Chi Nguyen was born in Saigon in 1982. Nguyen and her family left Vietnam as political refugees in 1990 because of her grandfather’s involvement in the South Vietnamese army. Growing up in Oregon, Nguyen lived in Northeast Portland, attending Jason Lee Elementary, Gregory Heights Middle, and Madison High School. For her undergraduate degree, Nguyen studied business at Oregon State University. Later, she went back to school and received a masters in business from Willamette University. After attaining her masters, Nguyen started two different businesses, Zen Chi and Auto Medic. Currently, Nguyen works as the Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO.) Founded in 1996, APANO provides grassroots political advocacy and empowerment to Oregon’s Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

Chi Nguyen begins her oral history by summarizing the events that led to her family arriving in Oregon and relaying some childhood memories she has of Vietnam and Portland. Nguyen goes on to speak about her experience in Portland Public Schools. She also discusses some of the difficulties her parents had adjusting to life in the United States. Afterwards, Nguyen summarizes her path through higher education and how she came to start her first businesses. Nguyen is then asked about how she came to work at APANO and she talks about the agency’s goals. Next, Nguyen speaks briefly about her past position on city council in King City, Oregon. The oral history ends with Nguyen explaining more about her work with APANO.