"Dikes are Safe at Present": The 1948 Columbia River Flood and the Destruction of Vanport

The Flood and the Exhibit

Columbia Flood Editorial Cartoon

Take a journey along the Columbia from The Dalles to Puget Island. It is late spring 1948 and it has been unusually wet this year, even for Oregon, but now it’s warming up and today looks like it’s going to be especially nice. Certainly several other communities along the river have flooded, but the Housing Authority has just assured Vanport City that they are on top of the situation. The dikes are safe. The situation is under control, so relax and enjoy the Memorial Day weekend...

This exhibit contains over 100 (re)discovered Columbia River flood photos from around western Oregon and examines the city it destroyed and the university that grew out of it. The exhibit highlights several rarely-seen photographs, documents, and ephemera.

Curated by Bryce Henry, Portland State University Archives, Summer 2011

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