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Where EAST meets the Northwest

SAPPORO BELL. As part of the 60th anniversary of the Portland-Sapporo Sister City Association (PSSCA), a private celebration was held this month at the Oregon Convention Center to re-dedicate the Sapporo Bell, a Japanese bell that was gifted by business leaders in Sapporo to Portland as part of PSSCA’s 30th anniversary. Pictured is a welcome ceremony for the bell held at Tom McCall Waterfront Park after arriving by ship. A 30th-anniversary ceremony to officially unveil the bell was held in February 1990 at the brand new Oregon Convention Center. (Photo courtesy of the  Portland-Sapporo Sister City Association)

From The Asian Reporter, V29, #12 (June 17, 2019), page 11.

Sapporo Bell at the Oregon Convention Center re-dedicated

As part of the 60th anniversary of the Portland-Sapporo Sister City Association (PSSCA), a private celebration was held this month at the Oregon Convention Center. Portland mayor Ted Wheeler and Sapporo mayor Katsuhiro Akimoto attended the event, which highlighted the association’s six decades of prosperity and peace. A re-dedication of the Sapporo Bell, a Japanese bell gifted by business leaders in Sapporo to Portland as part of PSSCA’s 30th anniversary, was a focus of the gathering.

Portland and Sapporo are separated by more than 4,000 miles but have many similarities. They are close to the same latitude, are each about 150 years old, and have metropolitan populations of close to 2 million. The two enjoy beautiful settings and an appreciation of the outdoors. And they were also established by pioneers — by loggers and fishermen — who capitalized on rich natural resources in their respective regions.

PSSCA, founded in 1959, supports many forms of interaction, including hosting visits of international delegations, encouraging educational connections, facilitating political outreach, participating in and producing Japan-themed events, and promoting communication, both local and international.

The mayors of both cities agreed in 1986 that they should cooperate in the development of programs for the promotion of tourism as well as an increase in trade and mutual economic development and activities to amplify the feelings of friendship between the citizens of the cities.

Sister city associations foster and promote cross-cultural understanding between the countries they unify. The Portland-Sapporo Sister City Association is the organization that stewards the longest-running sister city relationship in Portland, Oregon — and one of the oldest in the United States.

Portland sister city relationships exist with nine cities, including Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Ulsan, South Korea; and Suzhou, in the People’s Republic of China.

Re-dedicating the Sapporo Bell marked the first milestone of a massive renovation project at the Oregon Convention Center.

"The re-dedication of the Sapporo Bell is the first milestone in completing our nearly 18-month, $39-million renovation. Last fall, we broke ground on the Oregon Convention Center plaza and interior renovation project to coincide with the opening of the Hyatt Regency Portland at the Oregon Convention Center," said Craig Stroud, executive director of the Oregon Convention Center.

The goal of the streamlined and enhanced plaza at the Oregon Convention Center is to ease access and entry into the center through the primary entrance. The updates to the interior spaces from the lobbies to the ballrooms is intended to reinvigorate the center for local Portlanders as well as improve national competitiveness.

To learn more about the Portland-Sapporo Sister City Association, visit <www.pssca.org>.

 

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