PDX Airport Guide: Profile

Meet the Hillsboro Worker Who Commutes from Idaho

And you thought your slog to work was long.

By Margaret Seiler September 23, 2019 Published in the October 2019 issue of Portland Monthly

Image: Michael Novak

The Portland airport has a lot of local cultural cred, but one person who doesn’t care a lick about the beer, the food, the carpet, or pretty much anything else at PDX is Eli Mor. “My sole objective is spending as little time in the airport as I can,” says Mor, who commutes weekly to Hillsboro from ... Boise, Idaho.

The days can vary, but typically Mor leaves his house in Boise Monday morning about an hour before takeoff, drives 20 minutes to the airport, sails through the TSA PreCheck lane, and walks right onto his Alaska flight. “I’ve timed it to the minute,” says the project manager at Applied Materials, an engineering and tech firm. “If I have to wait at all, either the flight is delayed or I drove too fast.” At PDX, it’s straight to his usual rental car desk and then to his Hillsboro office. Tuesday evening, he reverses the trip. (He usually telecommutes from Boise the rest of the week.)

Mor’s previous job at Applied Materials involved a lot of travel to various destinations. When he switched to a position based at the company’s Hillsboro office, he decided to stay in Boise. Eight years later, it’s just his normal routine.

“Without PreCheck this would have gone stale. I would not have been able to last,” he says. He notes even the PreCheck line can get slowed down by people who don’t know the system: they waste time unpacking laptops or forget their phone is still in their pocket when they walk through the metal detector.

On the flight, just over an hour each way, he usually listens to a podcast or catches up on a TV show. “Those two hours are my quiet time in the week,” says the father of two toddlers. He also points out there are probably Bay Area drivers who have longer commutes than he does.

While Mor is a very frequent flier, he’s not exactly racking up airline points and perks. His flight is usually on a prop plane, so there’s no chance of a first-class upgrade. And the mere 343-mile distance between Boise and Portland means he’d need almost 3,000 flights to reach Alaska’s elite Million Miler status.

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