Support Us Button Widget

Portland’s waterfront cherry trees are rooted in history

The 100 cherry trees in Tom McCall Waterfront commemorate the incarceration of Japanese and Japanese Americans during World War II.

A stone with the names of Japanese American incarceration camps sits in front of blooming pink cherry trees in Portland's Japanese American Historical Plaza.

One stone depicts the names of camps across the US where Japanese Americans were incarcerated.

For just a few weeks in late March and early April, crowds flock to Portland’s waterfront to pose for pics among the cherry trees in Tom McCall Waterfront Park. But beyond the dainty pink blossoms, each of the “Akebono” cherry trees are rooted in history.

They were gifted to the city by Japan in 1990 as part of the dedication for the Japanese American Cultural Plaza, designed by award-winning landscape architect Robert Murase. On the edge of Old Town Chinatown, also known as Japantown, the space serves as a memorial to the 120,000+ Japanese and Japanese American people (~4,000 in Oregon) who were incarcerated during World War II.

Visit to appreciate the various sculptures and poems that commemorate their hardship and “raise public awareness of the diversity of cultural experiences in America.”

More from PDXtoday
The annual festivities give sneaker enthusiasts the chance to brush shoulders with creatives and leaders in the footwear industry.
This week — Monday, July 22-Friday, July 26, 2024 — we’re shining a spotlight on the vibrant drink scene in Portland.
The property on the way to Mount Hood offers animal tours, hosts private events, and has Airbnbs to reserve for your next getaway.
The touring show “Kooza” will run from Wednesday, Aug. 21 to Sunday, Oct. 6 at the Portland Expo Center.
The Northeast Portland pub that only shows women’s athletics has a stacked lineup of activities.
The app uses an algorithm to match like-minded locals and arranges meet-ups at restaurants of its choosing.
Jack Kent turned people watching into an art in Portland, capturing eight years (and counting) of the city’s unique scenes and quirky characters through his comics series.
The university is partnering with Walker Macy Collaborative to activate street-level spaces “by bringing the energy from inside PSU buildings to outdoor locations.”
Local blues and jazz musicians will perform beneath the iconic St. Johns Bridge.
Enjoy the lowest prices of the season on thousands of items like patio furniture, grills, and more during this limited-time summer sale.