May 23, 2018
Today, City Council proclaimed May 30th to be Vanport Day of Remembrance.
Vanport was once Oregon’s second largest city and had a substantial African-American population. On May 30 – Memorial Day – 1948, the Columbia River levee surrounding Vanport broke, flooding and wiping out the city in less than an hour.
Today’s proclamation honors the survivors of Vanport and remembers the rich history of this often-forgotten chapter in Portland’s past. This is year we highlighted several important anniversaries:
• The 76th anniversary of Vanport’s construction in 1942.
• The 70th anniversary of the Vanport Flood on May 30, 1948.
• And the 50th anniversary of the federal Fair Housing Act.
Special thanks to Laura Lo Forti from Vanport Mosaic, local historian James Burke, and former Vanport residents Marge Moss White and Joyce Nelson for speaking today.
An exhibit of art by former Vanport resident Peggy Ball, titled “Beyond Vanport: Remembering Native North Portland” is on display through Friday, May 25th in the City Hall atrium.