From the May issue of Swedish Press
Astorians of Scandinavian descent are celebrating a recent agreement with the City of Astoria that will allow them to build a Scandinavian Heritage Park in downtown Astoria, Oregon. This monument will honor the thousands of Scandinavian immigrants who made it to Oregon’s North Coast in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It aims also to contribute to increased awareness of all cultures in the community.
The State of Oregon was home to only 47 Scandinavians in 1870, but by the turn of the century they were coming to the Pacific Northwest in droves. Many arrived in the North Coast of Oregon after 1870 when the railroad from San Francisco to Astoria was completed. Most of the immigrants who settled in Astoria were loggers, fishermen, farmers, and small business owners. According to the 1910 census there were 9599 inhabitants in Astoria, and 35% of the population classified themselves as Scandinavians. Finns were most numerous, followed by Norwegians, Swedes, and Danes.
The non-profit Astoria Scandinavian Heritage Association (ASHA) was formed in 2011 with a mission to preserve traditional Scandinavian culture and heritage through educational opportunities in areas of customs, language, food and the arts. ASHA’s primary activity has been to support the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival but it is now also the leading initiator to build the Scandinavian Heritage Park. Fundraising for the park has begun, and ASHA will receive check donations at P.O. Box 34, Astoria OR 97103. ASHA is a 501c3 registered organization and donors will receive a tax receipt. Donors should write Park on the memo line and include a note about why they are donating, e.g. “To celebrate my heritage,” “In honor of..,” or “In memory of…” It is also possible to make online donations at www.astoriascanpark. org where one can view preliminary designs for the park.