History of PKSCA

The Portland-Kaohsiung Sister City Association was founded in November 1987. The Portland City Council officially approved Kaohsiung as Portland’s Sister City on May 11, 1988. At Mayor Clark’s suggestion, the original six member board, comprised of President Dr. Eng Lock Khoo, Gene Chin, Steven Louie, Liu Chi, Judith Rees, and Ted Schneider, was enlarged to fifteen, in order to represent the many facets of the metropolitan community. During the Association’s first goodwill mission to Kaohsiung, Commissioners Dick Bogle and Mike Lindberg signed the sister city agreement with Kaohsiung’s Mayor Nan Cheng Su on October 11, 1988. To signify the cities mutual tie with the Pacific Ocean, the Association presented a unique gift, a freshly caught, 36 pound Tillamook Bay Chinook salmon.

When the Association selected dragon boat racing as an annual cultural event, Mayor Su promptly donated two boats as a gift to the Association. A third boat was donated by the Republic of China and the fourth was purchased by the Association. All of them arrived at the Port of Portland’s Terminal 6 on March 31, 1989 aboard Evergreen’s container ship, “Evergoing.” On April 10, the elaborately decorated boats made their debut during the “eye-opening” ceremony which included a special Buddhist ceremony and water effects by the Portland Fire Bureau’s fireboat. The boats were launched from the lawn of Waterfront Park by means of a 75 foot crane.

The boats which are 40' 6" long and 5' 4" wide, each weigh 1760 lb. (800 kg). These sturdy boats are well-suited for the choppy waters of the Willamette River. Portland’s boats are slightly shorter than the typical Kaohsiung dragon boat in order to fit inside ship containers for overseas transport. In June 1989, Portland’s first dragon boat races were held with 31 teams competing. In 1990, the Association purchased three additional boats, donating one to the newly built Oregon Convention Center. It is suspended from the south tower for tourists and conventioneers to enjoy year round.

The Association’s most memorable goodwill mission occurred in October 1990, when 36 Portlanders participated in the Taiwan Area Games in Kaohsiung. Their well-publicized activities caught the attention of then newly-appointed Mayor Wu Den Yih. The following June, Mayor Wu visited Portland during the Rose Festival and officiated at the opening of the 3rd Annual Dragon Boat Races with 60 local and international teams.

During the goodwill mission on October 10, 1991, the 80th anniversary of the Republic of China, the Association gave Kaohsiung a state-of-the-art, US made ambulance in appreciation of their assistance in introducing dragon boat racing to Portland. In honor of the occasion, Kaohsiung donated two additional boats to the Association.

Dr. Eng Lock Khoo was the first president of the Portland-Kaohsiung Sister City Association. He served nearly six years. In 1993 John Grimes became the second president, followed by Mike Chang in 1994. Mike Chang concluded the Sister School Agreement between Shu-te High School in Kaohsiung and the David Douglas School District in Portland. A sister university agreement between Portland State and National Sun-Yat Sen University in Kaohsiung was also concluded. In 1999 Dr. Richard Cole became president and served for six year. In 2005 Tom Crowder became president.