Ruth Nishino also depended on the kindness of Reed during these dark times. Soon after the evacuation orders were posted in Portland, giving nikkei families only a few weeks to get their affairs in order before reporting to the North Portland Assembly Center, she appeared in tears at the library circulation desk. In her arms she carried her mother's flower arranging tools. There was no room to take them to the assembly center, and they were too precious to be sold. She was scared to leave them with neighbors. The only place Ruth could think of where the tools would be safe was at Reed. The library took them in "for the duration."

For Gus Tanaka, Reed was a lifeline. After Pearl Harbor and the many restrictions on nikkei life that followed, he had to secure a special waiver and identification badge from the Portland police department to travel the more than five miles from home to attend classes. After the arrest of his father, after learning to avert his eyes from the hostile stares of people on the street, the place he felt safest was on campus. "Mr. Tanaka is still an American," one of his professors declared in class soon after Pearl Harbor. "No one should hold any personal animosity toward him." And no one did.

But it was the concern of one man in particular that kept Tanaka in school that winter and spring. Arthur Scott was his chemistry professor and Reed's acting president. He wasn't Tanaka's adviser, but he took that role upon himself, calling the scared 17-year-old into his office a number of times, calming his fears, buoying his spirits, encouraging him to stay in school as long as he could. Months before the evacuation orders came through, Scott talked to him about transferring to an Eastern college. When the time came, he and the college dean made it possible for Tanaka to receive full credit for his freshman year. Later the professor went out of his way to negotiate Tanaka's transfer to an Eastern college, which meant not just an opportunity to continue his education but an escape from what would have been years of internment at Minidoka. That was the name of the permanent detention center in Idaho to which many Portland families were taken by shuttered railroad car in early September 1942.






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