Barbara Allen | For the TidingsDemocratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton greets supporters during the VIP session at the Ashland Springs Hotel Thursday night.

Hours before Hillary Clinton arrived in Ashland, scores of people lined the sidewalks around the Ashland Springs Hotel, hoping to catch a glimpse of the senator whom many said they could not afford to see.

"If I had a spare $250, I'd go," said Wendy Warren, who sat on the curb across the street, in the hour before Clinton was scheduled to arrive. "I'd love to see a woman in the White House."

Those who could afford the $250 price tag, or the even steeper $2,300 VIP session tickets, streamed into the hotel lobby just before 5 p.m., only to find the event was delayed.

Two hours later, a smaller crowd was still searching for the long-overdue motorcade. When Clinton arrived around 7 p.m., escorted by Oregon State Police, she was whisked in through a side door away from the crowds. Still, her 90-minute visit awed the supporters inside.

"It was pretty uplifting when she got here," said Debra Lee, a member of the host committee, who attended both the VIP and forum sessions. "I thought she was inspiring."

Lee said she met Clinton in Arkansas in the 1980s while working as a legal aid lawyer.

"I was impressed with her then, and I continue to be impressed with her," Lee said. During the forum, Clinton addressed energy independence, college affordability, universal access to health care and how she would approach appointing Supreme Court justices should the need arise, Lee said.

Clinton did not take questions or give a speech during the VIP session. Instead, it was a chance for fans to snap photos and spend a few moments with the senator individually.

"We each had about 30 seconds to a minute," said host committee member Myra Silverman, who attended both sessions. "It was very gracious," she said, adding that the VIP event was "certainly" worth the extra cost.

Other attendees said they wished more fans could have a similar chance to meet Clinton.

"It was a unique opportunity to see the senator in a more intimate environment," said Southern Oregon University senior Laura Beaton, who volunteered for the campaign and got to attend the fundraiser for free. "I wish more people got to see her talk."

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Ashlanders gathered all around the Ashland Springs Hotel Thursday afternoon hoping to catch a glimpse of Hillary Clinton.

Thom Larkin | Daily Tidings

About 50 people attended the VIP session, and another 200 attended the forum, estimated Gina DuQuenne, catering manager at the hotel, who said Clinton impressed the staff as well.

"She came through the kitchen and shook hands with the chef and the dishwashers," DuQuenne said. "She is amazing. She had tears in people's eyes."

The event was also well attended by security, with about 15 police officers from Ashland and Medford, at a cost of $2,000 to $3,000 in overtime for the Ashland staff, said Police Chief Terry Holderness.

Across the street at Zoey's Caf&

233;, however, business boomed during Clinton's visit.

"It was a lot busier than usual," said cashier Alyssa Zysett, who estimated 300 people came into the store at a time when it is normally deserted. She said she was excited by the visit, but was surprised how it was conducted.

"I thought (Clinton) was going to be more involved with her fans," she said. "She just drove by."

After her stop in Ashland, Clinton spoke at a free rally at the Jackson County Exposition Park in Central Point.

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Hillary Clinton’s hair is visible in the backseat as she is escorted by Secret Service agents to Central Point for a rally after her appearance in Ashland Thursday.

Carsen Maciag | For the Tidings

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