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Our Local Community

As students of the world, we are particularly grateful for our unique location in it. Situated in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Lewis & Clark offers students the best of all worlds. Lewis & Clark’s park-like campus is nestled among towering trees and trillium-lined creeks in a quiet residential neighborhood.

ptownFrom campus, it’s just six miles to downtown Portland. Somewhere between big city and small town, Portland is large enough to host a professional basketball team, a symphony orchestra, and the international headquarters of several well-known high-tech companies; yet it’s small enough to be the chosen home of such small-town gems as the Winter Hawks (a minor-league professional hockey team), Gus Van Sant (Academy Award–nominated director of Good Will Hunting), the Crystal Ballroom (where it’s rumored that Little Richard fired Jimi Hendrix in the middle of a performance), and Voodoo Doughnut, an all-night venue that features the Grape Ape (vanilla frosting and grape powder) and Dirt (vanilla glaze and Oreo cookies) among other quirky confections.

From Portland, a brief road trip (one or two hours) brings you to just about every type of terrain imaginable, from rugged mountain ranges to sandy coastal beaches, wild and scenic rivers, volcanoes, glaciers, dramatic high deserts, and cool, mossy old-growth forests. The Pacific Northwest offers something for everyone, scientific and recreational explorers alike.

Students get around Portland just fine by bike, bus, streetcar, light rail, and college shuttle. Those who want to venture farther can experience the Pacific NW one river, mountain, or forest at a time through Lewis & Clark’s College Outdoors program.

rainWeather (or not)

“My people, now it is time for us all to shake hands with the rain. It’s a neighbor, lives here all winter.”—The late William Stafford (1914–1993), Lewis & Clark professor and poet laureate of Oregon.

Oregon’s climate is both temperate and varied. The fall weather is among the best anywhere. Warm days contrast with cool nights as the trees turn brilliant shades of red and gold. Yes, we are notorious for our winter rain—we’re even proud of it, because it keeps the air clean and the surroundings abundantly green year-round. As spring unfolds, richly colored rhododendrons and roses repay our winter patience.

How do students feel about our liquid sunshine?

“I prefer the rain to the snow any day. If you like dancing in the rain, this is your place!” Norah Foster, Dubuque, Iowa

“Rain is good. Rain means snow on Mount Hood! Rain also means lush greenery and clean air.” Mihana Diaz, Kamuela, Hawaii

“The rain is manageable. It’s a part of Portland life. And, it’s really just water. It’s not going to hurt you!” Scott Devlin, Bend, Oregon

“A Gore-Tex jacket helps you to stay dry and enjoy the peaceful music of the rain.” Rachel Ahern, East Windsor, New Jersey

Learn more about the city of Portland here.

“Portland is a friendly, lovely city with a mosaic of diverse neighborhoods. It has the bustle of a large city without the stress or ugliness. I love it.” Anna Peters, St. Paul, Minnesota

mountainsCall of the Wild

“With about two-thirds of our state designated as public land, we’ve got millions of acres to explore, and we’re having a great time doing it,” says Joe Yuska, director of Lewis & Clark’s College Outdoors program. The program recently ranked among the country’s top 10 at colleges and universities of all sizes for the variety of trips available.

Lending a Hand

In 2009-10, hundreds of Lewis & Clark students gave 25,000 hours in volunteer services to the community through the College’s Community Engagement programs.