Historic Tours of Discrimination
There was a time when Oregon was known as the most discriminatory state north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Until 1926, it was illegal for African Americans to live in Oregon, which was home to more than 70,000 Ku Klux Klan members. "Sundown laws" prevented Asians and African Americans from even staying overnight in many cities.
These cruel facts are now history, but a history that has been forgotten by many. To learn more about Oregon’s past discrimination and honor its victims, take part in one of the Fair Housing Council’s historic tours of housing discrimination: "Fasten Your Seatbelts - It’s Been A Bumpy Ride." The first tour took place in 2008--40 years after the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Since then, tours have been organized for property management firms, housing consumer groups, high school and college students, corporate groups, and the general public.
While not specific to civil rights or our local history, the Smithsonian's Within These Walls exhibit is a facinating story about 1 house over 200 years and the 5 families that called it home across different eras in American history.
Visit the exhibit's website by clicking on the image above or visiting http://americanhistory.si.edu/house.
While viewing the slideshow of past tours above, listen to the stories of two guest presenters. Mr. Ed Washington, former Metro Counselor, lived in Vanport as a child and witnessed the flood of 1948 that ravaged the state's second largest city at the time.
(link to MP3)
Ms. Valerie Otani is a local artist who has created traditional Japanese gates on permanent display at the Portland Expo Center to memorialize the 1942 Japanese internment camp that was located there.
(link to MP3)
By hearing from special guests like Mr. Washington and Ms. Otani, tour participants can experience discrimination from the victims' own perspective.
"If, as philosopher and poet George Santayana says, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," then "Fasten Your Seat Belts - It's Been a Bumpy Ride" is an excellent vehicle for achieving a brighter future for Portland."
- Julie Stegeman for The Asian Reporter (read more reviews below).
Following the tour, many groups elect to participate in a facilitated debriefing and discussion over lunch where many choose to share their reactions and their own stories. Most tour goers have commented that these discussions are among the most powerful moments of the day.
|Type of Tour
|Tour of Housing Discrimination
|Tour of Housing Discrimination with Facilitated Group Discussion and Presentation
* At times there may be pre-existing funding sources available, allowing for reduced costs; please inquire.
Number of Participants
Typically one bus can accommodate 40-50 people. An ideal tour is 40-100 people (1-2 buses); maximum capacity is 200 people (4 buses).
Included in the Tour
FHCO provides tour guides and special guest presenters. Costs vary depending on the anticipated number of participants and, therefore, the number and size of the buses used; whether or not the tour is followed by a facilitated discussion or not, etc.
Currently, the FHCO is prepared to do Portland tours. We are also doing research in preparation for a Salem area tour. We are interested in developing tours in other areas of Oregon and SW Washington. If you're interested in having a tour in another area, please contact us to discuss the possibilities!
Hosting organizations agree to handle logistics for any post-tour discussion (venue, meals and/or refreshments) as well as attendee registration, and event promotion.
Schedule a Historic Tour of Housing Discrimination
We would be pleased to lead a tour of your own community with your group or organization. If you have questions, please contact our Education and Outreach staff to check availability and expense details:
dhess@FHCO.org or 800/424-3247 ext. 108
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Tour Brochure ............................Tour Flyer with
....................................................Comments from Riders
FHCO Tours Make the News!
Read tour reviews and informative articles about past bus tours.
- Portland Center Stage Crew Takes FHCO's Historic Bus Tour, PCS Blog, 03/19/2013
- Portland Housing Bureau Takes FHCO's Historic Bus Tour, PHB Posting, 03/15/2013
- Q Center Showcases FHCO's Bus Tour on their site
- Portland Tour Showcasing Discrimination, Segregation Warns Riders to 'Buckle Up'
Michelle Cole, The Oregonian, 07/07/12
- FHCO's Bus Tour Featured in HUD's Annual Report
HUD's Annual Review on Fair Housing, FY 2009, Published in 2010.
- A Bus Tour Through History
Portland Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) Newsletter, 12/2010
- Bus Tour Highlights City's History of Housing Discrimination
Devan Schwartz. Street Roots Newspaper, 11/24/10
- Housing Council Commemorates Accomplishments, Seeks More Change
Polina Olsen. Jewish Review, 05/01/10
- Highlights of Racism... the Tour!
Sarah Mirk. Portland Mercury, 04/29/10
- Tour Examines Oregon’s Grim History
Jake Thomas. Portland Observer, 04/28/10
- Tour Looks at Darkside of Oregon’s Housing History
Portland Observer, 04/06/10
- Race Discrimination Lingers in Housing
Lisa Loving. The Skanner, 04/01/10
- A Bus-Sized Window into Portland’s Discriminatory Past
Ari Phillips. Willamette Week, 01/06/10
- Looking Back, a Tour Through Portland Housing Discrimination History
Polina Olsen. The Jewish Review, 06/11/09
- It’s Been a Bumpy Ride
Marie Lo. The Asian Reporter, 09/15/09
- Bus Tour Journeys Through Portland’s Discriminatory History
Julie Stegeman. The Asian Reporter, 09/15/09
To schedule a private tour for your company or organization, or to be notified of future open-regration tours, contact: Diane Hess, Education Director, dhess@FHCO.org or 503/223-8197 ext. 108.
This page created by FHCO Volunteer, Maria Walters