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Vanport, Oregon

From Academic Kids

Vanport was a public housing project located between the contemporary Portland, Oregon city boundary and the Columbia River, contructed in 1943 to house the workers at the wartime shipyards in Portland and Vancouver, Washington. Because it was a federal project, it had no rules barring residence based on race, and was the largest unsegregated community in the state of Oregon at the time. At its height Vanport was home to 50,000 people.

Vanport came to a dramatic end at 4:05 p.m. on May 30, 1948, when a 200 foot section of the dike holding back the flooding Columbia River collapsed. Fifteen people died in the flood. The city was underwater by nightfall, leaving its inhabitants homeless. The Vanport Extension Center refused to close after this disaster, reopened in downtown Portland to be called by a national magazine "The College that Wouldn't Die", and became Portland State University.

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