The railroad embankment that failed to hold back raging waters of the Columbia River in 1948 — setting off the Vanport Flood that wiped out Oregon's second-largest city — is still not up to snuff for flood control nearly 70 years later.

But local and state officials working on the problem say nearby property owners don't have the means to cover the estimated $15 million to build a replacement levee, or more than $20 million to replace aging pumps and maintain other parts of the area's flood-control system. (See sidebar.)