Lao community celebrates temple’s success

More awards presented than one can count were just part of the event held the Lao community! See what else took place …

In the Argay Terrace neighborhood of outer East Portland, the community comes together to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Wat Buddhathammaram.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

A party in celebration of the success of the Lao Communities of Oregon and Southwest Washington over the last 35 years took place over the weekend of June 11 and 12 at Wat Buddhathammaram, on NE 133rd Avenue, just south of Sandy Boulevard.

For members of the religion and interested others, a highlight was the Buddhist prayer ceremonies. A traditional Lao lunch was served at noon.

Eighth-grade student at Happy Valley Middle School Vanisa Khamkhosi sings the United States National Anthem.

Hosting the afternoon’s program is Temple Secretary General Vanhlang Khamsouk.

As the formal program got underway, Temple Secretary General Vanhlang Khamsouk acted as master of ceremonies. He made introductions, and guided the program through the presentation of numerous plaques and certificates – both to those directly involved with the organization, and also  to community supporters.

City of Portland New Portlander Program Coordinator Ronault LS “Polo” Catalani and former Metro Executive Officer Colonel Mike Burton, USAF (Retired) receive – and later present – awards.

Temple Advisory Board Chair Dr. Bolyvong Tanovan reads a proclamation from Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.

Khamsouk told about the construction of Buddhasimma (the area in which the monks perform the Buddhist sacred ceremonies). He said it was based on the style of Luangphrabang’s Wat Xiengthong, and was completed in 1997.

“It was the generously and donations of more than 900 followers, and their contribution-raising efforts, [that accomplished] the building of Buddhasimma, in the amount of $316,372,” Khamsouk said.

Inside the building, families enjoy a traditional Lao meal.

Enticing shoppers to visit their marketplace to try out their homemade curry puffs are Ou Sanamixay and Nam Saephanh.

The event also offered a “Marketfest” of booths offering information, arts and crafts, food, beverages, music, and videos

These performers of traditional Lao dance are students from David Douglas High School, Oregon State University, and Mount Hood Community College.

Lao dances, music, cultural displays, and sports activities rounded out the day. Indeed, this was a day of “Boun” – celebration!

For more information about Wat Buddhathammaram, see their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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