Portland Expo Center Holds Interfaith Service on Anniversary of WWII Internment Camp Closing

September 11, 2003

Source: The Oregonian


On September 11, 2003 The Oregonian reported that 'Three thousand index-card-sized sheets of stainless steel chimed in the wind, providing a constant backdrop to Wednesday morning's Expo Center MAX Station dedication in North Portland. As Portland Taiko's drums thundered, as a minister gave an invocation, as a former Japanese American internee spoke, as a Buddhist reverend chanted -- the tag-shaped pieces of metal rippled from five soaring cedar Japanese gates. They mark the Expo Center's past as the Portland Assembly Center, a temporary World War II internment camp. Each one represents one Oregonian who was interned, modeled after the identification tags given to families when they were forced to leave their homes, said Valerie Otani, the artist... Wednesday's ceremony, held on the 61st anniversary of the closing of the Portland Assembly Center, was one of several dedications that TriMet has held along the new Interstate MAX Light Rail line. Each of the 10 stations has public art honoring that location's history or local community, TriMet officials said... The Expo Center and Vanport stations are unique, said Mary Priester, TriMet's public art manager, because those locations are connected to specific events. The Vanport station -- at the site of a city where many of the area's first African Americans had lived -- has an artistic representation of the 1948 flood which destroyed it and a brass rail made from Vanport artifacts."