When the United States Exploring Expedition of Charles Wilkes mapped the Oregon Territory in 1841, they referred to this spot as Oak Island, and later Willow Island.
It was an actual island until the 1920s, when it was connected to the east bank of the Willamette River by landfill, in preparation for further development. In the 1930s Swan Island was the site of Portland's first airport; during World War II it was used for shipbuilding.
Swan Island is currently the site of steel and truck manufacturing; U.S. Coast Guard, Navy, and Marine bases; major shipping hubs for United Parcel Service and Federal Express; and the North American headquarters of Daimler Trucks. It also continues to serve as one of the largest dry docks on the west coast.
In this series of black-and-white photographs I examine the natural and built environment of Swan Island, documenting the structures and spaces that define the area as a “geography of production.”View Swan Island Industrial Park