Designer: Yu Tang Wang
Two mammoth bronze lions flank this nearly 40-foot gateway, frightening the
timid and delighting children. Above them are the five roofs and sixty-four dragons of the Chinatown Gate, dedicated to Portland's Chinese residents. Portland's historical Chinatown existed to the south of Burnside as far as Washington and Alder, not here. Chinatown moved north of Burnside during World War II, when Japanese Americans had to leave their buildings due to being interned.
* On the center of the north side of the Chinatown Gate are Chinese characters that translate to: "Four Oceans, One Family."
At the end of the Civil War in 1865, Portland's total population of 6,168 included 2,000 Chinese persons (or "Celestials," as they were then called) with thousands more joining them over the next fifteen years. Traditional Chinese culture flourished in Portland, and outsiders were drawn to Chinatown's food and gambling. But as job competition increased in the 1880s for even the menial labor white settlers had been happy to give the Chinese, anti-Chinese arson and beatings became commonplace. Even so, Portland was a relative haven compared to the prejudicial fever that swept through Seattle, Tacoma, and California.
Most Chinese immigrants anticipated a return to their homeland, and did not construct new buildings, instead decorating and remodeling existing ones. Once these increasingly rickety buildings were demolished, the legacy of the Chinese faded from sight. Thus, while Portland has a rich Chinese cultural legacy, there is little in the way of a historical architectural heritage.
One block east of here is the Simon Building (1892, west side of 3rd Avenue between Couch and Davis). Once the building was gutted in a fire, it seemed destined to become a parking lot. But luckily, the Simon was saved by preservationists " who wanted it to become a parking lot! But the faÃ§ade of the building remains, while the interior awaits your vehicle.Less Text