This long-term, multi-phase project promotes awareness of the cultural history and significant natural resources of the former city of Vanport in north Portland, and recognizes the resilience of Portland’s Black community.
Awarded in fiscal year 2018/19, the Prosper Portland Community Livability Grant for the Vanport Placemarking Project funded 70% ($9,000) of a signage project on the site of the Vanport Flood, now the home of Portland International Raceway in North Portland (Interstate Corridor TIF district). The initial grant addressed the design, creation and installation of an informative sign as the first piece of the three-phase effort.
Project leaders persevered through nearly two years that encompassed both pandemic-related restrictions and complications from wildfires. They received two extensions before finally installing the first historic marker in June 2021, “Remembering Vanport, A Time of Change.” The sign is installed just inside the main gate at PIR and joins additional panels and banners that speak to Vanport’s significance and offer a cultural perspective of the surrounding neighborhoods.
Project spokeswoman Maryhelen Kincaid said, “In the end, we have a beautiful, historic marker that thousands of people will see and learn about Vanport. The most important thing, for me, is the collaboration of partners and the overall recognition of the importance of the site’s heritage and history.”