Coming Off Vanport Bridge

The train in this image is at the Delta Park/Vanport station, and has reached the end of its running across the Vanport Bridge.  The next section of track will take it along ground-level private right of way to Expo Center.  As is the case with much of the history of MAX, there has been much planting of trees near the new route. 

The Vanport name honors the former city called that, once situated to the west of this location.  Vanport was built in response to the need for massive low-cost housing to support World War II industrial production.  Its elevation below that of the Columbia River doomed it to a massively destructive flood when a dike failed in 1948.  The community, population of over 18,000, mainly Black, was destroyed, less than a decade after it was created. 

The flood seems to be little-remembered in the greater flow of American history.  I first learned of it by listening -- without any choice in the matter -- to the often twisted commentary of a very loud passenger who was taking his initial tour of the Yellow Line, shortly after its opening, with his companion.  In this case he was mainly correct in his facts, as I later found out checking this and that on the Web. 

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