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David Tam

Born in 1976, shortly after his parents arrived from Guangzhou, China, David Tam was the only non-white kid in his class through grade school in Depoe Bay and high school in Lincoln City. "My parents owned a restaurant, a hotel, and a tavern," he says. "I was cleaning hotel rooms when I was eight." Tam first fell in love with Eugene when he came to town for a high-school track meet. He returned to earn a UO degree in business and economics in 1999 and now works as an independent broker with Lincoln Financial. "Growing up in a small town, I learned how to deal with cultural identity issues," says Tam, who mentors a group of teenage Chinese Lion Dancers every Saturday at Westmoreland School. "I can relate to the challenges of youth." Currently president of the Chinese-American Benevolent Association and the Asian Council, Tam is in his fourth year as chairman of the Oregon Asian Celebration. "It takes nine months of planning," he notes. "We have a committee of 30 that works year-round." This year's 24th annual celebration, "Heart of Asia," is scheduled for February 14-15 at the Lane County Fairgrounds. Find a complete listing of activities and events at asiancelebration.org.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 5 February 2009

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