Three SEAPAXers, Aileen Ly, Joana Ramos, and Paulette Thompson, hit the rails to travel to Eugene for the February 21, 2009, meeting for Western Region RPCV groups. We enjoyed home stays with gracious hosts from the West Cascade Peace Corps Association, who were unfazed by the inevitable Amtrak delays. The agenda for the 21st included a business meeting for the groups, where we learned of NPCA doings from Joe Hindman, speculated on the future of the Peace Corps in the new Administration, and heard about the activities and challenges of each other’s group, and discussed future plans, including the summer campout. Attendees came from Eugene, Boise, and Portland, in addition to the Seattle contingent. In the evening, we attended the West Cascade group’s annual fundraising dinner, held at a local Thai restaurant.
The group meeting coincided with the sad anniversary of Executive Order 9066, the 1942 federal decree ordering Japanese Americans to be expelled from their homes and “relocated” to concentration camps for the duration of WWII. At the invitation of Bob Watada of WCPCA, several of us attended a moving ceremony held at Eugene’s Japanese American Art Memorial park, in the city center. The memorial was created in 2007 in honor of the Lane County residents who were interned, as a civic lesson for the community. The story of the memorial park can be found at their website.