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Garden of Surging Waves

11th & Duane St. 
Across from City Hall 

Astoria has a rich history reflecting the influence of cultures from around the world. Many of its current residents are descended from the early families that built the city and provided labor for its first industries. The Chinese played a significant role in the history of Astoria, working in the canneries, building the city's sewer system, constructing railroads that would connect Astoria to Portland, and building the jetties at the mouth of the mighty Columbia River.

The Garden of Surging Waves, the city of Astoria's bicentennial legacy gift, shares an important piece of Astoria's history and helped mark the 200th anniversary of the city's founding (1811-2011). The garden serves as a reminder not only of Chinese contributions to Astoria and the Pacific Northwest, but to Oregon's early ties to China that were first developed in the days of John Jacob Astor, and have flourished over the last 200 years.

The Garden of Surging Waves is a city park designed to honor and celebrate the Chinese heritage of Astoria and the Lower Columbia River Basin. The park occupies a portion of a city block that is bordered by 11th Street to the west, Duane Street to the north, 12th Street to the east, and Exchange Street to the South, in the core of Astoria's historic downtown district. It is situated directly across from Astoria's City Hall. The park was initially planned to occupy a portion of a small waterfront block northeast of the intersection of 9th and Astor Streets. This is the site of a pre-existing but underutilized city park that lies near the heart of what once was Astoria's Chinatown. At one time, Astoria's Chinatown was the most populated Chinatown north of San Francisco. Defined boundaries of the district vary, but it may be roughly described as the area along Bond and Astor Streets between 5th and 9th Streets. This district's waterfront was home to several canneries, where approximately 75 percent of Astoria's Chinese men worked, and its inner blocks contained the associated boarding houses where many of the Chinese workers lived.

The Garden of Surging Waves is pronounced "Cang Láng Yuán" in Chinese. The Chinese written characters for the words “surging wave” are also used to express hardship and struggle — experiences shared by many of America's early immigrant groups.

Interested in an Engraving at the Garden of Surging Waves? Please contact Parksinfo@astoria.gov for more information.

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