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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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Mark your calendar: Vanport Flood Tour


Flooding in the Midwest was in the news quite a bit over the last couple weeks—a good reminder of how nature shapes our communities and history.  Here in Portland, in 1948, a catastrophic flood of the Columbia River and Columbia Slough destroyed an entire community. 

Join Environmental Service’s Susan Barthel and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council on a commemorative tour of the Vanport Flood on May 30, 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. 

Vanport Residents in 1948 Flood  Aerial view of flooded Vanport City

Vanport City, developed on the floodplain of the Columbia River as World War II war worker housing, disappeared in the flood of 1948.  More than 100,000 people called the community home between 1943-1948. Vanport was also home to returning World War II veterans, returning Japanese internees and Vanport College, which became Portland State University.

Today, the Multnomah County Drainage Districts actively manage the Columbia River and Columbia Slough levees to prevent flooding and drain the floodplain area, which is home to PDX Airport, industrial businesses and agriculture.  The City of Portland, drainage districts, Army Corps of Engineers and other partners also coordinate to improve the water quality and habitat along the Columbia Slough

This tour will visit the levee, public art and informational signs that commemorate the Vanport City community and the flood. An active restoration site at Force Lake will also be on the route.  Maps and resource materials will be shared.  Meet at the Portland International Raceway/Delta Park MAX station at 4 pm sharp!  Appropriate for older students (with adults).  Minimal walking and short van shuttle. Trip is free, however pre-registration requested:  

For information call Susan Barthel, 503-823-7268



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