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Our Mission


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Our Mission


 

OUR MISSION

 The Vanport Mosaic is a community-driven memory-activism platform that amplifies, honors, and preserves the silenced histories that surround us in order to understand our present and create a future where we all belong.

What began as a participatory oral history project in 2014, has evolved into a collective of memory activists that for the past three years have offered the Vanport Mosaic Festival and on-going programming, celebrating community histories through artistic and educational tributes.  Through theater, oral history recording and screenings, music, tours, exhibits, dialogues, we have been engaging Portlanders in stories of resistance and resilience from the multi-racial community in Vanport City; the rural town of Maxville; the Native American fishing site Celilo Falls; Nihonmachi, Portland’s Japantown, once the heart of the Japanese community in Oregon, erased by their forced removal in 1942; and Albina, the redlined NE Portland neighborhood where a tightly knit-black community moved in the Vanport Flood aftermath, destroyed by decades of disinvestment and by 1970s urban renewal.

We were awarded the Spirit of Portland Award, the Columbia Slough Watershed Council’s Achievement Award, and the Oregon Heritage Excellence Award.

 
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A Forgotten City


A Forgotten City


 

A FORGOTTEN CITY

At its peak with a population of 40,000, Vanport was Oregon’s second largest city.

The story of Vanport city is an essential and often forgotten chapter in Portland’s history. Built in 110 days in 1942, Vanport was meant to be a temporary solution to Portland’s housing shortage during WWII. On Memorial Day in 1948, one of the dikes surrounding Vanport broke, flooding the city and wiping it out in less than an hour.

 
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Celebrating the History


Celebrating the History


 

MEMORY ACTIVISM -

IN THESE TIMES OF COLLECTIVE AMNESIA, REMEMBERING IS AN ACT OF RESISTANCE.

Through oral history recording and documentaries screenings; theater, poetry and exhibits; presentations, tours and community gatherings, we

  •  amplify silenced histories and present a counter-narrative to monolithic and simplified official historical records by highlighting communities’ resilience and contributions to our City and State
  • present uncomfortable community histories through inclusive, accessible and welcoming initiatives. By building bridges, nurturing relationships, creating unexpected partnerships, breaking silos and overcoming divisiveness, we foster community connection.