Flood Waters on NW Front, 1948

Another image of the May 1948 flood that swamped many low lying areas along Portland’s waterfront. This photo looks north along NW Front from under the Steel Bridge ramp. Union Station is to the left and the Broadway Bridge in the background. The industrial property along the right was decades away from becoming McCormick Pier Condos.

A1999-004.1002 Flood control   looking north from Steel Bridge including W. E. Whitcomb and Commissioner William E. Bowes 1948(City of Portland Archives)

19 thoughts on “Flood Waters on NW Front, 1948

  1. If it were not for the Bonneville, The Dalles, Mc Nary, and John Day . Portland would be looking at this about every ten years or so..

  2. How fitting that the gentleman at the center-right is wearing a straw boater. It’s good for him the flood didn’t happen after labor day.

  3. Bonneville and The Dalles dam are run of the river dams no storage capacity. The dams in Canada are the dams with the storage

  4. Is that for some kind of cross-body draw? Seems like an easy way to get shot with your own weapon in a hand to hand combat situation though.

  5. mike is right about bonneville and the dalles, more important is detroit and green peter on the santiam and middle fork willamette along with several others in the willamette drainage. take a drive to detroit after labor day when they drain it. now imagine if all that had been on top of crest of ’96 flood..

  6. Ben, for obvious reasons, that joke fails on every level; logically, thematically and grammatically.

    Seriously, dude. This isn’t the place for that.

  7. @ Mike and Bruce – Although the dams on the Willamette river system have helped somewhat.You both are completely wrong about the storage capacity in the pools behind Bonneville and The Dalles Dams. Just in those two pools, (lakes) alone the Water Capacity amounts are huge compared to anything in the Willamette River System.. Just a couple of simple facts: The Willamette river only accounts for 12 to 15 percent of the Columbia Rivers flow. The Willamette River drains a region of 11,478 square miles. The Columbia River drains a region of 258,000 square miles. Lake Bonneville Capacity 537,000 acre·ft., Lake Celilo 330,000 acre·ft., Detroit Lake 455,000 acre·ft., Green Peter Dam 312,500 acre·ft .
    (just for some further perspective) McNary Dam’s Lake Walula 1,350,000 acre·ft., John Day Dam’s Lake Umatilla 2,530,000 acre·ft .

  8. No joke. I was a cop 25 years. Cops are people too and display clues about themselves, even while in uniform.

  9. My Grandfather was with the Corp of Army Engineers for many years, He worked on Bonneville, The Dalles, Lookout Point, Dexter, Hills Creek and a little on Green Peter. When I was a kid I used to spend a month or more with my grandparents each summer. My Grandfather used to take me to work with him some days and I enjoyed every minute of it. The blasting, the big equipment and all the hustle and bustle was a boys dream come true in the 50’s-early 60’s time frame. I still cherish those days and I am truly saddened that kids nowadays cannot experience the things I did due to liability lawyers and political correctness(an oxymoron in itself).

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