Vanport, OR Dike Break and Flood, May 1948 - Vanport Destroyed
Mrs. Max Hansen was on the dike when it gave away.
"We parked our car below the dike and walked up the side through seepage water. Suddenly, there was a rumble and a section of the dike just slipped away. The water started pouring through it, covering our cars and many others.
"We ran to our house, got our children and a few things, and drove away as fast as we could. We beat the water to the apartment, but it was just behind us."
Mr. and Mrs. Dewey Miller were sitting on the sidewalk near the main Red Cross headquarters with their two small daughters and their dog. Mrs. Miller describes their flight.
"People came running by saying the water was coming. I screamed to Dewey. We only had time to pack four shopping bags, get the children and run down the highway. The water was right behind us. When I looked up the highway, there were people on the roof yelling for help and the house was floating."
Carl Brown, 24, Harper, Kan., was in the center of Vanport when the disaster siren blew.
"I went into the house and put on my hip boots. When I came out, the water was over the boottops."
Reports of looting during the night prompted Gov. John H. Hall to call out the Oregon national guard to help other enforcement agencies suppress lawlessness.
Before the Vanport catastrophe, floods throughout the northwest had inflicted approximately $30,000,000 damage to crops, industry, and property, and took a toll of at least 22 lives in Washington, British Columbia, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
Greensboro Record, Greensboro, NC 31 May 1948