Tacoma, Washington – Nothing resonates with Cambodians living in Tacoma more than Salishan, a project of the Tacoma Housing Authority. A place many Cambodian Refugee families called home. It was the stomping grounds for many of us including one of KhmerLife’s co-founders. There really was a strong sense of community that seems to be amiss today after early 2000 when Salishan went through it’s complete demolition/reconstruction project.
Check out this brief documentary video on the history of Salishan put together by 5th graders at Lister Elementary in 2002.
History of Salishan
The origin of Salishan is closely linked with the attack on Pearl Harbor. When that particular war began for the United States, the federal government quickly realized two things. First, a lot of people and their families were headed for the Northwest. They were coming to work in the factories and shipyards that built the planes and ships that won that war. Second, when they arrived they would greatly worsen a shortage of affordable housing.
In response, the federal government planned and built Salishan to provide temporary housing for war workers. It also built other communities throughout the Northwest, including Rainier Vista, Holly Park and High Point in Seattle, Park Lake Homes in White Center, West Park in Bremerton, Columbia Villa in Portland, Oregon, and elsewhere in Tacoma, Lincoln Heights and American Lake Gardens. The federal government built these communities at the same time for the same reason: as an emergency measure of wartime. This is why they looked somewhat alike. It also built them quickly. In ways that later became important, the housing was probably not built to last as long as it did.
Continue reading about the History of Salishan here https://www.tacomahousing.net/content/history-salishan