morning.Meg actually woke up and made the flight.It was tough.We took the 4 AM shuttle to the airport and breezed through security.Then we got a decent breakfast and caught our flights home.There was not much of a layover in Denver again and we just bopped from one plane onto the next.


My impression was that Portland is a nice place to live.Both schools have a rural campus setting in a major metropolitan area.Both schools offer junior year abroad options.Both offer out door activities like Megís wilderness experience.Reed has a ski cabin on Mount Hood.


I ended up with a favorable impression from the whole experience.Lewis and Clark also has a Law School and graduate education opportunities.


Meg still has Amherst in Massachusetts to visit.Her mom has graciously agreed to do that one.I am afraid the France trip will expend my remaining vacation.


More later,


Mark and Wink