City Spotlight: Portland, Oregon

City Spotlight: Portland, Oregon

By Anna Dunn, July 27, 2016

Portland, Oregon, has its quirks. It’s in one of only two U.S. states where drivers legally can’t pump their own gas; it has so many food carts, you could chow down at a different cart every day for two years; and it lays claim to the world’s smallest park at only 24 inches wide.

More perk than quirk, the City of Roses has no sales tax. “Keeping food and beverage costs low allows planners to focus their resources elsewhere,” says Mandy Tucker, convention sales manager of faith-based meetings for Travel Portland. If you think oddities are all the city offers, you should see (or taste, rather) its culinary chops. “The food scene alone is enough to keep people busy for days,” adds Tucker. Indeed, The Washington Post dubbed Portland America’s best food city in December 2015. Find out why PDX is an ideal, albeit eccentric, spot for faith-focused meetings and events.


Deb Davies, manager of assembly services for Presbyterian Church (USA), brought her group of 3,000 to Portland for the organization’s General Assembly June 18-25. In its 222nd year, the biennial business meeting brought ministers and elders, as well as advisory delegates, staff and board members, to Oregon Convention Center.

“The convention center works well for us, with ample space for our business meetings, committees, exhibit hall and other functions—and a great staff. Though the hotel [block] is spread out, the light rail and other public transportation options make that workable,” says Davies, who also touts strong support from Travel Portland.

The group’s Committee on Local Arrangements planned off-site tours of International Rose Test Garden and nearby Columbia River Gorge, as well as walking and biking tours. “On Sunday, churches in the area hosted participants for worship and lunch,” adds Davies.

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Connect is seeking nominations for the 2019 40 Under 40, honoring the brightest minds in faith events. Nominations are due March 26.

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