Vanport Placemarking Project
On May 30, 1948 at 4:05 p.m. a 200-foot section of the dike holding back the Columbia River collapsed during a flood. By nightfall the second largest city in Oregon was underwater and the 40,000 residents homeless.
The Vanport Placemarking Project will create historic markers and an interpretive center to honor the significant structural, natural resources and cultural history of the former Vanport. This project will identify key sites of Vanport, along a publicly accessible route, so visitors can become aware of the unique history of Vanport.
Archaeology is the study of what we leave behind. No structures of Vanport were left behind and the intent is to identify important sites and bring awareness to the once forgotten history of Vanport. It will recognize the impact Vanport had in city and state history, along with the lessons we can learn from its unique qualities.
This project will utilize the historical document collections, memories and oral histories of former Vanport residents, and knowledge of historians to provide context to what once existed in the form of structures, environmental features of water, wildlife, and natural habitat.
The evolution of the geography of Vanport from 1948 to the present day is noteworthy. Where a city of 40,000 people once lived, there is now open space, a golf course, racetrack, and industrial development. Current day challenges are climate change, flood control, and levee protection.
It is of great importance and benefit to construct permanent awareness of this history to protect and support the cultural and environmental assets of the community for future generations.
Join Our Effort
Donate to the Vanport Placemarking Project. All donations are tax deductible.