Get to Know: Willamette Valley

Even though she’s a fifth-generation Oregonian born and raised in the Willamette Valley, Jennifer Rouse is still delighted by all the area has to offer. “Just last week, I was out walking the dog and discovered a brand-new brewery in my neighborhood,” says the public relations and project manager for the Willamette Valley Visitors Association. Best known for its globally recognized pinot noir, Willamette Valley is also a paradise for hikers, bike riders, campers and canoers. Here are three compelling reasons to plan your next event in the Willamette Valley.

There’s a wide range of meeting space available. The Willamette Valley is actually a collection of many communities, all the way from the Wilsonville and Newberg areas in the north to the Eugene area in the south, and extending from the Oregon Coast Range to the crest of the Cascades. That means there are thousands of hotel rooms and meeting spaces of all shapes and sizes. Venues range from historic bed-and-breakfasts with just a room or two to full-service modern hotels with hundreds of rooms.

Foodies will rejoice. In Willamette Valley restaurants, cooking with locally sourced, seasonally inspired ingredients is the norm rather than the exception, and it goes without saying that there will be locally roasted coffee, craft beer and Oregon wine on the menu.

It’s easy to find. The Willamette Valley is served by two nearby airports: Eugene Airport at the south end of the valley and Portland International Airport at the north end. The Amtrak rail corridor has daily service up and down the valley, and the proximity of Interstate 5 makes car travel easy.

These tours have all the right ingredients for a fulfilling—and filling—post-meeting activity.


Melissa Jurcan, president of ILEA Seattle, penned a moving tribute to the hospitality industry for the Emerald City Applause Awards. Here is an abridged version.