Wednesday, April 23, 2014


North Portland's Delta Park / Vanport MAX station features a number of steel tent-like shapes next to the platform stairs. These are collectively known as Vanport, and they're one of the public art installations at this stop:

This storm water swale treats water collected from the bridge and parking lot. The three Corten roof sculptures refer to the Vanport flood,

Michael Creger for bronze storm drain scupper on wall.
It's fair to say this is one of the more downbeat public artworks around town, focusing as it does on the deadly 1948 Vanport Flood. TriMet's Yellow Line art guide elaborates further:
Linda Wysong addresses the area's layered history with an emphasis on the city of Vanport, a large wartime housing project swept away by the flood of 1948.
  • CorTen steel sculptures recall rooftops adrift in the 1948 floodwaters.
  • Remnants from a Vanport foundation are set into the sidewalk.
  • A bronze railing features cast artifacts from the Chinookan culture, Vanport and the Portland International Raceway.
  • A cast-bronze scupper channels stormwater into the bioswale below.
  • Community maps overlay the current Delta Park site onto the city grid of Vanport, and show the location of the station within the local river systems.
  • Works by Douglas Lynch and Timothy Scott Dalbow are reproduced in porcelain enamel on steel.

Wysong also created a number of other things we've seen here before: Shifting Assets along the Springwater Corridor; and Portals and Eye River, near the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge, north of OMSI. Several of those pieces have water themes as well. She also created Waterline elsewhere at the Vanport MAX station, which will be the s

I should point out that the Yellow Line opened in 2004, a year before Hurricane Katrina. That, and not the Vanport flood, is probably the event that comes to mind now when you think of floodwaters and rooftops. If, by chance, the line had been delayed, or the hurricane had come a year earlier, this sculpture might have been considered sort of, I dunno, insensitive.

No comments :