History of the Portland-Suzhou Sister City Association
Compiled by Jeffrey Kinkley (former PSSCA Secretary)
Published February 2019
David Wu (Wu Zhenwei吴振伟), an attorney at the firm of Miller Nash who will come to serve as a Portland Planning Commissioner (1986-1989) and later represent Oregon’s First District in the US Congress (1999-2011), born in Taiwan of Suzhou parents who completed their emigration to the US in 1961, introduces the idea of a sister city relationship with Portland to Suzhou authorities in a letter of March 5. Other early leaders in the search for a Chinese sister city are John E. “Bud” Clark, Mayor of Portland (1985-1992); Mike Lindberg, Portland City Commissioner (1979-1996); Patrick LaCrosse, Director of the Portland Development Commission (1981-1994); and Dr. Joseph Ha, a Korean American and Nike consultant for global business (1981-1996; subsequently chair of Lewis and Clark University’s International Affairs program) who also assists Mayor Clark’s successful initiatives to establish sister city relations with South Korea (Ulsan, 1987) and the USSR/Russia (Khabarovsk, November 1988).
Following Mayor Bud Clark’s request to find the “perfect” sister city for Portland, Commissioner Mike Lindberg leads Portland delegates on a visit to southeastern China following their participation in a mayors conference in Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning Province, in China’s Northeast. Delegates include David Wu, Patrick LaCrosse, City of Portland Communications Director Jack McGowan, and others, though not Mayor Clark, who is preoccupied with the prospect of a Tri Met strike. The delegation initially focuses on Fuzhou, capital of Fujian Province, which had become a sister state/province of Oregon in 1984. David Wu persuades the group to stop in Suzhou, the home of his ancestors, prior to the delegation’s return flight to Seattle from Shanghai. In Suzhou, Tang Ronglong 汤荣龙of the Suzhou Foreign Affairs Office escorts the Portlanders from the airport. The delegation is captivated by the city; the beauty of its gardens moreover encourages Lindberg to think about the advantages of having a Suzhou-style scholar’s garden in Portland, although business relations are an equally important motivation in the search for a sister city. Most delegates return to join Mayor Clark for urgent business in Portland, while McGowan stays on for an extra week to continue discussions with Duan Xushen 段绪申, Mayor of Suzhou (1984-1986), Tang Ronglong, and regional officials.
Commissioner Mike Lindberg and (Ms.) Jan Van Domelen, Director of International Relations of the City of Portland, arrive in Suzhou on October 30, in time to attend 2500th anniversary celebrations of the founding of Suzhou. Jane Leung Larson (Tan Jingyi 谭精意), a specialist on Chinese history and Executive Director of the Northwest China Council, leads another, nonofficial Portland delegation to Suzhou at the same time. On November 4, Commissioner Lindberg signs an initial agreement calling for cooperation in the fields of economy, technology, culture, education, and tourism, with a hope that exchanges may lead to a sister cities agreement.
Ray M. Helterline, in charge of China relations for the international division of the U. S. National Bank of Oregon, and his assistant, Maria Chen Fulkerson, visit government and business organizations in Suzhou. During talks with Yu Xingde 俞兴德, Mayor of Suzhou (1986-1989), Helterline delivers a letter from Mayor Clark to Mayor Yu inviting him to send an official delegation to Portland in 1987. Aware that Nanjing, capital of Suzhou’s province (Jiangsu), will have to approve trade and investment deals in Suzhou, the visitors from Portland precede their Suzhou talks with four days in Nanjing, where they conduct discussions with the Jiangsu International Trust and Investment Corp. (JITIC), Jiangsu Foreign Trade Corp., and the Commission for Foreign Economic Relations and Trade for Jiangsu Province.
A five-person Suzhou Economy and Trade Delegation headed by Tang Ren 唐韧, the Suzhou vice mayor in charge of economic affairs, visits Portland on Suzhou’s first official mission to the city, during the first week of August. On August 8, he and Commissioner Mike Lindberg reaffirm plans for mutual cooperation between the two cities, including reciprocal efforts to promote tourism, a joint project to build a classical Chinese garden in Portland with technical help from Suzhou, sharing of technology on sewage treatment and other hydrological problems, economic cooperation and technical exchanges, product exhibitions, a television production using US technology to promote the charms of Suzhou, and cultural and educational exchanges.
A Portland-Suzhou Sister City Association (PSSCA) has formed. In its application of incorporation, David Wu (Chairman) and Jan Van Domelen are the two initial Board Directors. Businessman, philanthropist, and civic leader Bill Naito is another early supporter. By the end of March 1988, the PSSCA has over 60 individually paid members and five corporate sponsors. Meanwhile, a sister city relationship has been approved by the Suzhou side.
On April 20, advocates for an ordinance to make Suzhou Portland’s seventh sister city speak before the Portland City Council. Members of the PSSCA give brief speeches on the importance of Suzhou. The Oregonian (April 21) cites strong oral advocacy for the sister city relationship by Jane Leung Larson and Ray Helterline. Earlier in the month, the City Council has received memoranda on the potential advantages of such a sister city relationship from David Wu, Ray Helterline, David John Barber, an attorney at law in Sandy, Oregon, and Carol Nieh, a Ph. D. candidate in Chinese history at the University of California at Berkeley. Their detailed writings cite Suzhou’s ancient economic and symbolic importance, its renewed future potential for economic growth in the greater Yangtze delta region, its blossoming electronics industry, and Suzhou’s legendary symbolism as “the Venice of China”—a magical city of canals and distinctively shaped bridges, a center of trade and sericulture, and also home to prestige gardens, musical and scholarly traditions, and natural and architectural sites. These characteristics, which have made Suzhou a tourist destination of China’s literati for centuries, appear as Portland-like attributes in a city then roughly Portland’s size that would make it a wonderful match for the mutual conveyance of East-West urban cultural prestige. Helterline’s memo notes that Mayor Yu has entered into sister city relations before (with Venice, Italy, likewise known for its canals, and Victoria, BC, Canada, known for its gardens), but desires a sister city relationship that will yield more benefits in economic relations and development.
On April 27, the Portland City Council unanimously adopts ordinance no. 160692, authorizing “the establishment of a sister city relationship with Suzhou, People’s Republic of China,” recognizing the Portland-Suzhou Sister City Association, Inc. as a “citizen’s group” supporting formation of the relationship, and approving the PSSCA bylaws.
A joint agreement to establish a sister city relationship is signed in Portland on June 7 by Yu Xingde, Mayor of Suzhou, and Bud Clark, Mayor of Portland. Portland becomes Suzhou’s fourth sister city.
Qu Weizu 瞿慰祖 leads a wastewater treatment delegation from Suzhou to Portland.
Commissioner Mike Lindberg appoints a task force that produces a 50-page report calling for a full-scale classical Chinese garden to be built in Portland.
Tang Ronglong, Deputy Director of the Sister City Program for the Foreign Affairs Office of the Suzhou Municipal Government (1985-1992), comes to Portland as a visiting scholar at the invitation of Portland State University. He works closely with the Portland mayoral office to develop the sister city relationship. Before Tang returns to China in 1990, Mayor Bud Clark names him an honorary citizen of Portland.
At a time of great challenge and stress in Sino-US relations, and divergent opinions among Portlanders who originally planned to join a large delegation to visit Beijing, Shanghai, and Suzhou in the fall of 1989 for a signing that would complete the sister city agreement, Mayor Bud Clark resolves to continue the relationship and sign a finalizing document. Feeling that President Eisenhower’s initiation of the Sister Cities program in 1956 was intended to encourage people-to-people relationships and not be blocked by political considerations, he leads a delegation of four that passes through Shanghai on its way to Suzhou, accompanied by Patrick LaCrosse, from the Portland Development Commission, Chris Bon, from the Edward L. Rausch Co. of Oregon, and Carolyn Barber, from Portland’s Office of International Relations. These four Oregonians are the sole passengers, other than the crew, on the United Airlines 747 jumbo jet that brings them from Japan to Shanghai. The landing in Shanghai is so bumpy that the emergency oxygen masks come down, perhaps due to the plane being underweight. The agreement is signed.
Roger A. Luedtke, an attorney with Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, President-elect of the Northwest China Council (President, 1991-1992), and President of Portland’s Classical Chinese Garden Society, leads a delegation to Suzhou to discuss the creation of a Suzhou-style garden in the heart of downtown Portland. Luedtke is instrumental in getting his law firm to provide corporate support for the Garden.
Gao Dezheng 高德正, Vice Governor of Jiangsu Province (1989-1993), leads an official delegation to Portland.
Wang Minsheng 王敏生, Party Secretary of Suzhou ([its chief administrator, supervising the mayor], 1989-1994), leads an official delegation to Portland. Mayor Bud Clark invites the members to a City Council meeting on May 15 and makes introductions.
In the wake of a May flood that was the worst to have hit Suzhou since 1954, PSSCA Board Director Conni Diack 戴康尼works with the Portland Mayor’s Office of International Relations to raise money for the flood victims.
Portland sends an official delegation to Suzhou, including Patrick LaCrosse and his wife, Karen LaCrosse, City of Portland Architect Phil Thompson and his wife, Barbara Thompson, and Conni Diack. The delegation discusses a letter of intent for building what later will be known as the Lan Su Chinese Garden.
Mayor Bud Clark appoints Conni Diack President of the PSSCA. Liette Jauniax is Treasurer. Key continuing Directors are David Wu and Bill Naito. Roger Leudtke saves the PSSCA from being disbanded due to insolvency by providing it with a $500 loan.
PSSCA President Conni Diack leads a delegation to Suzhou and presents three tons of textbooks, donated by David Bean, to a Suzhou library. During this visit, discussions begin on a Portland-style rose garden in the heart of Suzhou.
During a visit to Suzhou led by Commissioner Mike Lindberg and supported by Oliver Norville, Dr. Eng Lock Khoo, Gene Leo, and Conni Diack, a fire engine donated by the City of Portland is delivered and a Rose Garden groundbreaking ceremony takes place in Suzhou.
The PSSCA hosts an exhibition, demonstrations, and sales of works in Portland by artists from Suzhou, including Gu Rongyuan 顾荣元, Jiang Chun江淳, and Zhang Qi 张琪.
The Rose Garden in Suzhou opens. Vera Katz, Mayor of Portland (1993-2005), leads a delegation from Portland, including several PSSCA Directors, that attends the opening ceremony. She meets with Zhang Xinsheng章新胜, Mayor of Suzhou (1989-1997), and expresses support for building a Suzhou-style garden in Portland. Later in the year, Mayor Zhang visits Portland, and talks are underway to sign an agreement for Portland and Suzhou sister schools.
On March 8, the Portland City Council unanimously approves ordinance no. 168588, submitted by Mayor Vera Katz, authorizing the city to exercise an option to lease from Northwest Natural Gas Co. real property taking up an entire city block between Flanders and Glisan Streets and 2nd and 3rd Avenues, for the purpose of building a Classical Chinese Garden. The lease is for 99 years and the price is one dollar. Mayor Katz appoints a Steering Committee for the project and notes that two sister cities, Suzhou and Kaohsiung, have promised help, and that Commissioner Charlie Hales and Commissioner Mike Lindberg have been asked to assist in designing the garden and fundraising. Dr. Eng Lock Khoo, a Malaysian-born Portland surgeon of Chinese ancestry, past President of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association and founding and past President of the Portland-Kaohsiung Sister City Association (1987-1993), heads the Classical Chinese Garden Steering Committee. He speaks on behalf of the project, citing the 50-page report produced by Commissioner Lindberg’s 1989 task force. Bill Naito envisions the Garden as the future “Pioneer Courthouse Square of the River District.” Donald Jenkins, Chairman of the Classical Chinese Garden Society, foresees the Garden as fulfilling a role for Chinese culture equivalent to that of Portland’s Japanese Garden, which he calls “the most authentic Japanese garden in the United States.” He argues that the Chinese Garden’s site, “at the edge of Chinatown, will allow school children to make contact with the roots of a civilization and increase their respect for diversity.” Later, however, some in Portland’s Chinese American community worry that the Garden’s proposed location in a declining neighborhood might diminish visitors’ first impression of their culture. Moreover, subsequent doubts and tensions in the Classical Chinese Garden Task Force cause the PSSCA, Portland-Kaohsiung Sister City Association, and Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association delegates to resign from the Steering Committee.
Friendship agreements are signed between Jackson Middle School and Suzhou No. 10 Middle School and between Wilson High School and the Suzhou High School of Jiangsu Province to exchange students and faculty. Oliver Norville and Liette Jauniaux chair the PSSCA committee developing these relationships.
Xu Furong, Deputy Director of the Suzhou Garden Bureau, leads a four-member delegation to Portland to discuss Portlands Chinese garden project.
In Suzhou, the Municipal Government decides to send a 16-ton Taihu Rock (a rock from Tai Lake, bordering Suzhou, a kind of ornament favored in gardens throughout China due to the rocks’ odd shapes from underwater erosion in the lake) to Portland in honor of the sister city relationship.
Yang Xiaotang 杨晓堂, Party Secretary of Suzhou (1994-1998) and concurrently Vice Governor of Jiangsu Province, rides with Mayor Vera Katz in the Rose Festival Parade. A Sister School Agreement is signed.
Portland City Commissioner Charlie Hales leads a PSSCA-sponsored delegation to Suzhou, with City Planner Jeff Joslin, Conni Diack, and Dr. Eng Lock Khoo. It arrives on October 11. Deputy Party Secretary Huang Bingfu (黄炳福) of Suzhou leads a return delegation to Portland.
Twelve delegations come from Suzhou to Portland with PSSCA assistance, including educational and financial delegations. Mayor Zhang Xinsheng visits Portland, with Tang Ronglong of the Suzhou Foreign Affairs Office and two officials representing the China Suzhou-Singapore Industrial Park (SIP). PSSCA arranges office space for the City of Suzhou in the City of Portland, donated by Melvin Marks, at SW 1st Avenue and Columbia, in the office of Oliver Norville. Mayor Vera Katz names Mayor Zhang an honorary citizen of Portland.
Nike, Inc., establishes the Nike (Suzhou) Sportswear Co., Ltd., with a total investment of several million dollars. It is then the exclusive wholly-owned subsidiary of Nike in China manufacturing shoes. PSSCA Board Director James Mei 梅明瑾 and Dr. Joseph Ha have been instrumental in nurturing the overseas relationship.
Mayor Vera Katz pledges to Garden fundraiser Bill Naito on his deathbed that the Garden will be built.
First Assistant to Mayor Vera Katz Sam Adams visits Suzhou with Bruce Allan, Director of the Portland Development Commission.
Administrators and teachers from Suzhou arrive on a tour of Portland.
In February, Conni Diack begins several months of study of Chinese language and culture in Suzhou at the invitation of and with a scholarship from the Suzhou Foreign Affairs Office. She then continues study in Suzhou with a tutor and local family for two more years to achieve fluency in Chinese, meanwhile working for the PSSCA.
To reactivate fundraising for the Garden project, Mayor Vera Katz initiates a Capital Campaign, assuming authority from the Portland Classical Chinese Garden Society headed by Bruce Wong, President, who previously wrote the first check to the Chinese construction team, and Marcia Weinstein, Secretary. The Portland Development Commission provides a major loan and a Classical Chinese Garden Trust is formed, chaired by Bob Naito, the son of Bill Naito. Other trust members are Bruce Allen of the Portland Development Commission, Bob Bobosky of HGW Inc, John Eskildsen of U. S. Bank, Phil Kalberer of Kalberer Supply, Gregg Kantor and Dick Reiten of Northwest Natural Gas Co., Rod Lind of Deloitte and Touche, Ben Ngan of the landscape architecture firm Nevue Ngan Associates, Bing Sheldon of SERA Architects, and Kathy Wyatt of Portland General Electric. The Trust hires Bobbe Blacher as Director of Development for the Garden project. Members of the Trust see the potential new garden as an inheritor not just of an ancient Suzhou architectural tradition, but also of Portland’s own tradition of building parks and gardens.
Replacing the previous Chinese Garden Steering Committee is a Classical Chinese Garden Project Executive Committee made up of the mayor, two members each from the Garden Society and Garden Trust, one member each from the Portland-Suzhou and Portland-Kaohsiung Sister City Associations, and one member each from the Northwest China Council, Portland Development Commission, and the city's Chinese community. Each member has one vote; the mayor alone has veto power. Phyllis Oster is Mayor Katz’s Director of International Relations.
Under Acting President Newcombe Wang, the PSSCA at the end of the year votes to return to the Classical Chinese Garden project; PSSCA Board Director Phil Thompson joins the Executive Committee for the Garden Trust. Meanwhile the Suzhou Foreign Affairs Office continues to provide strong support for the Garden.
A technical group of three headed by Kuang Zhenyan 匡振鶠, President of the Suzhou Classical Chinese Garden Design Institute, visits Portland and brings a model of the Suzhou-style garden projected to be built in Portland.
Mayor Vera Katz leads a delegation to Suzhou and is named an honorary citizen of the City of Suzhou.
Yang Bingshuang 杨炳双, Deputy Director of the Standing Committee of the Suzhou Municipal People’s Congress, leads a delegation to Portland.
Gregg Kantor of Northwest Natural Gas leads a garden delegation to Suzhou, which results in the signing of construction and supervision contracts for the future Garden in Portland.
Mayor Zhang Xinsheng’s gift to Mayor Vera Katz, the 16-ton Taihu Rock, is installed in the Terry Schrunk Plaza in downtown Portland. The giant rock is a symbol of appreciation for the Suzhou Rose Garden and an expression of dedication to the sister city relationship. Vice Mayor Song Shenglong 宋胜龙from Suzhou attends the installation ceremony and a PSSCA 10th anniversary banquet at the Benson Hotel, September 14.
The PSSCA helps fund Jackson Middle School Principal Allan Leuthe and teacher Kevin Crotchett 柯凯文, as well as Wilson High School Principal Mike Hryciw and teacher Joan Kvitka, on visits to their sister schools in Suzhou. They are accompanied by retired Portland Public Schools teacher and PSSCA Board Director Liette Jauniaux.
Liang Baohua 梁保华, Party Secretary of Suzhou (1998-2000), leads a delegation to Portland.
Sixty-five Suzhou artisans and their two cooks are in Portland, building the new Chinese garden. They work side-by-side with Portland contractors during a six-month period. (Ms.) He Fengchun 贺风春, assistant to President Kuang Zhenyan of the Suzhou Institute of Landscape Architecture and subsequently director of the Institute, is on site in charge of horticultural matters. Legal restrictions severely limit importation of the requisite Chinese trees and plants from China, but fortunately most species are already available in the US.
March through August 2000
Under the direction of Phyllis Oster, Director of International Relations for Mayor Katz, PSSCA President Conni Diack and PSSCA Secretary Lynne McIntyre 英惠琳 serve on the Garden Committee during the six months prior to the September opening of the Portland Classical Chinese Garden, alongside Bob Naito, Cheryl Tonkin, Betty Jean Lee, and Gail Cheldelin. Lynne McIntyre writes the first draft of a collaborative tour guide script for docents under the supervision of Dr. Donald Jenkins and Jan Quivey of the Portland Art Museum; they bring Tang Binchang of Suzhou to Portland to prepare docents to give the first tours of the Garden to the public. Calligrapher Ma Bole 马伯乐, whose work is to be displayed in the Garden, gives docents a lecture demonstration at the Portland Art Museum on Chinese calligraphy and painting technique. In 2001, a group forms to provide continuing education for the docents; named First Saturday PDX, it subsequently provides a forum for free public lectures on Chinese and Asian culture, first at the Garden, and in later years at Portland State University.
An onsite ceremony is held on May 3 to honor the architects and builders of the Portland Classical Chinese Garden from Suzhou.
Conni Diack leads a Portland Classical Chinese Garden group tour to Suzhou and other Chinese cities in May and June. Among the nine participants is Bud Clark, on his first trip back to Suzhou since 1989; he is received as a dignitary. Another purpose of the visit is to choose performers for the opening of the Garden in September.
Nineteen students and five teachers from Suzhou visit Portland; in October, 19 students and eight teachers and parents from the Jackson Middle School and Wilson High School journey to Suzhou on a reciprocal visit.
September 14 sees the opening of the Portland Classical Chinese Garden (in 2010 renamed the Lan Su Chinese Garden; in Chinese, Lan Su Yuan 兰苏园, which can be construed either as the “Portland-Suzhou Garden” or the “Garden of Awakening Orchids”). The Garden is a friendship project between Suzhou and Portland, through the PSSCA and the Office of the Mayor. By this time, major contributors such as the Portland Development Commission and Northwest Natural Gas have been joined by many others in this project, whose total cost has reached more than US $12 million. The Oregonian (Sept. 17) reports on the general civic jubilation at this hard-won achievement, but adds that the Garden has opened $700,000 in debt and without an Executive Director. Bob Naito and the Trust have contracted with the city to operate the Garden for five years, while Patrick LaCrosse, referred to in the press as “Portland’s Mr. Fixit,” has been brought in to “create a management team from scratch.”
The Hon. Li Zhaoxing 李肇星, Ambassador to the United States (1998-2003; subsequently Foreign Minister, 2003-2007), travels from Washington, D.C., joining Chen Deming 陈德铭, Mayor of Suzhou (1997-2000), concurrently Deputy Secretary of the Suzhou Party Committee (1997-2000; subsequently Secretary, Dec. 2000-2002), and Portland Mayor Vera Katz in the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Garden opening. The Garden opens with several days of sold-out celebrations featuring Suzhou’s finest performers, artistic demonstrations, and scholarly lectures. The PSSCA hosts guests over a three-week period. The Portland Classical Chinese Garden attracts 258,000 visitors during its first year and for years is Portland’s number one tourist attraction.
PSSCA President Conni Diack leads a goodwill delegation from Portland to Suzhou, accompanying Portland Director of International Relations Phyllis Oster, Portland Classical Chinese Garden representatives Gloria Lee (Executive Director of the Garden), Betty Jean Lee, and Roger Luedtke.
An agreement between the Foreign Affairs Office in Suzhou and Portland State University establishes a program for Suzhou students to begin their undergraduate studies at PSU.
A collection of traditional Suzhou woodblock prints is sent to Portland by the Suzhou Foreign Affairs Office for exhibition. Liette Jauniaux and Lynne McIntyre arrange exhibitions and presentations about the history of woodblock printing in the Suzhou area with the assistance of Tang Ronglong. These prints, which are traditional in style while providing a window on daily life in Suzhou, are featured in the Portland Classical Chinese Garden. Sales benefit the Suzhou Foreign Affairs Office, PSSCA, and the Garden.
Yang Weize 杨卫泽, Mayor of Suzhou (2001-2004), arrives in Portland on May 9 for an official visit. Among the topics discussed are Portland’s light rail system and how Suzhou might meet its own transportation needs.
A business delegation from Suzhou visits Portland, including representatives of the China-Singapore Suzhou Industrial Park Development Co., Ltd.
Jackson Middle School hosts a delegation of students and teachers from Suzhou.
Mayor Yang Weize and other Suzhou officials send letters of condolence to Mayor Katz and other Portland officials the day after the September 11 terrorist attacks. In a further show of support, Tang Ronglong visits Portland at the end of the month in furtherance of school relationships.
A Suzhou cultural delegation led by Madame Zhou Caibao 周彩宝, Deputy Director of the Standing Committee of the Suzhou Municipal People’s Congress, arrives on December 13. The delegates tour Nike headquarters in Beaverton and the new Portland Classical Chinese Garden.
A Suzhou delegation of teachers, students, and businessmen led by Tang Ronglong visits Portland. PSSCA Past President Conni Diack is honored at a banquet for her years of service to the PSSCA.
Jackson Middle School students, teachers, and the assistant principal enjoy an exchange visit in Suzhou.
The PSSCA hosts a visiting delegation led by Xu Shudong 许树东, Deputy Director of the Standing Committee of the Suzhou Municipal People’s Congress, July 29.
The PSSCA Board approves Lynne McIntyre’s presentation for its first fundraising event in several years, to be called “An Evening under the Stars.” PSSCA is given perpetual use of the Portland Classical Chinese Garden for one evening each year in honor of its contribution to the creation of the Garden.
PSSCA President Newcombe Wang presides over “An Evening under the Stars,” a Gala held at the Portland Classical Chinese Garden. Tang Ronglong is honored for his work in strengthening cultural, educational, and economic ties between Portland and Suzhou. The entertainment is conducted in the same style as evening performances in Suzhou’s Master of the [Fishing] Nets Garden, with guests moving from pavilion to pavilion to see different entertainments. Portlanders are mesmerized by the experience and the Gala becomes the cornerstone of subsequent PSSCA fundraising.
At the second annual “Evening under the Stars” fundraising Gala, held at the Portland Classical Chinese Garden, the seven students who came from Suzhou in the fall of 2001 to begin their undergraduate studies at Portland State University are honored.
Williams Controls (Suzhou) Co. Ltd., a global market leader in electric throttle controls, is founded in the China Suzhou-Singapore Industrial Park (SIP) with initial registered capital of 13 million dollars and 150 employees. Parent company Williams Controls was founded in 1937.
Former Portland Mayor Bud Clark is honored at the third annual “Evening under the Stars” fundraising Gala, held at the Portland Classical Chinese Garden, May 26.
Former Portland Mayor Vera Katz is honored at the fourth annual “Evening under the Stars” Gala, held at the Portland Classical Chinese Garden.
Under the leadership of President Earl Molander, the PSSCA invests significant time to help create relationships in Suzhou for Portland businesses involved in sustainability.
Wayne Lei, Director of Environmental Policy at Portland General Electric, and Conni Diack, Past President of the PSSCA, are honored at the fifth annual “Evening under the Stars” Gala, held at the Portland Classical Chinese Garden on May 24. They are presented with Awards of Special Merit for building strong relationships between Portland and Suzhou and between Oregon and China. The Royal Rosarians receive a Cultural Achievement Award, and the new Confucius Institute housed at Portland State University (Liu Meiru 刘美如is the Founding Director, 2007-2017) receives an Educational Achievement Award.
An official Portland delegation travels to Suzhou to further business, educational, and cultural objectives.
An official Portland delegation travels to Suzhou to further business, educational, and cultural objectives.
A Portland delegation marking the 20th anniversary of the sister city relationship visits Suzhou, led by Tom Potter, Mayor of Portland (2005-2009), and PSSCA President Lynne McIntyre, with Board Director Jim Mei 梅明瑾and others. They are greeted by Yan Li 阎立, Mayor of Suzhou (2005-2012). Mayor Yan announces Suzhou’s forthcoming gift of a long dragon that can serve as a costume for festival dragon dancers; Mayor Potter presents a framed photo of Portland’s forthcoming gift of a Portland Sustainable Hardwoods Pavilion, as well as ornamental gilded roses and a small model P-51 Mustang fighter of the type that Americans flew over China in World War II, presented in recognition of the assistance the Suzhou people gave to American pilots shot down over Suzhou.
By this time, in business relationships:
Over 60 Portland businesses have operations in Suzhou.
Portland has had its first official trade mission to Suzhou, with presentations by Peter Englander, Central City Manager (2005-2013) in the Portland Development Commission and business leaders from Portland and Suzhou.
Portland’s LRS Architects is selected for China's first initiative in LEEDs Platinum Design; the signing ceremony takes place at the Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park in Pudong, Shanghai. LRS opens a Shanghai office and designs the new Kunshan Project in Suzhou.
There has been an official tour of the Williams Controls Plant in Suzhou, and of the PCC Structurals SPS Technologies Plant in Suzhou's Kunshan District.
There is an official visit to Qingpu, a meeting with the Mayor of Suzhou, and a tour of an urban planning model that envisions bringing the charm of ancient water town living together with business, commercial, and industrial sites in a forward-looking sustainable model employing green building techniques.
On the 20th anniversary of the sister city agreement between Suzhou and Portland, under the joint promotion of the Chinese and US governments and the Suzhou Wuzhong Group, a Wuzhong (America) Service for Cultural Education and Communication is founded in Portland, with an initial investment of 5 million dollars. Its business division, Skybridge, includes cultural and education exchange activities, consultation, planning, and services; research and development on teaching software; and teaching equipment and management consultation for schools teaching Chinese in Portland. PSSCA officers Cheryl Johnson, Jim Mei, and Lynne McIntyre work to complete this project.
In the educational field,
Lincoln High School Principal and PSSCA Board Director Peyton Chapman signs an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Suzhou High School SIP.
PSSCA Board Director Jim Mockford presents memorabilia, research, and educational materials to the Suzhou Municipal Library on the history of 1st Lt. Walter A. Ferris' experience in Suzhou while serving as a fighter pilot in the 14th Air Force, US Army Air Corps. Walt’s life was saved by local Suzhou residents when his plane crashed.
The Confucius Institute at Portland State University completes a successful first year at Portland State University, with the cooperation of PSU board member Gil Latz, Vice Provost.
A Portland Mayoral delegation visits the Suzhou No. 10 Middle School, which has exchanges with Jackson Middle School.
An exchange relationship between Hosford Middle School and Suzhou No. 12 Middle School is initiated, with the help of PSSCA Board Director Kojo Hakkam.
A full Mandarin immersion K-12 program is initiated at PPS Woodstock—Hosford—Cleveland.
The Suzhou Daily newspaper joins a media delegation visiting Portland. They tour The Oregonian, view its Pulitzer Prize, and meet with reporters from the Portland Chinese Times.
At the “Evening under the Stars” Gala, the first Newcombe Wang Memorial Scholarship (named in honor of the PSSCA Past President, who passed away in 2006), designated as an annual award to a Chinese student at Portland State University, is conferred on Chen Mingjian for the 2008-2009 academic year. A moment of silence is observed for the May 12 Sichuan earthquake victims. Mayor Tom Potter and his wife Karin Hansen receive Awards of Merit for their work with PSSCA and Suzhou.
Suzhou sends Portland a 20th Anniversary gift of a 30-meter-long commemorative golden dragon for use in dragon dances. The PSSCA Board contracts with the Portland Lee's Association Lion Dance Team to become the custodian of the dragon. Stephen Ying and Lynne McIntyre dot the eyes of the dragon in a ceremony at the Portland Classical Chinese Garden, assisted by Harry and Maihwa Frances Li 李美华, in front of a massive crowd of well-wishers.
Portland sends, as its 20th Anniversary gift to Suzhou, a commemorative and finely crafted Portland Sustainable Hardwoods Pavilion, built with the assistance of Collins and Company and 9Wood. The City of Portland Office of Sustainable Development has previously submitted the Pavilion as an exhibit at international conferences and displayed it at City Hall during the Pavilion’s final months in Portland. The Pavilion has a roof and four corner pillars that make it resemble a walk-in pergola with a wooden floor; extending partway from the pillars are ceiling-to-floor, airy and partly open walls that create a visual aspect of venetian blinds. The structure is composed of Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood. Mayor Tom Potter, City of Portland Director of International Relations Mila Greisen, and Lynne McIntyre secure the Pavilion for Suzhou; PSSCA pays for its shipping to Suzhou, with local help from Dorothy Lu 陆禾禾of the Suzhou Foreign Affairs Office, and it is reconstructed with blueprints translated into Chinese by PSSCA Director and City of Portland officer (Ms.) Suwen Bian. The City and PSSCA later learn that Suzhou has located the structure in an International Friendship Garden situated within the hallowed ground of the Panmen (Pan Gate) Scenic District, next to the historic “land and water” gates (the only such structures remaining in China). They were originally the only entrance to Suzhou through its ancient city wall, next to the southwestern corner of the encircling Main Canal and moat of old Suzhou, abutting the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal (completed in the 7th century CE). Near the Pavilion are an authentic gondola presented to Suzhou by its first sister city, Venice, Italy; the Ruiguang Pagoda (1004 CE, rebuilt from a 247 CE predecessor); the Wu Gate Bridge; and other relics and iconic items from ancient Suzhou and its sister cities.
Dr. Wang Rong 王荣, Party Secretary of Suzhou (2004-2009), leads a 17-person official delegation to Portland, where he is greeted by Sam Adams, Mayor of Portland (2009-2012), and PSSCA President Jim Mei. Economic cooperation is the key theme of the visit.
On October 1, Theodore R. Kulongoski, Governor of Oregon (2003-2011), and Kate Brown, Secretary of State (2009-2015; subsequently Governor, 2015- ), proclaim October 2009 as “Oregon-China Celebration Month.” Their proclamation honors the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China; the historical contributions of Chinese immigrants to Oregon continuing through 2009, Oregon’s sesquicentennial year; the 25th anniversary of Oregon-Fujian sister state/province relations; the establishment of the Portland-Suzhou sister city relationship and the Portland Classical Chinese Garden; and other significant developments in cultural and trade relations.
Reconstruction begins in Wuzhong, Suzhou, on a Robert Short Memorial Hall, a structure resembling a small Chinese temple accompanied by a tall granite obelisk and a heroic, greater-than-life-size marble statue of the Tacoma-born man (1905-1932) who served as a mail pilot in China and as the demonstration pilot for Portland businessman Lloyd E. Gale. In China, Short flew a one-of-a-kind Boeing 218 biplane fighter that Gale hoped to sell to the Chinese Air Force. It was the prototype of what was to become the P-12E. While flying his plane, Short engaged Japanese aircraft over Suzhou in February 22, 1932, during the “Shanghai War of 1932,” also called the “January 28 Incident” or “First Shanghai Incident.” He was outnumbered and shot down over Gaodian, Wuzhong, Suzhou. Villagers there rescued his body from the wreckage but could not save him. Short was posthumously promoted to colonel in the Chinese Army and given a state funeral attended by 100,000 mourners in Shanghai. A memorial hall and obelisk for Short, honored by China as a martyr, were constructed in Gaodian in 1932, but the obelisk was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. In 2009 the memorial hall is relocated to a park, still in Gaodian, now within the Suzhou-Singapore Industrial Park. It opens as a museum with a new obelisk in November 2010. Short is remembered as the first American war casualty of the Japanese, nine years before the US entered World War II after the Pearl Harbor attack.
The Portland Classical Chinese Garden, looking forward to its 10th anniversary and Gala in September, changes its name to the “Lan Su Chinese Garden.”
On February 17, the cornerstone is laid for a 75-acre Nike China Logistics Center in the port of Taicang in Suzhou Municipality, with a total construction area of around 200,000 square meters and initial investment of 1 billion RMB. It is the largest logistics center in Asia. The center officially begins operation on February 22, 2011.
At the initiative of Portland City Councilman Randy Leonard and Tibetan exiles who testify in City Hall on March 3, Mayor Sam Adams publishes a proclamation on March 10 declaring solidarity with Tibet, a province-level autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China. Leonard oversees the flying of a Tibetan flag over City Hall. Unlike the muted Chinese reactions toward 1995 and 2001 gestures toward Tibet and its spiritual leader by Vera Katz, then Mayor of Portland, and John Kitzhaber, then Governor of Oregon (1995-2003 and 2011-2015), there is severe criticism from the Chinese government and its press, which view this as intervention in China’s internal affairs, as well as from some Portlanders with business interests and cultural ties in China. Leonard offers to remove himself from an upcoming June delegation to Suzhou.
A celebratory delegation to Suzhou is led by PSSCA President Jim Mei, who participates in a Mayor’s Symposium and signing ceremony. The Suzhou event is attended by the mayors of many of Suzhou’s sister cities, including the Mayor of Venice, Italy, Suzhou’s first sister city, who makes a major presentation about shared learning with Suzhou regarding flood control. The entire PSSCA Executive Committee attends the Sister Cities Symposium in Suzhou, which culminates in a visit to the Shanghai World Expo on Suzhou Day. The Expo features visions from 125 countries around the world, including the United States, sharing the theme of “Better City—Better Life.” On June 29, Jim Mei signs an MOU for education cooperation with Bao Yinchu 鲍寅初, Director of the Suzhou Educational Association for International Exchange.
A Portland-Suzhou Sister City website is established on Facebook.
PSSCA co-hosts celebrations for visiting students from Suzhou at three Portland Middle and High Schools.
An internship program is established at Portland State University to do research on mutual opportunities for Portland and Suzhou, in preparation for a Portland Mayoral delegation visit to Suzhou.
Portland’s nine sister cities appoint Lynne McIntyre as their 2011 Rose Festival events chairperson.
PSSCA Board Director Kojo Hakam leads a group of Woodstock Elementary School students to Suzhou.
In Portland, Lynne McIntyre joins Governor John Kitzhaber and Mayor Sam Adams in greeting Madame Liu Yandong 刘延东, Member of the Politburo (2007-2017) and State Councilor of the People’s Republic of China (2008-2013; subsequently Vice Premier, 2013-2018), the highest-ranking woman in the Chinese government and the highest-ranking government official to visit Oregon, during her visit to Portland State University and the Confucius Institute on April 15. The Oregon-China Sister State Relations Council President Jin Lan 蓝进, Jim Mei, and Cathy Chinn 胡丽涛join her at a welcoming luncheon. The importance of education, particularly in the Chinese language, is the focal point of the visit.
Lynne McIntyre represents the PSSCA at the City of Portland International Business Awards Dinner.
Mayor Yan Li leads an official Suzhou delegation to Portland, June 5 to 10. He is to be honored at the PSSCA’s “Evening under the Stars” Gala and invited to participate in the Rose Festival festivities and celebration of the Centennial of the Portland Rosarians. The Suzhou Ballet Company is also invited to perform at the Gala.
The Twenty-Third Anniversary “Evening under the Stars” Gala is held at the Lan Su Chinese Garden, with Jian Ge 葛剑, President of the Wuzhong Group, as guest of honor. Gao Zhansheng 高占生, PRC San Francisco Consul General, issues a proclamation of congratulations on the occasion. The Education Leadership Award is presented to the Confucius Institute, the Cultural Leadership Award to First Saturday PDX, and the Business Leadership Award to Wong’s King Restaurant. PSSCA’s Fourth Annual Newcombe Wang Memorial Scholarship is awarded to Zhen Han.
The PSSCA joins Portland’s eight other sister city associations in the Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade and a pre-parade healthy walk. Lynne McIntyre represents Suzhou on the Regence Blue Cross/Blue Shield World of Wellness sister cities float, with 25 parade members on foot representing the PSSCA, PSU Students from Suzhou, and Lincoln High School. Three PSSCA Board Directors are honored guests at the CEO and Fleet Admirals luncheon. PSSCA is also a sponsor of the Northwest Chinese Alliance Marching Group in the Grand Floral Parade, whose founding members include PSSCA Board Directors Cathy Chinn, Stephen Ying, and Lynne McIntyre. PSSCA Board Director Cathy Chinn is a judge in the selection of the 2011 Rose Festival Queen.
PSSCA President Jim Mei and Vice President Robert Fraser 福睿德 gratefully accept a $1,000 grant from the Spirit Mountain Foundation Community Fund in support of PSSCA activities.
PSSCA Vice President Robert Fraser joins Oregon legislators and Governor Kulongoski on a trade mission to China (Hong Kong, Shanghai, Xiamen, Xi’an, Beijing, and Tianjin), representing Study Oregon in order to promote Oregon’s universities and colleges among Chinese counterparts, as well as Fraser’s own company, EduVents.
Lincoln High School, Portland, opens a new Confucius Classroom and engages a visiting Confucius Institute teacher Qiu Qing, from Suzhou, to team-teach with Lincoln Mandarin teacher Marie Meyer for the school year 2011-2012.
Mayor Sam Adams and a PSSCA delegation visit Suzhou; the Mayor and PSSCA President Jim Mei participate in an ecological summit. They share with Suzhou the Portland Climate Action Plan and the city’s progress in that area. The Jiangsu Low Carbon Research Institute, Jiangsu EHS, and Suzhou Development and Reform Committee take part in the meeting. Mayor Adams also makes a presentation at a roundtable meeting at the Institutes of Sustainable Communities’ Low Carbon Institute at the China Suzhou-Singapore Industrial Park. A Suzhou delegation is invited by PSSCA to attend the Portland EcoDistrict Summit in 2011 sponsored by Portland State University, the premier conference dedicated to promoting sustainable neighborhood development.
Portland’s universities and colleges and Study Oregon participate in a Suzhou Educational Fair, October 22, in Suzhou. This portion of the trip is funded by EduVents. The delegation visits Portland’s most recent sister city school, the Suzhou New District Experimental High School.
PSSCA hosts a dinner for a delegation from the Human Services Department of Suzhou at Wong’s King Restaurant.
PSSCA holds its annual Strategic Planning Meeting for 2012 on December 10, at the Westin Hotel; the event is cohosted by PSSCA, EduVents, and the Westin Hotel.
A reception for sponsors and the Annual Installation Dinner Meeting at Wong’s King Restaurant selects Robert Fraser as President, Randall Donohue as Vice President, Bonnie Starkey 斐缤丽as Secretary, and Phil Peach as Treasurer. Jim Mei is recognized for his service and dedication to PSSCA as President for the previous three years.
PSSCA President Robert Fraser meets in Suzhou with the Suzhou Foreign Affairs Office to begin developing educational, cultural, and business opportunities, in a visit funded by EduVents.
A Suzhou Traditional Chinese Painting Exhibition is held at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts, June 4 to 9, displaying 58 works by 17 contemporary Suzhou artists who paint in ancient styles. Sponsors are the PCPA and Mark Spencer Hotel.
At the invitation of the Suzhou Foreign Affairs Office, PSSCA President Robert Fraser travels to Chengdu, Sichuan, to the 2012 China International Friendship Cities Conference, September 11-14, to accept a Certificate of Honor awarded to Portland for being a Model Sister City for “Communication and Cooperation with China.” More than 700 representatives from 95 foreign cities and 90 domestic cities attend the conference, whose theme is “Green Life, Happy Cities.” Fraser’s presentation, titled “The Benefits of Developing and Managing an Urban Growth Boundary in Portland,” describes Portland’s plan for sustainable growth.
Portland schools host 100 Suzhou students during the Chinese 2013 Spring Festival week, and Portland students prepare to visit Suzhou during the summer. Portland-Suzhou Sister City Schools exchange relationships include the following:
Suzhou Jiangfan Middle School—French American International School (relations established in 2011)
Suzhou Xujiang Experimental Middle School—West Sylvan Middle School (2011)
Suzhou Experimental Elementary School—Woodstock Elementary School (2004)
Suzhou Lida Middle School—Hosford Middle School
Suzhou No. 10 High School—Jackson Middle School
Suzhou Xiangcheng Experimental Elementary School—Cascade Heights Public Charter School (2012)
Suzhou No. 4 Middle School—Franklin High School (2013)
Suzhou High School SIP campus—Lincoln High School
Suzhou Blue Tassel School—Portland International School
The PSSCA commemorates its 25th Anniversary in Portland with a special poetry and photography exhibit of Oregon Pacific Northwest beauty entitled “The Trails of Bliss,” cosponsored by the Portland Center for the Performing Arts (PCPA), the Regional Arts and Cultural Council, the Suzhou Foreign Affairs Office, and the PSSCA’s many other sponsors. The exhibit is free and open to the public April 4 through May 31 at the PCPA.
PSSCA Board Director and Royal Rosarian Lynne McIntyre chairs the Portland Sister Cities’ Rose Festival Mayoral Reception at City Hall, during Portland’s Rose Festival Week. PSSCA participates in the Rose Festival Parade, with assistance from the Northwest China Alliance.
The 11th annual “Evening under the Stars” Gala is held August 21 at the Lan Su Chinese Garden, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the PSSCA. Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz presents an official proclamation. Twenty performers from Suzhou, including two master kunqu opera singers, come to Portland to display their art.
A Suzhou Calligraphy Exhibition commemorating Suzhou’s Ming dynasty Wu School of Calligraphy and the 25th anniversary of the PSSCA features 30 newly produced calligraphy pieces from the Suzhou and Jiangsu region at a display in the PCPA Rotunda, August 17-25. There is free admission to these exhibits, sponsored by the Suzhou Calligraphy Association and Suzhou Foreign Affairs Office. Calligraphers, performers, and artists participate in the 25th anniversary Gala and are treated to tours of the city and Columbia River Gorge.
Charlie Hales, Mayor of Portland (2013-2017), and First Lady Nancy Hales lead a delegation to Suzhou, October 26-30, organized by PSSCA President Robert Fraser, “Celebrating 25 Years of Deepening Relationships.” In the 20-person delegation are incoming President Cathy Chinn, Past President Lynne McIntyre, and half a dozen other PSSCA Board Directors, including Lincoln High School Principal Peyton Chapman. They meet with Zhou Naixiang 周乃翔, Mayor of Suzhou (2013-2016; subsequently Party Secretary, from 2016), Vice Mayor (Ms.) Tan Ying 谭颖, Secretary General of the Suzhou Municipal Government Chen Xiongwei 陈雄伟, Vice Director of the Suzhou Foreign Affairs Office (Ms.) Yu Feng 俞峰, Liu Wenhong 刘文红of the Suzhou Daily Group, and Senior Advisor to the Suzhou Foreign Affairs Office Zhang Lu. The delegation is welcomed by the Mayor of Taicang and other Taicang port officials, the Shanghai/Suzhou American Chamber of Commerce, China Suzhou-Singapore Industrial Park, China Energy and Environmental Protection Agency, and Suzhou Municipal Education Bureau. The delegation views the 20th anniversary gift to Suzhou from 2008, the Portland Sustainable Hardwoods Pavilion at the International Friendship Garden within the Pan Gate Scenic District. A bilingual plaque commemorating the sister city relationship and explaining that the Pavilion symbolizes sustainable urban development has now been placed in front of the Pavilion, on a slab of local Jinshan granite, and a Taihu Rock has been mounted within the Pavilion, symbolizing the unity of Portland and Suzhou.
Present at a luncheon hosted by the Vice Mayor are Zhang Shuduo 张树多, President of the Suzhou Garden Development Company, who with Charlie Hales had been an original signer of the contract to build the Suzhou-style garden, He Fengchun, Director of the Suzhou Garden Design Institute, who had been resident in Portland in 2000 during the construction of the Lan Su Garden, and (Ms.) Shen Yue, Vice Section Chief of the Suzhou Foreign Affairs Office. The parties toast each other with Portland’s Rogue American Amber Ale, in bottles opened by Portland bicycle chain openers. The luncheon is followed by a tour of the Suzhou Daily facilities; discussions of bringing young Chinese fencers to Portland; a tour of the Taicang port and Nike Logistics Center nearby; an exhibition and book signing by Portland artist Grace Lim in Suzhou’s Tongli water town (Robert Fraser had written a grant facilitating publication of the book); and VIP treatment of the delegation at the premiere production of Romeo and Juliet by the Suzhou Ballet Company. The Suzhou Daily Group hosts PSSCA’s 25th Anniversary “Trails of Bliss” poetry and photography exhibit at the Tongli International Cultural Exchange Center. Portland’s gift to Suzhou on this trip is four paintings of Oregon natural scenery by Maihwa Frances Li.
PSSCA’s 25th Anniversary Installation Dinner is held December 5 at the Dragon Wells Bistro.
A Strategic Planning Meeting is held at the Mark Spencer Hotel, December 8.
The PSSCA participates in the World Affairs Council Young Professionals Annual Holiday Party and international showcase, December 12.
President Cathy Chinn, Past Presidents Robert Fraser and Lynne McIntyre, and Board Director Peyton Chapman, with the assistance of Portland’s Director of International Affairs, Judy Parker, present a multimedia presentation to Mayor Hales and the City Council describing the PSSCA’s 25th Anniversary Mayoral Delegation Visit to Suzhou in 2013. The presentation is streamed live on the Internet from City Hall.
During a severe snow storm, Portland schools host 100 Suzhou students during the Chinese 2014 Spring Festival week. The school exchange relations include:
Suzhou Jiangfan Middle School—French American International School (relations established in 2011)
Suzhou No.1 High School—Cleveland High School
Suzhou Experimental Elementary School—Woodstock Elementary School (2004)
Suzhou Lida Middle School—Hosford Middle School
Suzhou No. 10 High School—Jackson Middle School
Suzhou Xiangcheng Experimental Elementary School—Cascade Heights Public Charter School (2012)
PSSCA President Cathy Chinn, Past Presidents Robert Fraser and Lynne McIntyre, Portland Director of Government Affairs Martha Pellegrino, and Michael Gurton of the Portland Development Commission join a Suzhou delegation including Xu Ming 徐明, Vice Mayor of Suzhou (2011-2015), Xu Huadong 徐华东, Director of the Suzhou Foreign Affairs Office, and Suzhou Foreign Affairs Adviser Dorothy Lu, at the Sister Cities US-China Conference in Washington, DC, where they accept an Award for Economic Development and Trade.
PSSCA Past President and Royal Rosarian Lynne McIntyre chairs the Portland Sister City’s Rose Festival Reception at City Hall during Portland’s Rose Festival Week. PSSCA President Cathy Chinn gives the PSSCA 2014 annual report to the Portland City Council at the reception. At the Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade, PSSCA Board Directors Fanny Lu and Sarah Smith, with volunteer Alice Qian, join other sister city organizations in a walking team.
July 29-August 1, PSSCA opens the first “Suzhou Week in Portland” exhibits in Portland City Hall: paintings on acrylic media by Portland artist and PSSCA Board Director Maihwa Frances Li in an exhibit titled “Majestic Mountains and Shimmering Water,” accompanied by a photography exhibit titled “Drink in the Beauty of Suzhou,” by famous Suzhou Photographer Fu Jingzhong 傅静中. Mayor Charlie Hales attends the ribbon cutting, with PSSCA Board Directors and friends and 20 school children from the International School who are attending a Skybridge summer camp. Mayor Hales accepts 300 gift copies of the new book, In Suzhou, from the Suzhou Information Office, Suzhou Education Bureau, and Suzhou Daily Group.
Olympic Gold Medalist (Ms.) Mariel Zagunis and the PSSCA welcome Suzhou fencing students to Portland to study fencing techniques and participate in home stays.The annual “Evening under the Stars” Gala at the Lan Su Chinese Garden on July 31 brings representatives of this delegation together with another group visiting from Suzhou. Attending are Mayor Charlie Hales and Mrs. Nancy Hales; Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and Mrs. Ballard; former Portland Mayor Bud Clark and former Mayor Tom Potter, and Karin Hansen (Mrs. Potter). Awards go to Davis Wright Tremaine LLP (for business leadership, with PSSCA Board Director and Past President Jim Mei accepting), the Suzhou Education Bureau (for education leadership, with its head, Chen Shaoyi 陈绍义, accepting), and Portland’s Center for the Arts (for cultural leadership, with Deputy Executive Director Lori Kramer accepting).
A six-person delegation of Suzhou officials, led by Zhou Yulong 周玉龙, Deputy Director of the Standing Committee of the Suzhou People's Congress, is feted by the PSSCA and welcomed by Mayor Charlie Hales.
Wang Jun, Division Chief of the Information Office of the Suzhou Municipal Government, leads a five-person Suzhou Cultural Delegation organized by PSSCA Board Director (Ms.) Hongyu Cai 蔡红雨of Skybridge International on a May 22-23 visit to Portland.
PSSCA President Cathy Chinn welcomes Board Directors at the PSSCA 2014 Annual Meeting. A video from the Suzhou Information Office, Beautiful Suzhou, is displayed, and China and round-the-world travelogues are presented by Board Directors Jim Mockford and Jim Mei.
Portland schools host students from seven Suzhou schools during the Chinese 2015 Spring Festival week. The school exchange relations include:
Suzhou Lida Middle School—Hosford Middle School (50 students and teachers)
Suzhou No.1 High School—Cleveland High School (17 students and teachers)
Suzhou No. 10 High School—Jackson Middle School (10 students and teachers)
Suzhou High School of Jiangsu Province—Lincoln High School (5 students and teachers)
Suzhou Xiangcheng Experimental Elementary School—Cascade Heights Public Charter School (14 students and teachers)
Suzhou Jiangfan Middle School—French American International School (12 students and teachers)
Suzhou Experimental Elementary School, Wujiang Campus – The International School (14 students and teachers)
At the Hillsdale Library, PSSCA Board Director Hongyu Cai organizes a Suzhou book exhibit called “A Window to Learn Suzhou,” part of a worldwide Suzhou book promotion.
PSSCA President Cathy Chinn supports Lan Su Garden Director Jane DeMarco in her successful appeal to the Portland City Council for funding to repair a serious leak in the Garden’s Zither Lake.
Executive Director Patrick Quinton leads a Portland Development Commission delegation to Suzhou on June 4.
Past President and Royal Rosarian Lynne McIntyre, with current President Cathy Chinn, represent the PSCCA at City Hall during a Sister City Reception on June 4, during Rose Festival Week. Two days later, Board Directors Jenny Dong 董玉红 and Alice Yan Lee 李琰 ride in a pedicab emblazoned with the word “Suzhou” to represent the PSSCA during the Grand Floral Parade.
The 27th “Evening under the Stars” Gala takes place at the Lan Su Chinese Garden on June 12, with Past President Lynne McIntyre as master of ceremonies and special recognition to Past President Jim Mei for his fundraising successes. The Gala is attended by PRC San Francisco Consul General and Suzhou native Luo Linquan 罗林泉, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Mrs. Hales, and several Oregon State Assembly Representatives. This Gala also celebrates the 15th anniversary of the Lan Su Chinese Garden, represented by its Executive Director, Jane DeMarco, and Board President Kathy MacNaughton. Leadership awards go to Great Cheer (America), Inc. (for business leadership), Hosford Middle School and Cascade Heights Public Charter School (for education leadership), and the Lan Su Chinese Garden (for cultural leadership). Qinyue Kelly Huang receives the 2015 Newcombe Wang Memorial Scholarship Award. Mayor Hales announces that Portland will present Suzhou with a Benson Bubbler, Portland’s unique four-bowl water fountain, as a gift in honor of the ongoing sister city relationship.
PSSCA President Cathy Chinn and Lan Su Chinese Garden Board President Kathy MacNaughton cohost a 30th anniversary reunion in commemoration of the initial search for a sister city in China that led to the relationship with Suzhou three years later. Attending are former mayor Bud Clark, former congressman David Wu, Tang Ronglong, Mike Lindberg, Dr. Eng Lock Khoo, Patrick LaCrosse, and Jack McGowan.
PSSCA Director Hongyu Cai arranges a visit by the Suzhou Gardens and Landscape Administration Bureau delegation to Portland. The visitors are welcomed by the Garden and the PSSCA.
At the PSSCA Annual Meeting, on December 9, Patrick LaCrosse, former Director of the Portland Development Commission and a founding member of the Portland-Suzhou relationship, gives the keynote speech, “Suzhou, 1985: A Chance Encounter.” Other founders present include former mayor Bud Clark, former congressman David Wu, and former commissioner Mike Lindberg.
In mid-December, Mayor Charlie Hales, Suzhou Mayor Zhou Naixiang, and PSSCA President Cathy Chinn sign a formal agreement regarding transportation to Suzhou, installation, and maintenance of the pending gift of the Benson Bubbler.
By city ordinance 187569 of January 27, the Portland City Council votes to send a Benson Bubbler from Portland to Suzhou, as recommended by PSSCA Immediate Past President Cathy Chinn, via rush delivery by April, at the invitation of the City of Suzhou, in time for installment at the site of the Ninth Horticultural Exhibition of Jiangsu Province.
Six Portland area schools host almost 100 exchange students from sister schools in Suzhou during the Chinese New Year “Spring Break.” Coordinating welcoming and gift-giving visits to the hosting Portland schools by PSSCA officers and Board Directors are Kojo Hakam, Curriculum Specialist of the Portland Public Schools Mandarin Immersion Program, and Hongyu Cai, Director of Skybridge International based in Portland, Oregon, a subsidiary of the Wuzhong Group, Suzhou.
PSSCA Board Directors Maihwa Frances Li, Jennifer Li, Alice Yan Lee, and PSSCA Secretary Bonnie Starkey host one of 14 exhibitor tables on World Friendship Day, March 12, at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Vancouver, Washington. They display books and items from Suzhou at this event sponsored by Friendship Force Columbia Cascade, a branch of Friendship Force International, a non-profit organization founded in 1977 and introduced by President Jimmy Carter to promote international cultural exchange visits centered on home stays.
A Portland delegation led by Hector Miramontes, Director of International Relations for the City of Portland, visits Suzhou, April 17-20, to dedicate the Benson Bubbler gift at its unveiling on its new permanent site on April 18th, during the opening ceremony of the Ninth Horticultural Exhibition of Jiangsu Province. Present are PSSCA President Jonathan Cooley 蒋能胜, Immediate Past President Cathy Chinn, Vice President Raymond Cheung 張志明, and PSSCA Board Director Jimmy Zhu 朱介眉. Representing the Lan Su Chinese Garden is Executive Director Lisa James, with Board Directors Shelley Dutton and Shelly Peng, and Mandi Atkinson, Horticulturist. Welcoming the delegation are Xu Huadong, Director of the Suzhou Foreign Affairs Office, Li Wenhui 李文辉, Vice Director; Zhao Zhang, Section Chief; and Dorothy Lu, Vice Section Chief. The Portland delegates are just in time to see a live performance and attend a farewell party for 50 visiting Portland students, teachers, and parents from Hosford Middle School, organized by their sister school, Lida Middle School.
Five Portland area schools host 77 students and nine teachers from five Suzhou schools in a visit as part of ongoing school-to-school exchanges, organized this year by PSSCA Board Director Kojo Hakam, Mandarin Immersion Curriculum Specialist for Portland Public Schools, and (Ms.) Hanning Bi 菡凝, Executive Director of Portland’s Skybridge International.
Principal Julie Rickman of the Hope Chinese Charter School accepts an invitation from PSSCA President Lynne McIntyre and Vice President Robert Fraser to participate in the 2017 Jiangsu International Youth Art Contest sponsored by the Jiangsu Provincial Government and Jiangsu Broadcasting Corporation.
PSSCA President Lynne McIntyre and Vice President Robert Fraser represent the PSSCA on May 10 when a 15-member delegation from Jiangsu Province, led by Deputy Director Wu Hui, Division of Foreign Affairs of the Jiangsu Department of Commerce, attends an economic development meeting at Portland City Hall. The Portland Mayor’s Office is represented by Hector Miramontes, International Relations Director, and Ms. Chido Dhliwayo, International Relations Associate. Ms. Sunun Setboonsarng 李锦桓, Global Trade Specialist, and Colin Sears, Business Recruitment Officer, represent Business Oregon.
PSSCA Board Directors take part at a June 8 reception at City Hall honoring Portland’s sister cities and International Rose Festival delegations.
A Suzhou Culture Bureau Delegation visits Portland and the PSSCA, June 23-24.
The PSSCA receives an inbound Suzhou Foreign Affairs Delegation led by its Director, Xu Huadong. They meet with staff at the International Rose Test Garden and tour the Portland Art Museum with PSSCA Board Director Maihwa Frances Li as docent.
At the “Evening under the Stars” Gala, September 21, Ted Wheeler, Mayor of Portland (2017- ) addresses the delegation from Suzhou, as does Rachel Burlington of the Portland Parks and Recreation Bureau. Suzhou is represented by Xu Huadong, Director of the Suzhou Foreign Affairs Office, Dorothy He, who is named an Honorary Citizen of Portland at the Gala, and others. Awards go to the Nike LEEDs Platinum Logistics Center (for business), the Confucius Institute at PSU (for education), and the Hope Chinese Charter School (for culture). The Newcombe Wang Memorial Scholarship Award goes to Yanmin Hong. There is guzheng and yangqin music provided by the Confucius Institute, a poetry reading by Eric Einspruch, Chair of the Institute’s Board of Directors, a vocal solo by (Ms.) Zhou Hui 周慧, and a lion and dragon dance provided by the Portland Lee’s Association.
PSSCA President Lynne McIntyre leads a PSSCA delegation of eleven on a working visit to Suzhou, September 23-29. The delegation visits the Port of Taicang, Suzhou; the Admiral Zheng He Museum; the Nike Logistics Center; the Suzhou Institute of Landscape Architecture Design, Co., Ltd; the Suzhou First Silk Corporation; ZPack (Ziguan,紫冠) Robotics Manufacturing Co., which provides a banquet; the Wujiang Rose Town (which is hoping for a sister relationship with Portland’s International Rose Test Garden); Portland’s Benson Bubbler (now housed under an arbor) and the Suzhou Intangible Cultural Heritage Museum, both located in the Garden Expo Center, Wuzhong; the Suzhou Early Childhood Education College, where the delegation is welcomed by the College’s International Relations Division Director Hongyu Cai, who is also a PSSCA Board Director; Wuzhong Group Headquarters; the Suzhou Art Museum (designed by the Suzhou-born architect I. M. Pei) and its collections preservation department (where a possible sister relationship with the Portland Art Museum is discussed); the Canglang Primary School; and the Suzhou High School of Jiangsu Province. On the final day, the delegates visit historic Suzhou canals, gardens, pingtan performances, and other cultural attractions. The working visit is focused on preparations for the 30th anniversary celebrations coming in 2018.
Prior to the trip to Suzhou, Lynne McIntyre has been elected, in a vote by the Suzhou populace, as an official “Friend of Suzhou.” The result is announced by Suzhou Municipal officials at a Chinese National Day celebration at the Worldhotel Grand Dushu Lake, Suzhou, September 28. At a spectacular going-away banquet for the whole delegation prepared by a celebrity chef at the Royal Tulip Hotel in Wuzhong, hosted by Xu Huadong, Director of the Suzhou Foreign Affairs Office, the Director presents Lynne McIntyre with an official certificate confirming her new celebrity status.
On September 27, PSSCA Board Director Jeffrey Kinkley 金介甫delivers an invited lecture at the Dushu Lake campus of Suzhou University about his research on 1930s-40s celebrity author Shen Congwen 沈从文, whose in-laws had roots in Suzhou, and China’s foremost detective novelist of the same era, longtime Suzhou resident Cheng Xiaoqing 程小青, “China’s Conan Doyle.”
The day after the formal activities in Suzhou, PSSCA Vice President Robert Fraser proceeds to Nanjing to receive the prize for students of the Hope Chinese Charter School for their success in the 2017 Jiangsu International Youth Art Contest.
The PSSCA conducts its Annual Meeting and election of a new Board and new Executive Committee, Dec. 10, at the Szechuan Chef restaurant. Slide shows by several PSSCA members feature events and accomplishments of the past year, notably activities of the outbound delegation to Suzhou of September.
A PSSCA Strategic Planning Meeting is held at the Mark Spencer Hotel, January 6, under the new PSSCA President, Robert Fraser. Planning forges ahead for the special 30th anniversary year.
PSSCA Board Director Kevin Crotchett, Principal of Jackson Middle School, oversees the hosting by six Portland area schools of several dozen Suzhou students visiting sister schools on their Chinese New Year “Spring Break.”
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of sister city relations, Mayor Ted Wheeler, PSSCA President Robert Fraser, and Immediate Past President Lynne McIntyre lead an outbound Mayoral Delegation of 30 Portlanders to Suzhou, April 22-27. Joining the delegation, besides PSSCA Vice President Bonnie Starkey, Treasurer Maihwa Frances Li, Past Presidents Jim Mei and Cathy Chinn, and Board Directors Sunun Setboonsarng, Raymond Cheung, Alice Yan Lee, Jean Li 李妮, Wei Nathan 魏青, and Jimmy Zhu, are contingents from the City of Portland government, Portland Art Museum, Prosper Portland, Travel Portland, Port of Portland, the Lan Su Chinese Garden (Lisa James, Executive Director), Lincoln High School, Woodstock Elementary School, and Portland business organizations. The delegation tours numerous sites and enjoys several banquets, including a breakfast by the American Chamber of Commerce in Suzhou organized by Sunun Setboonsarng, a spectacular feast sponsored by Travel Portland at which diners sat around an enormous banquet table with an ornamental pool of water in the center, and an extremely lively and convivial banquet that doubles as a birthday celebration for Chen Xinggong 陈骍弓(Bruce Chen), SFAO Division Chief of American and Oceanian Affairs.
PSSCA Board Treasurer Maihwa Frances Li opens a one-person exhibition of her art at the Suzhou Library on April 23.
Li Yaping 李亚平, Mayor of Suzhou (as of 2018) and Mayor Ted Wheeler jointly plant a camphor tree (the city tree of Suzhou) commemorating 30 years of friendship between Suzhou and Portland, April 24. A commemorative plaque adorns the site, in the Pan Gate Scenic Area. While touring the Scenic Area, the Portland delegates view the Portland Sustainable Hardwoods Pavilion.
The Suzhou Museum and Portland Art Museum take steps toward signing an MOU for a sister museum relationship.
Mayor Wheeler and delegates are given a guided tour of the Robert Short Memorial Hall.
PSSCA contributes money and personnel to represent the sister cities organizations at the annual Grand Floral Parade, and participates in a reception at City Hall. In the parade, PSSCA Board Director Jean Li and her son, Yeshe Versluys, represent the PSSCA in a decorated pedicab with the word “Suzhou” emblazoned on it. Separately, Board Director Cathy Chinn has prepared a float representing the Chinese American community of Portland.
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Portland-Suzhou sister city relationship, iSuzhou, a subsidiary of the Suzhou Daily, organizes a poster design competition to highlight Suzhou’s progress in the past 40 years and to promote international exchanges in culture and cultural innovation. The best 50 entries of more than 3000 submitted to the competition by Suzhou citizens are exhibited in Portland City Hall in a display called “Innovative Suzhou, Great Journey.” Chido Dhilwayo, Director of International Relations for the City of Portland, is Master of Ceremonies at the July 27 ribbon cutting, an event organized by PSSCA Past President Cathy Chinn in collaboration with iSuzhou, the Suzhou Foreign Affairs Office, and the Office of Government Relations of the City of Portland. Leading the two cities’ delegations and cutting the ribbon are Gu Jie 顾杰, Secretary General of the Standing Committee of the Suzhou Municipal People’s Congress, and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. They exchange gifts and give brief addresses at this inaugural event for the 30th anniversary weekend of celebrations.
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Portland-Suzhou sister city relationship, a more than 80-piece Suzhou Chinese Orchestra 苏州民族管弦乐团offers two free concerts, on July 27 and 28, at Lincoln Hall, Portland State University, in an event sponsored by the Suzhou Municipal Government, Confucius Institute of Portland State University, and Portland State University School of Music, with help from PSSCA Board Director Jian (Jimmy) Zhang 张健. The PSSCA promotes the concerts. The orchestra’s renowned artistic director, Peng Jiapeng (or Pang Ka Pang 彭家鹏) conducts, winning plaudits from packed houses.
On July 28, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Portland-Suzhou sister city relationship, a bed of roses symbolizing the sisterhood is planted in the International Rose Test Garden, Washington Park, Portland, in a ceremony planned by International Rose Test Garden Curator Rachel Burlington and PSSCA Vice President Bonnie Starkey. Burlington welcomes the Suzhou delegation, led by Gu Jie, Secretary General of the Standing Committee of the Suzhou Municipal People’s Congress, and short speeches are given by Secretary General Gu, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, PSSCA President Robert Fraser, and Portland International Relations Director Chido Dhliwayo, with other delegates from Suzhou, PSSCA Board Directors, and Royal Rosarians in attendance. The Mayor and the Secretary General jointly dedicate the newly planted rose bush and water it.
Following the rose bush ceremony on July 28, in further celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Portland-Suzhou sister city relationship, an Osmanthus heterophyllus “variegatus” flowering tree (the osmanthus being the city flower of Suzhou) is planted in the nearby Hoyt Arboretum, Washington Park, in a ceremony planned by Hoyt Arboretum Curator Martin Nicholson and PSSCA Vice President Bonnie Starkey. The flowering tree or shrub is a twin of one to be planted in the Lan Su Chinese Garden, both propagated from the 100-year-old osmanthus nicknamed “Old Gui” or “Old Noble One” that had recently resided in the Lan Su courtyard. The Suzhou and PSSCA delegates hear remarks by Martin Nicholson, City of Portland Director of the Office of Government Relations Elizabeth Edwards, PSSCA Immediate Past President Lynne McIntyre, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Secretary General Gu Jie of Suzhou. The Secretary General and Mayor jointly plant the tree, which is a follow-up to the tree planting ceremony in Suzhou during Mayor Wheeler’s visit to Suzhou in April. Photos of the plantings in both cities are covered in the Chinese press.
PSSCA Board Director Jimmy Zhu sponsors a luncheon for the Suzhou delegation on July 28.
On July 28, the PSSCA celebrates its 30th anniversary at its annual Gala, this year called “An Enchanted Evening under the Stars,” for the first time organized in full financial partnership with the Lan Su Chinese Garden, the Gala venue. Organized by Gala Chair Hong Mautz 张虹, with PSSCA President Robert Fraser and Vice President Bonnie Starkey, and the cohost, Lan Su Chinese Garden Executive Director Lisa James, the dinner Gala features entertainment by the Lee’s Association Dragon and Lion Dancers, led by Terry Lee; performances of kunqu opera and of pipa and guzheng instrumental pieces by Suzhou masters Wang Fang 王芳, Hu Xiqian 胡希茜, Deng Shuyi 胡希茜, and Wang Yizhen 王于真; Puccini and Verdi arias sung by Portland Opera stars; and dancing by BodyVox. Chinese artist Li Yahua 李雅華presents an engraving for auction. Portland is represented by Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Suzhou, by Secretary General Gu Jie. PRC Deputy Consul General Ren Faqiang 任发强 is in attendance from San Francisco. Now retired but still involved with PSSCA and the Garden, Tang Ronglong and Liette Jauniaux are invited individually, in recognition of their continuing support. Four delegations are present from Suzhou: the official delegation led by Secretary General Gu Jie; a delegation from the Suzhou Huqiu District Branch of the Suzhou Municipal People’s Political Consultative Conference, accompanying the orchestra; a delegation from the Suzhou Municipal Foreign Affairs Office; and a cultural delegation of entertainers.
A delegation from Jiangsu Province, led by its Vice Governor Miao Ruilin 缪瑞林, arrives in Portland on September 11 for an Environmental Protection Seminar attended by Portland and Suzhou officials and business representatives. PSSCA Board Director and Business Oregon officer Sunun Setboonsarng organizes the seminar; PSSCA Board Directors attend the seminar and the PSSCA sponsors a luncheon at the Portland City Grill for Vice Governor Miao and the other delegates.
PSSCA Secretary Jeffrey Kinkley and PSSCA Board Director Adam Carpenter 黄朋deliver lectures on contemporary Chinese culture and business, representing the PSSCA at the 2018 Oregon-China Conference on Culture, Language, and Business hosted by the Confucius Institute and organized by its Director, Jian Wang 王建, at the Smith Memorial Student Union and Karl Miller Center, Portland State University, September 13.
PSSCA Secretary Jeffrey Kinkley, concurrently Vice President of the Northwest China Council, represents the PSSCA at an Oregon-China Sister State Relations Council dinner at the Hilton Downtown Portland, September 17, welcoming incoming PRC San Francisco Consul General, Wang Donghua 王东华.
Zhou Naixiang, Party Secretary of Suzhou, leads a 17-member delegation including several administrators of the Suzhou-Singapore Industrial Park to Portland as part of a Suzhou Science, Technology, and Innovation Delegation that also visits Apple and AMD in Silicon Valley and Microsoft in Seattle. PSSCA Board Director and Business Oregon officer Sunun Setboonsarng organizes a Suzhou-Oregon Science, Technology and Innovation Roundtable at Portland City Hall on November 29, attended by the Suzhou guests, a dozen representatives from PSSCA and Business Oregon, and a number of business representatives from Portland and other areas of Oregon. The theme of the Portland side is sustainable development in industry and urban planning. That evening, the PSSCA hosts members of the Suzhou delegation in a welcoming and farewell banquet for their quick visit to Portland at the Szechuan Chef Restaurant, organized by Sunun Setboonsarng and partly sponsored by a contribution from Business Oregon procured by Setboonsarng, and another procured by PSSCA Past President Cathy Chinn.
The PSSCA conducts its Annual Installation Dinner and Meeting, electing a new Board of Directors and new Executive Committee, December 1, at the Szechuan Chef Restaurant. Bonnie Starkey is installed as the new President, along with a new generation of Executive Board officers: Zhicheng Bruce Wu, as Vice President; Anthony Sweeting, as Secretary; and Adam Carpenter, as Treasurer. Slide shows by several PSSCA members feature events and accomplishments of the past year, notably activities of the outbound delegation to Suzhou the past April. Lisa James, Executive Director of the Lan Su Chinese Garden, tells of plans to build a museum of Chinese culture as an element of Garden expansion and of revitalization of the neglected part of downtown Portland where the Garden is located. Hong Mautz, head of the past July Gala, tells of her role as matchmaker in establishing the Juilliard School’s first overseas branch music school, in Tianjin. Robert Fraser, outgoing President, presents Certificates of Appreciation to Board Directors who contributed to the success of the extraordinary 30th anniversary year celebrations in Portland and Suzhou, to Adam Carpenter, for his work creating a new PSSCA website, and to Zhicheng Bruce Wu, for his work as an attorney revising the PSSCA bylaws.
A Strategic Planning Meeting for 2019 is convened by the new president, Bonnie Starkey, on December 8, at the Mark Spencer Hotel.