I’ll admit I have a love-hate relationship with shopping. On one hand, adding to my wardrobe can be refreshing, replacing old or worn-out items is often necessary, and new things are sometimes fun by their nature. On the other hand, I am often loathe to spend money, get frustrated by lack of sizes/choices, and am easily overstimulated and overwhelmed in malls or other shopping venues.
Fortunately, I found the solution to my shopping woes this past weekend at the Columbia Gorge Outlets. Portland Moms Blog was invited to attend their family-friendly Back-to-School Bash, where we had the opportunity to meet Kevin Quinn, otherwise known as “Xander” from the hit Disney show Bunk’d. Having watched the show with my 11-year-old son, Mateo, I invited him along, and the two of us set out on our adventure.
Our intent was not to shop, but to experience meeting a TV star in person. Instead, we were in store for a trio of unexpected treats!
Getting to the Columbia Gorge Outlets
The Columbia Gorge Outlets are located in Troutdale, with an easy exit off I-84. From our house in inner NE, it took us 17 minutes to drive there. With our noonish arrival time, we found plenty of parking and quickly located the red carpet where Kevin Quinn would be making his appearance.
I had assumed the entire process would take us closer to an hour, so I was a little befuddled when I turned to Mateo and realized we had 45 minutes to kill. “Should we… um… shop a bit?” I asked him.
Not much of a shopper himself, he kind of half-nodded in acknowledgement in the way only tweens can. I took it as a yes.
Shopping at the Outlets
Moms. I mentioned how much I hate spending money, but we found so. many! DEALS! Gymboree, OshKosh, and ultimately Adidas really did us in, but in the best way possible. Mateo found a $179 pair of shoes for only $40! For a duo who generally walks away with next-to-nothing from most shopping excursions, we were both pleasantly surprised with our killer bargains, and all our purchases were made in the mere 45 minutes before meeting Kevin Quinn.
A Real-Life TV Star
Bags in hand, we headed back to the red carpet, and Kevin came out to greet the crowd. While I was a little mesmerized by the fact that he looks like he is straight out of a Disney show (BECAUSE HE IS), I was also struck but what a nice, casual guy he genuinely seemed to be. Mateo had the opportunity to get a signed picture and a photo opp. For an often not-very-chatty tween, I was surprised when Mateo turned around afterward and declared, “That was awesome.”
And then? FREE ICE CREAM. The Krazy Kokonut sealed the deal on our day of surprises by offering pineapple or strawberry dairy-free delights out of their food truck located in the parking lot. Mateo’s response? “Wow, I am really glad I decided to come with you today.” Me too, bud!
Coming Soon to the Columbia Gorge Outlets
In chatting with the event organizers, we learned that this is just the beginning of these kinds of events in the works for the Columbia Gorge Outlets. In 2016, a new owner purchased the shopping center and hired The Woodmont Company to manage and market it. Lots of positive changes are already in place, and there are additional plans to replace the roof, update paint, and bring in several new retailers
For my non-shopping self, the billboards on the way in from Portland that said “Drive a little, save a lot,” rang true, and we’re game to make this our new go-to shopping destination.
Stay tuned for Halloween happenings, holiday caroling, and even bagpipe concerts! All are planned to be family-friendly, community events, and they’ll give you the perfect excuse to head out to the Columbia Gorge Outlets and score some deals while you are there!
Columbia Gorge Outlets
450 NW 257th Way
Troutdale, OR 97060
Mon-Sat 10:00am – 9:00pm
Sun 10:00am – 7:00pm