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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.

Todd Clark - broker
Kastings & Associates
Phone: (503)524-9494
Fax: (503)622-8739

Todd Clark (Broker/Owner)
The Friendly Home Team
Realty Pro, Oregon LLC
Phone: (503)524-9494
Fax: (503)746-9573





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 I am a licensed Realtor who specializes in Washington County, Oregon and also work in both Clackamas and Multnomah Counties including the cities of Aloha, Beaverton, Canby, Clackamas, Gladstone, Gresham, Happy Valley, Hillsboro, Milwaukie, Oregon City, Sherwood and Tigard. All information contained in these posts are copyrighted and cannot be used without prior written approval authorization from the author me Todd Clark. If you are looking for an outstanding agent please give me a call I would love to help you with all your real estate needs.


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Comment balloon 6 commentsThe Friendly Home Team • 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) about 9 years ago


Thanks for the history lesson!!! Thanks,  Fran

Posted by Fran Gaspari, "The Title Man" - Title Insurance - PA & NJ (Patriot Land Transfer, Inc.) about 9 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) about 9 years ago

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

Posted by Debbie Summers (Charles Rutenberg Realty ) about 9 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) about 9 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, Regional Vice-President (Larry Bettag - Cherry Creek Mortgage) about 9 years ago

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