07 November 2005

[sundial_life] OryCon 27

Another year, another OryCon...at the Marriott on the waterfront.

Me and The Wife™ did Orycon 27 which, as of this release, was no longer at its longtime home, known variously as the Thunderbird Jantzen Beach, then the Red Lion Columbia River, then the Doubletree Columbia River, then the Thunderbird Hotel again, before being abruptly closed last April.

You may not have noticed it except in small bits in the Business section of the Big O. It was quite sudden. The hotel was almost literally cut out from under the OryCon Convention Committee (ConCom); the holding company told no clients or even employees. Everyone with any relationship with the hotel found out in the paper.

The idea, as was publicized, was to do some sort of renovation or rebuilding of the old facility into some sort of boutique-y, resort-y unit. More on that in a moment. What this is really about is the absolute triumph of the ConCom.

I believe that many organizations would have taken this as a sucker punch. In the short space of half-a-year, ConCom went from a body blow to mounting a successful Con in a new facility. That's not to say that there weren't moving pains-the elevators proved to be a bit of a bottleneck, and there was no obvious way to get from the Marriott's Restaurant level to the 3rd floor, where the hospitality suite was localted and just below the start of the guest room floors.

The buzzword here is 'vertical convention'. The spaces on LL1 and LL2 were made into wonderfully apt science fiction convention spaces but instead of a site that sprawled horizontally everything was up and down, and that was a bit disorienting for the seasoned OryConner. But everything worked out very well, the hotel staff was routinely cited as bending over backwards to accomodate the Con-goers, and by the end of the event, people were starting to feel comfortable in the new space and many were of the opinion that they wouldn't mind coming back next year.

The biggest liability is the lack of free parking, but there are Smart Park garages at hand (1st and Jefferson, particularly) which offer reasonably priced weekend parking ($12 for the weekend, just no in-and-out. We adapted).

Hopefully this will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

And the old hotel? Word is that they wanted to build an eight-or-nine-floor boutique hotel on the site but, for some reason, nobody checked the zoning (I thought they had legal staffs devoted to this) and it now lays fallow. They have to chase off trespassers, I hear.

If we ever have a natural disaster hereabouts, the hell with FEMA. Just put OryCon ComCon in charge.

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