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Children from Vanport
The Skanner News
Published: 03 July 2014

PHOTOS: Vanport children and photo of the flood courtesy of The Oregon Historical Society

The ongoing project to collect stories about the devastating catastrophe that shaped Portland’s Black community -- the Vanport flood – is rolling out an exciting media education project open to local residents.

Laura Lo Forti, a local creative projects consultant, will direct the North Portland Multimedia Training Center project to collect stories from Vanport survivors.

This has been an ongoing project of NPMTC since 2011 to document the stories of life and survival in Vanport as told by the people who lived there and their families.

Grants from the Meyer Memorial Trust, the Oregon Community Foundation, and the Multnomah County Cultural Coalition made it possible to extend the project through 2014 and hire a project consultant to help collect, present, and archive interviews with Vanport survivors.

With Lo Forti’s history and experience directing life-story workshops around the world, she brings a new approach and focus to the project emphasizing the art of story gathering.

“The stories exist already within each individual,” she said during a recent interview with Ochre, a digital publication that profiled Lo Forti’s agency, A Fourth Act.

“I facilitate the process of expressing them. Technology aside, that happens every time you sit with someone and listen with empathy.”

Lo Forti has created a Vanport Multimedia Project Facebook page to promote the project,  earning hundreds of followers within hours.

Free story gathering workshops are offered in July and include: training in video and audio recording to capture the interviews, and editing skills necessary to produce multimedia stories. The free weekend workshops begin July 12 extending to July 27 with a break in-between for filming/recording interviews.

The commitment is around 32 hours of workshop time plus 5-10 additional hours for filming outside the classroom. For registration and more information visit http://vanportmultimediaproject.tumblr.com/apply .

NPMTC is a project of The Skanner Foundation, est. 1993 as the non-profit entity of The Skanner News Group to further education among African Americans.  For more information about NPMTC visit www.npmtc.org.  

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