Story Image

SW 2nd, looking south towards Alder. In 1939, this area was part of Portland's Chinatown.

Image: City of Portland Archives, A2005-001.851 (Used by permission)

The Meaning of Parking Lots

The mysterious history behind a Chinatown parking lot

Hillyer discusses the mysterious history of one of Chinatown's parking lots between 4th/ 5th and Couch/ Davis Street. She explains that wide parking lots such as this one resulted because of urban renewal projects to beautify the city. Open lots leave us to question what was there before, who was involved, and who had the power to make that decision.

Guest thumbnail

As Told By...

Reiko Hillyer, PhD

Assistant Professor with Term

Lewis and Clark College

Since 2006, Reiko has taught in the history department at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, where she was awarded Teacher of the Year in 2009. Reiko teaches courses in modern United States history, African American History, the Civil War, women’s history, and the history of the American landscape. Reiko received her B. A. from Yale University and her doctorate at Columbia University. Reiko’s current book project, Designing Dixie: Landscape, Tourism, and Memory in the New South, explores northern tourism to the South in the era following the Civil War and examines the role that tourism played in fostering reconciliation between North and South. Formerly a high school history teacher and guide for Big Onion Walking Tours in New York City, Reiko is a lifelong New Yorker who is almost adjusted to the calm of Portland. 

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