Swan Island Airport, 1935

Portland’s main airport on Swan Island was only open a few years before it became obvious that the site offered little expansion room. The year after this 1935 photo, land was purchased along the Columbia River for a new airport. That airport, today’s PDX, opened in 1940, leaving Swan Island open for industrial development.

(City of Portland Archives)

10 thoughts on “Swan Island Airport, 1935

  1. Even though the new airport was open in 1940, my parents were flown to the Swan Island Airport in 1941 and picked up by police to rush them to St Vincent Hospital before my brother died.

  2. To clarify: They were flown from Bend to Swan Island where police rushed them to St Vincent Hospital to get there before my brother passed away. They made it in time, though he never regained consciousness.

  3. First exit after crossing the Fremont bridge,
    heading north on I-5,
    the Going street exit,
    heading west, drives right down to what use to be the island.

  4. The Swan Island Lagoon was a popular place for water skiing in the 1950’s and ’60’s. At night the harbor lights made it possible to ski at night.

  5. Swan Island became a peninsula circa 1927 to a) create a single navigation channel that did not require frequent dredging and b) to allow for the movement of construction equipment to build the Portland Airport (and subsequent Airport ground transportation. As an island, it split the flow of the Willamette River, slowing its waters down enough that it would drop some of its sediment load, creating a bar that hampered navigation.

    Latitude: 45.56
    Longitude: -122.71

  6. My dad flew off of Swan Island in the early days and happened to run into Pancho Barnes during a refueling stop while on one of her cross country jaunts.

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