More time in Portland than I'd planned. Yay?
July 28, 2011 1:25 PM   Subscribe

I have a wedding to go to in Eugene. I am flying in and out of PDX. I know that it's a 2 hour drive between the two. My flight was at 5pm on Monday, but now (thanks!) it's been moved up to 1pm. I need a plan for coming back to Portland on Sunday, staying the night, and then getting to the airport at a reasonable time.

I will have a rental car, obviously.

1. I would like to stay some where that I can get a decent room for $120/night or less in Portland, preferably nicely accessible to good places to eat. I like beer.

2. What is PDX like from a security point of view? I'm used to having to get to Hartsfield at least three hours in advance (kill me now). Is that the idea at PDX as well? At this point it looks like I'm going to have to get up early, get food, and go directly to PDX.

3. Bonus: is it some how feasible to get rid of the rental car on Sunday and just deal with light rail and cabs for the remainder of my stay?

Anything else I should know? It's a short jaunt but it's for a wedding so I'm not going to have loads of down time.
posted by Medieval Maven to Travel & Transportation around Portland, OR (14 answers total)
PDX is fairly easy. There are two sides, so theoretically half the traffic is going through the a checkpoint at any given time. I have flown out of there a lot (a lot cheaper than Eugene, as you know), and never had any huge waits.

The Jupiter Hotel is on the east side, and you will not get into as much downtown traffic, and it is nearer the airport, as well as to SE Hawthorne, where many of your beer needs can be met. It also has a bar/music venue attached.

It would be feasible to ditch the rental and deal with the MAX and cabs. It would be 11 or 12 blocks from the Jupiter to the MAX which would get you to the airport, but not hard to get there, or just take a cab to PDX.
posted by Danf at 1:43 PM on July 28, 2011

Best answer: 1. take a look at McMenamins Hotels. The Crystal is in downtown Portland.

2. Typically lines at PDX are not long - less than an hour.

3. You can take MAX light rail to the airport from downtown, it takes less than an hour (barring breakdowns, idiots on the tracks etc.).
posted by monotreme at 1:47 PM on July 28, 2011

Is it worth calling the airline and complaining, and seeing if they can switch you to a flight later that night? (or even put you on another carrier?) A four-hour change is a big deal, and it may be worth the effort to see if you can get them to fix the problem on their end.
posted by cider at 1:49 PM on July 28, 2011

See here, for example... you may be able to get a full refund.

(Sorry to derail if this isn't possible for some reason!)
posted by cider at 1:53 PM on July 28, 2011

1. Seconding the McMenamin's Crystal Hotel. Have friends who have stayed there and vouched for it. The Hilton downtown is always full of airline employees as a couple airlines have a deal there, so it's a good option as well.

2. 1.5 hours early should be good enough.

3. MAX Red line is 40 minutes from downtown to PDX and it gets you practically inside of the airport. It runs every 15 minutes or so. $2.35 fare. A cab to the airport is minimum $25 or $30.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 2:06 PM on July 28, 2011

1. Ace hotel! It's a bit hipster-ish, but their rooms are SO COMFORTABLE. The Jupiter is also pretty good n cheap (but nice).

3. Super feasible if you're staying downtown. If you go somewhere on the East Side to stay, it might be a bit more of a challenge but drinking beers on the east side is noticeably cheaper. The Google maps transit thingy was tested and released first in Portland, and works remarkably better than Trimet's own website. So much better, that i'm didn't want to link Trimet's site on here.
posted by furnace.heart at 2:14 PM on July 28, 2011

Bluebird Guest House is within easy reach of 205 and the airport.
posted by wobh at 2:54 PM on July 28, 2011

For a 1pm flight, I would get to PDX at 11:30 or so. MAX Red Line goes right to the door!
posted by rabbitrabbit at 3:10 PM on July 28, 2011

I check in online and don't check bags, and usually make it through security at PDX in around ten minutes. The longest I've had to wait was about thirty, and I fly through there semi-regularly (since I don't live there any more and visit often). I generally get there an hour before my flight and spent most of that hour past security.

So all of the advice you've gotten above is great, but if you'd rather spend the night in Eugene, you'd probably have plenty of time to get to PDX in time for your flight. I'd plan to be there at about noon, which would allow you to get breakfast in Eugene without getting up too horribly early.

Also, since you like beer, note that local brewery Laurelwood has a location in the airport. Plus, they don't charge a premium for being in the airport, so you can get fabulous beer at normal prices even in the airport. This is especially important if you end up waiting there for longer than you were planning on. Also excellent is Coffee People, and the airport location is the last existing holdout of this fabulous local coffee company. Also, there's a Powell's in the airport! Also, I miss Portland! I will stop listing all the businesses in the airport now.
posted by dizziest at 3:15 PM on July 28, 2011

Willamette Valley native here. Two hours sounds awfully short for getting from Portland to Eugene, unless by Portland you mean Tigard. I would plan on the drive taking closer to two and a half hours just to be safe, especially if you're coming straight from the airport.

PDX security isn't bad at all; I've never seen it take more than an hour, and it's usually only 15-20 minutes. I still try to allot an hour and a half for security, check-in, ill-chosen food purchases, etc, just in case. Your flight is at a pretty busy time of day, so I would shoot for something on the high end of that range. You can easily take the MAX Red Line to and from the airport if your hotel is in a convenient location.
posted by dialetheia at 9:47 PM on July 28, 2011

Portland native and UO grad here.

It's about 2 hours between Portland and Eugene. On a Sunday night, you shouldn't hit much traffic going north.

Get a place near the red line MAX and you can ditch the rental car as soon as you arrive in Portland. Allow an hour for your trip to the airport. It'll likely take more like 40 minutes, but sometimes things get weird. I say this from experience. That extra 20 minutes sitting at the gate is better than the stress of having missed a flight.

I've found the security at PDX to be about as efficient as anywhere else. I wouldn't expect too many problems, but you never know. Another reason to get there early: the PDX airport is one of the more comfortable airports you'll find. Good restaurants, free wi-fi, lots of natural light, comfy lounges. Airports make for some good people-watching.

As others have mentioned, the Ace Hotel is nice, but maybe a little overboard on the hip factor. The Crystal Hotel is brand-spankin' new, and I've heard good things about it. There's also the Mark Spencer hotel. All of these are within a few blocks of each other.

For nearby entertainment, there's at least a couple of great restaurants. Gruner is one of my favorites. Clyde Common has very good food and fantastic cocktails. Powell's Books is a couple blocks away. Living Room Theater is one of the better cinema experiences I've had. They show a lot of arty/foreign films, but sometimes have more mass-market stuff. They have comfortable seating and good food and strong drinks available at the concession stand.

All these places I mention are within about a quarter of a mile of each other. If you expand your range in just about any direction, there's stuff to do. The Brewer's Festival is this weekend on the Waterfront. (10 blocks east of the area I'm describing. Portland has small blocks.)

Enjoy your trip!
posted by sportbucket at 10:27 AM on July 29, 2011

Oh, and dialetheia is right that it may be longer than a two-hour drive from PDX to Eugene. The airport is pretty far NE relative to the rest of Portland, and traffic in the southern suburbs can get a little backed up.
posted by sportbucket at 10:30 AM on July 29, 2011

For affordable beer-and-MAX proximate lodging, there's also McMenamin's White Eagle — I've not stayed there, but rooms are $65 tops, there's a bar downstairs, it's haunted, used to be called the "Bucket of Blood", and it's just a block or two off the Yellow Line MAX. If I were you, I would take that MAX north to the Killingsworth stop, and walk to Saraveza to do most of my beer drinking. Lower Mississippi Ave. is also within staggering distance, albeit somewhat vertically so, should you need to roll downhill home. A MAX stop or two south of the White Eagle has you at the Rose Quarter, where you can transfer to the Red Line to the airport. Or, continue onto downtown where pleasures untold await. All assuming that they have a vacancy, of course, since they just have the 11 rooms.

And yes, PDX is pretty good about the security line keeping moving. I arrive an hourish before my flights, most times, and haven't missed one yet.
posted by mumkin at 10:08 PM on July 29, 2011

Response by poster: Hi guys! Thanks for all the great information. I ended up going with the Crystal Hotel, and I think it's going to be awesome.
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:51 AM on August 5, 2011

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