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

Underwater Campus

The dike that let the water into Vanport

An aerial view, looking south toward Portland, of the broken dike that let the river into Vanport.

"The first, six-foot break soon widened to five hundred feet.  A ten-foot wall of water rushed through, sending spray fifty feet high as it met the waters of the low-lying sloughs.  The sloughs filled in about forty minutes.  The water then rose throughout the [Vanport housing] project, reaching to the second floor of the apartment buildings.  In a few hours, the city was dead."  (Gordon B. Dodds, The College That Would Not Die: The First Fifty Years of Portland State University)

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