West Delta Park, 1968

Aerial of the West Delta Park site looking west, 1968. This image shows the site of the former City of Vanport before it was developed into today’s Portland International Raceway and Heron Lakes Golf Course.


City of Portland (OR) Archivse, A2001-035.20.


View this image in Efiles by clicking here.

13 thoughts on “West Delta Park, 1968

  1. there are two or three vehicles in front of the little white building and the road through the area goes right to it. Must be a work, meeting building.

  2. Mike: It looks to me like there are straw or alfalfa bails behind the building and ground around there looks to have tractor tracks on it; in fact, that might be a tractor parked in front of the building. There might also be beehives out there as well but, it’s hard to tell.

    That quite a long train in the photo also but I can’t say if it’s headed North or South, as the single-engine seen in the photo might be at the back end of the train pushing from the rear, with two engines in front that we just can’t see; I have no idea…

  3. In 1968 we went out here to visit a friend of ours who worked as a DJ at KVAN. The studio was in an old two-story cement “bunker”-looking building. I was trying to see it in this picture, but I can’t figure out where it was. Anyone know? Might be close to those broadcast towers in the upper right?

  4. @Debby: I think the building you are referring to housed the electronics for the transmitter. It was located closer to the Expo Center and would be in the lower right corner if this photo was much larger. As it sits, this photo is too far to the west to show it.

  5. You can see where the old antenna was in this Google view.
    You can see where that building was if you follow that old road north from the antenna, to where it T’s off to the right/left.

  6. Debby
    If you look at the VP photo from December 19, 2019 in the lower portion of the photo you will see the 2 story building you visited. This building was demolished about 2005, and the radio towers came down about 2002.

  7. Very interesting photo. I’ve ridden my bike a lot on the Slough Trail that follows Columbia Slough and the trail that parallels N. Portland Rd, and have tried to imagine what the area looked like before the current state of development. There now is a closed paved road that goes west from near where the two railroad tracks join and heads west toward Marine Dr. It is still open to cars at the west end to Marine Dr. and provides access to the Smith Lake canoe launch area. There now are railroad tracks going west from the rail junction in the photo toward Terminal 6 and the Rivergate industrial area as well. I had no idea that the road and rail development was so recent.

    The area where the two tracks join in the 1968 photo with the little white building is the area where the railroad fill failed in 1948, allowing flood swollen Smith Lake to reclaim Vanport. Note that there are fewer and smaller trees on the repaired railroad fill in that area twenty years after the event.

    Another feature in the ’68 photo is the small white building in the lower left corner on the edge of the dike. It is a pumping station that drains the PIR area and is still functional today and visible from the Slough Trail that runs on top of that dike. It was probably installed by Kaiser to de-water Vanport.

    Thanks again for posting the informative photo.

  8. Just to set the record straight. The two tall towers just south of the Expo center belonged to KGW AM 620 radio and were dismantled in the year 2000. KVAN (AM 1480) had a studio and tower in 1968 at Jantzen Beach (near where the mall went in). Then later next to North Portland Road where the Columbia slough flows thru (towards upper left of original picture above). More detail (and probably more than you would ever want to know about KVAN) is here, https://feedback.pdxradio.com/forums/topic/kvan-the-mono-maniacs-mrs-murphy-amp-more/

  9. Wow! What a trip down Memory Lane – from the day you got your first transistor radio, station loyalty was born, ha. I don’t imagine kids of today have the same kind of feelings for their local stations and DJs. I’m glad I got to experience that time. Thank you, Dan!

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