Clark County residents to share their stories at WSU Vancouver

Thu, 09/27/2018 - 8:30am -- brenda_alling
Phuong and her family: Phuong Thanh-Ngoc Tran fled Viet Nam with her seven siblings and widowed mother in 1975, arriving in Clark County in 2000

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Audience members are invited to join local storytellers in sharing recollections of life in Clark County on Oct. 11 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at WSU Vancouver. The final program in the series “Clark County Stories: How We Came to this Place,” will take place in Dengerink Administration Building, Room 110, with a reception to follow in Rooms 129/130. It is free and open to the public.

Storytellers drawn from more than 150 who participated in the 2018 “Clark County Stories” series will share their stories. The audience will also be invited to share their own three-minute anecdotes on the themes of “Favorite Places” and “Migration Stories” in Clark County.

One aim of the project is to identify and record the stories of people and communities whose perspectives are currently underrepresented in the historical archives. Accordingly, the stories to be shared will reflect a variety of ethnic, cultural and religious perspectives, ranging from Chinook and Latino, to Christian, LGBTQ, and deaf and hard of hearing. ASL translation will be provided.

The evolution of “Clark County Stories”

The 2018 “Clark County Stories: How We Came to this Place” series is the brainchild of WSU Professor Sue Peabody, who noticed that the county’s population has doubled since 1988 to nearly half a million, with more than half of county residents born in another state, and about 10 percent born in another country.

“We all experience the region’s rapid development, the strain on public infrastructure and the increasing diversity of our communities,” Peabody said. “I realized that if we could share our personal histories—how we came here, what we see changing, the places we value—we might discover our shared humanity in our different stories.”

Donna Sinclair, Ph.D., an independent scholar specializing in Pacific Northwest history, helped organize a series of community conversations, workshops and oral history interviews in partnership with the Clark County Historical Museum and the Fort Vancouver Regional Library. Since January, there have been four workshops and three community conversations on topics such as oral history interviews, north Clark County stories, migration stories, short-form memoir, poetry and heirloom writing workshops.

“Through community participation, we have been able to expand the historical perspectives on recent Clark County history,” Sinclair said. “Nearly all of us are immigrants to this region, whether in our own lifetimes, or those of our parents, grandparents or earlier ancestors. Not surprisingly, most of us love the region’s natural beauty, and appreciate the educational, job, faith and volunteer opportunities that enrich our lives. We actually share quite a bit in common.”

The Clark County Stories project is sponsored by WSU Vancouver, the Clark County Historical Museum and the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District, and funded by Humanities Washington, WSU’s Meyer Professorship and the Pettyjohn Fund at the WSU Department of History.

About WSU Vancouver

WSU Vancouver is located at 14204 N.E. Salmon Creek Ave. in Vancouver, east of the 134th Street exit from either I-5 or I-205, or via C-Tran bus service. Parking is available at meters and in the Blue Daily Pay lot for $1.50 after 5 p.m.

As one of six campuses of the Washington State University system, WSU Vancouver offers big-school resources in a small-school environment. The university provides affordable, high-quality baccalaureate- and graduate-level education to benefit the people and communities it serves. As the only four-year research university in Southwest Washington, WSU Vancouver helps drive economic growth through relationships with local businesses and industries, schools and nonprofit organizations.

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  • Brenda Alling, Office of Marketing and Communications, 360-546-9601,
  • Sue Peabody, Meyer Distinguished Professor of History, WSU Vancouver, 360-546-9647 (office) or 360-567-9220 (mobile);

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