“A reminder of what the world lost”
In downtown Portland’s Waterfront Park, the 13 stone markers in the Japanese American Historical Plaza commemorate the history of the people who were deported to inland internment camps during World War II. The stones are engraved with short poems, and from March-April, 100 stunning cherry trees bloom around the award-winning monument, which was designed by Portland landscape architect Robert Murase. On August 3, 1990, the Japanese American Historical Plaza was dedicated to the memory of those who were deported to inland internment camps during World War II. In the memorial garden, artwork tells the story of the Japanese people in the Northwest - of immigration, elderly immigrants, native-born Japanese Americans, soldiers who fought in US military services during the war, and the business people who worked hard and had hope for the children of the future. A sculpture by Jim Gion,Songs of Innocence, Songs of Experience, serves as a gateway to the plaza. A non-profit organization, the Oregon Nikkei Endowment, fueled the commemoration with help from PP&R, Metropolitan Arts Commission, Portland Development Commission, and the Portland-Sapporo Sister City Association. Designed by award-winning landscape architect Robert Murase, the plaza is 70 feet wide at its narrowest, 200 feet at its widest. It extends between NW Davis & Naito Parkway (formerly Front Ave) and the Willamette River esplanade for about 300 feet northward from the Burnside Bridge. One hundred ornamental cherry trees link the plaza northward to the Friendship Circle, a collaboration by sculptor Lee Kelly and composer Michael Stirling. From a wide concrete circle rise a pair of 20-foot stainless towers from which emanates music based upon traditional and contemporary Japanese instruments. The sculpture commemorates 30 years of the Sister City relationship between Sapporo, Japan and Portland.
I visited on a mildly windy day, it was a tremendous sight to see. The cherry blossoms were gently floating through the breeze and it really set a gorgeous scene for a walk.
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Japanese American Historical Plaza
- Tue, Sat: 9:00 am - 8:00 pm
- Mon, Thu: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
- Sun: 8:00 am - 7:00 pm
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