Immigration and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO)

This organization is devoted to helping immigrants and refugees come to the United States and get settled.

Portland artist Minh Quang Phan was born in Saigon, Vietnam. After studying city planning and architecture, she worked as an educator and painter in both France and Vietnam. She came to the United States in 1995, where she has continued to work as a painter, producing watercolors on silk and also participating in IRCO’s “Arts for New Immigrants” program.  Inspired by her memories of South Vietnam she often paints landscapes, flowers, and still lifes. Although she grew up in the city, her mother often took her to visit the rural region of Bac Lieu, the memory of which inspired Minh Quang Phan’s paintings. “With my paintbrush,” she says, “I wish to present, and to regain for myself, the tranquility, the simplicity and also the poverty of my little country, Viet Nam.”


Minh Quang Phan is just one of thousands of Portland’s Vietnamese immigrants. The 2000 United States Census reports that Multnomah County is home to 11,102 Vietnamese. Portland is also home to large Filipino, Chinese, Korean, Cambodian, and Laotian immigrant communities.

Approximately 100,000 immigrants from the southeastern portion of Asia immigrated to the United States each year for a decade after 1975. During the 1960s and 1970s, the Vietnam War raged through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. In 1975, the U.S. withdrew its armed forces from the region, and the Southeast Asian governments that had been supported by the United States collapsed. In that year, the U.S. government began making changes to its immigration law so that people displaced by these wars could more easily immigrate to the United States. -IRCO

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