Find German restaurants, stores and events in Oregon.
Germans in Oregon
Similar to the Germans who settled in Washington state, the Germans who settled in Oregon did not come directly from Germany, but from Russia. This group of settlers, known as the Volga Germans, had been living as an ethnic minority for many years in Russia prior to migrating to the United States. The first Volga German community in Oregon was settled in 1873 and named Albina, which is now part of Northeast Portland. Although these settlers did not consider themselves Russian and were culturally and ethnically German, they were still considered by many inhabitants of the area as Russians. Their settlement of Albina was even referred to in the region as “Little Russia.” The Volga Germans in Oregon were a tight-knit community and many families remained in Albina up until the 1950s when they began to disperse to other areas. However, there are still many remnants of German cultural heritage in Oregon and particularly in Portland today.
The German-American Society of Portland offers festivals, language classes and even Stammtische for Oregonians interested in experiencing German culture. Among their offerings are a Karneval celebration, Laternenfest, and a Maifest. In addition to the German-American Society of Portland, Zeitgeist Northwest is another organization that serves to promote German culture in the Pacific Northwest region. Each October for over a decade, Zeitgeist Northwest has presented the Portland German Film Festival to promote films from German-speaking countries. However, it isn’t necessary to wait for October to catch German cinema in the Portland area. On the second Wednesday of each month, in partnership with Zeitgeist, the Clinton Street Theater shows a different German-language film. Although the Volga Germans of Northeast Portland have largely dispersed, with the array of cultural offerings, the state has not forgotten its German heritage.