The Graduate Hotel, Eugene

Al had a physical therapy appointment in Eugene, so we made an overnight trip of it. The Graduate is a former Hilton, now stripped to the studs and university-themed.

I think our experience may have been colored by the timber industry trade show that was in town: Lots of loud, drunk people stumbling in and out of the elevators and shouting across the lounge at each other, but the baseline ambience isn’t super hard to disrupt: The lounge has high ceilings, concrete pillars and wall treatments, and hard floors. The sound ricochets around, with the fluorescent lighting adding a terrible sense of institutional sterility. I accidentally rested my elbow on a bit of un-wiped-up sterile table cleaner and it itched for a few hours.

In case you forget you are in a university-themed hotel, the coffee shop sacrifices some shelf space behind the counter for decorative books (an encyclopedia, a few complete works of romantic poets). They help it click into place that there’s supposed to be a university library thing going on, if university libraries had their acoustic issues frequently surfaced by drunken, shouting lumberjacks.

Our room was decorated with what is supposed to be dorm room eclecticism: Paint-by-numbers-quality paintings, a fraternity paddle that was permanently screwed into the wall, and a waffle iron lamp meant, I believe, to be a callback to Nike’s waffle treads.

When we tried to check out through the tv room system, we got a message that the checkout system was temporarily unavailable. When I mentioned that to the desk clerks, they said, “we don’t have a checkout system.” So, apparently some bugs being worked out in the transition from Hilton to member of the Graduate collective.

Anyhow, it was a place to crash near Al’s appointment, and will surely be a fine place to crash for people in town for the game, whatever game it may be that weekend. A quick peek into the room hosting the timber industry trade show’s “Ladies Dessert Against Trafficking” seemed to indicate everyone was having a fine time.

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