The public housing project Vanport, originally called Kaiserville, received its official
name in November 1942, taken from the two cities on either side of the Columbia
River—Vancouver and Portland. The first tenants arrived on December 12, 1942. It
was constructed to house wartime workers at the Kaiser Shipyards in Portland and Vancouver. Vanport was Oregon’s second largest city at the time with 40,000 people
and the largest housing project in the nation. The city was destroyed at 4:05 P.M. on Sunday May 30,1948, when a 200-foot section of a dike holding back the Columbia
River collapsed during a flood, killing 15 people.