Friday, November 29, 2013

Russian-speaking immigrants in Oregon: A historical explainer

Immigrants often settle in an area because it reminds them of home, then more come to form communities.    - - Donna Poisl

By Melissa Binder

Why was Oregon so popular among Russian-speaking immigrants that they grew to represent one of Portland's largest immigrant groups?

Because it looks like home, said Tatiana Osipovich, a professor of Russian at Lewis & Clark College, and because it has lots of farmland. Slavic immigrants were able to grow most of their native crops in the Northwest climate, she said, and it was comforting to be able to eat traditional food so far away from home.

Portland provided jobs, she said, but was small enough and close enough to farmland that the immigrant groups were able to establish their own communities. They still tend to live close together.
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