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Vanport Mosaic Pivots to Virtual

Updated: Aug 15, 2023

Saturday event honors 72nd anniversary of flood

Flooded apartments during the Vanport Flood of 1948. (Photo courtesy of Oregon Historical Society)

The Vanport Mosaic Festival hosts a virtual day of remembrance on Saturday, May 30, inviting the community to join them for an on-line special program on the anniversary of the Memorial Day Flood of 1948, a calamity that destroyed Vanport, a racially diverse community adjacent to Portland that housed thousands of workers during World War II.

This year marks the 5th annual Vanport Mosaic Festival, a series of events to amplify, honor, present and preserve the silenced histories of Portland’s past in order to understand our present and create a future where everyone belongs.

But this year, programs that would normally be held at sites in north and northeast Portland with rich and invisible and intangible histories are not happening as originally planned because of the social distancing requirements of the coronavirus pandemic and the need to prevent the spread of the disease, officials said.

Instead online platforms are being generated to advance the Mosaic Festival’s purpose this year and inspire the community to grapple with critical questions of identity, justice and survival.

On Saturday, for example, the special Vanport Day of Remembrance, will be presented for viewing live on the Internet from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The program will include special presentations, screenings of oral histories and music, poetry and interactive conversations. The event also will be archived to watch at any time. To make the online connection and learn more about other festival events, visit

During its short life span (1942-1948) Vanport was Oregon’s second largest city and the nation’s largest public housing project. When the Columbia River flooded on May 30, 1948, Memorial Day, the entire city was erased from the map.

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