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The City of Portland, Oregon

Environmental Services

working for clean rivers

Phone: 503-823-7740

Fax: 503-823-6995

1120 SW 5th Ave, Suite 613, Portland, OR 97204

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Tour Historic Vanport on Memorial Day


Join Environmental Services and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council for a tour of historic Vanport on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29th, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Memorial Day is a fitting time to recall Portland's lost city and the power of water to shape our lives. Never heard of Vanport? Today, the low lying community built for World War II shipyard workers is the site of Delta Park, the raceway and wetlands united by the Columbia Slough. Vanport itself disappeared in a single day, in a Memorial Day flood that killed 15 and displaced thousands, many African-Americans. 

In the 1940s, Vanport brought together a diverse population from across the country to work in Portland’s shipyards and railroads. The Vanport Mosaic Festival aims to honor the legacy of the Vanport community and the 1948 flood that destroyed the community. 

Experience a fascinating piece of Portland’s history and learn about how the Columbia’s sloughs and lakes played a role in the lives of Vanport residents.  Vanport residents enjoyed fishing, swimming and boating in the Columbia Slough, but there were serious environmental impacts from Vanport and associated industries.

Environmental Services and Columbia Slough Watershed Council staff will be on hand to explain the importance of the Columbia Slough to former Vanport residents and how to get involved in ongoing cleanup and reforestation efforts.

Join us for narrated bus tours and self-guided walking tours of the original Vanport site.  Seldom open to the public, this route will include sites of historic Vanport’s most important civic functions, residential areas and natural resources.  Learn about Vanport before, during and after the flood.

The Building D lobby at the Expo Center will host information about the unique aspects of the history of Vanport and how Vanport connects to Portland life today. There will also be presentations to engage in conversations about Vanport and its legacy. 

  • Admission is free.  Tours will start and end at the Expo Center

  • Maps and a smart-phone application will be available.

  • Bus tours are approximately 75 minutes. Reservations are strongly recommended for the bus tour.

  • The self-guided walking route is approximately 4 miles long and starts between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The tour route will close at 4 p.m.  

This event is part of the Vanport Mosaic Festival 2017. 

Register for this event. For more information on the festival:

For questions, please contact or 971-319-0156 


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