MAPPING THE MEMORIES OF A WATERSHED
My work centers on the historic town of Vanport, Oregon, a WWII-era worker housing development built in a floodplain of the Columbia River. Vanport was flooded in 1948; 18,000 people were displaced, 15 were killed, and no trace of the town remains today. In my work, I listen for the musical and sonic echoes of Vanport as preserved in the archives and as remembered by survivors, their descendants, and the larger community today. By mapping the shifting river and the effects of river management policies from the 1890s to the present, I aim to trace the ways in which Vanport was made possible and made vulnerable by its proximity to the Columbia River. I want to better understand why Vanport existed and why Vanport was destroyed and to connect this work to larger public conversations about gentrification, displacement, disaster preparedness, and environmental racism in the United States, particularly in the Pacific Northwest.