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

The Flood at Vanport

Map of Vanport City and VEC

This building map shows the extent of the city of Vanport, Oregon, as well as a guide to Vanport College buildings.

A railroad track supported by a dike ran along Vanport's west border, near the VEC campus buildings.  On the morning of May 30, 1948, during the Memorial Day holiday weekend, Portland housing authority officials delivered flyers to Vanport residents to assure them that they would not be in danger despite the rising river waters: "DIKES ARE SAFE AT PRESENT.  YOU WILL BE WARNED IF NECESSARY.  YOU WILL HAVE TIME TO LEAVE.  DON'T GET EXCITED."

The dike gave way that afternoon.

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