This 1943 Oregonian photograph shows a Japanese-American “evacuee” topping sugar beets in Nyssa, located on the Idaho border in southeast Oregon. During World War II, the federal government forced West Coast Japanese immigrants and Japanese Americans to leave their homes for internment camps or inland states. Because of an acute agricultural labor …
We're Going to Wyoming & Idaho
This image shows the front page of the August, 1942 edition of the Evacuazette, a special edition of the newspaper that was published to inform internees at the Portland Assembly Center about their upcoming relocation to permanent internment camps in Idaho and Wyoming. The Portland Assembly Center was one of fifteen temporary holding facilities that housed Japanese Americans who had been evacuated from their homes following the issuance of Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942. Executive Order 9066 excluded Japanese Americans from security zones on the Pacific Coast during World War II.
At the time the special edition was published, most of the Japanese Americans had been living at the Portland Assembly Center for just over three months. In addition to confirming that the transfer to the permanent relocation camps was imminent, the special edition of the Evacuazette provided the residents of the center with information related to the move and with special instructions for ensuring an orderly transfer. This second-to–the-last edition of the paper also included detailed profiles of both the Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho and the Heart Mountain Relocation Center in Wyoming, the relocation camps to which the majority of the Portland Assembly Center’s internees would be sent.
For the almost 4,000 Japanese Americans from Oregon and southern Washington living in close quarters in what was little more than a renovated stockyard, accurate information was critical. As in the other assembly centers, and later in the relocation camps, the community newspaper, often little more than a few mimeographed sheets of paper, was a vital supplement to what regional and national news was available to the internees.
Under the direction of editor-in-chief Yuji Hiromura, the staff of the Evacuazette covered the activities and news in the Portland Assembly Center as they would have in any other small city. Published twice weekly from May 19 until August 25, 1942, the Evacuazette included articles about camp statistics, interviews with prominent camp personalities, announcements about hygiene and health, social news, and a sports page that covered the camp’s sports teams. Each issue also contained an editorial that often served as a motivational piece to help raise camp spirits.
Despite a vow in an early issue that the paper would “maintain its pledge as an independent free press; for, to, and by the people," there were publication restrictions on the paper’s contents. News or editorials related to the war or politics were not published, and Japanese script or vocabulary was also restricted. To insure that the staff of the Evacuazette did not violate these guidelines, a government public relations specialist was assigned to review and approve each issue.
Evacuazette. Portland, Ore.: May 19–August 25, 1942.
Personal Justice Denied: Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians. Washington, D.C.: 1983.
Written by Tania Hyatt-Evenson, © Oregon Historical Society, 2004.
Related Historical Records
Related Oregon Encyclopedia Articles
This entry was last updated on March 17, 2018