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A City Transformed

Vanport Mosaic commemorates 70 years since flood

5/22/2018, 5:51 p.m.
The Vanport Mosaic Festival is pulling out the stops for six days of activities that weave together fun, fascination, family ...
Laura Lo Forti (left) and Damaris Webb, co-organizers of the Vanport Mosaic Festival, pose outside the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center on North Interstate Avenue, showcasing one of the primary event venues for the annual celebration taking place this long Memorial Day weekend on the 70th anniversary of the Vanport Flood. The IFCC will host several exhibitions, like Vanport: The Surge of Social Change; Anywhere but Here: The History of Housing and Discrimination in Oregon; and Our City, Our Voice: Excavating Portland’s History through Art. A new play about displacement in Portland, “Left Hook,” will also make its world premiere at the IFCC on Thursday. Photo by Danny Peterson

Because it was Oregon’s first and biggest multi-racial community, Vanport’s destruction pushed African American families into a segregated Portland neighborhood called Albina and set up the racial dynamics we see today.

The list of Vanport Mosaic Festival 2018 events is long and varied, find it all online at vanportmosaic.org, follow the link at the top right hand of the homepage to “Festival 2018.”

Here are a few special events you shouldn’t miss:

* Lessons From Vanport and Katrina: a dialogue to create community resilience during extreme weather conditions. Vanport survivors will join city disaster officials, members of the houseless community and the public in an interactive forum on Monday, May 28 – 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the EXPO Center. Admission is free.

*Confluence Story Gathering. Guest speakers Tanna Engdahl, a Cowlitz spiritual leader; Se-h-dom Edmo (Shoshone-Bannock, Nez Perce, Yakama), the Movement building director for the Western States Center; and David Lewis, tribal historian and past manager of the Grand Ronde Cultural Resources Department screen oral histories from tribes along the Columbia and talk about why it’s important, on Sunday May 27, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center. Suggested contribution $10.

*Power to the People: Black Panther Party Legacy Tour of Albina. Join Kent Ford, founder of Portland's chapter of the 1960s-era black empowerment organization, for a walking tour in northeast Portland. Wear your walking shoes!

Saturday May 26, 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., Martin Luther King Jr. School: 4906 N.E. 6th Ave. Tickets are $10.

*Lost City, Living Memories: Vanport Through The Voices of Its Residents. Hear the stories of the dramatic events of May 30, 1948 directly from the people who lived it. This is a series of documentary short films of Vanport survivors produced by local community residents, and mentored by “story midwife” Laura Lo Forti. Portland State University Prof. James Harrison opens with a brief history of Vanport, and remarks by Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish. The screening is Monday, May 28, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the EXPO Center - 2060 N. Marine Dr. Admission is free.

Legacy of A Forgotten City - The Vanport Mosaic Festival 2017: https://vimeo.com/254799611