Other class-based disasters in history

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Other class-based disasters in history

Postby heyjt » Fri Sep 02, 2005 1:23 pm

The small city of Vanport sat on the banks of the Columbia river near Portland Oregon. Originally built to house shipyard workers in WW2, by 1948 it was in disrepair and many of the jobs had run out. Nearly the entire population was black, and the town was destroyed by a breach in a dike. <br> Here's a snip from "The Portland Tribune" 10-17-03, authored by Joe Uris:<br><br> Housing for huge numbers of new workers would be a challenge for so closed a town. And black people would be part of the shipyards' giant new work force.<br> Portland responded by creating the Housing Authority of Portland. It was planned that the new population would be temporary. Within two years, Vanport, the second-largest city in Oregon and the largest public housing project in the nation, was built on the flood plain to the north of Portland (where Delta Park is today).<br> At the shipyards, African-Americans were kept in the lowest-paying, least pleasant jobs. They were excluded from full union membership. Indeed, the Portland local (Local <!--EZCODE EMOTICON START 8) --><img src=http://www.ezboard.com/images/emoticons/glasses.gif ALT="8)"><!--EZCODE EMOTICON END--> of the traditionally democratic and left-leaning International Longshore Workers Union denied African-Americans full membership until legal action and threats of pickets forced a change in the late 1960s.<br> When the war ended, Vanport continued on, a city of the poor. In 1948, Vanport disappeared, flooded when the Columbia River dike broke. Many survivors of that calamity are convinced that if not planned, the flood was allowed to happen. Local African-American folklore has it that many African-Americans died in the flood, unacknowledged and forgotten.<br> The Vanport flood brought a new population of black people into the city itself. While many left, thousands stayed. Because of redlining and other forms of residential segregation, the black community was now a well-defined enclave with a population density six times that of the rest of the city. There, near the Broadway Bridge and north, along where Interstate 5 now runs and on the streets around Williams, Russell and Vancouver Avenue, a lively community grew.<br> Harshly policed and with an economy supplemented by tolerated and controlled vice, a neighborhood of small businesses, churches and social life emerged. This largely segregated but vibrant black area was soon to be eliminated.<br> • By the early '60s, a significant part of the community was leveled for the Memorial Coliseum.<br> • Then the building of the Minnesota (Interstate 5) Freeway corridor destroyed a huge part of what was left.<br> • In 1970, the Portland Development Commission dealt a major blow by tearing down 33 blocks for the planned, but never built, Emanuel Hospital Urban Renewal Project. The heart of the architecturally rich and culturally complex community of Albina was eviscerated.<br> <br> And here is a link to an exellent pictoral, hope it works:<br> www.universitypark.org/vanport/ <br><br> It has long been rumored that Vanport was allowed to be destroyed. Are we seeing a pattern here? What can we learn from other such events that can help us understand or predict what is going on right now? <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p216.ezboard.com/brigorousintuition.showUserPublicProfile?gid=heyjt>heyjt</A> at: 9/2/05 1:13 pm<br></i>
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