As a current student at OCI I can tell you that deciding to move to Portland to attend this school has been the best decision i have made in my life.
I came to the school with about 3 years of previous cooking experience, and even so, immediately began learning. There is so much to learn in the culinary industry and it is always changing and evolving. The school and the instructors do a great job teaching us everything that they can and preparing us for in this ever changing industry. We are in the kitchen five days a week, while also spending time in the classroom. The kitchen and class sections are divided into 3 parts; T1, T2, and T3.
T1 is very much focused on the basics, such as basic mise en place and kitchen setup, knife skills and knife cuts, safety and sanitation, cooking styles, taste and aroma, so on and so forth. T2 which i am currently in, is more challenging and builds on what you have already learned in T1. There is a section on healthy cooking and vegetarian, egg cookery, game, sea food, and about a week on baking and pastry. One of the main focuses is a section called "live fire". It is a simulation of a lunch service on the line. The students are responsible for creating there menu, ordering there product, and costing. Costing is a major theme in T2. T3 is culinary artistry and line service. Cooking on the line in the schools restaurant. If you take the management courses you will also be the wait staff in the restaurant.
The school is very well respected throughout the Portland culinary scene as well. There are tons of volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Last summer we even had chef Duff Goldman come to the school before a volunteer event he was doing with some students that evening. I recently worked with a handful of amazing chefs at the James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour dinner. I just cant thank the school enough for giving me the opportunities they have given during my time there.
I know you said you are already planning to visit, and I really hope you do. Come tour and meet some of the chefs and students, and come have lunch too!!