It took nine years to complete, but Saturday closed a dark chapter of Astoria history to fix a decades' long mistake.
The Garden of Surging Waves, a Chinese-Astorian commemorative park, officially opened to the public, following a morning ceremony which hosted leaders, community members, donors, and the Chinese-Americans who can still remember a time when the Chinese were treated like second-class citizens.
Chinese workers at a fish canning factory in Astoria.
"Astoria, Oregon is going to get just a little bit better today," Mayor Willis Van Dusen said. "This is not a park about China. This is U.S. history. This is American history."
Suenn Ho, the designer of the project...said "Astoria...You have helped us to understand how important it is to listen to other people's stories. And you have so many stories to tell. We will continue on. This is just phase one."
Whether it's the truth and reconciliation effort in South Africa, or official apologies to tribes like they did fairly recently on Vancouver Island, or efforts like this one, these types of movements and acts have often seemed to have the power to help people and places move past the blocks caused by bad history.
Closer to home, there are those who say that all the problems that Port Angeles has are the result of being cursed for our own bad history with local tribes.
So my question to you is simple: Should Port Angeles apologize to the local tribes for the crimes committed in our past? Should the County apologize? Do you think it's the right thing to do? Is it a functional thing to do? Or does it risk accidentally poking a wound that's still trying to heal?