14 thoughts on “Vanport Apartments, circa 1943

  1. Do you suppose George Buckler had a pretty sweet contract to build government housing for the war effort? Vanport was established as housing for the shipyard workers.
    Many companies in Portland providing important war munitions were exempt from the draft, as was my grandfather, manufacturing calcium carbide/acetylene gas for Kaiser shipyards to keep Rosie Riveters’ torches burning.

  2. Actually, a few units were moved before the flood when residency after the war fell off. But I don’t think they went to Portland. About 1,000 I think. But that was only about 10%. And some were demolished even before the flood.
    There’s a great book about the whole history of Vanport City, Vanport by Manly Maden.

  3. This picture is probably taken from the dike that gave way. You would think that the water came in from the North or Columbia side. But Vanport was flooded from the West (NW) along the N. Portland Rd. railroad dike. That pushed all of the building East (SE) and stacked them up along the Denver/Interestate Ave. corner.

  4. Back in the 1970’s/1980’s when we were students at the U of O in Eugene, we were told that the Amazon student family housing was made from houses from Vanport.
    I believe the passage below (from the “History” section on U/O student housing, URL below) corroborates what we were told:

    “Columbia (Columbia St.) and Amazon (22nd and Patterson) housing projects were created for the large population of post-World War II married students in 1947. Many of these units were shipped and reconstructed from Portland area WWII shipyard worker housing. Amazon Housing was demolished in 1995 after failed attempts to save the complex and list it as a National Register Historic Site.”

  5. In the spring of 1948, my parents moved from Vanport to the U of O, and by 1949 were living in the Amazon project. The Amazon buildings didn’t come from Vanport–they look quite different (and at least as of 2009, there were still some in south Eugene)–but from some other Portland-area wartime housing project.

  6. Similar were built north of Milwaukie on 99E, some of these were moved and still exist on 32nd north of Harrison. I wonder if the ones on Holcomb Road in Oregon City may be from the Milwaukie project. Others built in the Guilds Lake project were no doubt moved and reused.

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