Rankin Airport, 1930

Today was have a photograph of the Rankin Airstrip during the construction phase on N Union Ave near N Columbia St. The inscription written on the back of the image stated, “Plane and hangar 1930. While construction and grading was going on.”


Rankin Airport construction, 1930 : A2004-002.2073

Rankin Airport construction, 1930 : A2004-002.2073


View this image in Efiles by clicking here.

15 thoughts on “Rankin Airport, 1930

  1. It appears that this view is to the north towards the Columbia River Slough levee. We could assume that this site would have been heavily damaged during the 1948 flood that destroyed nearby Vanport city

  2. A meandering search led me to”Dirt Track auto racing 1919-1941″, which said Rankin Track was also known as Rankin Field, and eventually as Portland Speedway. If you look close at the photo, there’s a car up on the “dike”, so my guess is that you are looking at the west side of the Union Avenue berm behind those sheds, just north of where Gertz Rd. drops off the berm (Go rumblefish!)…

  3. Yep, I think lefty (and rumblefish) is right. This was the site of Portland Speedway. In the upper photo on page 11 of a book on Portland Speedway, there’s a photo looking northeast across the track at the wood fence that had been built along MLK (Union), and behind the fence is a row of trees that looks almost an exact match to the ones shown in the photo above (though perhaps a bit taller as the photo is from 1941). The giveaway is the gap between the far left-hand tree and the rest of the row, but the rest of them match very closely as well. That would locate the photo above pretty much exactly where lefty describes it.

  4. Actually, looking again at the photo in the book I linked to, It looks to be closer to due east (rather than northeast as i said), looking diagonally across the NW/SE axis of the track.

  5. So another airport was in Portland before Swan Island and PDX. I’ve always been interested in Portland’s aviation history. I read somewhere once that the main airfield in the Portland area was somewhere in Eastmoreland or Westmoreland before the city got Swan Island built. Is that correct and was it a passenger facility? I know that mail was more of a thing for airlines in the beginning, with passengers as an afterthought. I’ve always been curious as to where the first main Portland Airport was before Swan Island. Maybe Rankin had some airlines? Anyone know? Thanks if you do!

  6. Ooops! 1930 wasn’t before Swan Island… Still it’s really neat that North and Northeast Portland and Vancouver were pretty big magnets for airport-building back then. With now 4 airports near the Columbia/Willamette confluence

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