See the Visit Vancouver USA website, the Visit Vancouver USA travel magazine, and the March/April 2016 edition of the newsletter Spring has Sprung in Vancouver USA!.
The Portland International Airport (PDX) services most airlines and is the closest international airport (12.4 miles, 20 kilometers) to the Hilton Vancouver Washington. (not Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada!).
Directions follow for getting from Portland International Airport to the Hilton Vancouver Washington.
Online hotel reservations at the PIUG group rate are available by contacting the hotel at 1-360-993-4500 or via the reservation web page. Identify yourself as attending the Patent Information User Group Conference.
Hotel Poacher/Pirate Warning: We have been notified that PIUG has been a target of hotel poachers/pirates, whereby representatives of a hotel room booking agency have been contacting PIUG exhibitors and sponsors identifying themselves as part of PIUG and offering to book rooms. These companies are not in any way affiliated with PIUG and are not authorized to use PIUG’s name or trademarks. PIUG does not use any third party company to handle its hotel bookings. PIUG strongly recommends that you do not book your hotel reservations with the hotel poachers/pirates and cannot guarantee that, if you book with the hotel poachers/pirates, the reservation is valid. All hotel reservations should be booked either through PIUG’s online link to the hotel or by calling the Hilton Vancouver Washington directly.
If you are contacted by anyone asking if you need a room for the PIUG annual meeting who is not a representative of PIUG, please obtain as much information as you can and contact Ken Koubek with the information, so we may take appropriate action.
The rate for a Standard Guestroom is $149 for single, double, triple or quadruple occupancy, These rates do not include applicable state and local taxes and fees. The Hilton Vancouver Washington includes complimentary Wi-Fi in the guestrooms for the annual conference.
Check-in time is 4:00 PM. Check-out time is Noon. Cut-off date for guaranteed PIUG group rates is May 5, 2016.
The Hilton Vancouver Washington has Self Parking at $15/day and Valet Parking at $22/day available in their underground parking facility. Additional parking is available for day use and supplemental parking at the Vancouver Center at .$.75/hr. , Monday - Friday $6 max until 6 PM, $8.50 max all day until close, $2.50 max after 6 PM until close and weekend rate $2.50 all day.
The best way to get to the conference hotel from the nearby Portland International Airport (PDX) about twelve miles away is via bus or taxi. The Blue Star Bus (+1-800-247-2272 or +1-360-573-9412) can be reached in Terminal 2 near baggage island 2; follow the signs to buses and vans. The shuttle runs from 4:10 AM to 12:30 AM from the Portland International Airport to hotels in the area; if you are traveling from the airport to the conference hotel, then no reservations are necessary within these times, but contact them directly if you need a shuttle outside of these times. If you wish to use this service to return to the airport from the hotel after the conference, you must arrange transportation from the hotel to the airport ahead of time, preferably on the website. Cost is $16 one-way and the company takes credit cards.
Taxis are available outside the terminal; cost is $30-40 plus tip one way for a twenty minute ride.
Portland Taxi Cab Company (+1-503-256-5400)
Vancouver Cab Company (+1-360-737-3333)
While it is possible to use public transit, this trip would involve multiple trains and buses plus up to a mile of walking and would take ninety minutes to two hours once you got on the first train or bus. We do not recommend using this option.
Please register in the hotel lobby to retrieve a key for the parking garage underneath the hotel. If you are not registering as a guest, parking is available at the Park and Go lot at the northeast corner of 6th and Columbia.
From the north (Seattle, WA; Olympia, WA; Vancouver, BC)
Take Interstate 5 into Vancouver, Washington
Exit at City Center (Exit 1C)
Turn right onto Mill Plain Blvd (becomes 15th Street)
Turn left onto Columbia Street
Hotel is on the southwest corner of 6th and Columbia
From the south (Salem, OR; Eugene, OR; Corvallis, OR)
Take Interstate 5 through Portland and over the Interstate Bridge into Washington state
Exit at the second exit (1B) after the bridge, following the City Center signs
Turn left, following the signs to 6th Street
Hotel is on the southwest corner of 6th and Columbia
Things to do and know about Vancouver, Washington
(Our sincere thanks to George Pike, a speaker at the 2015 PIUG annual conference and also a former native of the Portland/Vancouver area for this wonderful list)
Two years after the USPTO was established, the first non-native visitor, an American trader named Robert Gray entered the Columbia River, and later that same year, Capt. George Vancouver explored upriver; the city was named in honor of the Captain. In 1806, the area was visited by the Lewis and Clark expedition of the Northwest. This expedition was commissioned by Thomas Jefferson who also reviewed the very first US patent, so there is a very long history of this area with patents.
- Served by Portland (Or-uh-gun) International Airport (Airport code: PDX) and Amtrak. To/from the airport is best served by taxi or rental car. The Amtrak station is within walking distance, but through an industrial area so a taxi is recommended.
- Local mass transit is provided is provided by C-TRAN in Vancouver and TriMet in Portland. While there is no direct mass transit service between downtown Vancouver and downtown Portland, a C-TRAN bus will take you into north Portland’s Delta Park TriMet Station and connect you to the MAX light rail service to downtown Portland.
- Downtown ‘Couve to downtown Portland is about 8 miles, it takes 15 min to drive normally, but longer at rush hour. If you come back late at night you have some chance of getting stuck as the I-5 bridge is a drawbridge.
- Vancouver has a very nice compact and very walkable downtown area, centered on Main Street, only two blocks east of the Hilton. A nice one-mile loop can be done by walking north on Main Street to Mill Plain Blvd. (Have lunch or ice cream at Burgerville USA), then back down on Washington, Columbia or Daniels Street to the Hilton.
- Also walkable is the Ft. Vancouver National Historic Site (612 E. Reserve Street, Vancouver, WA, +1-360-816-6230). Walk north on Columbia, then east on Evergreen crossing over I-5. The Historic Site includes Officers Row, the reconstructed Fort Vancouver and the Pearson Air Museum. Have lunch at the Grant House Restaurant on Officers Row (1101 Officers Row, Vancouver, WAS +1-360-906-1101). (See more under Things to Do.)
- A longer walk would be south on Columbia passing under the Interstate Bridge and Who Song and Larry’s Restaurant and pick up the Columbia River Renaissance Trail, which runs for several miles along the river and around the old Kaiser shipyards. Stop at McMenamin’s for a craft beer on the way back. Can also be used to access Ft. Vancouver. See websites below.
- Return to the “Wild”: For the truly ambitious, the Pacific Crest Trail (as featured in the Reese Witherspoon movie, “Wild” see (+1-916-285-1846) is accessible about 50 miles away at Bridge of the Gods over the Columbia River. You can walk from Canada to Mexico on this trail.
A good and up-to-date list is available at Visit Vancouver USA, but we offer these Vancouver highlights:
- McMenamins is a local collection of brewpubs, restaurants and unique hostelries. McM’s has always been a bit “unique”, but their beer is outstanding. Try the Terminator Stout if you dare. McM’s started out as small brew pubs, but when they put in one of their brewpubs in a theatre (pizza, beer and a movie), a ballroom, and the former county “poor farm”, they really made a name for themselves. The nearest one is McMenamin’s on the Columbia, along the Columbia River Renaissance Trail, or try the winery at Edgefield in Troutdale, Oregon about 15 miles upriver to the east on the Oregon side. Consider catching a movie and a beer at the Baghdad Theatre in Portland.
- Who, Song & Larry’s (111 SE. Columbia Way, Vancouver, WA, +1-360-695-1198) for Mexican food and Joe’s Crab Shack (101 SE.Columbia Way, Vancouver, WA, +1-360-693-9211) for fish. Also on the river only 3 blocks from the Hilton. Both are decent chain places, but great Happy Hour locations overlooking the river.
- Burgerville, USA is Vancouver’s long-time fast food icon, their original outdoor “burger joint” is on Mill Plain Blvd, just east of Main St (2200 E. Fourth Plain Blvd, +1-360-696-0308, also located at the Portland International Airport). Go for a burger and a sundae and remember their slogan, “Inconveniently located for most of America.”
- Rock Wood Fired Pizza on S. Grand Avenue (2420 Columbia House Blvd, Vancouver, WA, +1-360-695-7625) is family friendly. Very good pizza, the lunch buffet is great for older kids.
Things to do: Local
- Fort Vancouver National Historic Site: The Site features a renovation of the original trading post fort and recreated buildings, gardens and landscaping. Cooler than most local attractions as there are often reenactors in the buildings, including a working blacksmith shop. Also part of the Historic Site is Officers Row, a collection of 21 Victorian era houses built for the officers of the military base. All have been renovated and are used as both businesses and residential spaces. The Grant House is a restaurant. Pearson Air Museum is a nice little aviation and history museum also located at the Historic Site
- Esther Short Park and the Farmers Market: Esther Short Park is right across the street from the Hilton and on Saturday and Sunday the Farmers Market is in full swing. Includes both fresh farm produce and flowers as well as local crafts. Pretty high quality stuff, it’s better than a lot of local “farmers markets.”
- Vancouver Lake Park and Frenchmen’s Bar Park: Not really walkable, but a nice Columbia River beach area, just west of town, lots of walking trails and wetland wildlife.
- Find out where my (George Pike’s) friend Jim Fisher is playing. He’s the ultimate piano bar performer, but please don’t ask him to play “Piano Man”.
Things to do: Portland
There are plenty of guidebooks and resources available to outline Portland’s attractions. A few highlights are:
- Oregon has NO STATE SALES TAX. If you plan to do any shopping, head to Portland. Downtown features Nordstrom, Macys, and a wide range of local and chain stores.
- The original Powell’s City of Books (1005 W. Burnside, Portland, OR, +1-503-228-4651), the 10 story cavernous labyrinth of a bookstore is in downtown Portland at 10th and Burnside. Also at the Portland International Airport.
- International Rose Test Garden (200 SW Kingston Avenue, +1-503-823-PLAY (+1-503-823-7529) Washington Park. If you are into roses, this is nirvana as one of the largest rose test gardens in the world, and it should be in or close to full bloom in early May. Also in Washington Park are the Japanese Gardens (611 SW Kingston, Portland, OR, +1-503-223-1321), the Hoyt Arboretum (4000 SW Fairview Blvd., Portland, OR, +1-503-86-8733) and the Washington Park (Portland) Zoo (4001 SW Canyon Road, Portland, OR, 503-226-1561).
- Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), 945 SE Water Ave, Portland, OR, +1-503-797-4000). Newly renovated and right next to the Willamette River, among other things it features the USS Blueback, the last non-nuclear submarine in the Navy and was featured in The Hunt for Red October.
- Waterfront Park and the Eastbank Esplanade: Walkable waterfront parks and trails on both sides of the Willamette River in downtown.
- Voodoo Donuts: 3rd Ave near Burnside in downtown Portland, 22 SW 3rd Avenue, Portland, OR, 503-241-4704. A Portlandia legend. Gotta be done.
- Portland Timbers: MSL Soccer team, the season should be underway by May.
- Portland Trailblazers: NBA basketball would still be underway if they make the playoffs, but good luck scoring a ticket. Find a sports bar (Main Event Sports Grill on Main Street in Vancouver (800 Main St., Vancouver, WA, +1-360-448-7146) is a good choice and a 4 block walk from the Hilton) and learn to recognize the term “Rip City”.
Things to do: Day-trips (The Big 3)
- Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and Volcanoes at Mt. St. Helens. The Monument is about 2 hours away, north on I-5, then east on Hwy 504. Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980 (I didn’t see its main eruption, but my wife did from the church courtyard on the morning of Sunday, May 18, 1980) and is still considered “active” but has been quiet since 2008. There is a visitor’s center with a view of the mountain, plus the Johnston Ridge Observatory which has exhibits and trails. It’s a great and imposing site and well worth the trip. If you are really ambitious, the mountain can be climbed (outside face to the crater rim) in about 8 to 10 hours without needing climbing experience or technical climbing gear, although going with a guide or a group is strongly advised. (It may not be possible in May due to snow and ice and changing weather.)
- Mount Hood Loop. The “Loop” is a driving trip that encompasses Mount Hood, the Columbia River Gorge and Multnomah Falls. Maps are helpful as the loop involves a drive east on Highway 26 to Mount Hood, with a spur road leading up to Timberline Lodge, a WPA era ski lodge and hotel that was featured in The Shining. In May, there will still be snow and the ski season should still be underway. After the Timberline Lodge spur continue a few miles east on Hwy 26, then head north on Highway 35. This will “loop” you around Mt. Hood and head north to Hood River, Oregon in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge. The Gorge at Hood River is reportedly one of the best windsurfing venues in the world due to the winds that accelerate down the Gorge. At Hood River pick up I-84 westbound along the Gorge with a stop at Multnomah Falls to complete the triad. Plan for a full day to make the loop.
- Oregon Coast. There are a number of great beaches along the Washington and Oregon coasts, but the best for a day-trip is the Oregon coast at Cannon Beach and nearby Ecola State Park. Gorgeous scenery, great beaches, you’ll recognize “Haystack Rock” off Cannon Beach from its appearance in postcards, posters and calendars galore. Frigid cold water, though, don’t plan to swim! About an hour and a half drive each way, there are also a number of very nice hotels and resorts (also in nearby Seaside, Oregon) if you want to stay overnight.
- Other day trips:
- Beacon Rock. The second largest monolithic rock in the world after The Rock of Gibraltar, a steep but manageable trail takes you 900’ to the top and gives you a great view of the Columbia River Gorge. Afterwards treat yourself to fine dining at the nearby Skamania Lodge resort.
- The Ape Caves are lava tubes on the south slope of Mt. St. Helens, they extend for as much as two miles underground. Legend has it that Bigfoot lives in the caves—at least that’s what they told us when we were kids!
- Willamette Valley wineries. The Willamette Valley south of Portland is home to over 400 of the best wineries in the world. Also refer to Oregon Wine Country in order to identify those that meet your tastes and can be visited in a day-trip.
- We were there first! Founded as a trading post, then a military post known as Fort Vancouver in 1825, long before Vancouver, British Columbia.
- Visited even earlier by the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
- U.S. Grant was here! Captain Ulysses S. Grant was posted to Fort Vancouver from 1852 to 1853.
- In the 1920's, Vancouver was considered the prune capital of the world.
- During WWII, Vancouver’s Kaiser Shipyards built Liberty ships and escort carriers for the war effort, constructing 141 ships in less than 44 months. The remains of the old slipways are still visible from the air.
- Pearson Airpark is the oldest continually operating airport in the US, and the landing site of the first transpolar airplane flight in history–from Moscow to Vancouver–in 1937
- The neighboring state is pronounced “Or-uh-gun” with the emphasis on the first syllable, not “Or-e-gone.”
- Nicknames: Vancouver USA (to distinguish from Vancouver, BC), “The ‘Couve”, “Vansterdam” (after marijuana was legalized.)