Northwest Portland Hostel

Centrally Located – in the Heart of Portland

Meet Deb, Nici and Leo: Our Newest Volunteers

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I would like to introduce the newest volunteers who joined our great volunteer team this spring. Deb, Nici and Leo are all locals who share a love of Portland, an enthusiasm for traveling, and a desire to show off this great city to people from around the world.

As a volunteer at HI-Northwest Portland, you have the opportunity to meet and connect with people of all ages and nationalities, and this cross-cultural exposure helps further the mission of Hostelling International, which is “To help all, especially the young, gain a greater understanding of the world and its people through hostelling”. Hostels provide a safe, comfortable and fun environment for people diverse in cultures, backgrounds and opinions to build relationships by sharing communal living spaces, exchanging stories, and experiencing new places together.

But that’s enough from me. Here is what Deb, Nici and Leo have to say about volunteering at the hostel.


Deb was born in the Mojave Desert in California, but has lived in Portland for about fifty years. When asked why she volunteers at the hostel, she replied, “I simply enjoy walking around Portland and getting to share some history with visitors. Another plus to volunteering is meeting people and hearing about their own towns and countries”.

One of her most memorable travel experiences was a recent trip to the Atlantic Ocean, where she visited towns like Monticello, Harpers Ferry and Williamsburg.

Here in Portland, Deb enjoys hiking in Forest Park (especially on hot days), walking around the Willamette River Esplanade and then recuperating at Newport Seafood Grill’s Happy Hour (on the patio), and browsing in Powell’s Bookstore.


Nici has lived in Portland for ten years, but grew up in Minnesota. She   enjoys volunteering at the hostel because it is always refreshing to be around travelers. “Travelers are always interesting and up for a good laugh”, says Nici. This year, she started her own tour company called myportlandtours and volunteering keeps her in tune with new and exciting things going on around Portland.

When asked about her past travel experiences, Nici replied, “I have many great memories from traveling.  Most of them involve never having a plan, which leads to an amazing day.  I got to be a sheepherder for a couple of days.  I really just had to stand in one spot (in a pretty field) and make noise every now and again.  Easiest money I ever made.”

Some of her favorite places in Portland include Laurelthirst Public House (6pm free music almost every night with an entertaining, loyal, and local crowd), the Bye and Bye for great vegan food, the spicy margaritas at Nuestra Cocina, and fresh, authentic Mexican food at ¿Por Que No?. For a yummy slice of pie she heads to Random Order, and for a cup of freshly brewed coffee she likes Ristretto Roasters. Nice outdoor spots? Laurelhurst Park and Forest Park…. and she could go on and on!


Leo moved out to Portland from the great state of New Jersey two years ago, and he likes volunteering at the hostel because he “loves traveling, loves travelers, and loves Portland—so why not combine the three!”

A memorable travel experience for him was a bicycle trip from Richmond, Virginia to Kansas City, Missouri in 2009. “The scenery was beautiful and the people I met along the way showed me more kindness than I could have ever hoped for. What a trip!”

Some of Leo’s favorite spots in Portland? The Horse Brass Pub, Alberta Rose Theater, and Jeld-Wen Field. LET’S GO TIMBERS!

Thanks to all of you for your enthusiasm and dedication as volunteers. Your time and hard work is very much appreciated by the hostel staff and the many visitors who come to Portland year-round.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact Tessah at

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