Beginning in the late 1980s, a concentration of Vietnamese businesses established themselves around the intersection of S Jackson Street and 12th Avenue S; today Little Saigon is a regional hub of Vietnamese culture, economy, and community expanding Rainier Avenue on the east, the I-5 Freeway on the west, South Dearborn Street on the south and South Main Street on the north. As a destination for shopping, eating, and socializing, the area serves over 40,000 Vietnamese Americans from across the Puget Sound region.
The current building infrastructure contains low-rise commercial development populated by more than 100 small family-run businesses, some light industry, and scattered multifamily and single-family housing.
Due to its proximity to Downtown, a regional transportation hub at its western edge, and recent major land-use changes allowing much higher, denser mixed-use development, major changes are coming to Little Saigon. Though these changes are not in themselves negative, many local businesses fear displacement due to development pressure and rising rents. In addition, effective responses to these external challenges have been hampered by the internal challenges of a lack of a community-based institution capable of advocating, engaging, and taking action on the community’s behalf.
As a result of these pressures—both real and anticipated—the Friends of Little Saigon (FLS) was formed in early 2011 to promote, plan, and advocate for the neighborhood. FLS is a grassroots 501(c)(3) not-for-profit community development organization, tax ID #45-3621880.
Little Saigon is the hub of the Vietnamese American community where all families and businesses are thriving.
The mission of the Friends of Little Saigon is to preserve and enhance Little Saigon’s cultural, economic, and historic vitality.
Left to right: Tam Dinh, Theresa Reyna, Yenvy Pham, Sue Taoka, Quynh Pham, Jordan Yu, Tyler DuLam, & Tam Nguyen.
Quynh Pham is the Executive Director of the Friends of Little Saigon. In this role, she is responsible for organization’s overall strategic direction and sustainability. Before joining as staff, Quynh served on the board of the Friends of Little Saigon leading advocacy efforts, community engagement, and board development. Prior to FLS, she has done fundraising and organizing in the API and Vietnamese community related to youth and education, economic and community development, as well as health and public safety. Quynh has her bachelor’s in American Ethnic Studies from the University of Washington and a master’s in Public Administration from Seattle University. As a child of immigrant small business owners, it is her passion to preserve and grow Little Saigon as a vibrant commercial district serving the needs of the fast-growing Vietnamese community.