Artist Sarah S.Shay shared with us this beautiful painting she created in remembrance of the Vanport flood. You can buy a print at this link.
Here Sarah's thoughtful reflections:
I have lived in Oregon for about 15 years. However, I embarrassingly did not know *anything* about Vanport until about two years ago, and then learned more when OPB aired the Vanport documentary. I couldn't believe I hadn't heard about this, and that it wasn't more publicized. I'm from rural Pennsylvania, and our little town was flooded on several occasions, the Allegany River jumping the banks and completely flooding everything not on a hill. So, I grew up looking at old photos of people and their boats, ruined stores and houses...but that town still exists.
Vanport is one of those events that's, well, not just an event. It left me wondering how many other people here--in-and-around Oregon and beyond---had no idea what "Vanport" was. It wasn't an event, it was a community and work and a home for so many people. The tragedy of the flood and everything associated with that loss and deception somehow got named "Vanport," too. I was left questioning what other tragedies were named by their "home," like Columbine. I'm hopeful that the stories of Vanport as a home come out of art and stories and photos....While the flood definitely was a defining event, I would like to remember Vanport as I remember anyone else I loved who has been injured or who has passed: they have name, a story, and a relationship to so many people, some of whom never officially knew them.