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Women's Expo offers resources

The expo's organizers are aiming higher at 15,000 attendees at Oregon Convention Center

Women of the Portland area and beyond will have the opportunity for everything from makeup tutorials to job opportunities at the upcoming Portland Women's Expo.

The expo, which will take place Saturday, March 11, at the Oregon Convention Center, was established more than 20 years ago as a way to give women access to resources.

The expo is a part of a larger foundation — The Portland Women's Expo Foundation — which pushes the goal of building a resource center for women to help them successfully sustain themselves and their families. The campaign is called "Building Hope."

This year the number of vendors at the expo nearly doubled to more than 450, from 250 last year.

According to CC Barber, executive director of the Portland Women's Expo Foundation, "favorites" have returned while there are new destinations as well.

There will be a complimentary beauty bar from the Portland Beauty School, a massage garden, a rock wall, and a main stage with entertainment.

And, "what's really exciting for this year is ... we have a DIY tiny home," Barber says. "There's a lot of buzz generating around that."

In addition to beauty and job recruitment, there will be legal experts for those interested in hearing about family law, a "life stage" featuring speakers on life topics, financial planning experts, a blood drive, home improvement experts, life coaches, real estate experts and even sleep comfort experts.

The food and alcohol spotlight will return, with a number of local and national vendors.

The expo's average attendance hits 10,000, but this year organizers are aiming higher at 15,000 attendees.

Though the expo opens at 10 a.m., Barber says some women line up as early as 7 a.m. to grab a swag bag.

"There's this wonderful vibe just in the lobby a couple of hours before the event even starts," Barber says.

Barber says women come from all over the state, and the women, the businesses and vendors at the expo all take away something.

The Portland Women's Expo takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 11, at the Oregon Convention Center, 777 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Tickets are $12, $7 seniors (55-over), $7 juniors (13-18 years). For more: www.pdxwomensexpo.org.

Those looking for a uniquely female experience the day before the expo, on Friday, March 10, can check out the International Women's Festival Pacific Northwest, being held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Clark College in Vancouver, Washington. The keynote speaker is Kelly McNelis, who founded Women For One to help women "quit apologizing and start being real." For more: www.womensfestivalnw.org.