Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Conference’s New View: Accessibility, by Stefan Feuerherdt

We’re working on a lot of things for this year’s Conference. Introducing some fun new things, and updating others. Planning a weekend that should be as entertaining as it is educational. There’s one improvement, though, that we don’t have to work for, and that’s this: the 2014 conference will be more accessible to more people than ever before.

By now you know that we’ve moved our show to the Doubletree Hotel at Lloyd Center. This location puts us in the heart of the city, the “artistic downtown” of Portland. We’ll now be closer to the fun, quirky and tragically artisan city of “Portlandia” fame. Near to the shops and cafes of Broadway, and just a short ride to the zaniness of Belmont and Hawthorne Streets.

The Doubletree is uniquely graced with easy access to Portland’s public transit offerings. A quick hop on the Streetcar provides Old Town, Powell’s Books, and the Pearl District. Lloyd Center is a street transportation hub, with the numbers 6, 8 and 17 lines feeding in from the north, south, east and west.

And the iconic MAX light rail will deliver out of towners and locals alike from the Doubletree doorstep to both PDX and to Voodoo Doughnuts. Our guests who come by car will also benefit from our new location, as the hotel is conveniently located on Portland’s main corridor, just off Interstates 5 and 84, easing the commute from any direction in the metro area or beyond. The Doubletree also boasts more on-site parking than we previously enjoyed at the airport, and all within a gated, covered parking garage for added convenience.

And let’s not forget the garage also has plenty of bike parking, for those who favor an invigorating, Portland- summer-day commute through one of America’s most bike-friendly cities.

But that’s just the physical access.

This year, we’re hoping to make the Conference more accessible to more people in other ways, too. We’re deepening our student discounts on admission, to reach out to high-schoolers and college students alike, because we recognize these emerging writers may one day fill our ranks and make our conference stronger with their energy and ideas. We’re also striving to minimize the effect of ever-increasing costs, and to provide at least some more affordable opportunities for as many writers as possible to experience our Conference.

We hope you’ll join us this August, at this, our 45th Annual Conference, August 1-3. And if you do, at least you know it’ll be easy to get here.

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Stefan Feuerherdt is a practicing attorney based in Portland, OR. He is the Conference Chairperson for the 2014 Willamette Writers Conference.