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Because of Bill: William Sumio Naito’s Legacy in Portland

Because of Bill: William Sumio Naito’s Legacy in Portland

Part of the Lasting Legacy Series

Bill Naito was a force of nature whose infinite imagination, unbridled determination and limitless persistence transformed Portland during the second half of the twentieth century. Starting in the 1960s when the Naito family bought their first building in Portland, he took an interest in downtown, particularly in transforming it into a livable city center with green space and places to live, work, shop, and play. An influential civic leader, he was often the only person of color amongst any given group of businesspeople or politicians.

Earlier this year, Erica Naito-Campbell, Bill’s grandchild, published Portland’s Audacious Champion. The biography explores how the extreme racism and xenophobia of World War II traumatized her grandfather and how he confronted that trauma by becoming a successful businessman who sought to make Portland better than the city that had expelled him and his family. Using her book as a foundational document, the new exhibition explores intimate details of Bill’s life alongside the origin stories of many iconic Portland structures and how much of the city we know and love today is because of Bill.

Exhibition Events

How Bill Naito Shaped Modern Portland
History Pub with Erica Naito-Campbell and Mari Watanabe
Monday, April 29, 7pm
McMenamin’s Kennedy School
5736 NE 33rd Ave, Portland
Get tickets

Friends of JAMO Reception
Friday, May 3, 5:30-7:30pm
Lan Su Chinese Garden
239 Northwest Everett St, Portland
Register by April 29

AANHPI Heritage Weekend
In conjunction with Oregon Rises Above Hate
Japanese American Museum of Oregon
411 NW Flanders St, Portland
—Free admission Saturday and Sunday, May 4 & 5
—Tour the Plaza on Saturday, May 4 at 2pm
—Family museum activity on Sunday, May 5
Sponsored in loving memory of Bill and Micki Naito.
More info here.