Visitors from Nyuzen, Japan, will celebrate 30 years of sister city ties in Forest Grove.

STAFF PHOTO: MARK MILLER - Forest Grove and Nyuzen, Japan, have been participating in sister city exchanges since 1988.Three decades of Forest Grove's only sister city relationship are being celebrated this year, with a delegation from Nyuzen, Japan, expected to arrive late this month.

Forest Grove and Nyuzen, a similarly sized port town on the Japanese island of Honshu, established sister city ties in the late 1980s, prompted by a business relationship between companies Tektronix in Forest Grove and NEC in Nyuzen. While the communities trade adult delegate visits in alternating years and student delegate visits every year, this summer's visit is special.

"This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Forest Grove/Nyuzen, Japan, sister city friendship," Anna Ruggles, Forest Grove's city recorder, told the News-Times in an email. "The city and Sister Cities Committee (are) planning some exciting activities during the delegation's visit!"

Forest Grove maintains the all-volunteer Sister Cities Committee to maintain and promote ties between Forest Grove and Nyuzen. The Forest Grove City Council recently received a briefing from the committee updating it on plans for the delegate visit, which is scheduled to be from June 30 to July 5.

"When we talk about a community, what is a community?" said committee President Sandy Garcia at that council meeting on April 9. "It's the people. How do you get to know the public? The best way to get to know the people is through being able to stay with them and really get to meet them."

As usual, delegates from Nyuzen will be hosted by Forest Grove residents for the duration of their stay.

The delegation will arrive in town on Saturday, June 30. Sunday, July 1 will be set aside for delegates and host families to make their own plans and get to know one another.

The public is invited to a meet-and-greet with the Nyuzen delegation from 2:15 to 2:45 p.m. Monday, July 2. That event will take place at the Forest Grove Community Auditorium, located at 1915 Main St. Forest Grove Mayor Pete Truax will make remarks welcoming the delegates at that event.

Also on July 2, delegates will be taken on tours of Forest Grove's fire station, police station, library and downtown area, followed by a private evening social at the mayor's home.

The public is once again invited to join the delegation for lunch on July 3 at Forest Grove company SakeOne, located at 820 Elm St. That event starts at 11:45 a.m. An RSVP, including the cost of lunch, is required.

Later that day, at 4 p.m., the public can attend a no-charge event to dedicate a "peace pole" inscribed with English, Japanese and other languages, which is being presented by the Forest Grove Daybreak Rotary Club, at the Community Auditorium. The dedication will be followed by a 5:30 p.m. gala and banquet at Pacific University; tickets are $35, with a $5 discount for those age 18 or younger. More information, including how to order tickets, is available on the city's website.

July 4 is another "host family day" for Nyuzen delegates. At least some will likely attend that evening's Independence Day celebration and fireworks display at Tom McCall Upper Elementary School.

The delegation departs July 5 following a campus tour of Pacific University and a presentation by city staff. Most delegates will likely fly out of Portland International Airport that afternoon.

City staff, members of the City Council, the Sister Cities Committee, the Forest Grove Daybreak Rotary Club, local businesses, host families and other community members are actively preparing for the delegation visit. An adult delegation from Forest Grove is expected to travel to Nyuzen for more festivities next year.

Students from Nyuzen are scheduled to visit Forest Grove later this year, likely in late October.

Although they are celebrating the 30-year anniversary of their relationship this year, Forest Grove and Nyuzen did not officially become sister cities until 1989. Forest Grove invited Nyuzen to become its sister city in 1988, following a cultural exchange, and a covenant was signed to formalize the relationship the following May.

For more information on the sister city relationship between Forest Grove and Nyuzen, visit the City of Forest Grove's website.FILE PHOTO - Delegates from Forest Grove sing to their hosts in Nyuzen, Japan, during a sister city visit in 2015.

Editor's note: This story has been updated Wednesday, June 6, to reflect a date and time change for the public meet-and-greet at the Forest Grove Community Auditorium. The city has announced it will now be held from 2:15 to 2:45 p.m. Monday, July 2.

By Mark Miller
Editor, Forest Grove News-Times
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