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Achieving College Status

The road to college status was a long-nine years-and filled with political potholes. In fact, shortly after the Memorial Day flood destroyed the Vanport Extension Center, Paul C. Packer, chancellor of the Oregon State System of Higher Education, suggested closing the facility completely.

Richard Neuberger, Oregon state senator, championed a four-year college in Portland.

Richard Neuberger, Oregon state senator, championed a four-year college in Portland. 

But the fledging institution also had strong advocates fighting for its survival-students, faculty, community members, and politicians. Among them was Richard Neuberger, who remained a champion of a four-year public college in Portland throughout his distinguished political career, which led to a seat in the United States Senate. Even before the 1948 flood, the journalist and state legislator told a Vanport student assembly that it made little sense that the state's largest institutions of higher education should be in the small towns of Eugene and Corvallis. In fact, Portland was the largest metropolitan area in the United States without a public four-year college.