A worthy research rabbit hole: Brian’s Mysterious Vanport Survivor

We’ve been down enough amazing research rabbit holes to recognize a special gem when we see one.

This spring, AH friend Brian Burk completed a research odyssey that turned up fascinating clues about the Vanport flood, an extinct airfield, daredevil pilot Tex Rankin, and one particular old barn and house, all of it centered on North Portland’s Delta Park. He calls it A Mysterious Vanport Survivor. Truly worth 15 minutes of your time. Note that you have to scroll down from the main page to see all the good stuff.

Brian’s multi-media website weaves all these pieces together artfully—along with his history detective narrative —to provide a lens that will change the way you look at a local landscape and history you thought you knew.

Brian is a multi-media journalist, born and raised in Northeast Portland, who loves documenting the beauty of the world and its people through still and moving images. You can see more of his work here.

8 responses

  1. Great work, Brian. It would be great if we had all these histories geolocated. I use PortlandMaps & Multco SAIL alot but it is like pulling a loose thread: you never know where the fabric will be disturbed. You went looking for a barn and found an airfield on the opposite side of the property.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this photographic research project. It was so well done. The research, the photography and the presentation were excellent.

    • The landing screen might make it not completely apparent that the trick–while you are watching the video loop–is to scroll down to engage the content…no need to sign in.

  3. Thanks, Doug. Judi’s father Harold Potter worked for Park Bureau as maintenance guy based out of the Delta Park shop for many years. One of her best friends lived in the house. When Angie DiSalvo left World Forest Institute and went to Parks, her new office was in the house. We visited and laughed at the closets without doors, and bathroom Judi remembered. Angie had planted an experimental fruit tree trial plot in the yard.

  4. Wow! I enjoyed reading Brian’s research and experiencing the visuals. I wonder if Brian might be interested in reading some of the research that has been posted to the Piedmont Neighborhood Association website? For example, here is a link that talks about Dick Rankin operating an air taxi service in 1932, and Tex Rankin passing in 1947, which is interesting, given that Dick and Lillian Rankin became owners of that property the same year: https://piedmontneighborhood.com/2017/10/20/rankin-airport-1930-1933/#more-1446

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