By Mei Tsai
In celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, APANO is bringing our audience content all month-long, all centered on the theme of Building Power. Each week will see a different topic, with each topic connected by our central theme. This week’s topic is Anti-Displacement. This post is one of a two-part series. Part two can be found here.
The migration of Chinese laborers to Oregon began during the Gold Rush, many of whom were miners migrating from California. When the Gold Rush ended, many laborers decided to stay in Oregon. Many of the Chinese laborers who stayed after the Gold Rush worked in the port industry in Portland, and they mostly lived close to their work, which was right along the waterfront. The cluster of Chinese laborers in a central location – southwest Portland right along the Willamette – was the beginning of Portland’s Chinatown.