The influence of Scandinavian culture in Astoria is strongly present in our community and our parks: from Tapiola Park (named after the Finnish forest god Tapio), to former Parks Director Fred Lindstrom’s legacy at Lindstrom Park, to naming the main thoroughfare from the east into Astoria after Leif Erickson, infamous Norse explorer.
Scandinavian pride has brought together the community in many ways over the years and has led to an effort to ensure that Astorians have a place to honor the contributions of the descendants of Norwegian, Finnish, Danish, Icelandic, and Swedish immigrants to the city with a public space that tourists and residents can enjoy in the Astoria Scandinavian Heritage Monument.
The idea for this space was imagined first through members of the Astoria Scandinavian Midsummer Festival Committee in 2015; who approached the Astoria Parks and Recreation Department about opportunities for potential locations to situate a monument in a public park space and to seek support for grant funding. Coordinating with the City, it was determined that currently underutilized space within People’s Places Park along Marine Drive and the Riverwalk would be a suitable site for the new monument.
A Heritage Park committee was created in 2016 with private stakeholders invested in seeing the project through under the guidance of the City. The Parks and Recreation Department has been diligently working with the committee to ensure that the design, construction costs, and all maintenance of the project will be the responsibility of the Astoria Scandinavian Heritage Association through a Memorandum of Agreement that will last the lifespan of the monument.
At a City Council presentation this month, the committee shared their exciting proposed design for the park that tells the story of Scandinavian immigrants, the hardships they endured, and their lasting legacy throughout the City and our region.
Follow this link to a recent Daily Astorian article on the project’s progress.
As the process moves forward, we and the Astoria Scandinavian Heritage Association will be keeping the public informed of the project’s status and significant milestones.
For more information or to become a donor for the park, go to www.astoriascanpark.org.