Dale Larson, 2024 AAW Symposium Local Lead & AAW Past President
I’m excited to welcome the AAW International Woodturning Symposium back to Portland, Oregon, in 2024. This is the third time the event will be hosted here after two successful Symposia in 2018 and 2007. This is a prime location for woodturners in the Northwestern and Western United States, as well as Southwest Canada. There are fifty-two woodturning chapters and nearly 2,000 AAW members in Oregon and the adjacent states.
The Oregon Convention Center is the perfect fit for the AAW. All the spaces for demonstrations, instant gallery, special exhibitions, and the tradeshow are conveniently on the same level in the same area. No long walks. We have great local support, with four local chapters deeply involved in all the volunteer work needed to make the Symposium a success. When I mentioned the AAW Symposium at the Oregon Woodturning symposium this past March, three chapters from outside our area all asked how they could help with the national event. This will be my third time as the local liaison and coordinator for the local committees. I am looking forward to a great event and connecting with friends, old and new. Following are some of my local insights about Portland and why you shouldn’t hesitate to make the trip.
Portland culture and attractions
Located in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Portland, Oregon, is renowned for its natural beauty, eco-conscious lifestyle, and a flourishing art scene. The city’s unique blend of creativity, community spirit, and innovation has fostered a vibrant art culture that makes it a haven for artists and art enthusiasts alike. With its abundance of galleries, public art, creative neighborhoods, and performing arts venues, the city offers a rich and dynamic art experience for both residents and visitors.
Known for its coffee shops, gardens, and cultural activities, Portland provides plenty of relaxing destinations and fun ways to spend your spare time. Some local highlights include the World Forestry Center, Powell’s City of Books, Portland Japanese Garden, Portland Saturday Market, Forest Park, and more.
Explore the region
Portland is the perfect launching pad for outdoor activities and adventure. For the 2018 AAW Symposium, I know quite a few woodturners who made an entire West Coast trip out of coming to the AAW Symposium in Portland. Either before or after the event, they took a trip up and down the coast. We have some great local attractions, including the beautiful Willamette River, the Columbia River Gorge, Mount St. Helens volcano, Multnomah Falls, and the wonderful Crater Lake Park.
Is Portland safe?
As a retired Portland police sergeant, I encourage you not to believe everything you see in the news about the conditions in Portland. It is all old news. The city government has gotten the message and made great strides since 2020 to improve the issues the city was experiencing. Portland today is safe, welcoming, and vibrant.
I look forward to welcoming the woodturning community May 23-26 in Portland, Oregon. Registration is now open for the 2024 AAW International Woodturning Symposium. To learn more, visit aawsymposium.org.
Photo By: Tim Snyder