During its short lifetime from 1942 to 1948, the city of Vanport was home to a large and diverse population. The housing project was constructed on a Columbia River flood plain to house thousands of workers employed in Portland and Vancouver’s shipyards during WWII. Vanport later served as home to returning veterans, African Americans and displaced Japanese Americans who had been interned. On May 30, 1948, the swollen Columbia River overflowed Vanport’s dikes and swept the city away. Former residents will share their memories of life in Vanport and the legendary flood that destroyed the community.
Carolyn Hinton and Janice Okamoto both recorded their Vanport memories as part of the Vanport Mosaic community-based oral history project. Belva Jean Griffin recorded her story as part of The Wake of Vanport, produced by the North Portland Multimedia Training Center (NPMTC), a project of The Skanner Foundation.
Ability Accommodation Information
This event provides the following accommodations:
- Handicap Accessible
Vanport City, 1942, Kaiser Permanente Heritage Resources.
Oregonship album #4, M-342, Vanport City
Map of Vanport by Maben Manly
The night shift arrives at the Oregon
Shipbuilding Corporation Shipyard in 1942.
OrHi 96949, bb010456
Vanport Daily Vacation Bible School, 1943
Launching Tuskegee Victory Ship, 1946
Aerial view of Vanport Floods in Portland, Oregon.
OrHi 67592. bb004537
Black troops from Fort Lewis work on flood control in Vanport, 1948. 021630
Vanport flood, 1948
Vanport Refugees, 1948, OrHi 90163
Vanport Refugees, ba018658
Vanport Refugees, bb012669
About History Pub
Join us for beer and history, sponsored by the Oregon Historical Society, Holy Names Heritage Center, and McMenamins, in which you'll hear lively local or regional history while you enjoy a frosty pint or two of handcrafted ale.