Originally from Oregon’s Rogue River Valley, Debbie McCune, director of sales for Travel Salem, relocated to her new hometown when her son was young. In fact, the city’s kid-friendliness is one of the things that attracted her.

“I love that Salem is a family-friendly place to raise your kids, and there are a ton of things to do. Some of my favorite kid-friendly spots are the Gilbert House Children’s Museum, Salem’s Riverfront Carousel, The Kroc Center, Enchanted Forest and The Oregon Garden,” says McCune. “Not to mention we have the Willamette River, which runs straight through our city. With Wallace Marine Park Sports Complex on one side of the river, Riverfront Park on the other (blending into the Minto-Brown Island Park) and walking bridges unifying the two sides, there’s an abundance of beautiful public space.”

One of her favorite things to do in the city is to explore its dining options. “There is something for anyone’s taste, from the collective of food trucks at The Yard Food Park to the Northwest-inspired cuisine at Bentley’s Grill or an extravagant dessert from Sweet Smith, Salem’s list of great eateries is always growing,” notes McCune. All the better to sate the appetites of delegates, hungry after a day of meetings spent in some of the city’s 450,000 square feet of meeting space, which includes the 30,000-square-foot award-winning, EarthWISE-certified Salem Oregon Convention Center. Salem also offers 2,140 hotel rooms, with another 1,000 within 30 minutes of the city. 

Here are McCune’s top three things meeting and event planners should know about Salem: 

-Salem is centrally located in the beautiful Willamette Valley in the heart of wine country. In 2016, Wine Enthusiast magazine named Willamette Valley its “Wine Region of the Year.”
-Oregon has no sales tax (shopping spree, anyone?).
-Parking at the Salem Convention Center is free.

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I had been corresponding with Danielle Boyles (see profile on page 64) for two years before I actually got a chance to meet her. In fact, the director of sales and marketing for Hyatt Regency Seattle had just come on board with the hotel when we first exchanged emails. At that time, the hotel was still a set of blueprints. Late last year, the much-anticipated property opened for business, and this past summer I finally had the pleasure of meeting Boyles face to face.

 

In a city that prides itself on originality, meeting and event venues in Portland need to follow suit. Woodlark and The Heathman Hotel, two of Provenance Hotel’s six properties in the city, do not disappoint, providing a dramatic yet minimalistic vibe that is helping to usher in a new crop of visitors. “We’re seeing a shift to a more millennial, grown-up version of the city,” says Dana McMacken, director of sales.

 

At 1625 S. Tacoma Way, there is no more haggling, and tire kicking and looking under the hood are things of the past. The one-time address of a car showroom is now the home of a stunning event space: Historic 1625 Tacoma Place. The building was originally built in the late ’40s as a Dodge truck dealership, and over the years, other dealerships called it home, including Osborne McCann Cadillac. In 2005, the property was purchased by the current owners of Historic 1625 and transformed into an event venue.