First, welcome to my Blog for SIGCSE 2008, I am very excited about the conference, and after visiting Portland, OR this week my level of enthusiasm has increased -- exponentially (bad for algorithms, good for conferences :-).
The weather in Portland was cool relative to my hometown of Haverford, outside of Philadelphia (temps in the mid-90's -- yikes). My co-chair Susan Rodger met me at the Portland Hilton, and away we went all over town, visiting the people from POVA, the Oregon Convention Center (OCC), the Hilton, The Inn at the Convention Center (guess where that's located???), and the Red Lion. I can say with confidence that Portland is ready, and very accommodating, especially to ACM conferences.
Downtown Portland is full of life, including shops, an eclectic mix of people and culture, and (of course) restaurants -- please visit the SIGCSE 2008 website, eventually Susan and I will post some of the great restaurants we "tested" for your benefit ;-).
Another great feature is public transportation in Portland -- it's only $2 from the airport to any of the hotels and the OCC on the MAX, the city's light rail. Better yet, the MAX is free once in town between any of the hotels and the OCC, as well as most of Portland. People just jump on, ride and "de-MAX" to get around. It is so successful that Portland is expanding it yet again -- fortunately the construction does not impede getting around.
Susan and I each jogged/walked the park along the Willamette River and across the bridges -- it is a nice route that people may want to try -- there are also nice shops and a harbor at the south end of the town, near the OMSI.
My final comment (for now) is that Portland is a wireless city. As it was a pleasant day today, I sat for about an hour in Pioneer Park using the public free WiFi -- you have a few ads and medium bandwidth, but certainly useful. Furthermore, the Portland Airport (PDX) is wireless, with workstations and coffee bars with power (I am "blogging" from a coffee station now).
Until next time, I encourage all to consider proposals for the conference, the first wave of submissions (papers, workshops, panels, special sessions) are due Sep 7, 2007 -- it's sooner than you think!