07-20-2017  9:50 am      •     
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NEWS BRIEFS

APANO: Cultural Series Launches with Solidarity Film Screening

"American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs" screens on July 25 at North Portland Library ...

National Hunger Hotline Seeks to Reach More Children in Need

Callers can locate summer meals sites for kids, food pantries, and other meals programs near them ...

ICS Announces New Executive Director

Lisa LeSage has been named the new Executive Director of Immigration Counseling Service ...

Portland Parks, Comcast Present 'Summer Free For All' Kickoff

'Free Lunch + Play' program expects to distribute more than 110,000 free lunches to Portland youth ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Throw the Doors of Opportunity Wide Open for Our Youth

Congressional Black Caucus member Robin Kelly says it’s time to pass the “Today’s American Dream Act.” ...

Trump’s Proposed Budget Cuts Threaten Civil Rights

Charlene Crowell of the Center for Responsible Lending talks about the impact of President Trump’s budget on civil rights...

Nooses on National Mall Echo Domestic Terrorism

Lauren Victoria Burke reports on a series of domestic terrorist attacks across the U.S ...

White House Proposes $9.2 Billion Cut in Education Funding

Charlene Crowell of the Center for Responsible Lending writes about the rising costs of higher education ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT

Vanport

At 4:05 p.m. on May 30, 1948, a dike failed in the city of Vanport, Oregon situated on lowlands between the Portland and the Columbia River. The ensuing flood swamped the federal housing project, claiming 15 lives and leaving 40,000 citizens homeless.

Last spring, The Skanner Foundation released “The Wake of Vanport,” a very informative documentary about the incident composed of the riveting recollections of survivors of the Memorial Day disaster. Now we have “The Wake of Vanport 2,” the second installment in the ongoing historical project designed to preserve exactly what transpired that fateful afternoon from a variety of different perspectives.

Among the welcome additions to the mix is Betty Deulen, who was 11 at the time of the tidal wave. She recounts how she rushed home to save her parents and young sisters as soon as the dam failed. Her family didn't have a car, so they ended up escaping aboard a bus.

Curnel Waldren, who moved to town at the age of 6 or 7, waxes romantic about the freedom he enjoyed while growing up in Vanport. However, he did dislike the fact that they had no air conditioning so he had to suffer on those hot, hazy, humid summer days.

In terms of the flood, Curnel remembers that the hastily-constructed housing units had been built on poor foundations. Consequently, most folks "lost just about everything they had" in the deluge. Nevertheless, he says the tragedy brought out the best in some people.

Melvin Osbeck was a teenager who drove with friends from southeast Portland to assist during the calamity. He recollects finding a sort of "organized confusion" about how to stem the overflowing water. He was asked to fill sandbags but was also warned to be careful to avoid sinkholes which could very easily sweep him away to his death.

In his video memoir, John Beverage (Brother of Betty Deulen) talks about how much he appreciated moving to Vanport in 1943 since until then he'd been raised on his grandfather's farm without electricity or running water. He soon became a paperboy, saving up to buy himself a bike by selling copies of the Oregon Journal. As far as May 30 of '48, what sticks in his mind is how numerous residents ignored "the wail of the sirens" as well as how the residences would float away after being engulfed in by four feet of water.

The final chapter of this episode revolves around Dorothy and Hurtis Hadley, a couple that's been happily married for more than 50 years and counting. Dorothy's father had worked in the nearby Naval shipyard before send bus tickets for his wife and kids to join him. Hurtis arrived at the age of 2 but was 6 yearsold and flying a kite the day the dike overflowed.

The two go on to recount how they started dating, with Dorothy stealing her future hubby from a girlfriend while he was playing sax for a popular local band called The Fabulous Majestics. However, Hurtis would eventually switch careers and successfully open up his very own bakery.

In sum, kudos to the producers for another fascinating collection of tributes to a beloved hometown that could have just as easily been forgotten forever after being wiped off the map in a flash.

 

Excellent ★★★★

Unrated

Running time: 37 minutes

Distributor: The Skanner Foundation

To attend the premiere of "The Wake of Vanport 2" in Portland, Oregon on Sun, November 20 at 4:30 PM, click here

Oregon Lottery PM Home (2)
Calendar
Carpentry Professionals

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events

The Skanner Photo Archives