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Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA - Best Neighborhoods for Lodging?

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My husband and I will be taking my elderly parents to the Portland, Or area in April. While trying to be economical, I would like to find lodging in an area that would be convenient, safe, and somewhat picturesque (like to stay at places like Fairfiled Inns, Staybridge Suites, where the rooms have a fridge/microwave when the parents are with us). We visited Portland a few years ago without my parents and stayed Downtown. While we enjoyed it, I don't think it would be ideal for this trip. Here are a few items on our list of possible sight seeing:

Columbia River Gorge
Tulip Fesitval
Cathlapotle Plankhouse
Fort Vancouver
Astoria
Japanese Garden & Chines Tea Garden

What areas of Portland or Vancouver should we try for lodging? And are there other places/things we should spend our time seeing? BTW, my parents are limited in the amount of walking they can do.

Thanks!

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