Thursday, October 20, 2011

Portland and the ICCS Course

Every year the International Clinical Cytometry Society (ICCS) hosts a meeting and a course covering many different Clinical Flow Cytometry topics; this year it happened to be in Portland, Oregon and I was chosen to go. I only went to the course portion of the event and my boss went to the meeting portion.

The course covered a wide range of Clinical Flow Cytometry topics such as Acute Myeloid Leukemias, Plasma Cell Leukemias, Low and High Grade Lymphomas, and Immunodeficiency diseases. I have been doing Flow Cytometry for 6 years so a lot of the information presented was not new to me, but I think that helped me to focus more on things I didn't know a lot about, and it is always interesting to see what other labs do to diagnose leukemias and lymphomas. There is no standard way a leukemia panel has to be run, so every lab will do it slightly different and it's interesting to see how we compare.

Unfortunately I didn't have a ton of time to explore downtown Portland as I was in class most of the day, but I did see some interesting things! I stayed at the Portland Hilton right in the middle of downtown.

I took the MAX Lightrail from the airport to the hotel. The lightrail is awesome- I got dropped off two blocks from the hotel and it only cost $2.40 (it seems to be an honor system on buying tickets as no one actually checked for a ticket once you got on the train). When you are downtown the lightrail is free to hop on and off. I believe there are also streetcars, but I never actually saw one.

The night I arrived I got myself checked in and then went out and walked a few blocks around my hotel. It's always fun to be in a city where you can just walk a few blocks in any direction and find whatever you need. A car is not necessary. It was pretty late that night so I just grabbed a burrito from QDoba for dinner.

After class on Friday I had a little more time so I ventured out a bit further. I walked over to the Willamette River and walked down the path for a while.

I then decided to find the Occupy Portland protest that was happening (I saw on the news that it was close to my hotel). I have never seen anything like it!

Two whole square blocks were covered in tents, tarps and protest signs. There were hundreds of people hanging out, passing out literature, marching, and acting pretty peaceful. There were a few cops standing around the perimeter, but otherwise things were okay. I guess at one point the protestors were blocking Main street, but the cops took care of that.

I still had some time, so I walked over to the mall and checked that out. Nothing too exciting in there except a huge line outside of the Apple store. I guess it was for the launch of the new iPhone. I ended up just getting a Panera type sandwich for dinner that was pretty good.

Saturday night was my last night in Portland. I started out the evening by hopping on the light rail and taking it a few blocks to a doughnut shop. When I was at the mall the night before I kept seeing all these people with pink boxes that said Voodoo Doughnut shop on them, so of course I had to check it out. Apparently this place is brand new and very popular because when I got there at 5:30 P.M. there was a line down the block, and I wasn't going to wait that long for a doughnut (even thought doughnuts are my second favorite food). If I hadn't been by myself I may have done it.

I decided to just walk back since it was still light out and hit up any shops I saw along the way. I say a Nordstrom Rack and heard it was cool, but it was kind of like a Marshalls or TJMaxx but with designer brands, so not that exciting for me. Plus it was full of teeny boppers so I didn't stay too long. I ended up stopping at a Thai food place near the hotel and got Pad Thai and crab rangoons to go and came back to my room and watched NASCAR, packed and wrote blog posts.

And that was that.  I missed Brian and Jack terribly so I was excited to be going home.  As a bonus on the last leg of my trip I was seated in first class.  Score!  Free wine for me!




  1. What a BEAUTIFUL CITY !!!!!!!!!!!!! Looks like a fun place to explore !!
    Also makes you want KC to get with the program on Light Rail !!!!

  2. It would be awesome if KC got light rail!

  3. Those donuts are SOMETHING ELSE !!!!!!!!! Very creative - particularly the 'guy' "OH NO" donut on the lower right.