The Vanport Flood of May 30, 1948, was the most grave natural disaster that Portland has ever faced. The Columbia River broke through a railroad embankment and inundated Vanport, which was the second largest city in Oregon at the time.
The flood left approximately 18,000 people homeless. The community was not rebuilt Instead, the area became Delta Park where the Portland International Raceway (PIR) and a golf course were located.
The early G.I. Joe’s of which my dad was a part owner (before he bought the business in 1952), was situated on N. Vancouver Avenue in the flooded area, but on higher ground. The store supplied sleeping bags and other useful merchandise to the Red Cross to aid the flood victims.
There is a chapter in Growing Up With G.I. Joe’s that focuses on the 1948 Flood with photos of Vanport apartment buildings floating in disarray. It is with a sad heart that I think back on that day.
The photo above is of that first G.I. Joe’s in tents that opened in 1948.
Check out Ron Menconi’s article in the May/June 2017 Sports Insight Magazine issue. It is titled, “How Stores Can Thrive in a Tough Retail Environment.”
I enjoyed the insightful article, especially when he was bringing up ideas that G.I. Joe’s executed well!
Here is a link: http://reader.mediawiremobile.com/formula4/issues/201010/viewer?page=12
David (Corky) Orkney zoomed off to the great beyond (can’t you just imagine him driving his blue Carrera Porsche) in sync with his Celebration of Life Service just a year ago today. That is because the celebration took place in a large white tent, just like a G.I. Joe’s Chalet at one of the many car races that Joe’s sponsored.
Many thanks to Mike Nealy of Global Events for creating the races ambience, including serving hot dogs and hamburgers at the reception. I know Corky would have loved it!
Photo is of display at the reception after the service. My mom, Charm Halligan is pictured in the middle photo receiving an award along with Corky.
Thanks to John, Mike Fitzhugh, Ed Darnell, and Carl Leach for identifying the location of the mystery store as Hayden Meadows in Delta Park in North Portland. The clincher was decipering the Sleep Train store sign located to the left of G.I. Joe’s, which you can see here from an enlargement of part of the store photo. Also note the boats for sale in front of Joe’s. What a great place for boat sales so close to the Columbia!
As John says in his comment to GrowingUpWithGIJoes.com, the store was on N. Hayden Meadows Drive and it is now the location of Dick’s. John says that Fisherman’s Marine is now located in the former Sleep Train store. Hmm…obviously it takes two other stores to even begin to match one G.I. Joe’s store!
Dad ran this small advertisement for G.I. surplus sleeping bags in The Oregonian classifieds in the early 1950s.
Photo was taken in 1998. Here is a possible clue of the location from a close-up of the SUV’s license plate.
Here is the photo before it was cropped to fit the banner space.
Answer: It is the Oak Grove Store on McLaughlin Blvd. It was built in 1972.