The Duniway: A Hilton Hotel

Hilton decided to rebrand one of its Portland hotels in order to make it feel both more premium and more in tune with the local community. I worked with the team at Sockeye to give it a new name and identity. As a Portland history buff I was excited to research the area surrounding the hotel, and I came up with a long list of relevant names inspired by local lore. Of all the names on the list one stood out to me, and the nice folks at The Hilton agreed. We chose to honor one of Portland's lesser-known pioneers but one of its most important: Abigail Scott Duniway.

I wrote a short manifesto for The Duniway to help guide the Hilton team as they prepared to open the hotel.


Our hotel is named for a true pioneer, an innovative thinker, a passionate citizen and one of Portland’s original badasses. At the age of eighteen, Abigail Scott Duniway followed the Oregon Trail but she was frustrated with what she found in the Northwest. Sure, Oregon was full of opportunities – as long as you were a man.

So Abigail started a weekly newspaper devoted to women’s rights. She disrupted the norm and made enemies. Her aspiration and perseverance set the path for equality in Oregon and in 1912 she became the first woman to register to vote in the county.

Inspired by Abigail’s story, The Duniway looks to the future. We’re evocative and surprising. We’re not afraid to push boundaries and create memorable experiences for our guests. Our hotel is situated in the center of one of the country’s most creative cities, creating a space that encourages conversations between urban cyclists, entrepreneurs, locals and travelers alike.


I don't know what Abigail would think about having a huge hotel named after her in Portland but I bet she would have loved to stay here after traveling with a wagon train through the Blue Mountains.

If you don’t have time to make a trip out to Portland to experience The Duniway yourself, here are a few articles about the renaming:

Smithsonian Magazine

Travel & Leisure

Portland Monthly