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Highway near Hood River dedicated to Nisei WWII veterans

Oregon Route 35 will honor more than 33,000 Japanese American veterans who served during WWII.

HOOD RIVER, Oregon — Editor's note: The video above originally aired in March of this year when lawmakers were considering the bill to dedicate Oregon Route 35.

An Oregon highway will now be dedicated to Japanese Americans who fought in World War II.

Oregon Route 35, which runs between Hood River and Government Camp, will get a name change and signs will be posted along the route. The final decision came after Governor Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 1509 at a ceremony on Friday. The bill was passed unanimously earlier this year by the Oregon Senate and House.

During World War II and the post-war recovery, more than 33,000 Nisei served in the United States military. According to experts, 433 of them were from Oregon, and 58 specifically from Hood River County.  

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Linda Tamura, a Japanese American from Hood River, said her father and uncle both fought in WWII. She was one of the people behind the legislation to rename the highway. 

Tamura explained that Nisei means second-generation Japanese American.

"Nisei is significant because they were incarcerated and they served our country," Tamura said.

The name change is meant to honor those soldiers, a number of whom lived in Hood River County.

"The goal is to have four signs, two facing south and two facing north. We would also like to have an information sign that talks a little bit of Nisei veterans," Tamura said. 

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Tom Ashmore lives in the area and said he supports renaming the highway to honor Japanese-American veterans. 

"I have no problem with that. I think it would be good to recognize those folks and what they went through," Ashmore said.  

A highway dedication ceremony is scheduled for August 13 at Wy’East Middle School’s performing arts center in Odell.

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