By Jen Dugger Spalding & Jewls Griesmeyer Krentz
Welcome to Portlandia! Portland is known for our microbrews, coffee, tattoo shops, and keeping it weird! Nestled in the beautiful natural landscape of the Pacific Northwest, Portland also boasts a wealth of cultural opportunities and offbeat urban spaces. We have something for everyone!
Our accessible and convenient public transit, Trimet, will give you many options to get around town. Visit Alberta Street, Mississippi Ave, and SE Hawthorne for shopping and people watching. Find local fare, arts, and crafts at the Saturday Market near the waterfront or at the Farmer’s Market in the Park Blocks near Portland State University. The Portland Art Museum offers world-class exhibits such as the Guillermo del Toro or Black Excellence showing now. Portland is also home to the famous Powell’s Books with 68,000 sq ft of new and used books.
Portland is a foodie paradise! There is fine dining with gorgeous city views, such as the Metropolitan Tavern right next door to the conference. If pub fare is more your speed, challenge your colleagues to a game of hoops or watch live sports at the Spirit of 77 right next to the Convention Center. It is also a great place to charge your laptop and use the wifi during break times. Oh, and don’t miss the food carts–some say they have the best food in Portland!
If you would like to take advantage of our gorgeous natural surroundings, consider wandering through the International Rose Test Garden and the Portland Japanese Garden in beautiful Washington Park or the Lan Su Chinese Garden just one mile from the convention center. Extend your visit and travel east to the breathtaking waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge or head west toward the scenic Oregon Coast. Maybe head south to the Willamette Valley for a day of wine tasting. There is something magnificent to be found in every direction!
For those seeking live entertainment, we have an incredible opportunity on Wednesday, July 19th. iTunes chart-topping comedian, Nina G, will be at the Curious Comedy Theater as part of the Comedians with Disabilities Act comedy night! Get your tickets early so you don’t miss this fantastic way to kick off your time at the 2023 AHEAD Annual Conference!
We sincerely hope that this year’s AHEAD Annual Conference is a professionally rewarding and personally enriching time to reconnect with colleagues and friends. And that your time in Portland is fun and, yes—just a little bit weird.
Jewls Griesmeyer-Krentz is the new Assistant Director of Accessible Education Services at Willamette University / Pacific Northwest College of Art. Previously, she led disability services, academic coaching, and tutoring at Linfield University School of Nursing. Before joining Linfield in 2022, she had been a Senior Access Counselor and Consultant at the Disability Resource Center (DRC) at Portland State University since 2013. At the DRC, Jewls specialized in working with blind and low vision students and supervised classroom assistants and graduate-level interns at the DRC. Jewls is the President of the Board of Directors of the Oregon Affiliate of the Association of Higher Education and Disability (ORAHEAD) and serves as a mentor for the AHEAD Start Academy for new(er) disability services professionals. Jewls has presented multiple times at regional and national conferences, including AHEAD, ORAHEAD, and the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE), and is actively engaged in ongoing research projects. Jewls is a PhD candidate in Adult and Higher Education at Oregon State University, where her doctoral work focuses on international and immigrant students with disabilities, disability identity, and intersectionality.
Jen Dugger Spalding
Jen Dugger Spalding is the new ADA Coordinator for the City of Vancouver, WA (just over the Columbia River - 25 minutes north of the Convention Center). Jen spent nearly 20 years in Disability Services in higher education. Most recently, she was the Director of the Disability Resource Center at Portland State University (2012-2023) and before that, she was the Director of Disability Resources at Drexel University in Philadelphia (2006-2012). Jen served on the Board of Directors for the Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) and then served as the Board’s inaugural Equity Officer. Jen has also served as the Program Chair for the AHEAD Conference (2013) and the co-chair of the LGBTQA Knowledge and Practice Community for AHEAD (2012-2020). Jen says that one of the most fulfilling parts of her job is working with disability services professionals in illuminating and addressing the latent ableism and racism within our work. “Do no more harm” has always been her motto, and she believes that requires beginning with a deep reckoning of the power and privilege we carry in our positions. “The people who experience more barriers deserve more from us”, she says.
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