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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Fight clubs, slave tunnels, and gambling dens

The Lents urban renewal area? No, Portland as a whole 100 years ago -- "the most dangerous port in the world." See it all on cable.

Comments (5)

Bah...over-hyped nonsense. Looked forward to the show, but it came up w-a-y short.

Sorta sad thinking the ex wig store on SE 20th, near my house (now an "antique store), was once a bustling Italian food market (with an alledged illegal booze-factory in the basement).

Since many Old Town legends are said to be overblown, I'm not surprised (but I am sad) to hear that the show was a bit of a dud.

But don't despair, Frank. 100 years from now they'll tell stories about us today -- bootleg foie gras and furs, people with hidden plastic grocery bags lining their Whole Foods cloth bags, and gas stations that will still sneak you a gallon or two of fuel not made from vegetable oil.

Portland's legacy of 100 years ago was all about the unholy alliance of politicians and businesspeople, often one in the same, engaging in power broking schemes to enlarge influence, empires, and fortunes. Portland's legacy of the present time looking back from 100 years in the future will be, um, wait a minute here....

A regular customer, a Lithographer, once noted that there was a huge slaughterhouse smack dab on the Willamette downtown, on some ancient map he had been restoring, right next to where the whorehouses began.

All of the magnificent sleaze and corruption of early 20th century Portland is perhaps best captured in Harry King: A Professional Thief's Journey. He was a career criminal based in Portland for many decades, and told it all before committing suicide...crooked cops and their relationship with organized crime, pimping, murder, gambling, drugs, safecracking, etc.

It forms a large amount of source material for that fellow from the Tribune's book, Portland Confidential.

Widely available online.

I took the Portland undergound tour a few years ago. It was pretty good.

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