After 70 years of service in Oregon, the Honorary Swedish Consulate in Portland is closing. June 1st will mark the first time since 1938 that there is not a Swedish Consulate in Oregon with open doors. Ross Fogelquist, Honorary Vice Consul and acting Consul in Portland, says, although there are over 2,000 Swedish residents in Oregon and Southwest Washington and 10 Swedish organizations in Portland alone, the Swedish Foreign Office in Stockholm cites the closure "as a cost saving measure." Fogelquist doesn't buy it. He says the Oregon Consulate is operated at little or no cost to the Swedish government, as the Consul's time, office and services are provided at the Consul's personal expense.
Fogelquist was knighted by the King of Sweden for his services to Sweden and Swedish interests in 1985. He succeeded Mark Johnson, who retired in January, as acting Consul in Oregon, and is deeply saddened by the closure. Swedish residents will now have to travel to the Honorary Consulate in Seattle or the Consul General Office in Los Angeles in order to receive consular services, such as assistance with passports.
There is an open house to honor the closing of this historic site today, May 30, from 2 to 7 pm at Ross Fogelquist's home and Consulate office at 8740 SW Oleson Road, Portland. This will be the last working day of the Consulate.
But Stockholmies, take heart: The unofficial Swedish embassy
is open and thriving.