Living Beaverton - Your guide to everything Beaverton


Swan Island – Has no swans and isn’t an island, what is up with that?

Well, I've lived in Oregon my whole life and it is true, if you head down to Swan Island, you aren't going to see any swans, and you won't be on an island. I do suggest if you want to see some swans there are some great places in the Milwaukie area that have some.

But, back to the island that isn't an island. You see in Swan Island used to be an island until the 20s when they filled in the space between the island and the neighborhood to make them connect. I'm guessing that was so they wouldn't have to build a massive expensive bridge.

Photo courtesy of Google Maps

You see, Swan Island was where the original Portland Airport was located and sometime during the 20s it was dedicated by Charles Lindbergh. It was later converted to a naval shipyard during World War II. Even today, if you head down to the Northwest end of the island, you can still see Naval ships on the docks being repaired from time to time. Most of Swan Island is now industrial, but the Navy still does have an outpost there.

Picture found at Historical Society

As for how it got its name? I can't find anyone who seems to know and even the historical society wasn't exactly sure. But they are guessing at one time swans may have actually been a regular sighting off the island before the airport was there.


Respect Realty LLC (Expect More)


At Respect Realty, LLC our agents believe in 100% dedication to client satisfaction.  We specialize in property and land acquisition around the Portland Metro and Vancouver, WA area. We delight in working with first time home buyers and sellers to guide them from start to finish. Our doors are always open and we are always happy to assist you with your real estate questions.


Reach out today, we look forward to talking with you!


Todd Clark and Seraina Aguayo (Owners of Respect Realty)

Respect Realty LLC (Expect More)



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Comment balloon 6 commentsRespect Realty LLC • December 30 2008 10:44AM


Hey Todd, during the war, my dad worked at the shipyard across the river, Vanport, that doesn't even exist any more. Nice little history lesson. Thanks.

Posted by Fred Chamberlin, Oak Harbor/Whidbeynulls, #1 Experienced FHA Mortgage Consultant (Guild Mortgage Co - Oak Harbor WA) over 10 years ago


Thanks for the history lesson!!! Thanks,  Fran

Posted by Fran Gaspari, "The Title Man" - Title Insurance - PA & NJ (Patriot Land Transfer, Inc.) over 10 years ago


You are the history buff.


Tom Braatz

Posted by Tom Braatz Waukesha County Real Estate 262-377-1459, Waukesha County Realtor Real Estate agent. SOLD! (Coldwell Banker) over 10 years ago

Todd - Island today... gone tomorrow.  Very interesting stuff!  Love the old photo too.

Posted by Debbie Summers (Charles Rutenberg Realty ) over 10 years ago

I love reading stuff like that. We have three "islands" here -- Coronado Island, Harbor Island, and Shelter Island, none of which are islands anymore. They used to just be sand spits and sand bars until the uber rich and the hotels decided that they would make nice locations to build on.

Best wishes for health, happiness, peace, and prosperity in 2009.

Posted by Jim Frimmer, Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist (HomeSmart Realty West) over 10 years ago

Funny in humor, but sad in state.  There's a place up where we vacation that is similar and has really just morphed into a shipping dump. 

Posted by Larry Bettag, Vice-President of National Production (Cherry Creek Mortgage Illinois Residential Mortgage License LMB #0005759 Cherry Creek Mortgage NMLS #: 3001) over 10 years ago

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