Vanport, 1948

Oregon is home to many archives, most rich with collections documenting Oregon’s history. In order to highlight some of these collections containing Portland-area images, Vintage Portland has invited photo submissions from other archives within the region. Today’s photo and text is provided by the Multnomah County Archives.

Scenes from Vanport after the flood of 1948 from the records of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.
Vaport, 1948
Vanport, 1948


Access the Multnomah County Archives by clicking here.

Westside Seawall Sandbagging, 1948

Pedestrians along the westside seawall check out river levels during the 1948 flood. A little farther north city crews are hard at work continuing sandbagging operations to prevent flooding along SW Harbor Drive. This view is looking north from the Morrison Bridge sidewalk.

A1999-004.1024 Flood control sandbagging seawall and Morrison Bridge 1948(City of Portland Archives)

Guild’s Lake Area Floods, 1948

This very detailed aerial view looks down on west side flood waters in the Guild’s Lake area of Northwest Portland during the spring 1948 flood. It also gives a great view of the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway yards between Front and Yeon Avenues, including the turntable at the bottom. The Kaiser shipbuilding yard on Swan Island is visible in extreme upper right.

(City of Portland Archives)

NW Hoyt & 3rd, 1948

Sandbags formed a temporary dike to try to control water during the 1948 flood. This view looks southeast along the railroad tracks at Union Station from about NW Hoyt & 3rd Avenue. The partial building at far right was attached to the back of the extant fire station on Glisan and the ramp in the background leads to the Steel Bridge. You can see an aerial view of this area during the same flood in this earlier Vintage Portland post.

(City of Portland Archives)

West Side Waterfront, 1948

Vanport City wasn’t the only flood worry in 1948 (see yesterday’s post). City crews seen here were busy sandbagging along Portland’s west side sea wall two days before the Vanport disaster. Downtown was spared but some areas on both sides of the river weren’t so lucky. Here’s what it looked like a little downriver at the Broadway Bridge.

(City of Portland Archives)

Vanport City Flood, 1948

It was 64 years ago today that a railroad berm at the western end of Vanport City gave way under a heavy spring snow melt runoff allowing waters from Smith Lake and the Columbia River to inundate the area. This photo shows the aftermath of the devastation from roughly the same position as this earlier Vintage Portland entry.

(City of Portland Archives)